- To what extent should law schools pursue missions other than that of training lawyers to practice competently? [Ken at Popehat]
- Survivors of woman slain in terror attack seek $200 million from county of San Bernardino [Courthouse News] A pertinent 2001 Elizabeth Cabraser quote about terrorism and litigation: “If we sue each other, the terrorists win. We need to be united.”
- Self-driving car revolution is coming quickly, but there might still be time for feds to mess it up [Randal O’Toole]
- “NYT throws hissy-fit, sues over use of thumbnails in critical book” [Rebecca Tushnet via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]
- New laws from Brussels could endanger thousands of historic guns in British museums [Telegraph]
- Drawing on the organization’s entire moral authority, i.e. none at all, United Nations panel calls for U.S. to pay slavery reparations [Independent, Vice]
- Aviary Attorney: “The hottest bird lawyering game to come out of 1840s France!” [Steampowered via Lowering the Bar]
- Malheur standoff: here come the self-styled “citizens’ grand jury” hobbyists [Oregonian, my two cents on this branch of folk law, earlier]
- Your egg-flipping, coffee-guzzling grandma was right all along about nutrition, federal government now seems gradually to be conceding [Washington Post]
- “Obama’s State of the Union pledge to push for bipartisan redistricting reform was a late add” [L.A. Times, Politico, American Prospect, Todd Eberly on Twitter, some earlier takes here and here]
- More Charlie Hebdo retrospectives after a year [Anthony Fisher, Reason] Another bad year for blasphemers [Sarah McLaughlin, more] The magazine’s false friends [Andrew Stuttaford; hadn’t realized that departing NPR ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos, who so curiously compared the magazine’s contents to “hate speech unprotected by the Constitution,” has lately held “the James Madison Visiting Professorship on First Amendment Issues” at the Columbia School of Journalism]
- “The Ten Most Significant Class Action Cases of 2015” [Andrew Trask]
- More from Cato on Obama’s “mishmash” of executive orders on guns [Adam Bates, Tim Lynch, Emily Ekins]
- The “worst and most counter-productive legal complaint that’s been filed in a long, long time” [Barry Rascovar, Maryland Reporter on move by ACLU of Maryland/NAACP Legal Defense Fund to challenge as racially discriminatory the decision to cancel construction of a new Baltimore subway line]
“If you’re not for gun control, at least you should be for gun safety. That’s a line you hear a lot these days.” My response is at Ricochet, and touches on gun locks, the Obama idea of requiring more persons who sell firearms on an occasional or incidental basis to register as gun dealers, the notion of liability insurance mandates for gun owners, and, inevitably, the subject of gun control through litigation against manufacturers and dealers, a topic on which Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been doing a little backsliding of late.
Related, Charles Cooke in the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature, on “smart gun” myths: “Eventually, all American gun control advocacy descends into science fiction.” “Ban under-25-year-olds from owning guns? Not so fast.” [Eugene Volokh] And this looks like a don’t-miss story from Brian Doherty in the new Reason: “You Know Less Than You Think About Guns” (via David Henderson, who excerpts highlights).
- “Charlie Hebdo editor: Censorship must not win” [Charb/New York Post] Today, on anniversary of that attack, Cato hosts free speech attorney Robert Corn-Revere on “The Assassin’s Veto,” with comments from GWU lawprof Catherine Ross, moderated by John Samples [details, and watch live]
- Florida lawmakers muzzle doctors’ comments to patients regarding guns. 11th Circuit says okay. No, not okay [Ken White, Eugene Volokh]
- The ‘speech integral to criminal conduct’ exception, important in early free speech law, has come roaring back [Eugene Volokh; for the role of this doctrine in the Oregon cake case, see my post then and his]
- Good news if you’re a Wisconsin conservative who forgot to archive your emails: that nice John Doe prosecutor secretly did it for you [Watchdog]
- From Federalist Society national lawyers’ convention, Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz interviews Kirsten Powers on her new book The Silencing (wobbly audio in early minutes, which eventually clears);
- “Ex-tenant barred from saying that ex-landlord had been in the Witness Protection Program, ‘[r]egardless of the truth or falsity of this information'” [Volokh]
- Lawprof Eric Posner wants to roll back First Amendment to curb ISIS recruitment. Hell, no [ABA Journal, Anthony Fisher/Reason, Ken White/Popehat]
- “In fact, none of the mass shootings that have grabbed headlines in the last few years would have been prevented by the gun controls proposed in response to them, and Obama’s new list of warmed-over ideas does not break any new ground in that respect.” [Jacob Sullum] More: Dave Kopel; Ken White at Popehat on the President’s rhetoric of rights; Jonathan Adler notes that ATF’s new guidance on who’s a gun dealer either restates existing law (yawn) or violates the Administrative Procedure Act (whee!); Eugene Kontorovich wonders whether that guidance is vague on purpose; and Josh Blackman writes that while most of the President’s orders don’t go much beyond “hortatory fluff” (no more letting attorneys set up gun trusts for MS-13 gang members!) they help lay the groundwork for more intrusive measures to come;
- “Judge tosses consumer suit claiming SeaWorld falsely asserts its whales are well-treated” [ABA Journal]
- In a single press release on Missouri mosque vandalism case, the U.S. Department of Justice misleads readers in two important ways [Eugene Volokh on legal significance of burned Koran, omission of ideological content in sprayed graffiti slogans]
- New Greg Ip book “Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe” [Tyler Cowen and more, Arnold Kling]
- Plaintiff’s lawyers “salivating at the prospects for big paydays” from self-driving car accidents [Bloomberg]
- Do “arms trafficking” rules extend even to domestic sharing of data files containing information on three-dimensional printing of guns? [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer, Cato]
- So the Graubard Miller/Alice Lawrence mega-fee saga, often covered in this space, turns out to have a Sheldon Silver connection [Wayne Barrett]
- Russian man sues developer of videogame Fallout 4, saying he lost wife and job due to addiction to playing it [BGR]
- “Indiana Briefly Considered Fining Bad Anthem Singers” [Lowering the Bar] Relatedly, if you’ve been wanting to do a dance remix of “Star-Spangled Banner,” Michigan law now permits it [Lowering the Bar]
- Is administrative law unlawful? Philip Hamburger vs. Adrian Vermeule [more, William Funk/Jotwell and David Bernstein; earlier here and here]
- Will Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell runoff loss end his office’s contracts-for-pals “Buddy System”? [Chris Butler/Louisiana Watchdog, Richard Miniter, American Media Institute/Louisiana Record, Eric Boehm/Louisiana Watchdog]
- “Let’s get rid of private housing.” The Nation never gives up, does it?
