Posts tagged as:

campaign regulation

“Liberals ought to show the chief justice that we too can acknowledge a principle even when we don’t agree with the result.” [LA Times] Given how execrated the Citizens United decision is on the left, should we expect it to cause a rift in the ACLU, which supports it? [Wasserman, Prawfs]

Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on May 25, 2012

  • Boilermaker union president resorts to litigation against satirical site [Levy; another case on demands for disclosure of anonymous commenters] More on ghastly NY bill to strip protection from anonymous online speech [David Kravets/Wired, Daily Caller, my take]
  • Defending people like Aaron Worthing and Patterico shouldn’t be a left-right matter [Popehat, Tapscott/Examiner, earlier] Maryland and indeed all states need stronger statutory protection against vexatious litigants [Ace of Spades] And as a longtime Charles Schwab customer I was at first distressed to find the Schwab Charitable Fund on this list, but since the fund is billed as “donor-advised” I take it some Schwab customer rather than the company itself got to choose the beneficiary;
  • “Indonesia Prosecution for Posting ‘God Doesn’t Exist’ on Facebook” [Volokh] Curious to see an argument for Euro-style hate speech laws appearing on the Liberty and Law site [David Conway]
  • “Cyberbullying and Bullying Used As Pretexts for Censorship” [Bader]
  • “EEOC: Wearing Confederate Flag T-Shirts May Be ‘Hostile Work Environment Harassment’” [Volokh, more, Bader]
  • Video on new freedom of assembly book [FedSoc]
  • Maybe Citizens United turned out so badly for the speech-suppressive side because a government lawyer was imprudently candid before the Court [Jacob Sullum, earlier on Toobin New Yorker piece]

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Must-read Mark Steyn: “Edwards now faces 30 years in jail, for the crime of getting a couple of pals to pay for his baby’s diapers. For purposes of comparison, Anders Breivik murdered 77 people and is looking at 21 years in jail, the maximum sentence permitted under Norwegian law.” Contra: Hans von Spakovsky argues that the prosecutors’ argument is not such a stretch. And Beldar predicts the issue on which the jury’s verdict may turn. Earlier here, here, etc.

Ed Whelan charges the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin with spinning the history of the First Amendment campaign regulation case [first, second, followup] Tom Goldstein at SCOTUSBlog, while sympathetic to Toobin’s overall project, also takes issue with him at numerous points. More: Adam White, Weekly Standard; Sam Bagenstos (what is supposed to have been so devious about Roberts’ handling of the case?); Howard Wasserman (why does Citizens United get singled out for demonization from among the several Court opinions pointing the same way?).

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April 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 16, 2012

  • Although I’m known as a foe of everything John Edwards stands for, I hope he beats this campaign finance rap [Atlantic Wire]
  • Michael Bloomberg launches demagogic new campaign against Stand Your Ground laws, calling to mind the recent critique of the NYC mayor’s paternalist dark side by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic;
  • Jerry Brown frees grandmother dubiously jailed in shaken-baby death [Slate, earlier]
  • As Scruggs (Dickey not Earl) still pursues vindication, Alan Lange looks back on Mississippi scandals [YallPolitics]
  • Deservedly favorable profile of Fifth Circuit judge Jerry Smith [NOLA]
  • In which I tell off Bill Donohue’s Catholic League for its double insult last week to gays and to adoptive parents [IGF]
  • “The Ninth Circuit was, believe it or not, correct” [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus, Cato, on administrative law case arising from NLRB rules change on drug rep overtime]

