Author Archive

Medical roundup

  • Study of Type I, Type II error finds FDA much too conservative in drug approval [Vahid Montazerhodjat and Andrew Lo via Tabarrok]
  • Behind push to license/regulate personal trainers in Washington, DC and elsewhere: ACA opened spigot of publicly channeled wellness money [Aaron Davis/Washington Post via Tyler Cowen, Peter Suderman]
  • “Medical lending”: financiers “invest in operations to remove pelvic implants, [reap] payouts when cases settle” [Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye, Reuters]
  • War on Some Drugs again collides with cancer therapy: “Psilocybin, it appears, targets this existential and spiritual distress.” [Ann Althouse]
  • Citing First Amendment, federal court enjoins FDA from prohibiting truthful speech by drugmakers about off-label uses [WSJ, Alex Tabarrok (in recent years, federal government “has extracted billions of dollars in settlements from pharmaceutical firms for engaging in what appears to be constitutionally protected speech”), Beck and Sullivan, Drug & Device Law on Amarin v. FDA]
  • SEIU 1199: “The union that rules New York” [Daniel DiSalvo/Stephen Eide, Daily Beast and City Journal]
  • Controversial therapist who is also anti-vaccine expert witness loses court challenge to Maryland medical license revocation [Beck, Drug and Device Law]

“Abolish cash? You’d be losing a crucial part of free society”

Matthew Lynn at the Telegraph notes

a growing movement among academics and now governments to gradually ban the use of cash completely. It is inefficient, oils the underground economy, and makes it harder for central banks to manage the economy, or so runs the argument.

But while a “cashless economy would be far easier to both tax and control” for the authorities, it would afford to the governed both less convenience and less freedom:

A simpler and more efficient “payment technology” has never been invented. No matter how smart our mobiles get, or how much data can be loaded on to a debit card, a banknote is an incredibly efficient way to handle small transactions. It is costless, immediate, flexible, no one ever needs a password, it can’t be hacked, and the system doesn’t ever crash.

More importantly, cash is about freedom. There are surely limits to the control over society we wish to hand over to governments and central banks? You don’t need to be a fully paid-up libertarian to question whether, in a world where we already worry about the amount of data that Facebook and Google can gather about us, we really want the banks and the state to know every single detail of what we are spending our money on and where. It is easy to surrender that freedom – but it will be a lot harder to get back.

September 2 roundup

  • “Lawyer Threatens Yelp Reviewer With Lawsuit, Is Wrong” [Popehat, related Ken White on cease and desist orders]
  • “Winghouse restaurants only serve chicken wing parts, not the full drummettes, flappers and wingtips combination that traditionally defines a chicken wing, a class action lawsuit claims.” [Courthouse News, links to paywalled document]
  • Claim: what really ails law schools is lack of aggressive PR push. Readers push back in comments [Caron/TaxProf, Joe Patrice]
  • I was hoping Sen. Rand Paul would take a harder line against wildcat public employee strikes [Dave Weigel on Kentucky clerk case]
  • California’s Central Valley hit by ADA mass filings: “Griffiths said the Moore Law Firm has filed [accessibility] complaints against about 200 businesses in Fresno.” [Hanford Sentinel]
  • If the “system is rigged,” it’s not in the way Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders seem to think [Cass Sunstein, Bloomberg View]
  • Up jumps the swagman, files a claim in copyright: origins and ownership chain of “Waltzing Matilda” are murky [Sydney Morning Herald via @ContentLawyer]

Banking and finance roundup

  • Marcia Narine on D.C. Circuit’s recent ruling striking down part of Dodd-Frank conflict mineral disclosure rule [Business Law Prof]
  • More on suit challenging constitutionality of FATCA, the law complicating many expatriates’ lives [Paul Mirengoff, PowerLine]
  • “Jury Will Put A Price On Terrorism — And Stick A Bank With The Bill” [Daniel Fisher, Reuters on Arab Bank settlement]
  • Operation Choke Point: “How a program meant to stamp out fraud has put a stranglehold on legitimate industries” [Reason TV video, AmmoLand on markup of Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s anti-Choke-Point Financial Institution Customer Protection Act]
  • Federal Reserve’s denial of core banking services to Colorado cannabis businesses: consistent with its authorizing statutes? [George Selgin/Cato, related from me on RICO suit against bankers, bonders, and others interacting with the industry]
  • “A financial system based not on … charging interest for lending … but on traditional social values”: Russia’s Orthodox Church backs interest-avoiding finance system akin to Islamic sharia finance [Bloomberg, Moscow Times]
  • Two popular views in tension with each other: “Wall Street = short term thinking” and “Wall Street spins meager current earnings into bubbles” [Kevin Erdmann via Tyler Cowen]

The liability limit that created the modern online economy

A tribute to Section 230: “No other sentence in the U.S. Code, I would assert, has been responsible for the creation of more value than that one; if you have other candidates for that honor you think more worthy, please do share them.” — David Post on the fateful, intermediary-immunizing “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This bar to liability, Post writes, helped make possible “virtually every successful online venture that emerged after 1996 — including all the usual suspects, viz. Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, Craigslist, YouTube, Instagram, eBay, Amazon.”

Supreme Court and constitutional law roundup

  • New York Times suggests Justice Clarence Thomas’s opinions borrow too much language from briefs and lower courts. Orin Kerr on why that’s unfair;
  • Prosecutors have too much leeway to request freeze on defendant’s assets pending trial [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
  • Certiorari petition arising from Newman/Chiasson prosecution: “Obama Administration Gambles On Supreme Court Review Of Insider-Trading Case” [Daniel Fisher]
  • “Another Chance To Clean Up ‘Trial by Formula’ Class Actions” [Andrew Grossman/Cato, SCOTUSBlog on Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo]
  • “Bench Memos” to the barricades: National Review builds case for “resistance” to Supreme Court decisions” [my two cents on rhetoric likening Obergefell to Dred Scott]
  • Media firms including Time, Meredith, Advance, NPR jump into Spokeo case before high court, warn of Fair Credit Reporting Act litigation “quagmire” [Media Post]
  • After a tainted-food episode, managers convicted without a showing of mens rea? Egg case deserves a closer look [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]

Annals of bonkers scholarship: “Trahison des Professeurs”

I’ve seen a hundred wacky and extreme papers out of legal academia, and wrote about more than one in Schools for Misrule, but this one, published by the National Security Law Journal at George Mason (whose editor-in-chief has already repudiated it) stands out. You can read the whole story at The Guardian, including links to some of the controversies that have followed author William Bradford, but it might make more sense to hand the gavel over to distinguished legal scholar and Prof. Jeremy Rabkin in his four-page rebuttal:

When an article proposes to arrest law professors and bomb law schools and nearby TV studios, it’s not engaging in “controversy,” but slipping into an alternate universe. It’s not “discomforting.” It is bonkers. The journal could not reasonably have expected readers to “respond” – unless to ask, “Are you out of your minds?”

Monday update: Bradford resigns.