The Manhattan Institute’s overcriminalization project, run by MI’s Jim Copland and Rafael Mangual, has issued five state-by-state reports so far on the issue. Check them out: Oklahoma, Minnesota, South Carolina, Michigan, and North Carolina [last link fixed now].
We covered the case of Carnell Alexander in 2014 and 2015, and it may finally be over: “Alexander got official notice days ago, that after a 26-year-long fight he doesn’t owe child support for a child that is not his.” “You declare him a deadbeat. You garnish his wages, take away his ability to make a living,” said his lawyer, who now hopes to sue the state. [WXYZ]
- Subpoena turnabout not fair play: Congressional Republicans investigating state AGs’ climate advocacy probe are lobbing subpoenas at private enviro groups that urged the anti-speech campaign. Knock it off, two wrongs don’t make right [Eli Lehrer and earlier] “You don’t need complicated models to figure out what happens when governments censor speech. The evidence on that question is solid.” [Steve Simpson]
- And speaking of fraud in policy advocacy (whatever that may mean) some varieties of it are plainly going to have no legal consequences whatsoever [Matt Welch channeling Virginia Postrel on California political class and high-speed rail]
- Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette says 40 anti-pipeline activists gathered and beat on the front door of his home for 30 minutes with his wife alone there [Detroit News]
- Pro-nuclear demonstrators blockade Greenpeace office in San Francisco, but wouldn’t the ultimate way to protest an odious environmental group be to respect the property rights of all concerned? [SFist]
- “It’s a shotgun approach”: injury lawyers find many defendants to blame after Flint public water fiasco [NPR via Renee Krake, Legal Ethics Forum]
- “District court voids Obama administration fracking regulations” [Jonathan Adler, Alden Abbott]
Ira Stoll recalls a verse from Exodus — translated in the New Berkeley Version of the Christian Bible as “Heap no abuse upon judges” — and notes that the temptation to excoriate judges over unwelcome rulings knows no place or era. Ken White at Popehat pens an explainer, “Is there anything unusual about Judge Curiel’s orders in the Trump University case?” Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales kinda-sorta defends the propriety of litigants’ blasting judges, though in a left-handed way (“if I were a litigant who was concerned about the judge’s impartiality, I certainly would not deal with it in a public manner as Trump has, because it demeans the integrity of the judicial office and thus potentially undermines the independence of the judiciary, especially coming from a man who could be president by this time next year.”), drawing a response from Cassandra Robertson via Jonathan Adler. Eugene Volokh examines the no-not-even-close-on-current-evidence case for Curiel’s recusal. Earlier on the controversy here.
Meanwhile, journalists in Detroit have been recalling the story of the flamboyant, litigious, floppy-haired millionaire populist known for his willingness to insult judges and everyone else, who shoved aside the conventional pols to capture a major party nomination. Of course I’m referring to the 1998 run for governor of Michigan of attorney Geoffrey Fieger, a longtime Overlawyered favorite [Deadline Detroit, Zachary Gorchow/Gongwer]
And also relating to this year’s presidential race, I discussed the Libertarians’ ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld and its attractions in an interview with Mona Charen for her Ricochet podcast “Need to Know” with Jay Nordlinger. More here.
- Remembering William Tucker, author of books on many subjects including the 1982 classic on environmentalism, Progress and Privilege, and a valued friend of long standing [RealClearEnergy, where he was founding editor]
- Scalia took lead in defending property rights vs. regulatory takings, but mostly not by deploying originalist analysis. A missed opportunity, thinks Ilya Somin;
- What? Children in parts of Saginaw, Grand Rapids, Muskegon, etc. have higher blood lead levels than in Flint [Detroit News] Flint water department didn’t use standard $150/day neutralizing treatment. Why not? [Nolan Finley, Detroit News] Children in Michigan generally ten years ago had higher prevalence of lead in blood at concern thresholds than children in Flint today [David Mastio, USA Today] Earlier here and here;
- On eminent domain, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz seem to be “talking past each other, about two different things” [Gideon Kanner]
- Saboteurs going after Canadian pipelines [CBC]
- “Mission or Craftsman style” was insisted on, but the resulting vacant lot doesn’t seem to be either: south L.A. grocery scheme dies after decade-long urban-planning fight [Los Angeles Times]
- As prices plunge: “Where Have All the Peak Oilers Gone?” [Ronald Bailey, Reason]
- On the Flint water fiasco, building for many months now, multiple levels of governments have plenty to answer for [Detroit News (“Lower-level [state DEQ] officials continued to downplay severity of Flint’s drinking water problems for almost 3 more months.”), The Hill and Detroit News (EPA), earlier and on government impunity] More: David Mastio, USA Today (even after fiasco, prevailing blood-lead levels in Flint children greatly improved from ten years ago); Rob Sisson/ConserveFewell; Matt Pearce/L.A. Times.
