General incorporation laws were a huge 19th century advance, replacing favoritism-riddled corporate chartering at official pleasure with automatic operation of legal right. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s corporate governance scheme would risk taking us back to the bad old days. I’ve got a new post at Cato, channeling Richard Epstein and other commentators on the topic. Earlier here, and some extended critique of the “stakeholder” idea in this 2002 piece by Norman Barry.
- Applicants for faculty positions at UC San Diego must file written statement detailing “past efforts, as well as future plans to advance diversity, equity and inclusion,” and are warned that lip service isn’t enough [Stephen Bainbridge]
- CUNY law dean: disruptors shouted down Josh Blackman for only eight minutes or so, nothing contrary to university rules in that [Robby Soave, earlier] “Hecklers of Campus Speakers: Easy Answers and Hard Questions” [Erica Goldberg] “Is Free Speech Becoming the Next Scare-Quote Domain?” [Paul Horwitz]
- On a happier note, a Festschrift and tribute essay collection for the inimitable and unstoppable Richard Epstein [University of Chicago Law School]
- “Readers may find it remarkable that these students expected the other people in the room to applaud and validate them for derailing the event.” [Robby Soave on Duke protest of alumni event] How to end a building occupation: “The phone calls [from NYU] advised parents that students who interfered with campus functions could [lose] financial aid or housing.” [Kyle Smith, NRO] “Some Pundits Say There’s No Campus Free Speech ‘Crisis.’ Here’s Why They’re Wrong” [Soave]
- “The people in that room all agreed that I had committed sexual harassment by showing my class this film” [Soave; Massachusetts College of Art & Design]
- A sociologist’s view: if my field is typical, postmodernism and intersectionalism haven’t taken over the academy [Nicholas Wolfinger]
- Another dubious lawsuit blaming terrorism on social media from law firm with phone number for a name [Tim Cushing]
- Courts reverse two big talc/baby powder jury verdicts against Johnson & Johnson [Tina Bellon and Nate Raymond, Reuters ($417 million, California); Insurance Journal ($72 million, Missouri)]
- “US-Based Tech Companies Subject to Worldwide Jurisdiction as Judicial Comity Takes a Back Seat” [Moin Yahya, WLF on Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Google v. Equustek Solutions]
- Richard Epstein wrote the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism’s entry on liability, tort and contract;
- Asbestos: “Judges and juries should learn about a plaintiff’s entire exposure history so they can apportion liability appropriately.” [Phil Goldberg, Forbes]
- Study of contingent fee litigation in New York City: few cases resolved on dispositive motions, lawyers nearly always take the maximum one-third permitted by law [Eric Helland et al., forthcoming Vanderbilt Law Review/SSRN]
Libertarian legal scholar Richard Epstein discusses the conflict over religious exemptions to antidiscrimination laws at Hoover “Defining Ideas” and in a related podcast at Acton Institute. He suggests that it might be helpful to refocus the concept of “public accommodations” on businesses held to common carrier principles, typically because of elements of monopoly:
Historically, Title II [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with public accommodation provisions] had two potent justifications. The first is that it was a necessary corrective against massive abuses of state power under Jim Crow. Thankfully, that risk is gone today. The other justification was that the traditional common law view — still good today — that any common carrier or public utility, by virtue of holding a monopoly position, was duty-bound to take all customers on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms. When ordinary people have nowhere else to go for power, water, or transportation, they are entitled to get these services at reasonable rates. The rule covered all cases of racial discrimination, but it was not limited to it.
The implicit drawback of this position was that there was no duty to serve anyone in a competitive industry, precisely because disappointed customers had a full range of alternatives to which they could turn. The common law rightly held that refusals to deal in competitive industries counted as basic liberties.
- Feared Philadelphia union boss launches program to use drones to surveill non-union worksites [William Bender, Philly.com (“got into a fistfight with a nonunion electrical contractor – and broke his nose – at a construction site at Third and Reed.”)]
