- Judge says Emoluments Clause suit based on Trump’s DC hotel can proceed [Andrew M. Harris, Bloomberg, Washington Post; two views at Volokh Conspiracy from David Post and Josh Blackman and Seth Barrett Tillman; earlier on Emoluments Clause litigation] Last year I noted the hotel-competitor fact pattern as the kind of emoluments case most likely to clear the standing hurdle;
- Excessive fines are unconstitutional, whether levied on persons or on groups of persons [Ilya Shapiro and Matthew Larosiere and Dave Kopel on Cato/Independence Institute brief in Colorado Dept. of Labor v. Dami Hospitality]
- Federalist Society conversation with author Joseph Tartakovsky about his new book, The Lives of the Constitution: Ten Exceptional Minds that Shaped America’s Supreme Law;
- “In 2016, Birmingham, Ala. officials imposed $10.10 minimum wage, but the next day state legislators preempted it, enacting a statewide minimum wage of $7.25. Plaintiffs: Which discriminates against blacks, who make up 72 percent of Birmingham and most of its City Council. Eleventh Circuit: ‘Today, racism is no longer pledged from the portico of the capitol or exclaimed from the floor of the constitutional convention; it hides, abashed, cloaked beneath ostensibly neutral laws and legitimate bases, steering government power toward no less invidious ends.’ Plaintiffs’ equal protection claim should not have been dismissed.” [John Kenneth Ross, Short Circuit, on Lewis v. Governor of Alabama]
- “This is the old ‘why do you make him hit you?’ argument applied to civil liberties. It excuses the actions of the abuser—the state in this case—as reactions to the missteps of the abused.” [J.D. Tuccille on curious ACLU argument that maintaining expansive Second Amendment rights just provokes the state into wider crackdowns]
- North Carolina’s constitution has a clause endorsing right to “the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor” which might furnish ground to challenge some economic regulation [Eugene Volokh]
- North Carolina’s heartbalm law strikes again, as judge orders man who slept with married woman to pay jilted husband $8.8 million [Virginia Bridges, Raleigh News & Observer, more on homewrecker tort]
- Cornell economist Rick Geddes explains the federal government’s postal monopoly [David Henderson]
- Trademark swagger: “Chicago Poke Chain Sends C&D To Hawaiian Poke Joint Demanding It Not Be Named ‘Aloha Poke'” [Timothy Geigner, Techdirt] “Shipyard Brewing Loses Its Lawsuit Over Ships and The Word ‘Head'” [same]
- “Man files lawsuit under False Claims Act against manufacturer of batteries for use in intercontinental ballistic missile launch controls, asks for $30 mil, settles for $1.7 mil. What follows is—in the trial court’s words—a “hellish” dispute over the man’s attorneys’ fees. Third Circuit: We feel you; the order reducing requested fees is affirmed in almost every respect.” [John K. Ross, Short Circuit, on U.S. ex rel. Palmer v. C&D Technologies]
- Using the law to suppress one’s competition: New York Taxi Workers Alliance cheers City Council’s move to cap Uber and ridesharing [Reuters] It’s totally normal and not at all suspicious that the city council president who wants tougher enforcement against Airbnb is also president of the state’s hotel lobby [Eric Boehm, Reason; Biloxi, Mississippi]
- For those still keeping score, it’s improper and prejudicial for the head of the nation’s law enforcement apparatus to declaim publicly against a criminal trial in progress, whether or not the defendant happens to be his own campaign manager [David Post, Volokh; April Post and podcast on inapplicable “fruit of the poisonous tree” claim]
- Welcome news: U.S. Department of Education withdraws notorious Dear Colleague letter on Title IX and misconduct accusations [Hans Bader, CEI; ABA Journal]
- Kaspersky Lab turns tables, forces E.D. Tex. patent claimant to pay to end case [Joe Mullin, ArsTechnica] Following unanimous SCOTUS ruling easing fee awards for ill-grounded patent litigation, firm told to “pay $1.6 million in attorney’s fees for filing an unwarranted patent lawsuit against a competitor.” [same, Octane Fitness vs. Icon]
- Activist litigation with taxpayer imprimatur: “University Of North Carolina Law School’s Civil Rights Center Closes Following Board Of Governors Vote” [Paul Caron/ TaxProf, Bainbridge, earlier]
- Another positive review for Ben Barton and Stephanos Bibas’s Rebooting Justice [Jeremy Richter, earlier]
- Appeals court rejects constitutional challenge to North Carolina homewrecker tort (“alienation of affection”) [ABA Journal, Eugene Volokh, earlier]
- Social engineering often seen as intrinsically anti-liberty. Rightly so? [Cato Unbound: Jason Kuznicki, Alex Tabarrok and others]
- Scranton, Pa. federal judge “denies ‘exorbitant’ request for nearly $1M in attorney fees after $125K recovery” [ABA Journal; arose from bad faith insurance action on underlying uninsured motorist claim that settled for $25,000]
- As PETA settles monkey selfie case with hapless photographer, details confirm that “Naruto is really just a prop to be deployed in the case as PETA sees fit.” [Ted Folkman, Eriq Gardner, earlier] A sad catalogue of litigation abuse enabled by PETA’s donors [Frank Bednarz thread]
- Lively First Circuit opinion upholds extortion conviction of small town police chief [Bob Dunn, Berkshire Eagle, U.S. v. Buffis via IJ’s John Ross, “Short Circuit“; Lee, Mass.]
