Posts Tagged ‘WO writings’

Back at SCOTUS: limits to state court jurisdiction

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument Tuesday (today) on Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court and BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, enabling it to revisit its line of cases (especially Daimler AG v. Bauman, 2014) setting limits to state court jurisdiction. The recommendation in my new Cato piece: “for a united Court to say unambiguously, about its Daimler holding: we said it, and we meant it.”

More resources on the cases: SCOTUSBlog argument previews on Bristol-Myers and BNSF; Washington Legal Foundation on Bristol and BNSF; coverage of the Plavix mass litigation, of which the Bristol-Myers case is an outgrowth, in American Pharmacy News and by Sidley Austin associate Julia Zousmer in the Illinois Law Review. Earlier on Daimler here, here, etc. A case this term that presents entirely different legal issues, but also relates to forum-shopping, is the patent venue case T.C. Heartland v. Kraft Foods.

When Truman seized the steel mills

65 years ago this week President Harry Truman by executive order seized control of the U.S. steel industry, then facing a labor impasse. The Supreme Court didn’t let him get away with it, despite his lawyers’ claims that the emergency arising from the Korean War, then in progress, gave him inherent power to act in the national interest. The case of Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer was to set an outer bound on Presidential power, which continues to be felt in cases to this day. I’ve got a write-up at Cato at Liberty.

No-platforming Heather Mac Donald, and the emerging no-go campus

Last week a chanting mob at Claremont McKenna College in California successfully prevented a scheduled speech by prominent conservative author Heather Mac Donald, long a colleague of mine in my days at the Manhattan Institute. I’ve got a new piece at Minding the Campus discussing some of the impediments American universities face in effectively protecting visiting speakers, including one big problem with the threat, which is that much of it is coming from inside the building.

More: Heather Mac Donald’s own account; Andrew Sullivan last month; Steve Bainbridge; John McGinnis.

New: “How to stop politicians from gerrymandering”

I’ve got a new piece at the Institute for Humane Studies’ Learn Liberty explaining the basics of how politicians rig district lines to reward friends and punish foes, the entrenchment of an established political class that results, and how it might be combated. Snippet:

In a classic single-party gerrymander, the party in power packs opposition voters densely into as few districts as possible, thus enabling its own voters to lead by a comfortable margin in a maximum of districts. When a legislature is under split party control, the theme is often bipartisan connivance: you protect your incumbents and we’ll protect ours. Third-party and independent voters, as is so common in our system, have no one looking out for their interests….

Geographic information systems (GIS) methods now allow members of the public using inexpensive software to analyze the full data set behind a map. In several states, that has meant members of the public could offer maps of their own or make well-informed critiques of legislators’ proposed maps. In one triumph for citizen data use, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court invalidated a map drawn by lawmakers as clearly inferior to a map that had been submitted independently by an Allentown piano teacher.

Separately, I generally agree with what Aaron Blake writes in a new Washington Post piece: with so many other solid reasons to end gerrymandering, there’s no need to over-sell two arguments frequently invoked against it, the polarization thesis and the “GOP-fixed House” thesis.

On the much-noted trend in national politics toward ideological polarization, it seems clear that gerrymandering is but one contributing factor among many. The U.S. Senate, for which districting is not an issue, has followed a path not too far from that of the House, with virtually all Senate Democrats now to the left of virtually all Senate Republicans and stepped-up party-line cohesion on voting. And states with relatively fair districting maps have experienced polarization with the rest. So, yes, reform will probably make a difference at the margins for those who would like there to be more swing or contestable seats, but don’t expect miracles.

And while gerrymandering today on net benefits Republicans (which has not always been the case), it is probable for reasons Blake explains that fair/neutral districting would still have produced a GOP-run House in 2016. An important reason is that Democratic voters are so concentrated in cities.

For some of the many other reasons the cause is worth pursuing no matter which party (if any) you identify with, check out my IHS piece or, for somewhat more detail, my chapter on the subject in the new Eighth Edition of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers. I’ve previously written several pieces about my experience dealing with the problem in my own state of Maryland. [cross-posted from Cato at Liberty]

At Cato: laws making ridesharing drivers wait, and the N.C. bathroom compromise

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.

Too good to check dept.: “Outrage on Wheels”

The new White House budget “would kill a program that feeds 2.4 million senior citizens,” claimed Time. Nope. It “eliminates funds for Meals on Wheels,” declared The Hill. Not so. I’ve got a new piece up at National Review on Thursday’s press freakout about supposed plans to zero out the Meals on Wheels program. On the question of how to interpret what OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said at a press conference when reporters asked about the program, my take comes out similar to those of Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post and Kevin Drum at Mother Jones (press endeavored to make budget director sound callous by “smushing together three quotes delivered at three different points.”) More: Gregory Korte, USA Today.

Cato Handbook chapters on labor and employment, minimum wage law

My chapter on labor and employment law in the new 8th Edition Cato Handbook for Policymakers has caused a riffle or two of reaction, what with its proposals to repeal the NLRA, ADEA, FMLA, and a bunch of other laws (and that’s just the start, really). Robin Shea and Jon Hyman both respond with posts on the theme of what would happen if they ran the world, could push a button, or were monarch for a day. Their responses are good-tempered in both agreement and disagreement, which cannot be said for all the corresponding fun had once the list started circulating over on Twitter.

If my chapter doesn’t manage to flood the outrage zone completely for committed supporters of current law, the handbook’s chapter on the minimum wage can help provide further stimuli. It’s written by Thomas Firey.

Liability roundup

Emoluments Clause lawsuits likely to fizzle

My first piece for Quartz: why lawsuits over President Trump’s foreign business interests are likely to be more a nuisance than a knockout blow, even if his opponents identify potential violations of the Emoluments Clause. Excerpt:

Two aspects of the Clause in particular must be causing Trump’s lawyers angst: It’s worded as a no-fault provision, and it sets no minimum threshold. That means a present or emolument could tip the scales, even if it’s meant innocently on both sides and is very small. And the realities of an international hospitality and real estate business make for lots of possible triggers both large and small.

Even if Trump fails to comply with the Clause, however, the courts aren’t obliged to provide a broad remedy. A case that manages to get over the standing hurdle might result in a narrow ruling ordering the president’s business, say, to refund a single disputed payment. Before resorting to wider injunction powers, as groups like CREW urge, judges would need to consider what’s known as the political question doctrine under which the courts have chosen to say out of some issues they see as better suited for other branches of government—or for voters—to address.

Earlier here and here.