Author Archive

Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, and me

Thanks to Ivanka Trump’s convention speech, gender and pay is suddenly relevant on the Republican side of the presidential race, as well as the Democratic [Danielle Paquette, Washington Post “WonkBlog”] You have to wait for the last four paragraphs to get the me part. For those paywalled out of the WP:

Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the right-leaning Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, said he doesn’t dispute Ivanka’s thoughts on pay and motherhood — but cautions against tweaking laws to close the pay gap.

“All legislation attempting to prescribe the terms and conditions of employment has unintended side effects as employers adjust,” he wrote in an email, “and these are likely to be especially salient if the pay gap is largely or entirely the result of families’ own decisions.”

One such unintended side effect: After Chile required companies to provide child care to working mothers, women’s wages dropped.

Olson said [workplace reformers] might instead encourage fathers to take leave time and seek flexible hours, which could even the playing field for working moms, who still tend to shoulder the bulk of the burden. Also, clear the way for businesses to allow remote work. Managers could also build a work culture where telecommuting is acceptable, helping parents better juggle work and home.

I’ve used brackets above to clarify that in my view it’s not especially politicians’ role (as opposed to that of social thinkers interested in these issues) to come up with ideas for how employers might change HR policies. Earlier on the issue here.

U.K. high court rules against Scottish “Named Person” scheme

“Judges at the UK’s highest court have ruled against the Scottish government’s Named Person scheme….The system would appoint a named person – usually a teacher or health visitor – to ensure the wellbeing of every child. Judges say some proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.” They say that insecurity of data could endanger children’s privacy rights and that the bill goes beyond the legislative powers of the devolved Scottish parliament. The government of Scotland has indicated that it intends to implement the scheme in some form after addressing the court’s objections. [BBC; earlier; my Cato piece]

Seventh Circuit: ENDA not implied by current federal law

Rejecting the view of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit has ruled that Congress not having enacted a measure such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act banning sexual-orientation discrimination, plaintiffs cannot deduce the existence of such a ban from other elements of federal law. [Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed; Marcia McCormick, Workplace Law Prof] I saw this coming last year when the EEOC declared, on what did not seem strong legal grounds, that the previous federal court consensus that there is no implied ban had been effectively overridden by intervening case law.

Prosecutors and “Brady” access to police personnel evidence

Jonathan Abel, guest posting at Volokh Conspiracy, has a series on the numerous tensions affecting prosecutors’ Brady v. Maryland obligation to disclose impeachment evidence that may be available in police personnel files, that is to say, evidence unfavorable to the credibility of planned police testimony: intro, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth posts.

International free speech roundup

  • As government’s grip tightens in Turkey, Erdogan begins rounding up journalists [New York Times, Jonathan Turley on aftermath of coup attempt]
  • German court fines man $2,480 for comparing state politician’s IQ to that of “a piece of toast” [Deutsche Welle]
  • University of Cape Town disinvites free speech hero and Cato fellow Flemming Rose, of Danish cartoons fame, prompting letters of protest from Nadine Strossen, Floyd Abrams, Kenan Malik [John Samples]
  • “If it’s perceived by the victim, then it is” — adviser to London police on online insults as hate crime [Express] “Nottinghamshire police to count wolf-whistling in street as a hate crime” [Guardian, quoting three backers and no critics of idea]
  • Maybe our state AGs could offer tips on punishing wrongful advocacy: campaigners in UK want to prosecute public figures for fraud in promoting Leave side in Brexit referendum [Business Insider on “Brexit Justice” effort]
  • Meanwhile, here: prominent Harvard Law professor says “rule of law” and “First Amendment” are “almost entirely without content” [David Bernstein on views of Mark Tushnet]

“Viking Ship Sailing the Great Lakes Is Getting Conquered by U.S. Regulations”

“After making stops at Canadian ports, the Draken’s crew was told by Coast Guard officials last week that if [the meticulously restored Norwegian Viking craft] wanted to sail through the Great Lakes, it had to hire a certified pilot, paid at an hourly rate that would amount to about $400,000 by the trip’s end. If unable to pay, the vessel would be forced to turn back.” The Coast Guard mandates what must be paid to pilots on the Great Lakes and recently raised its target compensation “to about $326,000 a year…unlike in Canada, the American regulations offer no exemption based on tonnage or size.” [Mike McPhate, New York Times]

Non-Spanish-speaking teacher sues after being denied job teaching Spanish

A third-grade teacher “says the Miami-Dade County School Board discriminated against her by not hiring her for a job. One requirement of the position? Teaching an hour of Spanish per day….Her complaint says the school could have given her the job and then just had someone else teach the foreign language component for one hour per day.” [Miami New Times, Miami Herald]

July 27 roundup

  • It’s against the law to run a puppet show in a window, and other NYC laws that may have outlived their purpose [Dean Balsamini, New York Post]
  • L’Etat, c’est Maura Healey: Massachusetts Attorney General unilaterally rewrites state’s laws to ban more guns [Charles Cooke, National Review]
  • Appeal to Sen. Grassley: please don’t give up on Flake-Gardner-Lee venue proposal to curtail patent forum shopping [Electronic Frontier Foundation, Elliot Harmon]
  • Oil spill claims fraud trial: administrator Ken Feinberg raised eyebrows at news that Mikal Watts “was handling claims from 41,000 fishermen.” [Associated Press, earlier]
  • By 70-30 margin, voters in Arizona override court ruling that state constitution forbids reduction in not-yet-earned public-employee pension benefits [Sasha Volokh]
  • Google, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood appear to have settled their bitter conflict [ArsTechnica, earlier]

Gotta regulate ’em all, cont’d: more on the law of Pokémon Go

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has “fired off a letter along with two Democratic colleagues demanding Pokémon Go explain what it does about how much data its users use playing the game.” [Ed Krayewski, Reason] “The Tax Aspects Of Pokémon Go” [Adam Thimmesch via Caron/TaxProf]. “How Pokémon GO Players Could Run Into Real-Life Legal Problems” [Brian Wassom, Hollywood Reporter] The U.S. Border Patrol briefly detained two teenagers from Alberta, Canada, who inadvertently crossed over into Montana in search of the imaginary creatures [AP/CTV]. Earlier on the Pokémon Go craze here; way back when we covered controversies involving Pokemon trading cards (class action lawyers sue claiming the cards constitute “gambling”; language minister of Quebec threatens maker for allowing cards to be sold in the province without French-language packaging and instructions).