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Because you thought he was some kind of big privacy advocate or something? “Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed the data as part of an investigation into the website stemming from a 2010 law that makes it illegal to use such sites to rent out your own apartment.” He says he’s after the 15,000 or so customers who used the service to let guests stay on their premises for a fee. Next: Craigslist? [New York Daily News, Matt Welch/Reason]

Some politicians just want there to be random shortages [WSJ editorial]:

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has subpoenaed the Craigslist website for the identities of people who advertised gas for sale at high prices. Mr. Schneiderman is doing this in the name of a New York law that forbids charging an “unconscionably excessive price” during an “abnormal disruption in the market.”


In a move likely to be welcome to his Left base, the president is naming New York’s business-bashing attorney general to head up a probe into banks’ mortgage misconduct. Capital New York’s headline says it all: “Obama elevates Eric Schneiderman, Who Was Too Liberal for Andrew Cuomo.” Another view: Felix Salmon (& Roger Donway, Atlas Business Rights Center).

  • Anonymous tip as basis for search? Thomas, Scalia divide in 5-4 SCOTUS decision [Tim Lynch/Cato; Popehat and Scott Greenfield vs. Orin Kerr]
  • Undercover police target Uber, Lyft drivers to “send a message” [Alice Truong, Fast Company; related on New York AG Eric Schneiderman; yet more from NY state senator Liz Krueger (claims AirBnB could also lead to gambling and drugs)]
  • Judge Rakoff on plea deals: “hundreds… or even tens of thousands of innocent people who are in prison, right now” [Tim Lynch, Cato]
  • “Everybody’s trafficked by something,” claims one Phoenix police lieutenant [Al-Jazeera via Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason] “Lies, damned lies, and sex work statistics” [Maggie McNeill]
  • Small town police get feds’ surplus armored military vehicles. What could go wrong? [Radley Balko, with reader comments on challenges of supplies and maintenance]
  • Good: “Obama to consider more clemency requests from nonviolent drug offenders” [CBS, Tim Lynch, my take in December]
  • Arkansas: “Mom Arrested for Breastfeeding After Drinking Alcohol in a Restaurant” [Free-Range Kids]

Politics roundup

by Walter Olson on April 11, 2014

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  • “Live or travel within 100 miles of a US Border? America’s Internal Checkpoints” [Wes Kimbell, Reason]
  • EFF, ACLU sue Los Angeles seeking disclosure of how automatic license plate readers [ALPRs] are used to track motorists [The Newspaper]
  • Would cops run unauthorized background checks on someone appointed to a police oversight board? [Ed Krayewski/Reason, St. Louis County, Mo.]
  • “How the NSA bulk data seizure program is like gun registration” [Randy Barnett]
  • Text sent to Kiev protesters points up downside of cellphone location signaling: “Dear subscriber, you are registered as a participant in a mass disturbance.” [NY Times]
  • As New York AG Schneiderman pursues AirBnB, privacy is collateral damage [Ilya Shapiro and Gabriel Latner, Daily Caller]
  • Oops! California Obamacare exchange passed along visitors’ personal info to insurance agents without permission [L.A. Times]

November 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 11, 2013

  • Incoming Australian attorney general: we’ll repeal race-speech laws that were used to prosecute columnist Andrew Bolt [Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Herald-Sun, earlier]
  • Texas sues EEOC on its criminal background check policy [Employee Screen]
  • After Eric Turkewitz criticizes $85M announced demand in Red Bull suit, comments section turns lively [NYPIAB]
  • If only Gotham’s official tourism agency acted like a tourism agency [Coyote on NYC's official war against AirBnB; Ilya Shapiro, Cato; earlier here and here, etc.]
  • “Lawmaker wants Georgia bicyclists to buy license plates” [WSB]
  • Religious liberty implications of European moves to ban infant circumcision [Eugene Kontorovich]
  • Video on CPSC’s quest for personal liability against agency-mocking Craig Zucker of Buckyballs fame [Reason TV, earlier]

Jack Shafer has a few thoughts:

Schneiderman mustn’t neglect the product endorsement industry. Do those celebrity endorsers really love the product or service as much as they say they do? … Fake reviews on Yelp, properly considered, are Yelp’s problem, not the state of New York’s. Let the Yelp people clean up the sewer. And the attorney general? Aren’t there any genuine crimes in the state for him to investigate?


  • After bank burglarizes Ohio woman, law will give her curiously little satisfaction [Popehat]
  • North Las Vegas scheme to seize underwater mortgages through eminent domain raises constitutional opposition [Kevin Funnell]
  • “The SAC Insider Trading Indictment” [Bainbridge, WSJ MoneyBeat]
  • “He who sells what isn’t his’n/Must buy it back or go to prison.” Most naked short selling driven by fundamentals, study says [Daniel Fisher]
  • NY AG Schneiderman to Thomson Reuters: don’t you dare sell early access to the market-moving survey you pay for [Bainbridge]
  • “The Confidential Witness Problem in Securities Litigation” [Kevin LaCroix]
  • “The puzzling return of Glass-Steagall” [Tabarrok]
  • “FATCA: How to Lose Friends, Citizens and Influence” [Colleen Graffy, WSJ via Paul Caron/TaxProf, earlier]


  • Arkansas: “‘Corruption of Blood’ Amendment Withdrawn After House Supporter Is Reminded What Century It Is” [Above the Law]
  • George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case heads for trial [TalkLeft, Doug Mataconis, and Richard Hornsby via Megan McArdle on evidentiary standards, earlier]
  • Is New Hampshire citizens’ group harassing town parking meter enforcers, or monitoring their work? [Union Leader, ABA Journal, Reason]
  • New York politicos quarrel over Hank Greenberg suit, overbroad Martin Act is to blame [Bainbridge]
  • Enforcement grabs higher-ups in Ralph Lauren Argentine customs bribery case [FCPA Professor, earlier]
  • Who stole the tarts? “Mom has son arrested for stealing Pop-Tarts” [Lowering the Bar; Charlotte, N.C.] Tip from Georgia cops: avoid situations where you might have to cling to hood of moving car [same]
  • “Omaha officers told: Don’t interfere with citizens’ right to record police activity” [Omaha World-Herald via @radleybalko ("Good work, Omaha.")]

