- NLRB ruling: calling one’s boss “nasty m___f___” can be protected labor advocacy for which dismissal is unlawful [Pier Sixty LLC; Michael Schmidt, Cozen O’Connor, Jon Hyman]
- “Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation” [Tyler Cowen]
- Public sector union negotiations need sunlight [Trey Kovacs, Workplace Choice]
- “Is Non-Pregnancy a BFOQ [Bona Fide Occupational Qualification] for Exotic Dancers?” [Philip K. Miles III, Lawffice Space]
- “EEOC Issues Long-Awaited Wellness Program Rules” [Daniel Schwartz]
- Following New York Times investigation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo cracks down on employment at nail salons, and that will hurt immigrant workers [Alex Nowrasteh, New York Post; Elizabeth Nolan Brown/Reason and more, New York Times “Room for Debate”]
- President Obama keeps promoting myths about Lilly Ledbetter case [Hans Bader, CEI; Glenn Kessler, Washington Post; earlier]
“…is bad for the rule of law and for capitalism,” opines The Economist, saying regulation-through prosecution has become “an extortion racket,” from hundreds of millions in Google drug-ad settlement money spread among Rhode Island police departments, to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s muscling in to extract money from BNP Paribas in a settlement of legal offenses against U.S. foreign policy as distinct from New York consumers:
Who runs the world’s most lucrative shakedown operation? The Sicilian mafia? The People’s Liberation Army in China? The kleptocracy in the Kremlin? If you are a big business, all these are less grasping than America’s regulatory system. The formula is simple: find a large company that may (or may not) have done something wrong; threaten its managers with commercial ruin, preferably with criminal charges; force them to use their shareholders’ money to pay an enormous fine to drop the charges in a secret settlement (so nobody can check the details). Then repeat with another large company. …
Perhaps the most destructive part of it all is the secrecy and opacity. The public never finds out the full facts of the case, nor discovers which specific people—with souls and bodies—were to blame. Since the cases never go to court, precedent is not established, so it is unclear what exactly is illegal. That enables future shakedowns, but hurts the rule of law and imposes enormous costs.
- Andrew Cuomo threatened county sheriffs with retaliation unless they stopped publicly criticizing his gun plan [Albany Times-Union; his brutally coercive style in an earlier gun controversy]
- Quick Obama signing predicted: “USA shows strong support for new global Arms Trade Treaty” [Amnesty International] Senate less enthusiastic about it [The Hill] A dissent: non-lefty Prof. Ku doesn’t think treaty poses big gun control danger [Opinio Juris]
- “A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made” [NBC Washington] Time was when you could get the counselors on your case if you *didn’t* bring a Swiss Army knife on a nature trip [Free-Range Kids] “High School Student Expelled for Unloaded Gun Forgotten In Trunk” [same]
- “Studios fret that New York’s gun laws could hamper film production” [NYTimes]
- “Why maximal enforcement of federal gun laws is not always a good idea” [Kopel] “The Worst Gun Control Idea Has Bipartisan Support” (new mandatory minimums for firearm possession; Daniel Denvir, The New Republic)
- D.C. council holds hearing on proposal for mandatory liability insurance for gun ownership; Mayor Vincent Gray doesn’t like idea [WaPo, Eric Newcomer/Examiner, Insurance Journal, CBS Washington; earlier here, etc.]
- “Yes, They Are Coming For People’s Guns in California” [Brian Doherty]
- Gov. Christie vetoes bill enabling workers and job applicants to sue employers who asked about Facebook use [NJLRA, Star-Ledger, more]
- “Shockingly a British pub might want to hire British employees,” NYC Human Rights Commission sees things differently [Amy Alkon]
- Anticlimax: despite fears, NLRB won’t ban at-will disclaimers in employee handbooks [Jon Hyman]
- “Equally injurious to the children of the laboring classes is their utilization by their parents in theatrical and operatic shows” [Kyle Graham]
- Senate confirms plaintiffs’ class action attorney as newest appointee to EEOC [Stoel Rives]
- Public accounting: “Two advances for pension transparency” [Josh Barro]
- At least there’s one category of young worker for whom job prospects remain bright, namely kids of Andrew Cuomo’s friends [David Boaz]
Enough that 33 states have so-called enacted At Rest laws, requiring that bottles spend time in an in-state warehouse before being sold to consumers. Although the laws limit competition, drive up prices to consumers, and make it harder to special-order less common labels, New York may join the list following generous donations to politicians from an in-state wholesaler. [New York Post] FTC attorney David Spiegel analyzed anti-competitive liquor laws in this 1985 article (PDF) in Cato’s Regulation magazine.
