- Coming this Thursday, June 11: Cato conference marks tenth anniversary of eminent domain/property rights case Kelo v. New London, with Ilya Somin, author of new book The Grasping Hand [register or watch online, David Lat interview and more on Somin’s book here, here (with link to full post series at end)]
- EPA spent tax money on social media campaign to generate public comments supporting its planned regs [Eric Lipton and Coral Davenport/New York Times (“The Obama administration is the first to give the E.P.A. a mandate to create broad public outreach campaigns, using the tactics of elections, in support of federal environmental regulations before they are final,” despite series of DoJ opinions deeming similar efforts unlawful), Nicole Kaeding/Cato, D.C. Examiner] Agency has used its Clean Water Act authority to grab power “over just about any creek, pond, prairie pothole or muddy farm field that EPA says has a ‘significant nexus’ to a navigable waterway.”[WSJ/Kitsap Alliance, also M. Reed Hopper/Todd Gaziano background; Karen Bennett and John Henson, Federalist Society “Engage” on federalism angle]
- Advances against Ebola, cancer, blindness: “Animal Testing and Its Gifts To Humans” [Frankie Trull, WSJ/Emory Yerkes Primate Center]
- “Tax Increment Financing Is The New Urban Renewal” [Scott Beyer]
- Cato files amicus brief supporting property owners who say restrictions on prairie dog habitat exceed Congress’s powers under Interstate Commerce Clause [Trevor Burrus and Roger Pilon, Cato]
- Former hunt saboteur and director of the League Against Cruel Sports: U.K.’s “ban on hunting with dogs has done nothing for animal welfare and should be repealed.” [Jim Barrington, Our Kingdom]
- Drought forced Australia to develop a sophisticated water market. When will California learn? [David Henderson]
Which won’t, of course, be the last step as prohibitionists work out the implications of what they call a “tobacco-free” America. But it does at least raise a slogan-atic question: Old enough to fight, old enough to vote, why not old enough to drink and smoke too? [Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, who also reminds us that for all the nostalgic talk of Reagan and individual liberty, Reagan was the one who signed the bill (passed by a GOP Senate) arm-twisting states into putting the drinking age up to 21]
Authorities in southern California are doubtful about a private fraternal group’s claim of lawful right to wield police jurisdiction over 33 states and Mexico, even though one of its promoters happens to be a deputy director for community affairs in the office of real-life California Attorney General Kamala Harris. “A website claiming to represent their force cites connections to the Knights Templars that they say go back 3,000 years.” [Los Angeles Times] As I’ve often noted about the phenomenon I call “folk law,” just as fantasies about living in past ages never seem to involve being a serf oneself, but always being Cleopatra or a Viking raider, so fantasies about alternative orders of legal legitimacy tend toward giving you the right to arrest other people, rather than vice versa.
Mike Rappaport at Liberty and Law explores how special interest politics contributes to shielding police misconduct, including the role of Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights laws (earlier). More on LEOBR/LEOBoR laws in two articles quoting me: Daniel Menefee, Maryland Reporter/WMAL and other outlets, on prospects for reform of the Maryland law; Kris Ockershauser, Pasadena Weekly, citing coverage last year from Jim Miller of the McClatchy papers on California’s tight restrictions on public access to police disciplinary records, which grew in part out of the state’s enactment of the 1976 Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act.
