Boycotts by one state directed against another seem to me to be a tactic best reserved for impending scenarios of civil war, although who knows, if my social media stream is any indication, perhaps the United States is soon to reach that point. Gerard Magliocca, who teaches law at Indiana, wonders whether the Constitution would provide any legal remedies if, for example, one state closed its public university system to applicants from another state to show disapproval for that second state’s policies. (For those who came in late, Governors Dannel Malloy of Connecticut and Andrew Cuomo of New York issued orders, now rescinded, barring travel by “non-essential” state employees to Indiana during the several-day furor over that state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).)
- Michael Greve reviews new James Buckley book offering critique of fake (“cooperative”) federalism under aid-to-state programs [Liberty and Law; Chris Edwards/Cato on Buckley book, more]
- Cuban expatriates will now have access to US banking services. Next step: call off Operation Choke Point so domestic businesses can have it too. [earlier coverage of Choke Point including its effects on, yes, cigar shops; details on new relaxation of Cuba sanctions, and related effects of banking sanctions]
- Sac and Fox tribe appeals ruling in favor of town of Jim Thorpe, Pa. on demands for disinterment and return of remains of athlete Jim Thorpe [Allentown Morning Call, my recent writing on the case here and here]
- NFL owners “rarely settle any dispute… Each owner pays only 1/32nd of the legal bill, and the owners love to fight” [ESPN]
- Adios Google News: Spanish press “not even waiting for the blood to dry on the hatchet before bemoaning the loss of their golden eggs” [Julian Sanchez, Cato]
- Union official knew New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was going to sue pizza operator before the operator did. Hmmm [Kevin Mooney, Daily Signal]
- Nevada goes to ridiculous lengths unsuccessfully trying to regulate airport taxis, but at least they’ll try to keep you from using ride-sharing, so that’s something [Blake Ross, Medium; Reuters]
- ObamaCare, Common Core, EPA policy all raise specter of federal commandeering of state governments [Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola, The Atlantic] Vocally supporting Common Core, William Bennett provides new reasons to be queasy about it [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
- Mom lets six-year-old play within sight of his own front door. Then Child Protective Services arrives [Haiku of the Day]
- Study finds no evidence California cellphone ban reduced accidents [The Newspaper]
- Or maybe if you’ve been in good health for 13 years it’s okay to let the grievance slide: pols, union leaders urge unimpaired WTC rescuers to enroll for possible future compensation [AP/WCBS]
- “Thomson Reuters Thinks Not Responding To Their Email Means You’ve Freely Licensed All Your Content” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- New frontiers in urban expropriation: San Francisco imposes crushing new “relocation assistance” burden on rental owners [Pacific Legal Foundation]
- A lesson in standing up for individual liberty, and not being discouraged by setbacks [my Cato Institute piece on Lillian Gobitis Klose’s flag-pledge case, Donald Boudreaux/Cafe Hayek]
- “Nullification” a non-starter, but states do have ways to resist federal encroachment [Amy Pomeroy, Libertas Utah, with podcast] Passport to Baraboo? State GOP resolutions committee backs “Wisconsin’s right, under extreme circumstances, to secede.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel]
- Flawed forensics: “DUI expert pleads no contest to perjury charges, gets house arrest and probation” [PennLive]
- “Insurance: The Musical” turned out to be an April Fool’s, a pity since I was looking forward to the actuary production number [Insurance Journal, but see (David Skurnick, “Cut My Rate,” set in California Insurance Department) and more (“The Sting”)]
- Executive power grab? New F.H. Buckley book on “The Rise of Crown Government in America” [Tyler Cowen, with Canada comparison]
- My appearance on Anne Santos’s radio show discussing lawsuit culture [KNTH]
- If General Motors objects to direct consumer sales freedom for Tesla, perhaps the answer is to set GM free too [Dan Crane, Truth on the Market; James Surowiecki/New Yorker, Adam Hartung via Stephen Bainbridge]
- James Maxeiner on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure after 75 years [Common Good]
Cato’s Caleb Brown interviews me on the immediate legal implications of this week’s same-sex marriage cases. Because we spoke the day after the ruling, some of my comments have already been outrun by events; for example, it took only a day or two, not weeks, to overturn the Ninth Circuit stay and begin holding marriages. And the Obama administration has now declared that it will extend federal recognition to all lawfully issued marriage licenses even if not recognized in the state of a couple’s domicile, which had been one of the two biggest immediate practical uncertainties. (The other is the question of retroactive effect: will taxpayers, for example, be allowed to amend filings for past years?) Given the recognition of marriage licenses obtained outside a state of domicile, “States like Texas and Florida will begin noticing — or perhaps they won’t notice — that some of their citizens are getting some federal benefits that somewhat foil their state policy.”
A link to the podcast is here.
The rolls have been expanding steadily for years, at tremendous cost, and the new NPR report, by Chana Joffe-Walt, is just plain devastating:
A person on welfare costs a state money. That same resident on disability doesn’t cost the state a cent, because the federal government covers the entire bill for people on disability. So states can save money by shifting people from welfare to disability. And the Public Consulting Group is glad to help.
PCG is a private company that states pay to comb their welfare rolls and move as many people as possible onto disability.
More: Jagadeesh Gokhale, Cato Regulation mag (PDF)(program “facing insolvency in just three years”); Ronald Bailey, Reason; Reihan Salam; Wynton Hall, Breitbart.com (furious counterattack from some on Left). And Heather Mac Donald, with notable prescience, saw the problem coming more than 17 years ago.
P.S.: A disability lawyer’s response.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, and U.S. v. Windsor, the challenge to Section 3 (federal definition of marriage) of the Defense of Marriage Act. A Ninth Circuit panel, with liberal Judge Stephen Reinhardt writing, had invalidated Prop 8 on relatively narrow grounds; a Second Circuit panel, with conservative Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs writing, had invalidated Section 3 of DOMA on Equal Protection grounds.
The range of possible outcomes for the two cases is quite wide. At one end, the Court could reverse both appellate decisions, restoring the California ban on gay marriage and confirming the legal definition of marriage as opposite-sex-only for purposes of federal programs such as taxation (at issue in Windsor) and federal employee pensions. At the other end, the Court could apply Equal Protection Clause principles to declare that marriage licenses must be available in all states to all otherwise qualified couples regardless of sex. In between are many intermediate outcomes. Both cases, especially Perry, raise issues of litigant standing that might enable or require the Court to set aside the ultimate merits and render a decision with little or no precedential impact on future cases.
- If you file a tag-along injury claim over a mishap on the city bus, remember that surveillance cameras might be able to establish whether you were on the bus at the time [Philadelphia, Chamber-backed Pennsylvania Record]
- Baltimore, West Virginia among jurisdictions licked by flames in new “Judicial Hellhole” report [ATRA] Related? “New ad damnum law in Maryland” [Ron Miller]
- Ohio calls on asbestos claimants to notify adversaries about others they’ve sued for exposure, which is only fair [WSJ editorial, Daniel Fisher, Forbes, Buckeye Institute PDF]
- “Did the Founders’ Constitution Permit Federal Tort Reform?” [Randy Barnett and commenters]
- NY trial lawyers’ big-league political spending [NYP] [Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, PDF]
- Dueling theories on helicopter crash [AZCentral.com]
- “2012 Spot the Tort Contest” [LawHaha]
Advocates press for a national law on college hazing [ABA Journal]