Last month a court struck down Los Angeles’s ordinance intended to discourage city contractors from dealing with the National Rifle Association (NRA), ruling it a First Amendment violation intended to chill speech and association. An amusing feature: the bill’s sponsor just couldn’t help grandstanding on Twitter and elsewhere about taking down the NRA, which provided the court with valuable evidence of the city’s intent. Moreover, the gun rights group has been making headway against similar efforts in San Francisco and New York state (led there by Gov. Andrew Cuomo) to target its pocketbook. I explain in a new piece at National Review.
- Senator Elizabeth Warren and her Accountable Capitalism Act represent an attempt to revive a theory of the corporation that fell out of favor long ago, that corporate status is a grant of favor in exchange for which the state may demand services or cooperation [Abdurrahman Kayiklik, Columbia Law School Blue Sky Blog; earlier with links to Warren on corporate governance and other topics]
- Bill in Congress would enlist banks in watching gun sales [Robert VerBruggen/NRO; Noah Shepardson, Reason] NRA, in litigation, contends it has evidence New York state officials negotiated with U.K.’s Lloyds to curtail insurance availability in a way specifically targeted at the association [Stephen Gutowski thread]
- “The Misguided Quest to Limit Choice in Consumer Credit” [Diego Zuluaga]
- “The CFPB and Payday Lending Regulations” [Peter Van Doren last February; earlier on payday lending; Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency Project video on regulation-through-investigation of payday lenders with Jamie Fulmer, Chris Peterson, and Brian Knight]
- Federalist Society podcast on Community Reinvestment Act with Aaron Klein and Diego Zuluaga;
- Learned a new word, lutulent, which means “muddy, turbid, thick” and is more or less the opposite of luculent (“lucid, clear, transparent”) [Keith Paul Bishop on unclarities in new California law requiring gender quotas on boards (“a lutulent mess”); earlier here, etc.]
“If a state like New York can bend and twist legal concepts like that of securities fraud to carry on an essentially political vendetta against a corporate enemy, how safe are other businesses?” My new Cato post reports on a judge’s scathing rejection of a case that should never have been brought, the New York Attorney General’s attempt to hang fraud charges on Exxon over its statements on climate change.
New York bans the operation of adoption agencies that will not serve customers of all sexual and gender orientations and conditions of wedlock, whether or not such agencies receive any public funds or contracts. New Hope Family Services, a ministry that works with expectant mothers to place their newborns, has agreed to stop accepting new clients and now the question is whether it can go on servicing pending and completed placements. New York state is arguing no, but a Second Circuit panel of Judges José Cabranes, Reena Raggi, and Edward Korman has granted a preliminary injunction pending consideration of the agency’s First Amendment claims: “the strong public interest pertaining to adoption services, i.e., the welfare of children, both those already adopted and those awaiting adoption, is best served by granting rather than denying the requested injunction.” [ruling in New Hope Family Services v. Poole; Emma Folts/Daily Orange, Julie McMahon/Syracuse.com, Nicole Russell, Washington Examiner quoting me; my related WSJ piece on recent Western District of Michigan decision]
- “Bernie Sanders and Bad Justifications for Minimum Wage Hikes” [Cato Daily Podcast with Ryan Bourne and Caleb Brown]
- Oregon senator wants to give CEOs a pay incentive to automate, contract out, or otherwise eliminate low-compensation jobs faster than they would otherwise [Hans Bader]
- “Mayor Pete Wants To Destroy the Gig Economy in Order To Save It” [Nick Gillespie on Buttigieg plan to limit independent contractor status] More on California independent contractor battles [Federalist Society podcast with Bruce Sarchet, earlier here, etc.]
- Not many states do this: “New York State Passes Bill Allowing Employees to Place a Lien on Employer’s Property For Accusation of Wage Violations” [Employers Association Forum]
- With hand-made tortillas no longer economic, the Upper West Side restaurant began going downhill [Jennifer Gould Keil, New York Post]
- The myth of stagnant real wages [Scott Sumner]
Thank you to Naomi Riley for including me in her WSJ piece Thursday on a truly bad New York scheme to empower birthparents whose parental rights have been terminated to petition nonetheless for court-ordered visitation. The quotes from me:
In many cases adoptive parents do arrange with birthparents for some kind of contact after an adoption is completed. “Some adoptive parents are glad to agree to those conditions, and that’s fine for them. Where they have not, it is a very bad idea to adopt a presumption of enforcing such a long-term obligation on unwilling adopters,” notes Walter Olson, an adoptive parent and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
The legislation presents serious logistical concerns as well. What if an adoptive family wants to move across the country? Would the courts be able to prevent them? “Adoptive families are real families and deserve the full rights of other such families unless they have agreed to some other arrangement,” says Mr. Olson.
