Feds sue banks and more than 130 executives, demanding billions over their role in the mortgage crisis; new “tobacco/asbestos” predicted [Biz Insider, more, yet more] Takes some cheek to cast Fannie and Freddie as victims [John Berlau, CEI]
Also on mortgages: Rahm Emanuel’s unsound new “lender must cut the grass” ordinance [Funnell] California AG sues lawyers, telemarketers over class action loan modification scheme; lawyer fires back with civil rights suit [AP, ABA Journal] New York chief judge wants state to fund more lawyers to resist enforcement of mortgages [PoL]
“… that a lawyer’s participation makes judicial proceedings more fair, not less fair.” So should we be shocked that the U.S. Supreme Court does not partake of this article of faith? [earlier on Turner v. Rogers and Civil Gideon] Related: Are we sure we want judges who are “great lawyers”? [Chiang, Prawfs, Greenfield]
Texas lawmakers file loser pays proposals [SE Tex Record] Actual scope of proposals hard to discern through funhouse lens of NYT reporting [PoL] Marie Gryphon testimony on loser-pays proposals in Arkansas [Manhattan Institute, related]
Google awarded patent on changing of logo for special days [Engadget via Coyote]
But Ted Frank explains why creating a new entitlement to taxpayer-paid civil lawyers is a bad idea [New York Daily News, PoL]:
As any economist would tell you, if you lower the price of something, you get more demand for it. If it becomes completely costless to bring suit, we will see many more meritless suits.
That’s no small problem in New York, where courts are already overloaded.
If a dispute over shelter entitles a cantankerous tenant to a free attorney on the government’s dime, it will be much easier for people to fight evictions when they violate a lease in ways that threaten other tenants or intentionally refuse to pay rent. Landlords, in turn, will have to hire their own attorneys and raise rents and costs for their honest tenants.
Not unrelated: U.S. is granting asylum requests far more often than formerly. Why might that be? [Ted's answer]
Kagan’s Oxford thesis revealed: judges shouldn’t make it up as they go along in quest of social justice. Sensation ensues! [WSJ Law Blog, related on political-branch deference] And were the SG’s judicial-restraint principles activated by Graham v. Florida? [Stuart Taylor, Jr., National Journal]
Lucky cops! There just happened to be $672K in the car they stopped and they plan to keep it [Freeland] “The Forfeiture Racket: Police and prosecutors won’t give up their license to steal” [Radley Balko, Reason]
And: Did the press jump the gun with its report that it’s now lawful to import haggis into the U.S.? A letter to Andrew Sullivan says nothing has been decided yet, though the ban seems to be under review.
Now his Sokolove Charitable Fund is giving him a shot at new respectability with help from no less august an institution than Stanford Law School (thank you, Prof. Deborah Rhode), It’s bankrolling something called the Roadmap to Justice Project, which will push the much-criticized-in-this-space “Civil Gideon” idea (a newly invented Constitutional entitlement to taxpayer coverage of lawyers’ fees in civil lawsuits).
Well, I have to be encouraged that, when confronted with my argument against civil Gideon, this was the best the Drum Major Institute could come up with to respond (it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a rebuttal). Compare and contrast the arguments I actually made–and the reasoning given for my conclusions–with the characterizations in the DMI report, and then ask yourself why one of organizations leading the fight for civil Gideon doesn’t dare engage those arguments.
[The poor] will trade higher rents and higher taxes for the right to legal services that often will not help them.. . . [P]arties with meritorious cases will find it harder to signal to overwhelmed judges that their cases are distinguishable from the vast majority of meritless cases with appointed counsel that the courts will see every day.
Larry Ribstein approves: “The ABA resolution should be seen as what it is: a justification for rent-seeking by the organized bar.”
Here are my prepared remarks for the June 14 panel at the ACS convention. My actual remarks differed from this somewhat, as I extemporized a bit and, by my watch, I didn’t get my full ten minutes before the moderator cut me off:
(Bumping from original post on May 14. If I thought I had competition from Judge Kozinski before, I can only imagine what it will be like now.)
I’ll be one of the token libertarians speaking at the Sixth Annual ACS National Convention on June 14, on a 11-12:30 breakout panel with Paul Bland, John Amaya, and Eleanor Acer on “Right to Counsel in Civil and Immigration Cases.” If I were you, and I’d paid good money to attend the convention, I’d go to the simultaneously-scheduled Alex Kozinski-Stephen Reinhardt debate about religious liberty or the panel on post-9/11 privacy rights with Orin Kerr and Jeffrey Rosen, but my panel should have some interesting discussion as well.
47-year-old archaeology professor Chris Ratte is perhaps not the most careful of parents; he says he didn’t realize when he bought a $7 “Mike’s Hard Lemonade” at a Tigers game, it was an alcoholic beverage (all of 10 proof), and let his 7-year-old son Leo drink the 12-ounce bottle. A vendor noticed the boy with the drink; the boy had no symptoms of inebriation but said he was nauseated; and stadium officials, in a prime example of defensive overreaction, summoned an ambulance, which found Leo fine with no trace of alcohol in his system.
Silly enough so far, no harm, no foul, but Michigan Child Protective Services intervened, held Leo in foster care for two days (refusing to release him to the custody of his aunts, who drove from New England on short notice for just such a possibility), and forced Ratte to move out of the house until a second hearing okayed his return. If Ratte and his wife weren’t upper-middle-class academics with access to the University of Michigan Law School clinic professors, it could have been much worse. “Don Duquette, a U-M law professor who directs the university’s Child Advocacy Law Clinic, represented Ratte and his wife. He notes sardonically that the most remarkable thing about the couple’s case may be the relative speed with which they were reunited with Leo.” (Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press, Apr. 28 (h/t B.C.)).
Some policy proposals are for taxpayers to fund attorneys to defend parents victimized by Child Protective Services; some go so far as to call it a constitutional right, albeit one having nothing to do with the underlying text of the Constitution. But that would only treat the symptom and ossify the underlying problem of abusive government intervention into the home.
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