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January 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 29, 2013

  • In job bias dispute: “Federal Court Says Veganism Might Qualify As A Religion” [Religion Clause]
  • Perennially credulous L.A. Times drops broad hints that Toyota settlement vindicates sudden acceleration theories, others know better [LA Times, NLJ earlier]
  • “Cato Named America’s Most Effective Think Tank Per Dollar Spent” [Dan Mitchell, Nick Rosenkranz]
  • Disappointing: Transportation Sec. LaHood said to be “sticking around for a while” [Roads and Bridges, earlier] That was quick: only hours later, he says he’s leaving after all [WaPo]
  • It became necessary to destroy the sex workers in order to save them [Melissa Gira Grant/Reason]
  • Profile of lefter-than-thou NY attorney general Eric Schneiderman [NY Mag]
  • As rural pub tradition declines, Irish government rejects proposal to ease DUI laws [AP]

February 17 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 17, 2012


October 3 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 3, 2011


My new op-ed at the New York Post looks at the history of Spitzer-to-Cuomo-to-Eric Schneiderman prosecutorial overreach and asks: how exactly did the New York Attorney General come to have so much power with so little constraint? (& welcome Instapundit, Real Clear Markets, Timothy Carney/Examiner, CEI readers)

More: I and others have written about the act here and at Point of Law.

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Election results

by Walter Olson on November 3, 2010

Feel free to discuss in comments. Some results (our preview post from Monday is here):

* In Iowa, Rep. Bruce Braley, a former plaintiff’s lawyer and leading spokesman for trial bar interests on Capitol Hill, appears to have squeaked through, but former ATLA/AAJ president Roxanne Conlin came nowhere close in her Senate bid against incumbent Chuck Grassley.

* Demagogic attacks on Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bob Young failed, as Michigan voters retained him. Illinois Supreme Court justice Thomas Kilbride, greatly aided by cash from unions, Democrats and you-know-who, won’t pay a retention price for a lawless decision striking down legislated limits on med-mal suits.

* The New York attorney general race wasn’t that tight after all, with Democrat Eric Schneiderman winning by 11 points, nor was the Connecticut senate race, where perennial Overlawyered bete noire Richard Blumenthal won by 10. Despite suggestions that attorney general candidate Kamala Harris was too far left even for California, she was running slightly ahead in late returns.

* Rhode Island voters turned down a proposal to change the official name of their state, “”State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” to appease the misplaced sensitivities of some who imagine that the word “plantations” implies a connection to slavery.

* Oklahomans ill-advisedly voted to forbid their courts from considering international law, even in the relatively narrow and well-defined circumstances where it has been traditional for them to do so. More: Roger Alford, OJ.

* Big news from Ohio, where voters turned out of office Democratic attorney general Richard Cordray, lately lionized by the New York Times as the next big activist A.G. The “next Eliot Spitzer” Times curse lives on!

* Via B.L.T., the House Judiciary Committee is set for a truly monumental ideological remake assuming that Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) is replaced by Lamar Smith (R-Tex.). Some changes will be coming along at Senate Judiciary as well.

* Republicans scored surprise inroads in Madison County, Illinois, the pro-plaintiff jurisdiction near St. Louis that has long generated vastly more than its share of high-ticket litigation. In particular, they managed to beat influential state representative/trial lawyer Jay Hoffman of Collinsville, a one-time floor leader for Gov. Rod Blagojevich, per reports by Ann Knef at the Chamber-backed Madison County Record and the Edwardsville Intelligencer.

* Mandatory employer recognition of unions on a “card check” basis without so much as a secret ballot? No thanks, say voters in four states [Wood; Hirsch/Workplace Prof].


Suddenly it’s tight: a late surge has brought Staten Island district attorney and Republican Dan Donovan even in the polls with left-wing Manhattan state senator Eric Schneiderman in the race to succeed Andrew Cuomo. [NYLJ, NYDN]

Trial lawyers like to repeat statistics similar to this (Bizarro-Overlawyered just did so this week) as an argument for medical malpractice being a problem of the doctors, rather than the lawyers. The problem is, as I noted three years ago, that the statistic is fallacious.

Some small X% of doctors responsible for large Y% of payouts is always going to be true simply by random chance. It’s going to be true over any time period: the problem is that if you take that time period and divide by two, the X% in the first half of the time period are going to be almost entirely different than the X% in the second half of the time period. Even if you were to fire every single one of those doctors in the tail in the first time period, all you have is X% fewer doctors; the very next year, it’s going to be a different small A% of doctors responsible for large B% of payouts, and you’ve solved nothing. With very rare exceptions medical malpractice payouts have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the doctor, and everything to do with the risk profile of their practice.

It’s worth noting Eugene Volokh’s excellent explication of the issue:

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