- Background on Oregon standoff: what would a market-based federal lands grazing program look like? [Randal O’Toole, earlier on Malheur refuge occupation here, here]
- “Trying to Build a Catskills Resort Despite Mountains of Regulation” [Cori O’Connor, WSJ]
- “Next stop for Paris climate deal: the courts” [Politico] Chart overview of climate change litigation in U.S. [Arnold & Porter via Kyle White, Abnormal Use]
- “The emerging cross-ideological consensus on zoning” [Ilya Somin] “Zoning Laws Transfer Wealth in the Wrong Direction” [Noah Smith]
- Time for Supreme Court to revisit its doctrine on exhaustion of state litigation remedies in takings cases [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
- Pulitzer logrolling, politicization of Columbia J-school are old stories, but vendetta against Exxon adds a few new twists [Fraser Seitel, O’Dwyer, earlier]
Recommended in sorting out what went wrong on many sides: here’s a local, detailed commentary on Flint, Michigan’s water crisis that doesn’t read as if it’d picked its villain in advance. [Greg Branch]
- “Justice Department suspends abusive asset forfeiture program – for now” [Ilya Somin]
- Tulsa sheriff steers seizures to judge it once employed, invokes unclaimed property law which dodges burden of proof [The Frontier]
- Op-ed claims that if Maryland cops grab your stuff you must be a “drug dealer,” trial or no [Joseph Cassilly, Baltimore Sun]
- Quest for revenue-self-sufficient law enforcement can end in “independent, self-funding armed gangs” [Noah Smith, Bloomberg View]
- “Get rid of policing for profit in Michigan” [Angela Erickson, Detroit News]
- Congress has twice tried to make it easier for prevailing claimants to recover attorneys’ fees when recovering seized property, but the government finds ways to slip around [Scott Greenfield]
- Value of assets seized by law enforcement in U.S. in 2014 exceeds value taken by burglars [Armstrong Economics]
- Russian man sues developer of videogame Fallout 4, saying he lost wife and job due to addiction to playing it [BGR]
- “Indiana Briefly Considered Fining Bad Anthem Singers” [Lowering the Bar] Relatedly, if you’ve been wanting to do a dance remix of “Star-Spangled Banner,” Michigan law now permits it [Lowering the Bar]
- Is administrative law unlawful? Philip Hamburger vs. Adrian Vermeule [more, William Funk/Jotwell and David Bernstein; earlier here and here]
- Will Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell runoff loss end his office’s contracts-for-pals “Buddy System”? [Chris Butler/Louisiana Watchdog, Richard Miniter, American Media Institute/Louisiana Record, Eric Boehm/Louisiana Watchdog]
- “Let’s get rid of private housing.” The Nation never gives up, does it?
- Congress’s surrender of power of purse opened door to outrages like Department of Justice’s activist slush funds [Randal John Meyer]
- Gun-rights and marijuana advocates set themselves against liberty generally when they back discrimination-law coverage of employee “off-duty conduct.” [Ohio, Jon Hyman first (firearms) and second (pot) posts]
Congratulations to my home state of Michigan, which recently enacted reforms to its civil asset forfeiture laws. “The bipartisan legislation is supported by groups as diverse as the ACLU of Michigan and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Both say the bills Snyder signed today are a significant improvement but don’t go far enough.” Elements of the reform include a move from preponderance-of-the-evidence to clear-and-convincing-evidence and greater transparency and disclosure about the uses of forfeiture. Michigan has been the scene of a number of episodes of aggressive use of forfeiture law in recent years, including a raid on a monthly party at the Museum of Contemporary Art for which the museum had failed to get a proper alcohol license; police confiscated patrons’ cars as well as ticketing them for “loitering in a place of illegal occupation.” [Detroit Free Press]