In a letter to Gov. Cuomo opposing the bill, the group New York Attorneys for Adoption and Family Formation explained that the law may also violate the due-process rights of adoptive parents. In 2000, they point out, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar Washington state law.
Both houses of the New York legislature have now passed the bill, which is supported by legal services groups like the Legal Aid Society of New York City but opposed by the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (AFFCNY), the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies (COFCCA), “which represents nonprofit foster care agencies statewide, and the New York Public Welfare Association (NYPWA), which represents county government child welfare directors.” [Michael Fitzgerald, Chronicle of Social Change] AFFCNY has more on its opposition here, and notes: “Adoptive families would have no choice but to hire and pay for legal representation for themselves.”
- Housing authority in Meeker, Colorado, population 2,250, will pay nearly $1 million to settle suit over limits on emotional support animals [Niki Turner, Rio Blanco Herald-Times, Kathleen Foody, Associated Press/Colorado Sun, Stina Sieg, Colorado Public Radio]
- Volume of web-accessibility suits continues to climb [Seyfarth Shaw; John Breslin, Florida Record] More on growth of this litigation [podcast with Karen Harned, NFIB, for Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency Project (earlier on pool lifts)] “DOJ Says Failure to Comply With Web Accessibility Guidelines is Not Necessarily a Violation of the ADA” [Minh Vu, Seyfarth Shaw, from last October] Second Circuit dismissal of web-access complaint in Diaz v. Apple, Inc. could be helpful to defendants [Joshua Stein and Shira Blank, National Law Review]
- Report on ADA filing mills in Rochester and vicinity [Berkeley Brean, WHEC: first, second, third (colleges), fourth, fifth]
- And more on New York mass filing operations: Inveterate suer of restaurants reaches Staten Island [Pamela Silvestri, SI Live] Finger Lakes wineries targeted [Jane Flasch/WHAM in February; Michael J. Fitzgerald, Finger Lakes Times] “Finkelstein has gone on a lawsuit-filing spree since getting his law license back in New York state in 2016,” and among his 50 ADA suits are some the named plaintiff says he didn’t know about [Julia Marsh, New York Post]
- In EEOC-land no one can hear you honk [press release on EEOC lawsuit against limo service that declined to hire deaf driver]
- “Washington Supreme Court Says Obesity Is a Disability” [Ben McDonald, and thanks for quote; earlier]
A New York utility says the politically arranged blockage of a pipeline project may mean an end to new gas hookups for residential and commercial customers [Bernadette Hogan and Ben Feuerherd, New York Post]
A demand for “no new fossil fuel infrastructure” seems to be rapidly emerging from the green wing of world politics (Seattle, IEA, Vermont, Maryland, New York, earlier), making clear that its objection is not to a particular pipeline or fracking project or oilfield development or export terminal but to any and all of them, period.
I wonder whether the demand, if taken seriously, would also entail disallowing new gasoline stations.
More/related: strangling the New York power grid [Robert Bryce, Crain’s New York Business]
“A Committee in the New York State Senate aims to develop a legal standard for the accessibility of business websites under New York law, in response to the exponential increase in website accessibility litigation in the state. Whether state legislation could stem this tide, or instead make matters worse for businesses, remains to be seen.” [John W. Egan and Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw; Dan M. Clark, New York Law Journal] On the surge in web accessibility suits, which nearly tripled in 2018 from the previous year, see Seyfarth’s reports here and here from January, and Usable.net here and here.
A pending New York bill, A.679/S.2407, would amend the state’s chief consumer protection law to raise guaranteed minimum statutory damages forty-fold, to $2,000 per sued-over transaction. Combine that with class action features that would enable multiplicative application to whole classes of repeat transaction, and the result should terrify business [Jonah Knobler, New York Law Journal]