Financial economists and fans of old murder mysteries know about tontines. Was the law too hasty in banning them? [Jeff Guo, Washington Post “WonkBlog”]
“And for those who had cash seized from them — one player had more than $20,000, the regular player said — the police agreed to return 60 percent of the money, and keep 40 percent. … in Virginia state courts the local police agency may keep 100 percent of what they seize.” In a Fairfax SWAT raid on unlawful private gambling nine years ago, an officer shot and killed Sal Culosi, an optometrist who “had no criminal record and no known weapons.” [Washington Post, earlier (Radley Balko: Culosi incident in 2006 “wasn’t even the first time a Virginia SWAT team had killed someone during a gambling raid”)]
Big Mouse is apparently afraid of getting sued on charges of operating a gambling establishment. [Orlando Sentinel]
George Leef reviews a new book by John Compton, political scientist at Chapman University, on how evangelical anti-vice campaigns against gambling, liquor and other social ills helped undermine the Constitution’s curbs on centralized power, paving the way for later Progressive gains.
The tension between moral reformers who insisted on a virtually unlimited view of the “police powers” of government (i.e., to regulate in ways intended to protect the health and morals of the citizenry) and the Constitution’s framers, who feared the results of allowing factions to use government power for their ends, was crucial in shaping constitutional law during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The book shows that by the time the New Deal’s aggressive expansions of federal power came before the Supreme Court, its earlier decisions in favor of approving legislation against liquor and lotteries had so undermined the defenses of property rights, contract, and federalism that it was nearly inevitable that the Court would cave in.
For example, when the Court decided the 1934 case of Blaisdell v. Savings and Loan, gutting the former understanding of the impairment of contracts clause, Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes cited an earlier decision on interstate shipment of lottery tickets which had acquiesced in a new extension of the police power, on the grounds that a previously sacrosanct constitutional barrier could be “qualified” when a state needed to “safeguard the interests of its people.” [Forbes]
- “Cato Went 10-1 at Supreme Court This Term” [Ilya Shapiro; on merits cases] Yesterday I spoke to a private policy gathering in Annapolis, Md. with a retrospective on the Supreme Court term, especially its lessons for state government. If you’re looking for a speaker on Court issues, I or one of my colleagues at Cato’s Center for Constitutional Studies may fit the bill;
- “CrossFit Sues ‘Competitor’ For Revealing Its Injury Rates” [DeadSpin]
- New Jersey court rules for casino in unshuffled baccarat deck case [Elie Mystal/Above the Law, earlier]
- Family rescued from 1000 miles offshore plans to sue over nonworking satellite cell phone [ABC 10 News]
- Tartly worded response to third-party-subpoena demand in Sherrod/Breitbart case [attorney Robert Driscoll]
- Legal academia: Prof. Bainbridge takes on law-and, empirical legal studies crowds [Bainbridge, TaxProf and reactions] George Leef on reforming law schools [Pope Center]
- “Uber Agrees to End Surge Pricing During NY Emergencies, And Why That Means You’ll Never Find a Ride” [Gary Leff; Peter Van Doren, Cato]
My knowledge of baccarat never got beyond James Bond novels, but this is quite a story of the Borgata casino’s suing a world-leading player over his having taken advantage of a defect in playing card manufacture, to the tune of nearly $10 million. There are some echoes of the perennial controversy over blackjack card counters (see here and here) [Kyle Wagner, DeadSpin].
- “Class counsel in Facebook ‘Sponsored Stories’ case seeks to impose $32,000 appeal bond on class-action objectors” [Public Citizen, Center for Class Action Fairness]
- The best piece on bar fight litigation I’ve ever read [Burt Likko, Ordinary Gentlemen]
- Casino mogul Adelson campaigns to suppress online gaming; is your state attorney general among those who’ve signed on? [PPA, The Hill]
- Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA): “Anyone who values the rule of law should be alarmed by the ADM enforcement action.” [Mike Koehler]
- New FMCSA rules on length of workweek make life difficult for long-haul truckers [Betsy Morris, WSJ via Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven, National Review and more]
- “It takes a remarkable amount of nerve to cobble together publicly available facts, claim you’ve uncovered a fraud on the government, and file a lawsuit from which you could earn substantial financial benefits.” [Richard Samp, WLF] Whistleblower-law lobby tries to get its business model established in West Virginia [W.V. Record]
- Pittsburgh readers, hope to see you tomorrow at Duquesne [law school Federalist Society]
Mark Gottlieb, executive director of the Boston-based Public Health Advocacy Institute, said a handful of groups are looking at the potential for a broad product liability lawsuit over the addictive nature of the machines. …
“There are some similarities [with tobacco],” Gottlieb says. “We are talking about a product that is engineered to make people do something that is basically destructive and causes an economic injury.”
Portland attorney Greg Kafoury says he is part of “a team of national lawyers” looking at a potential class-action suit. He wouldn’t go into detail but called it “a major, long-term project.”
Radley Balko, often linked in this space, is out with a new book entitled Rise of the Warrior Cop, about the militarization of local police forces. [Reviews: Scott Greenfield, Diane Goldstein] A Salon excerpt details SWAT team raids over such offenses as sports gambling (“It [the Fairfax County, Va. 2006 shooting of football bettor Sal Culosi) wasn’t even the first time a Virginia SWAT team had killed someone during a gambling raid”) as well as dog shootings by police and aggressive actions against political protests. Balko has been devoting his Huffington Post column to such related topics as the police-industrial complex, and the ABA Journal also has an extensive treatment (related podcast).