- Senate takes a bathroom break for five minutes, and Obama uses recess appointments to install unconfirmable nominees. Legal? [Roger Pilon via National Right To Work, Richard Epstein, Mark Calabria, Adler link roundup]. What the New York Times thought back then about recess appointments; what it thinks now.
- Pepsi defense: our bottling would have dissolved that dead mouse into something jelly-like [Althouse, MC Record via AW]
- Federal panel proposes slashing definitional thresholds so as to enable diagnosing of hundreds of thousands of new child lead poisoning cases [AP]
- “Appeals Court Rules Husband Can Be Charged Criminally For Reading Wife’s Email” [Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway]
- Its original goals accomplished, Voting Rights Act “preclearance” lurches on. SCOTUS should review [Cato amicus brief by Ilya Shapiro and Anna Mackin, further]
- “‘Karma’ Facebook post leads to criminal charges” [Fox Tampa via Balko]
- As senator, Santorum sought extensive new federal powers to regulate pet dealing, scaring many animal rescue groups [NCRAOA, PDF]
- Nice going, sex offender registries [Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press] And I’m quoted in a syndicated column by Lenore Skenazy (and thence by Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing) on the registries’ tendency to sweep in much wider circles of offender than many advocates originally had in mind. More: a tale of child-abuse registries [Skenazy];
- New York Times exposes scandal: businessman holds seat in Congress. Quick, replace him with another lawyer! [Ribstein]
- Race separation’s unlawful for school attendance. So why’s it OK for school voting districts? [Quin Hillyer, Mobile Press-Register]
- Speech and property rights in peril: “Fear of a Muslim America” [Cathy Young, Reason]
- Before blaming bank dereg for “Too Big To Fail,” read this [Mark Calabria, Cato at Liberty]
- After fatal one-car crash, drunk driver’s survivors sue popular Irish bar that served him [NJLRA; Trenton, N.J.]
- Scotland: Thief wants victim prosecuted for keeping gun in her house [Daily Record]
- Federal preemption of state law: compare and contrast illegal-immigration control with auto and drug design [Ted and Carter at PoL; upcoming (Jul. 21) Cato panel discussion in DC]
- Authorities in Scotland let Lockerbie bomber off on doctor’s note. How’d that work out? [Bainbridge]
- Pay for your rescue: “French tourists may be billed if high-risk trips go wrong” [Guardian]
- Must revoke honorific California-state-rock status of serpentine! It contains asbestos! [L.A. Times “Booster Shots” via Amy Alkon]
- “Zero tolerance for bullying” — nice slogan, but think before endorsing [Helene Guldberg, Daily Mail via Skenazy]
- “The New Black Panther Case: A Conservative Dissent” [Abigail Thernstrom, NRO; earlier]
- $113,800 in damages in pregnancy-bias suit against Lucasfilm, but demand for attorney’s fees could reach $1.2 million [SF Chronicle]
- Trial lawyers fear being cut out of BP TransOcean pie [WSJ Law Blog, Bainbridge, Calif. Civil Justice]
- Math curriculum wars in Seattle school district head for court [Seattle Times]
- Stuart Taylor, Jr. reviews new Abigail Thernstrom book on the Voting Rights Act [New Republic]
- Gail Wilensky: Dems could’ve gotten GOP votes for health care reform if they’d compromised on medical liability [The Hill]
- Erin Brockovich swoops down on Florida cancer cluster [Fumento/CEI, more, also on Florida case]
- Barry Goldwater was right: right-leaning bloggers favor lifting military gay ban by 62-37 margin in National Journal bloggers poll;
- Jim Copland vs. Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter [Point of Law, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, more]
- Why is there no iPod or iPhone equivalent for automobiles? Regulation might have something to do with it [Ryan Avent and more via Sullivan; McArdle and more (commenter: “Motorcycles would never, EVER be approved by NHTSA if they were invented today.”)]
- So reassuring: for now FTC says it’s “unlikely to actually investigate individual bloggers” [Lewis, NYLJ] More from late last year on commission’s semi-retreat on blogger freebies [Publisher’s Weekly, GalleySmith, GalleyCat, Reason “Hit and Run”, William S. Galkin] Icons to make disclosure easy [Louis Gray]
Civil rights suits are causing a stir in California local government: “The downsides weigh heavily in landmark lawsuits against Modesto and Stanislaus County, which have cost taxpayers $8.3 million and counting, and have not produced more minority office holders or new sidewalks or better storm drains.” [Modesto Bee]
By reader acclaim, this report from AP’s Michael Blood in Los Angeles:
Every lawsuit filed or even threatened under a California law aimed at electing more minorities to local offices – and all of the roughly $4.3 million from settlements so far – can be traced to just two people: a pair of attorneys who worked together writing the statute, The Associated Press has found.
The law makes it easier for lawyers to sue and win financial judgments in cases arising from claims that minorities effectively were shut out of local elections, while shielding attorneys from liability if the claims are tossed out.
The law was drafted mainly by Seattle law professor Joaquin Avila, with advice from lawyers including Robert Rubin, legal director for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. Avila, Rubin’s committee and lawyers working with them have collected or billed local governments about $4.3 million in three cases that settled, and could reap more from two pending lawsuits.
Dozens of other California jurisdictions have been threatened with suits over at-large (undistricted) elections, and officials in many communities say they heard no complaints from voters until lawyers came around.
“It’s a money grab,” charged John Stafford, superintendent of the Madera Unified School District that was slapped with a $1.2 million attorneys’ bill even though it never contested a lawsuit. … A judge is reviewing the bill submitted to Madera. To pay, Stafford said the district would have to slash money for books and lunches for its mostly Hispanic students, an odd consequence for a law intended to aid Hispanics.
If you’re wondering about Prof. Avila of Seattle U., who agrees to being the law’s principal drafter, his biographical page is here, and it’s replete with elite law school connections. Excerpts:
…Professor Avila has taught courses at the University of California/Berkeley, University of Texas, and UCLA schools of law. Professor Avila has received numerous awards in recognition of his work in the voting rights area. He received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1996 for his voting rights work. In the same year, he received the Vanguard Public Foundation’s Social Justice Sabbatical for his work in providing political access to minority communities. In 2001 he received the State Bar of California’s Loren Miller Legal Services Award for providing outstanding legal services to disadvantaged and underserved communities. …
- Is it against the law to report police movements on Twitter? [Valetk, Law.com; Volokh]
- “Attorney Charged With Posting Ad Seeking ‘Secretary With Benefits'” [Legal Profession Blog via Bruce Carton, Legal Blog Watch]
- Maker of Monster energy drinks drops its cease and desist demand against Vermonster beer [Burlington Free Press, earlier] More: Turkewitz.
- Putative class action filed against University of Illinois over clout-in-admissions scandal; a contest challenges readers to come up with best arguments for dismissal [Russell Jackson]
- Settlement in case where wrongful suspicion of shoplifting/counterfeiting led to $3.1 million verdict against Target [Greenville News via Turkewitz, earlier]
- Things you can’t bring on the school bus: softball bats, canned vegetables [Free Range Kids and again]
- “Veil-Wearing Muslim Woman Drops Battle With Judge” [OnPoint News]
- Great moments in voting rights law: no, you can’t have nonpartisan elections [Washington Times] (& Popehat)