- Congress’s surrender of power of purse opened door to outrages like Department of Justice’s activist slush funds [Randal John Meyer]
- Gun-rights and marijuana advocates set themselves against liberty generally when they back discrimination-law coverage of employee “off-duty conduct.” [Ohio, Jon Hyman first (firearms) and second (pot) posts]
Just as polls show that American public opinion has turned against a ban on so-called assault weapons, comes a push from Democrats on Capitol Hill and gun-control forces to reintroduce such a ban. I’ve got a post at Cato at Liberty with many links on why the shift in public views is backed by solid evidence.
- Judge Posner cites a Cato amicus brief: Cook County sheriff can’t browbeat Visa and MasterCard into dropping business with sex ad site [Ilya Shapiro, Eugene Volokh] And Daniel Fisher speculates that Posner’s thoughts on how far law enforcers can push around private actors on First Amendment-related subject matter (but without filing charges against them) might carry over to Eric Schneiderman’s ExxonMobil climate-advocacy inquisition [Forbes]
- “How To Blog: A Primer (And Not A Boring Primer, Either)” [Jim Dedman, Abnormal Use]
- What the campus protests are about: power [Jonathan Last, Weekly Standard]
- Eric Turkewitz draws a connection between the debate on guns and my recent work on redistricting, and Ken White at Popehat has more on the debate on guns;
- Vibrations from “ridge-like” BMW motorcycle seat said to have had unwanted stimulative effect on male user [Marin Independent Journal]
- Why are Republicans not moving to block Department of Justice settlement slush funds “funneling more than half-a-billion dollars to liberal activist groups” that in some cases route dollars “back to programs that congressional Republicans deliberately stripped of funds”? [Kim Strassel, WSJ]
- What happens at CLE stays at CLE: doings get wild at a famous mass torts seminar in Las Vegas [Above the Law]
- Supreme Court has blocked for now “an election with racial qualifications that could eventually establish a new government for so-called ‘native Hawaiians.'” [Ilya Shapiro/Cato, earlier on Hawaiian tribalization here, here, etc.]
- Some scholars seem a bit evasive about historic British use of gun control to disarm minority religionists [David Kopel]
- Occupational licensure and Connecticut teeth-whitening case: does mere protection of incumbents against competition count as “rational basis” for government action? [Timothy Sandefur, Cato]
- Class actions: some predict Court not likely to do much more than tinker [Alison Frankel, Paul Karlsgodt]
- Update: “California woman who bought Eurail pass in US can’t sue here for Austrian accident, SCOTUS says” [ABA Journal, earlier]
- Supreme Court should defend interstate commerce against extraterritorial Colorado law providing that electric power entering state must have been generated in certain ways [Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer]
- “Old, cryptic, or vague” 14th Amendment: Judge Posner can’t have his Constitution and eat it too, thinks Josh Blackman.
The policy analysis examines several gun control proposals which have been promoted by the Obama administration and the gun control lobby: bans on so-called assault weapons; bans on standard magazines; confiscation; and the prohibition of all private sales, loans and returns, except when processed by a gun store [and explains] why each of these proposals is likely to do little good and much harm….
Also at Cato, Trevor Burrus responds to an otherwise predictable editorial on gun control that the New York Times elected to print on its front page:
Not only do victims of mass shootings constitute one percent or fewer of gun deaths (depending on how “mass shooting” is defined), but the perpetrators of mass shootings are the hardest to affect with public policy changes…. Mass shooters are the quintessence of an over-motivated criminal, and in a country with over 300 million guns, there are very few (if any) realistic gun control laws that could stop mass shooters. Policy proposals that focus on identifying would-be mass shooters and protecting would-be victims of mass shooters have a much better chance of succeeding than any proposal that focuses on guns.
Jonah Goldberg at National Review reacts to the same editorial, while James Taranto has this on Twitter: “The New York Times today published the newspaper’s opinion in the front page. The last time it did that was yesterday.”
Since last week’s slaughter by a radicalized Islamist couple of 14 employees at a gathering of county health employees in San Bernardino, you’ve almost certainly seen people claim that the U.S. has had 355 mass shootings this year. A Mother Jones editor (of all people) in the NYT (of all places) explains why a more accurate number would be 4. And the Washington Post “Fact Checker,” after awarding Two Pinocchios to President Obama for his claim that “this [kind of mass shooting] just doesn’t happen in other countries” has gone on to examine his claim that “We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths” and finds the evidence “not as clear cut as the president claims”: “We wavered between Two and Three Pinocchios, but in the end settled on Two.”