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on March 10, 2012

  • Berkeley: “Police chief sends sergeant to reporter’s home after midnight to demand article revision” [Poynter] In 1932, a New York Congressman convened a hearing to blast theater critics for harming the welfare of Broadway shows [Philip Scranton, Bloomberg]
  • “Blasphemy and free speech” [Paul Marshall, Hillsdale "Imprimis," PDF] “Egyptian Christian Imprisoned for 6 Years for Insulting Mohammed” [Volokh]
  • What is it about Montana and election free speech these days? [Volokh] Judge denies Ron Paul campaign request to unmask source of anti-Huntsman video [Paul Alan Levy, earlier] “Eliot Spitzer Bucks Liberal Orthodoxy: ‘Citizens United Was Correct’” [TheDC] If you rely on the NY Times for what you know about Citizens United, you’re probably misinformed [Wendy Kaminer, Atlantic]
  • “In which Ben Bagdikian, alleged scourge of media monopolies, frets at the possibility of more TV channels” [BBC via Jesse Walker]
  • Guernsey as a haven for libel tourism? [Annie Machon] “Someday I will commission a study of the relationship between defamation lawsuit threats and illiteracy.” [@Popehat on Gawker item]
  • “Key Techdirt SOPA/PIPA Post Censored By Bogus DMCA Takedown Notice” [Mike Masnick]
  • Overly aggressive trademark lawyers? “Their mothers love them too, in a prone-to-sudden-weeping sort of way.” [Popehat; earlier on Louis Vuitton v. Penn Law case]

February 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 8, 2012

  • Popular proposal to curb Congressional insider trading (“STOCK Act”) could have disturbing unintended consequences [John Berlau, CEI "Open Market"] A contrary view: Bainbridge.
  • Here’s Joe’s number, he’ll do a good job of suing us: “Some Maryland hospitals recommend lawyers to patients” [Baltimore Sun, Ron Miller]
  • Bribing the states to spend: follies of our fiscal federalism, and other themes from Michael Greve’s new book The Upside-Down Constitution [LLL, more, yet more] “Atlas Croaks, Supreme Court Shrugs” [Greve, Charleston Law Review; related, Ted Frank]
  • “… Daubert Relevancy is the Sentry That Guards Against the Tyranny of Experts” [David Oliver on new First Circuit opinion or scroll to Jan. 23]
  • Goodbye old political tweets, Eric Turkewitz is off to trial;
  • State laws squelch election speech, and political class shrugs (or secretly smiles) [George Will]
  • Too bad Carlyle Group got scared off promising experiment to revamp corporate governance to curb role of litigation [Ted Frank, Gordon Smith] AAJ should try harder to use people’s quotes in context [Bainbridge]

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In the Washington Post, Boston College lawprof Kent Greenfield clears up some misconceptions:

Citizens United did not hold corporations to be persons, and the court has never said corporations deserve all the constitutional rights of humans. The Fifth Amendment’s right to be free from self-incrimination, for example, does not extend to corporations. … Humans gather themselves in groups, for public and private ends, and sometimes it makes constitutional sense to protect the group as distinct from its constituent humans.

The question in any given case is whether protecting the association, group or, yes, corporation serves to protect the rights of actual people. Read fairly, Citizens United merely says that banning certain kinds of corporate expenditures infringes the constitutional interests of human beings. The court may have gotten the answer wrong, but it asked the right question.

Another reason to protect corporate rights is to guard against the arbitrary and deleterious exercise of government power. If, for example, the Fifth Amendment’s ban on government “takings” did not extend to corporations, the nationalization of entire industries would be constitutionally possible. The Fourth Amendment prohibits the FBI from barging into the offices of Google without a warrant and seizing the Internet history of its users. A freedom of the press that protected only “natural persons” would allow the Pentagon to, say, order the New York Times and CNN to cease reporting civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

The actual Citizens United case, as distinct from the later caricature, was over whether the government had a constitutional right to punish private actors for distributing a video critical of a prominent politician (Hillary Clinton) before an election, which helps explain why the ACLU and many other civil libertarians took the pro-free-speech side. More: Caleb Brown at Cato.

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After SOPA protest day

by Walter Olson on January 20, 2012

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“Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s campaign committee sued the unidentified makers of a video attacking ex-Republican rival Jon Huntsman claiming it falsely implies it was made or endorsed by the Texas congressman.” [Bloomberg] Paul Alan Levy contends that Rep. Paul, a longtime civil liberties advocate, should know better than to advance arguments that would if accepted narrow the legal protections afforded to anonymous political speech.