Related: Ross Douthat (New York Times), “Our Police Union Problem“. And for everyone who, like me, has been noticing the parallels between bad cop entrenchment and teacher tenure, Charles Lane wants to call our attention to the pending Supreme Court case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, on dues [Washington Post, earlier and more on Friedrichs]
- Environmental law’s oft-praised public trust doctrine may have made California drought worse [Gary Libecap, Regulation magazine, via Peter Van Doren, Cato] Blame Nestlé for California water crisis? Well, people can try [Coyote]
- True to “so-called Seattle Process of inclusive and abundant dialogue,” tunnel to replace Alaskan Way viaduct has developed into expensive fiasco [Karen Weise, Bloomberg]
- Jefferson’s method of surveying “abstract and commodifiable” land, well suited to flat Midwest, curbed litigation and greatly advanced American prosperity [Steve Sailer, Chronicles]
- RFK Jr.’s Waterkeeper “tightly intertwined with more than one of the players in [Skelos] investigation” [Scott Waldman, Capital New York]
- High overhead: “what they are doing is pricing people out of the ceiling fan market” [Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, re: Rep. Marsha Blackburn criticism of energy regulations]
- Didn’t know San Francisco had such a high rate of vacant rentals: “America’s Rent-Controlled Cities Are Its Least Affordable” [Scott Beyer] Craziness of city’s housing policy long predates today’s war against techie newcomers [Coyote]
- “Chimpanzee almost gets habeas corpus — and in any event the Nonhuman Rights Project gets a court hearing” [Volokh, earlier on chimpanzees and rights]
- Mach Mining v. EEOC: unanimous SCOTUS, Kagan writing, agrees courts can hold EEOC to legal duty of pretrial conciliation, but prescribes narrower review than employer asked, with no commission duty of good-faith negotiation [Maatman et al; earlier on case here, here, and here; earlier from me on EEOC record of frequent losses in court]
- New “ambush election” rules: “Your Privacy Has Just Been Compromised, Thanks To Obama’s NLRB” [Labor Union Report]
- U.K. controversy parallels ours: “Banning unpaid internships will harm, not help, the disadvantaged” [Andrew Lilico, IEA]
- “U.S. signed agreement with Mexico to teach immigrants to unionize” [Sean Higgins, Washington Examiner]
- Another view on bias-law “Utah compromise” [Dana Beyer, Huffington Post; my critical view]
- Advice to employers: “OSHA is not your friend. It is not there to give you an atta-boy on workplace safety. It is there to find violations and levy fines to make money for OSHA.” [Jon Hyman]
- “CA: Failing to Pay Prevailing Wages May Be Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage” affording competitors a cause of action [Garret Murai via TortsProf]
A San Francisco jury has found no improper gender discrimination or retaliation by Kleiner Perkins and returned a defense verdict in Ellen Pao’s high-profile lawsuit [Mashable, Roger Parloff/Fortune (noting judge’s evidentiary rulings favorable to Pao)] Pao’s “lawyers also missed out on a payday that could have reached into the millions of dollars.” In particular, “had Pao won on any of her claims, under California law her legal team, led by longtime San Francisco employment lawyers Alan Exelrod and Therese Lawless, could have sought all its fees from Kleiner.” [Reuters] One-way fee-shifting rules like those in discrimination law, especially with the further “win on any claim, collect all legal fees including those spent pursuing losing claims” refinement, diverge sharply from the principles of two-way loser pays followed in other advanced nations, but have the result (and the intent) of strongly incentivizing speculative litigation. The only real way to go further would be to order defendants to pay both sides’ fees even when the defendants win outright, as Kleiner did; but as of yet even California law does not go that far.
P.S. Apparently even a lost case counts as valuable promotion for the California plaintiff’s employment bar [Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg, auto-plays]
In 2006 California votes approved the Sexual Predator Punishment and Control Act (a.k.a. Jessica’s Law) which, writes Jacob Sullum, “prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park, without regard to the nature of the crimes they committed or the threat they currently pose.” Persons are added to the registry over offenses — indecent exposure after being caught urinating at 2 a.m. outside a bar, for example — that may have nothing to do with children, force, or even sexual conduct as such. Under the sweeping terms of the California law, persons on the register were prohibited from occupying an estimated 97 percent of the apartment-zoned land in San Diego County. Sullum: “In 2007 Georgia’s residence restrictions, which mandated the relocation of sex offenders dying in nursing homes and forced repeated moves as formerly legal homes became illegal, were unanimously overturned by the state Supreme Court, which observed that ‘there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without being continually at risk of being ejected.’
Meanwhile, in Carson, Calif., the city council has declined to amend its strictest-in-the-state law, which “prevent[s] them from going within 300 feet of day-care centers, libraries, swimming pools, and any establishment with a children’s playground or school bus stop.” [Daily Breeze]
Glenn Reynolds’s new USA Today column is on prosecutorial misconduct and in particular relates a case out of Kern County, California, in which a prosecuting attorney has somehow managed to keep his job despite falsifying the transcript of a confession.