- “We know where you live” continued: U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez’s “persuader rule” exposes lawyers and other professionals to intimidation, creates legal minefield for employers expressing opinion [The Hill, Jon Hyman, earlier]
- Richard Epstein on labor unions [Libertarianism.org podcast discussion with Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus]
- Actions protected as “concerted” by labor law include some taken by individual employee entirely alone, according to National Labor Relations Board, as it declares unlawful company policy against secretly taping conversations at the workplace [Jon Hyman, Whole Foods case]
- “Brace for more litigation based on feds’ new joint employment guidance, labor lawyers tell companies” [ABA Journal; Insurance Journal on Browning-Ferris; Daniel Schwartz; earlier] Applying NLRB joint employer notion to company like McDonald’s could blow up franchise business model, which some union advocates might not mind [Diana Furchtgott-Roth]
- Judge Merrick Garland shows great deference to NLRB, except in cases where it has ruled for an employer [Bill McMorris, Free Beacon]
Left-leaning lawprofs like Erwin Chemerinsky and Arthur Miller regularly flog the idea that decisions they disagree with — such as Twombly and Iqbal on pleading, AT&T v. Concepcion and AmEx v. Italian Colors on arbitration, and Vance v. Ball State and Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire on workplace liability — show the Supreme Court to be biased in favor of business defendants. Richard Epstein rebuts.
- Law-school leftism is no longer a progressive force, argues Brian Tamanaha [Stanford Law and Policy Review, more] Paul Campos responds to critics of Tamanaha [UCLA Law Review via Caron]
- Related: “Cleaning (one’s inbox) is its own reward: nice podcast re: law school reform that I took to gym (via @WalterOlson)” [@DavidLat]
- Good news for law students? “Student Loans May Now Be Discharged More Easily In Bankruptcy in the 9th Circuit” [Karen Oakes, Bankruptcy Law Network] “Only if the law students don’t want to become lawyers.” [@moiracathleen]
- No love lost: Mark Tushnet vs. Richard Epstein on Epstein’s new book Design for Liberty (PDFs)
- “People’s Electric Law School”: George Conk recalls Rutgers-Newark’s salad days as a committed-Left law school at a state university [Fordham Urban Law Journal via Steele] Thoughts from Elizabeth Warren ’76 [Rutgers via @LegInsurrection]
- “Assignment: defend the opponent’s viewpoint….” A dying art in the ideologized law school? [John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum]
- John Murtagh hasn’t forgotten what Columbia prof/NYU “scholar in residence” Kathy Boudin did [NY Post]
Two personalities often linked in this space, Prof. Richard Epstein and Popehat’s Ken White, were both on Reddit yesterday doing an interactive feature called “Ask Me Anything.” Epstein’s is here, and White’s is here.
More: Epstein in response to a question on originalism: “The style of interpretation used by the founders was much more sophisticated than the attention to text. Implied limitations on government, as through the police power, were part of the picture, as were implied protections of the government, as with sovereign immunity. My new book out later this year, The Classical Liberal Constitution, addresses these issues.”
In response to a question about his rule-utilitarian rationale for libertarian principles: “My view is that the deontological explanations tend to fail because they cannot account for such common practices at Intellectual Property, taxation or eminent domain. The theory has no way to deal with forced exchanges, which is what taxation and eminent domain are about.”
On libertarianism and pollution: “externality control is an essential party of the overall libertarian theory, and that means control of nuisances. … It is a case where it is easier to mischaracterize a system than to understand it. Nuisance law has many distinctive remedial features and at times requires collective enforcement of the basic norm against invasion. But there is nothing about the theory which says that the way to make people happy and prosperous is to choke them.”
Also: why the movie Body Heat got the Rule Against Perpetuities wrong, and why he’s not a fan of the German way to organize legal academia.
And Ken White answers questions about when to talk to the police; pro bono cases he’s proud of having helped on; what to say to someone who wound up going to law school in part because of his blog; how having his identity “outed” affected his law practice; and three kinds of crazy case that result in Popehat posts.
- Reforms billed as loser-pays advance in Texas, but they’re very scaled-down [WSJ, WLF and more, Legal Blog Watch, Wood/PoL, Cary Gray/Houston Chronicle, WSJ Law Blog, earlier]
- “Refutation of Toyota sudden acceleration hysteria doesn’t stop Toyota sudden acceleration litigation” [Ted at PoL]
- “Five Questions With Legal Scholar Richard Epstein” [Jamie Weinstein, Daily Caller; his views on Title IX]
- Employers glad for small favors: “Refusing to Hire Applicant Who Fails Drug Test Not an ADA Violation” [Robin Weideman, California Labor and Employment Law Blog; Ninth Circuit]
- “Study Shows Litigation Doesn’t Improve Nursing Home Safety” [Studdert et al, NEJM via Daniel Fisher]
- Risperdal? No thanks: “Mother battles Michigan over daughter’s medication” [AP]
- Personal-injury litigation plummets in Australia following enactment of state-level reforms [seven years ago on Overlawyered]
In fields from land-use planning to drug development to labor relations, says the NYU law professor, “[e]xcessive regulations cause private firms to displace creative officers and entrepreneurial executives with the dull masters of compliance.” [Hoover Institution “Defining Ideas”]