And: I’ve posted an expanded version at the Cato blog. (& Michelle Minton, CEI “Open Market,” who cites an informative column by Tom Wark, WineInterview.com, to the effect that the New York bill may be dead for now.) (Edited for accuracy 4/9: licensed New York wholesalers already own warehouses in both New York and New Jersey, and the bill would have protected the former from competition from the latter)
- Defeat of proposed assault-weapons ban is setback for demagogy [Taranto] “If You Don’t Support an ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban, You Hate Children and Want Them to Die” [Jacob Sullum on New York Daily News columnist Mike Lupica]
- New York snitchline offers $500 rewards for turning in neighbor in possession of unlicensed gun [USA Today] “Andrew Cuomo Realizes He Mandated Gun Magazines That Don’t Exist” [Sullum]
- “Colorado’s New Gun Controls Promise Dubious Public Safety Benefits and Lurking Legal Perils” [Sullum] Democratic sponsor “didn’t realize that her bill would outlaw practically every magazine currently for sale in the state” [Daily Caller] In empty gesture, inevitably to be pre-empted by PLCAA, some Colorado Dems sought to legislate liability for “assault weapon” owners, sellers and makers for crime [Denver Post, Daily Caller]
- Maryland state senator J.B. Jennings introduces bill restraining school discipline of students who simulate “guns” by way of pointing fingers, nibbling breakfast pastries into shapes, etc. [Easton Star-Democrat, Joanne Jacobs, earlier]
- “Survey: Federally licensed firearms retailers overwhelmingly oppose ‘Universal Background Checks'” [Daily Caller]
- “Science and gun violence: why is the research so weak?” [Maggie Koerth-Baker, BoingBoing]
- Hope springs eternal on legal mandates for personalized guns, though even the Violence Policy Center doesn’t think much of the idea [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Cuomo appointee Jenny Rivera, lawprof on “social justice” beat, likely to pull NY’s highest court leftward [Reuters; Kerr, with additional comments-section background on chief judge Jonathan Lippman] Notable plaintiff’s litigator Brad Seligman (Wal-Mart v. Dukes, etc.) elevated to bench by Gov. Jerry Brown [San Leandro Patch]
- With Jeffrey Toobin assuring us that voter fraud is “essentially nonexistent,” tales like this from Cincinnati must not be real [John Fund, NRO]
- Time for Republicans to get serious about an urban-policy pitch [Ed Glaeser, City Journal] “As the GOP looks for issues it can win on, how about lowering the drinking age?” [Instapundit]
- Boldly smiting straw man, NYT says young people see government as possible “constructive force” [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes]
- Politics by other means: “From Statehouse to courtroom: Many Illinois issues being decided by judges” [Kurt Erickson, Bloomington Pantagraph]
- Florida attorney John Morgan, of personal injury fame, became an inauguration bigwig the old-fashioned way [Orlando Sentinel, earlier here, here, here, here, etc., etc.]
- Granholm at front of “not so bad when our guy Obama does it” parade [Damon Root]
In Manhattan federal district court this morning, Chevron filed the declaration of a former Ecuadorian judge, Alberto Guerra, who describes how he and a second former judge, Nicolás Zambrano, allegedly allowed the plaintiffs lawyers to ghostwrite their entire 188-page, $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron [in the Lago Agrio environmental litigation] in exchange for a promise of $500,000 from the anticipated recovery.
The bribery charge is completely new, and the ghostwriting charge is more sweeping and better substantiated than before.
Since some readers may be having a hard time keeping all the case’s scandals straight, here’s a précis. Chevron has now presented evidence of two distinct, large-scale, ghostwriting frauds which, among other problems, it maintains, taint the Ecuadorian judgment.
Complicating Chevron’s claims of vindication — and opening an avenue for the plaintiff’s camp to argue against giving any credence to the new allegations — the oil company acknowledges that it has made and intends to go on making payments of “living expenses” to the former Ecuadorian judge, now resident with his family in the United States. Read the whole thing here.
More from Kevin Williamson at National Review Online:
Curious fact: As a senator, Barack Obama did see fit to intervene in the Chevron case — on the side of the Ecuadoran government. After meeting with an old basketball buddy — the abovementioned Mr. Donziger, who stands to make billions of dollars as the plaintiffs’ attorney in the case — Barack Obama wrote a letter to the U.S. trade representative arguing that Ecuador’s actions should not be held against the regime when negotiating trade privileges. Donziger, with the help of a $10,000-a-month lobbyist, also got Andrew Cuomo to threaten to intervene in the case, even though the jurisdiction of the Empire State stops well north of Ecuador.
Yet more: Daniel Fisher, Forbes.
- After being slapped down by courts, EEOC concentrates on filing fewer but bigger cases [Sue Reisinger, Corporate Counsel] EEOC scores in Cintas, UPS cases [Legal Times]
- SCOTUS grants certiorari in retaliation mixed motives case [University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, SCOTUSBlog via Marcia McCormick, Workplace Prof]
- False Claims Act could be potent weapon for discrimination plaintiffs [Texas Law Review student note by Ralph Mayrell, PDF via Bagenstos]
- Religious liberty compatible with gay rights so long as ambitions of anti-discrimination law aren’t allowed to run wild [Eugene Volokh as part of UCLA conference on Roe’s 40th and Lawrence’s 10th anniversary] Case of Ocean Grove, N.J. pavilion is still regularly cited as infringement on church autonomy, but it’s not that simple, since it hinges on untypical “public use” covenant of property in question [Box Turtle Bulletin]
- For a more genuine menace to religious liberty, however, watch out for the notion of taking the Bob Jones University precedent — in which courts upheld the stripping of an educational institution’s tax exemption due to its backward racial views — and extending it into a weapon for denying tax exemption to the much broader class of institutions said to contravene “fundamental public policy” [Caroline Maia Corbin, Concurring Opinions]
- More on the deaf lifeguard case [Jon Hyman, earlier]
- New York Gov. Cuomo seeks one-way fee awards in state bias cases [Reuters]
A Cato Forum held January 9 and featuring Craig Whitney, author, Living with Guns, and a former New York Times reporter and editor; Alan Gura and Alan Morrison, who argued opposite sides of the Heller case; and as moderator, Cato senior fellow Ilya Shapiro.
Meanwhile, getting the jump on President Obama’s proposals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the legislature of New York have rushed to passage a hasty new gun control package [Roger Pilon, Jacob Sullum, Bob McManus/NY Post, more from Sullum on “false urgency”]