L.A. v. Patel: law must allow hotels to contest police access to registries

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In Los Angeles v. Patel, decided this morning, the Supreme Court held 5-4 with Justice Kennedy joining the four liberals that a Los Angeles law requiring hotels to give police free access to guest registries was facially in violation of the Fourth Amendment because it did not provide a way for hotels to challenge a given disclosure. Justice Sotomayor wrote the majority opinion. Cato had filed an amicus brief on behalf of the position that prevailed. Earlier here. Pictured postcard via present-day Vibe Hotel. More: Josh Gerstein, Politico; Jim Harper, Cato.

More from Conor Friedersdorf: Justice Scalia in dissent focused on the historically closely regulated nature of innkeepers, but would he feel as comfortable if technological advance turned the hotel registries into an instantly accessible government database of where all travelers are staying, a development lawyers for Los Angeles appeared to view as perfectly Constitutional?

Wage and hour roundup

“A New Look at the U.S. Foreclosure Crisis”

Hmmm, this doesn’t match the received account [Fernando Ferreira, Joseph Gyourko, “A New Look at the U.S. Foreclosure Crisis: Panel Data Evidence of Prime and Subprime Borrowers from 1997 to 2012″, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Working Paper No. 21261, just out]:

Utilizing new panel micro data on the ownership sequences of all types of borrowers from 1997-2012 leads to a reinterpretation of the U.S. foreclosure crisis as more of a prime, rather than a subprime, borrower issue. Moreover, traditional mortgage default factors associated with the economic cycle, such as negative equity, completely account for the foreclosure propensity of prime borrowers relative to all-cash owners, and for three-quarters of the analogous subprime gap. Housing traits, race, initial income, and speculators did not play a meaningful role, and initial leverage only accounts for a small variation in outcomes of prime and subprime borrowers.

Liability roundup

  • Analyzing the Norton Rose survey numbers: US business faced the most litigation, followed by UK, Canada had least [Above the Law, earlier]
  • Daimler doomsday? “Under the proposed law, any claim against a foreign company that registers with the New York secretary of state could be filed in New York courts, regardless of where the alleged wrongdoing took place or who was harmed.” [W$J, Alison Frankel last year, defense of bill]
  • BP Gulf spill: “Seafood companies owned by man previously convicted of fraud accused of perpetrating $3 million Deepwater Horizon fraud” [Louisiana Record]
  • “Facing Sanctions, Law Firm Tries To Block Interviews With Thalidomide Clients” [Daniel Fisher]
  • Litigation finance: speculator’s handling of Beirut car bombing payout raises eyebrows [W$J via Biz Insider]
  • “American Energy Companies Latest Victims of TCPA Lawsuit Abuse” [Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform] “FCC Has A New Robocall Ruling, And It Doesn’t Look Pretty for Business” [Henry Pietrkowski]
  • Bad US idea reaches Canada well after peaking here: “Tobacco companies ordered to pay $15B in damages” [CBC]

NYC bans criminal record questions before job offer

The so-called ban-the-box movement, which aims to curtail what it sees as improper discrimination against job applicants with criminal records, claims one of its biggest victories yet at the expense of private employers, with strong support from New York City’s left-leaning City Council. [Ford Harrison]

More: NYU lawprof James Jacobs, author of The Eternal Criminal Record, in a Cato podcast with Cato’s Tim Lynch (more) and guestblogging at Volokh Conspiracy in February first, second, third, fourth, fifth posts.

Obama’s regulatory push

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[Image: Heritage Foundation]

James Gattuso and Diane Katz at Heritage tote up some of the numbers on the Obama administration’s wave of regulation:

In its first six years, the Obama Administration imposed 184 major regulations on the private sector. That figure is more than twice the number imposed by the Bush Administration in its first six years….

Overall, the cost of new mandates and restrictions imposed by the Obama Administration now totals $78.9 billion annually. This is more than double the $30.7 billion in annual costs imposed at the same point in the George W. Bush Administration.

Much, much more is ahead, especially in areas like labor and employment, where the administration is pursuing a frankly unilateral course of legal changes that would never meet with approval if submitted as legislation to the present Congress.