Posts Tagged ‘WO writings’

Book review: “J. Anthony Froude”

Not really any legal content here, but I’ve got a review in today’s Sunday New York Times Book Review of a new biography of a distinguished Victorian figure. First paragraph:

Among the leading British historians, few have suffered as steep a decline in public estimation as J. Anthony Froude. With Gibbon and Hume, Froude played a key role in the advance of religious doubt; with Macaulay, he shaped Britain’s view of itself as a nation whose greatness was intimately linked to the liberty of its political institutions. Even those who found him partisan and factually careless conceded his literary merit; in Lytton Strachey’s words, he gave to historical events the “thrilling lineaments of a great story, upon whose issue the most blasé reader is forced to hang entranced.” One of his latter-day admirers, the historian A. L. Rowse, has called him “the last great Victorian awaiting revival.”

The whole thing, again, is here.

P.S.: Herbert Paul’s 1905 biography of Froude, mentioned in the review, is available at A Wikipedia entry on Froude is here.

Hiatus and rehosting update

Readers were not shy about recommending hosting services (thanks for all your emails!) and I’ve now decided to go with Hosting Matters, which has many articulate fans and seems to make a specialty of Movable Type-based blogs. It’ll probably be a few days more before the site is back up and running.

In the mean time, you can follow both my and Ted’s postings at the Manhattan Institute site Point of Law, which has been extra-busy lately (see, for example, its reprint of Ramesh Ponnuru’s fascinating National Review article on trial lawyers and social conservatives). I’ve been juggling a number of other deadlines and published a “Rule of Law” op-ed column on Hurricane Katrina and flood insurance last Saturday in the Wall Street Journal (sub) (more on that). (Bumped 9/30).

“The Next Sandra Day”

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal (also, conveniently, featured on the Journal’s mostly-free companion site, pointing out that retiring Justice O’Connor was remarkably outspoken in criticizing the evils of excessive litigation, and suggesting that President Bush may wish to pick a successor who shares these concerns. I also discuss some very revealing comments made by the Senate minority leader last week: as sums up the implications, “Harry Reid may be willing to give up Roe v. Wade to get a trial lawyer on the Supreme Court”. (Walter Olson, “The Next Sandra Day”,, Jul. 7; same article at subscriber-only WSJ site).

Read On…

In the New York Times

I’ve got an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times (in the zoned Long Island weekly edition) on the Shinnecock Indians’ recent lawsuit asserting land claims over much of Southampton, N.Y. Readers of this space will not be surprised to learn that I take a dim view of the claim. (Walter Olson, “This Land Is My Land”, Jun. 26). For more, see my City Journal treatment of the issue, and, on this blog, most recently Jun. 13 and Jun. 19 (& welcome Michelle Malkin readers).

More: it’s reported there’s dissension among tribe members about the action (William L. Hamilton, “Casino Interest in Land Bid Divides Tribe in Hamptons”, New York Times, Jun. 26). And according to the Washington Post, while the lawsuit looms as a serious hassle for some in Southampton, the wealthiest of the wealthy are paying little heed: “The high-net-worth crowd doesn’t really worry about this sort of thing. That’s for the locals,” says Hampton Sheet publisher Joan Jedell. Insecurity of property as a hazard? That’s only for the little people. (Michael Powell, “Old Money and Old Grievances Clash in Haven of the Very Rich”, Jun. 25).

(Bumped 6/27, a.m.)

NY Times op-ed: city gun-liability law

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s New York Times criticizing the new Gotham law, signed by Mayor Bloomberg last month, which presumes to impose liability for street crime on gun manufacturers and dealers unless they adopt a strict “code of conduct” for their sales nationwide, not just in New York City. I note that it will add impetus to the drive in Congress for a law pre-empting abusive gun lawsuits. The new law “insults the right to democratic self-governance of the 273 million Americans who don’t live in New York City. …The mayor and City Council of New York seem to think they can make laws that bind the rest of the country. That’s an arrogant stance — and when the rest of the country is heard from, it’s apt to be a losing stance as well.” The piece is part of the Times’s new geographically zoned Sunday op-ed program and ran in city but not suburban editions of the paper. (Walter Olson, “The wrong target”, New York Times, Feb. 6). For the other side, here’s the press release and bill description from the measure’s sponsor, Councilman David Yassky, the city council’s press release (PDF), and the bill text. (bumped Sun. evening 2/6) Update Feb. 20: Yassky responds.

Clarence Thomas’s life and times

I’ve got a review in Sunday’s New York Post of Ken Foskett’s new biography “Judging Thomas”. (“Thomas’s Trials and Triumph”, Dec. 19). In his more than readable book Foskett concentrates on the remarkable life story of Clarence Thomas and makes next to no effort to evaluate his jurisprudence; but (contra Sen. Harry Reid) it’s not hard these days to find legal analysts who, while disagreeing with much of what Thomas stands for, acknowledge that he represents that viewpoint with much skill on the Court. For a sampling of such views, see David J. Garrow, “Saving Thomas”, The New Republic, Oct. 19, and, among bloggers, Gabe (“Unlearned Hand”) (Dec. 6) and Dispatches from the Culture Wars (Dec. 7). Also see Stephen B. Presser, “Touting Thomas”, Legal Affairs, Jan.-Feb. (more generally favorable view).

In today’s WSJ

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal (Walter Olson, “Stop the Shakedown”, Oct. 29) discussing ballot measures that voters will decide in six states next Tuesday on litigation reform. For more on California’s s. 17200 “unfair competition” law, discussed in the second half of the piece, follow this link; for more on malpractice law, see our medical liability pages (latest/ earlier).

RFK Jr.’s “Crimes Against Nature”

I’m in Sunday’s New York Post with a review of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s new volume on environmental policy, “Crimes Against Nature”. It’s fair to say I didn’t much care for the book; in fact, I found it staggeringly bad (“the book affords the fun of a pratfall on every page, most of them occasioned by Kennedy’s epic self-righteousness and astounding disregard for conventional accuracy”). (“Crimes of Ego”, Oct. 17). For more on RFK Jr., see Oct. 5, Apr. 19-21, 2002 and links from there (& welcome Instapundit, Volokh Conspiracy readers)(bumped Oct. 18).

The men behind Edwards

I’ve got an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal arguing that the scariest thing about John Edwards (see Feb. 19 and many other links on this site) is the “tightly organized fund-raising and electoral machine” he has constructed most of whose key backers “are drawn from the tiny handful of tort lawyers even more successful than he”. In particular, four of the most powerful men behind Edwards — Fred Baron, John O’Quinn, Tab Turner, and Paul Minor — personify in various ways some of the most objectionable features of today’s personal-injury litigation scene. (Walter Olson, “Edwards & Co.”, Jul. 12, paid subscribers only)(free version).

“Betting on the Pequots”

Yesterday’s New York Post published my favorable review of Brett Fromson’s book Hitting the Jackpot: The Inside Story of the Richest Indian Tribe in History about the machinations that resulted in the rise of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Connecticut and its fabulously successful casino, Foxwoods. The story is one replete with bald impostures facilitated by lawyers who, in a fine career arc, started out in the ever-so-idealistic legal services movement and gradually turned into well-compensated casino promoters, all on behalf of a crew of putative tribe members who “are about as authentically Indian as Camilla Parker Bowles.” (Walter Olson, “Betting on the Pequots”, May 16).