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“Theresa May, the Home Secretary, unveiled plans last month for so-called Extremism Disruption Orders, which would allow judges to ban people deemed extremists from broadcasting, protesting in certain places or even posting messages on Facebook or Twitter without permission.” Who’s an extremist? Funny you should ask. It’s not just preachers of violent jihad:
George Osborne, the Chancellor, has made clear in a letter to constituents that the aim of the orders would be to “eliminate extremism in all its forms” and that they would be used to curtail the activities of those who “spread hate but do not break laws”.
He explained that that the new orders, which will be in the Conservative election manifesto, would extend to any activities that “justify hatred” against people on the grounds of religion, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
He also disclosed that anyone seeking to challenge such an order would have to go the High Court, appealing on a point of law rather than fact.
An outcry has been arising from groups including both conservative Christians and atheists, both of whom suspect that their own controversial speech will be subject to restriction under the new rules. [Daily Telegraph; earlier]
From the United Kingdom [Camilla Swift, The Spectator]:
Police this week were granted the authority to carry out random, unannounced checks at the home of anyone who has a gun license. Why? They claim that shooters may be ‘vulnerable to criminal or terrorist groups’ and this is the way to tackle the ‘problem’. The new Home Office guidance assures us this won’t occur ‘at an unsocial hour unless there is a justified and specific requirement to do so.’ Some get-out clause.
More: CPSA. Perhaps, in our American Bill of Rights, there is more of a connection between the Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment than is at first apparent.
And: “Watervliet, NY Asks Pistol Permit Applicants for Facebook Passwords. Or Not.” [Robert Farago, The Truth About Guns]
It did come across as curious when the Facebook acquaintance only seemed to be interested in side effects of medications and whether I had suffered death or injury in an accident. What kind of icebreaker is that? Daniel Fisher at Forbes investigates and finds traces of marketing efforts on behalf of the firm of Parker Waichman. Under New York rules for lawyers, law firm advertising is supposed to be clearly marked as such, nor are its contents supposed to be false or misleading.
P.S. From commenter wfjag: “She wanted to know if I’d died or was suffering a lingering fatal condition. Especial interest in effects on The Brain. No pictures of faces and no information on family lives. I thought I’d finally found Zombie Dating.”
- Facebook fought dragnet-with-gag-order subpoena in NY police/fire disability-fraud case [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- Two lawyers charged in alleged plot to extort millions from wealthy sheik [ABA Journal]
- Judge declares mistrial, plans new trial date in case of allegedly faulty guardrails [Bloomberg, more, background]
- Last year Overlawyered made the “Hall of Fame” and from now through Aug. 8 you can nominate other sites for the ABA’s annual Blawg 100 honor;
- Supreme Court, which seldom grants cases raising non-delegation doctrine, agrees to hear Dept. of Transportation v. Assn. of American Railroads [Roger Pilon/Cato, Gerard Magliocca] And Prof. Philip Hamburger, author of bracing new book Is Administrative Law Unlawful (earlier), has just guest-blogged about it for a week at Volokh Conspiracy, and has a related podcast at Law and Liberty;
- David Henderson writes rave review of new Peter Schuck book Why Government Fails So Often [Regulation, PDF; excerpts also at Econlib and more, earlier on Schuck book]
- Legal academia stunned, in grief after highly regarded criminal law specialist Dan Markel is murdered in his Tallahassee home [PrawfsBlawg, Dave Hoffman, Marc DeGirolami]
It should realize the privilege of doing so is reserved for other societal institutions, like lawyers and the press. [National Journal]
We’re closing in on 3,000 likes for Overlawyered on Facebook. Could you take a moment to add one more? You can also like my professional page there (Walter Olson) if you’d like to see more of my writings, podcasts, etc. (especially those at places other than Overlawyered).
If you’re planning an event for your speaker series or a panel discussion, I speak on a wide range of topics including not only subjects found in my books (litigation and its excesses, popular views of the legal profession, legal zaniness in the workplace, law schools) but also on topics that include regulation and the nanny state; food and drink policy; and how law can try to calm rather than exacerbate the culture wars.
- How the Progressive movement changed thinking on free speech [David Bernstein]
- More “bullying” legislation: “A crime for teenagers to excoriate their unfaithful or abusive lovers on Facebook?” [Eugene Volokh on pending Colorado bill] “Crime to spread rumors about under-25-year-olds, to send ‘hurtful, rude and mean messages’ about them, or to make fun of them online?” [same; pending ordinance in Carson, Calif.]
- “First Amendment protects Internet search results: N.Y. judge” [Alison Frankel, Reuters]
- Wisconsin + other states too: “Last week, the enlightened citizens of Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and several other communities voted to repeal the freedom of the press and of the free speech rights of organizations ranging from the NAACP to the National Rifle Association.” [Rick Esenberg, Shark and Shepherd]
- NYC comptroller Scott Stringer, posing in investor hat, demands that Texas firm Clayton Williams Energy Inc. explain its political giving [AP]
- Look before you leap: some proposals billed as criminalizing revenge porn appear to criminalize far more than that [Scott Greenfield]
- Consumer secretly videotapes allegedly unneeded repairs at Missouri Chevrolet dealership, litigation ensues [Popehat]
For those who freaked out at those headlines Thursday, Daniel Fisher at Forbes has a corrective to the New York Times’ latest story advancing the trial lawyer campaign against arbitration. More: Eric Goldman. Sequel: General Mills quickly withdraws new policy, perhaps reasoning that even when the New York Times is wrong, a consumer marketing company really can’t win trying to argue with it. Yet more: Dave Hoffman with an analysis of whether the language actually creates a contract.
Huge win for justice and good sense: facing a mounting public furor, “The Social Security Administration announced Monday that it will immediately cease efforts to collect on taxpayers’ debts to the government that are more than 10 years old.” [WaPo] Credit goes above all to the Washington Post and its reporter Marc Fisher for exposing the most outrageous features of the IRS’s refund-interception program last week, as recounted in this space; I like to think I helped as well by beating the drum early and repeatedly since then with Cato’s help. Overlawyered’s Facebook post on the subject has been seen by more than 60,000 people and shared more than 700 times in the past few days. (Have you liked us yet?)
The next step should be to establish for the public record how the provision in question got slipped into the farm bill, and at whose behest. Congress’s refusal to be forthcoming on this topic speaks volumes about its lack of a felt sense of responsibility toward the people it represents.
And a theme I’ve been repeating for almost as long as I’ve been writing about law: statutes of limitations developed in civilized legal systems for a reason. They protect us not only from cost, uncertainty, and the misery of legal process, but from injustice of a hundred other kinds, and they protect society itself from spiraling into a legal war of all against all. Stop trying to abolish them!