- She beat DOMA and the IRS too, and all in great style. My appreciation of Edith Windsor [Cato at Liberty]
- “North Carolina’s Fickle Finger of Redistricting” [also by me at Cato at Liberty]
- Me: “Posner was the judge lawyers really didn’t want to run into if they had bad class action settlements to defend” [Jonathan Bilyk, Cook County Record, earlier]
- Elected-official governance of how state university law centers sue local governments = “interference”? [J. Clara Chan, Chronicle of Higher Education; Jane Stancill, News and Observer; Ana Irizarry, UNC Daily Tarheel; James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Jesse Saffron, Alex Contarino, Frank Pray]
- Zen Magnets update: “How One Man’s Quest To Save His Magnets Became A Massive Regulatory Battle” [Jeremy Kutner, Huffington Post, earlier]
- “The solar eclipse is no longer mysterious, supernatural, foreboding, or ominous.” Or cause to delay a trial [court order in U.S. v. Bishop, M.D. Fla.]
- Trump vs. business: “His recurring message is that any executive who doesn’t do as Trump wishes can expect retribution from the most powerful man on earth.” [Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune/syndicated]
- Wales: “Mute and autistic girl was seized from family and locked up after false abuse claims” [Lucy Johnston, Express] On “facilitated communication” and the like, see earlier posts here and here;
- California bill would extend pre-litigation subpoena power, a powerful tool in inflicting cost and loss of privacy on targets, from current holders (state AG, county DAs) to city attorneys in San Francisco, L.A., San Diego, and San Jose [Civil Justice Association of California Bulletin; Amanda Robert, Legal NewsLine]
Some on the Board of Governors that oversees the University of North Carolina are unhappy with UNC law school’s Center for Civil Rights, a source of Left activism and litigation in the Tar Heel State. Now firebrand liberal UNC law professor Gene Nichol has warned the university of “serious accreditation problems in the months ahead” from the American Bar Association (ABA) and Association of American Law Schools (AALS) should it close the center. [News & Observer via Paul Caron, TaxProf]
I’ve got two new pieces up at Cato at Liberty:
1) Following an outcry, Nevada lawmakers have dropped a plan to hobble ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber by requiring that their drivers wait at least 15 minutes before picking up a fare. The bill had been backed by a taxi union that donates heavily to lawmakers: all must be brought down to the level of the slowest in the name of a level playing field!
2) No one’s willing to come out and say that the North Carolina bathroom compromise signed yesterday by Gov. Roy Cooper is actually pretty good. But it is.
The North Carolina Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional the state’s recently enacted so-called cyberbullying ban [Scott Greenfield] The court noted that the “statute criminalizes posting online ‘private, personal, or sexual information pertaining to a minor'” even though “these terms are not defined by the statute.” And the definition urged by the state would restrict a potentially wide range of discussion of “personal… information pertaining to a minor,” at least when proceeding from prohibited “intent to intimidate or torment.”
Earlier, New York’s highest court said the similar law in that state could not pass First Amendment muster. And a Eugene Volokh amicus brief challenges Maryland’s cyberbullying law, which I criticized at the time of its passage three years ago.
I’m on the road (Bay Area) and don’t expect to do new postings this week, but to pass the time while I’m away I’ve set the site up to re-run a number of oldie posts on a perennial topic in any legal system, the problem of fraud. It pokes its head in frequently on this site, from the $46,000 damage claim in the Gulf Coast oil spill aftermath that prosecutors say was filed on behalf of a dog, to the occasional stories about persons imprudent enough to enter marathons, bodybuilding contests, and other tests of athletic prowess while drawing full workplace disability or while their soft tissue injury claim from a low-speed auto crash is pending.
Before we turn to the old cases, however, here’s a good one that’s new: “A North Carolina man will spend at least a year in prison after prosecutors said he intentionally caused 12 wrecks, filming many of them on a dashboard camera and uploading the footage to the internet.”
I’ll be returning on or about Friday, July 1, which also represents the anniversary of Overlawyered’s founding on July 1, 1999.