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Updating our story of last December: A federal judge has given the go-ahead to former Rep. Steve Dreihaus’s suit against the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List for allegedly falsely characterizing his stands on issues during last year’s race, thus causing him to lose. Earlier, Driehaus had filed a complaint against the Anthony List under Ohio’s remarkable False Statements Law, “which criminalizes lying about public officials” and has been assailed by the ACLU among other groups as inconsistent with the First Amendment. [Seth McKelvey, Reason; Peter Roff, U.S. News]

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The prominent Los Angeles lawyer accepts a misdemeanor rap for laundering John Edwards contributions. [L.A. Times, earlier]

My Cato colleague John Samples detects a perhaps intended consequence of the imposition of regulations that stifle political speech other than that conveyed by the institutional press. More: Paul Sherman, Make No Law (Institute for Justice blog).

April 4 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 4, 2011

  • Verbal fireworks from Judge Kozinski in Ninth Circuit “stolen valor” case [Above the Law]
  • Measure of artificially contrived scarcity: “NYC Taxi Medallions Approach $1 Million.” Would officials in Washington, D.C. really consider introducing such a destructive system? [Perry, more]
  • Workers’ comp OK’d in case where simulated chicken head blamed for subsequent emotional disability [Lowering the Bar]
  • “NBA referee sues sports writer over tweet” [Siouxsie Law] “Lessons from Dan Snyder’s Libel Suit” [Paul Alan Levy/CL&P, earlier]
  • Litigation rates similar for poor and good nursing homes, researchers find [US News] Effects of medical liability reform in Texas [White Coat, scroll] New York’s Cuomo caves on medical liability plan [Heritage] Sued if you do, sued if you don’t in the emergency room [same]
  • “Federal Government Wants to Bully School Bullies, and Demands School Help” [Doherty, Bader, Popehat, Bernstein] New York law firm launches school-bullying practice [Constitutional Daily]
  • Mass tort settlements: “The market for specious claims” [S. Todd Brown, Buffalo, SSRN]
  • Could Gene McCarthy’s candidacy have survived Arizona elections law? [Trevor Burrus, HuffPo]

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John Edwards, victim

by Walter Olson on March 4, 2011

Even the disgraced White House hopeful deserves better than to be tripped up by slippery and undefined campaign-finance laws, argues Mickey Kaus (at the Daily Caller, new home of Kausfiles).

At The Atlantic, civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer catches Washington Post columnist Katrina Vanden Heuvel misrepresenting the role of campaign spending in the defeat of Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, and the New York Times — in a more appalling lapse of journalistic standards — digging in to defend gross misstatements about the high court’s opinion.

New frontiers in campaign law? Ohio Rep. Steve Driehaus, defeated in November’s election, is suing the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion political group, for depriving him of his “livelihood” by way of allegedly unfair campaign attacks. [Cincinnati Enquirer, Politico]

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The Federalist Society has posted numerous videos from its recent National Lawyers’ Convention, including sessions on the aggressive regulatory stance of today’s Environmental Protection Agency, the constitutionality of Obamacare, anonymity and the First Amendment in media and campaign-regulation law, NYU’s Richard Epstein debating Yale’s Bill Eskridge on the court battle over California’s Prop 8, recusal and campaign rules for judges, Dodd-Frank, and the Christian Legal Society v. Martinez case on accreditation of student groups, among other topics. And civil procedure/Iqbal-Twombly buffs may be interested in a luncheon panel held just yesterday in D.C. (I was in the audience) in which four law professors (Don Elliott of Yale, Martin Redish and Ronald Allen of Northwestern, and Rick Esenberg of Marquette) outlined ideas for reforming the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to reduce discovery costs and improve screening of cases in the earliest stages of filing.

The video above is of the Society’s 10th annual Barbara Olson Memorial Lecture, in which Second Circuit Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs provocatively criticizes legal academia and other precincts of influential legal thinking for misunderstanding the role of the military and its relation to the law.

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