Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Redistricting in listenable format

I’ll be testifying in Annapolis on behalf of comprehensive redistricting reform on Monday (Maryland House of Delegates) and Thursday (Senate) of this week. In the mean time, here are two new audio contributions, first (above) a Cato Daily Podcast in which I’m interviewed by Caleb Brown.

The second clip is a narrator’s reading for Cato’s “Cato Out Loud” feature of my recent piece on why libertarians and others should oppose gerrymandering:

I’m also in the question period a bit more than two-thirds through this Federalist Society program featuring former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Ct.) and Weekly Standard senior writer Jay Cost.

On recent redistricting fireworks in Pennsylvania — which are being decided under that state’s constitution, and thus do not directly affect the federal constitutional issue or the situation in other states — see Nate Cohn, Matthew Bloch and Kevin Quealy, New York Times and Dave Wasserman, Cook Political Report. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s map scores high on a measure of partisan proportionality — that is, matching the number of seats won by a party to its share of overall vote. As Cohn et al. note, however, partisan proportionality in general “is not usually a goal when redistricting,” in part because it calls for conscious affirmative attention to partisan considerations as distinct from neutral principles. In this case it also comes as “something of a surprise, since the court’s order didn’t specify that partisan balance was an objective for the new map.”

“State police must rehire trooper who isn’t allowed to carry a gun”

“The Pennsylvania State Police must reinstate a trooper who is barred from having a gun because a female officer secured a protection from abuse order against him, a state appeals court has ruled.” One judge dissented, “arguing that Acord’s firing was justified since, without a gun, ‘he cannot perform the basic and essential duties for which he was hired as a trooper.'” [Matt Miller, PennLive]

Bulletproof glass and the Pennsylvania constitution

Does the provision of Philadelphia’s Bill 170963 intended to curb the use of bulletproof glass in stores run afoul of language in the Pennsylvania constitution asserting “inherent and indefeasible” rights of “defending life” and “protecting property”? Our earlier post (and see update) mentioned that Eugene Volokh had written about the contours of a constitutional right to self-defense, and now the UCLA lawprof (at the newly un-paywalled site of his Conspiracy) has sketched a possible argument against the Philly Plexiglass measure along those lines.

Labor and employment roundup

  • Spotted in Senate tax bill: what sounds like an excellent proposal to cut off worker-classification lawsuits [Shu-Yi Oei and Diane M. Ring (who take a very different view of the provision) via Caron/TaxProf]
  • Federalist Society convention video on future of federal workplace agencies with Alex Acosta and Nicholas Geale of DoL, Victoria Lipnic of EEOC, Philip Miscimarra of NLRB;
  • “‘Mistake’ in Pennsylvania homecare contract would have helped unions in fight over healthcare workers” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner; Cato podcast with David Osborne and Caleb O. Brown]
  • Automatically worth reading, Claudia Goldin on gender pay gap [New York Times]
  • Public sector unions rule in California politics, and pension-spiking is just one of the results [Steven Greenhut] “California Union Bill Looks to Ban Outsourcing Public Services” [same]
  • New report from Dana Berliner, Clark Neily al., “Occupational Licensing Run Wild” [Federalist Society Regulatory Transparency Project]

HOA mailbox spat turns into three-year court battle

“Abby and Jonathan Weber bought their daughter Mollie a mailbox inspired by Tigger, the colorful character from the Winnie the Pooh stories….You know who didn’t appreciate the Tigger mailbox? Members of the Laurel Oaks Homeowners Association that oversees the Bucks County neighborhood that the Webers call home.” Now, three years of litigation later… [Brian Hickey, Philly Voice]

Burger workers class action makes Happy Meal for lawyers

Lawyers will get $858,000 of what is described as the nearly million-dollar settlement of a suit against McDonald’s franchisees in northeastern Pennsylvania that had used debit cards to compensate workers, leading to complaints of fees. “The eight employees named in the suit, or the lead plaintiffs, will receive $1,250 each plus the debit-card fees they paid, according to WNEP. All others — only a few hundred of the roughly 2,400 signed paperwork to collect — will get $100 plus fee reimbursement.” [AP/Wilkes Barre Times Leader]

Schools roundup

  • Union contracts can result in truant-teacher syndrome [Larry Sand, City Journal]
  • “A Review of Department of Education Programs: Transgender Issues, Racial Quotas in School Discipline, and Campus Sexual Assault Mandates” [Linda Chavez et al., Regulatory Transparency Project]
  • Why is the FBI getting involved in college sports recruiting scandals? [Cato podcast with Ilya Shapiro]
  • School lobby in Pennsylvania, unable to defeat taxpayer advocates at ballot box, hopes to win in court instead [Matt Miller, PennLive on school finance suit]
  • “End Federal Pressure for Racial Quotas in Special Education” [Hans Bader, CEI]
  • Irvington, N.J.: “Student to get $6M after tripping, breaking arm in gym class” [AP/TribLive]

July 26 roundup

  • “It’s time for our justice system to embrace artificial intelligence” [Caleb Watney, Brookings]
  • Ontario woman named vexatious litigant and barred from filing lawsuits without leave tells newspaper “to hold off on publishing her story until all of her matters before the court were concluded, or else” [Jesse McLean and Emily Mathieu, Toronto Star]
  • Psittacine hearsay? Parrot said to have repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in murder victim’s voice; wife convicted [AP/Detroit News] “The parrot was not involved in any court proceedings.” [Evening Standard (U.K.)]
  • Pennsylvania’s abuse-of-process law, not particularly strong in the first place, survives a challenge [Hillary Hunter, WLF]
  • No, that’s not how the law works. Sanctions next? “Baton Rouge police officer injured in deadly ambush sues Black Lives Matter” and five leaders of it [CBS]
  • “When the first section heading of an opinion is ‘Design Basics and the Art of the Intellectual Property Shakedown,’ you can probably guess how things are going to turn out for Plaintiff Design Basics, LLC.” [John Ross, Short Circuit on this Seventh Circuit case]

Pennsylvania high court limits civil asset forfeiture

In an important decision the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that to seize property under civil process the state must prove that property played a significant role in crime, and the value seized cannot be disproportionate to the offense [AP/Allentown Morning Call, C.J. Ciaramella/Reason, opinion in car and real estate proceedings involving Elizabeth Young, background Milad Emam, Philadelphia Inquirer 2016 op-ed on Institute for Justice brief] Philadelphia authorities seized Young’s house and minivan after her son sold $90 worth of marijuana on her front porch. Earlier this year I covered a different Pennsylvania intermediate court decision, which also checked the scope of forfeiture law, here.