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Ninth Circuit

Supreme Court roundup

by Walter Olson on October 14, 2014

  • Sorry, National Review, but the marriage rulings are really nothing at all like Dred Scott [my new piece at The Daily Beast] Or Roe v. Wade either [Dale Carpenter, Ilya Shapiro, Charles Lane]
  • Ninth Circuit won’t get the message about not expropriating raisin farmers and it’s time for the Court to remind it again [also Ilya Shapiro, earlier]
  • Private businesses, even those that are quasi-public like Amtrak, shouldn’t be delegated the right to regulate their competitors [Ilya Shapiro yet a third time]
  • “Supreme Court takes case on duration of traffic stops” [Orin Kerr, Rodriguez v. United States]
  • Housing disparate impact theory, dodged by administration last time around, returns to Court [Bloomberg, Daniel Fisher; Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project; earlier]
  • Noteworthy feature of just-argued wage-and-hour case is that Obama Department of Labor is taking the employer side [Denniston, SCOTUSBlog; Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk]
  • “Supreme Court to hear case on right of Maryland to tax out-of-state income” [Ashley Westerman, Capital News Service]
  • Mark your calendar if in D.C.: I’ll be moderating a Nov. 3 talk at Cato by Damon Root about his new book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court, with commentary from Roger Pilon and Jeffrey Rosen [Reason]

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I’ve got a post at Cato at Liberty on today’s big decision in Peruta v. County of San Diego, in which a Ninth Circuit panel struck down a licensing scheme under California law in which even persons with legitimate self-defense concerns were unable to get permission to carry handguns outside the home.

More from David Kopel and Eugene Volokh on how “today’s decision creates a split of the Seventh and Ninth Circuits vs. the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits,” on the court’s reasoning on open vs. concealed carry (an individual right to bear implies that at least one of the two must be allowed), and on how the substantial majority of states already have laws according respect to the freedoms at issue here (& welcome Jim Geraghty/NRO readers; I was also a guest on the Michael Graham Show Friday afternoon to discuss the ruling).

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  • “The patent had an interesting enforcement clause: that anyone who copied [ship designer] Brunelleschi’s work would have their own designs set on fire” [Jeremy Kolassa, R Street]
  • British government investigates problem of orphan copyright works [U.K. Intellectual Property Office, earlier]
  • Hookah’s design not copyrightable, per Ninth Circuit, O’Scannlain, Garber, Bea [Inhale v. Starbuzz Tobacco]
  • From EFF’s “Copyright Week”: what if the penalty that accompanied a parking ticket varied unknowably and might amount to a year’s salary? [Mitch Stoltz] “Copyright’s not getting its work done” [Cathy Gellis]
  • Nineteenth Century’s sewing machine patent wars resembled today’s smartphone wars, but ended more or less happily [Adam Mossoff, Slate]
  • Universities that post papers by their own scholars hear from Elsevier’s lawyers [ABA Journal]
  • Likelihood of confusion? Underwear maker Hanes cease/desists hummus maker in Saskatoon, Canada with name derived from “Yohannes” (= “John”)[ABC News, Craig Lederhouse, CBC (auto-plays radio)]

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Michael Greve on Kiobel

by Walter Olson on April 19, 2013

Too amusing not to quote:

In my offhand judgment, Justice Breyer’s argument about the ATS and its “fit” with the presumption [against extraterritoriality] has force. (The Chief has an answer, but it’s a very close call.) What this is actually about, though, is a monitoring problem; and on that, the Chief is right.

The ATS has become a playpen for a cabal of international law enthusiasts and plaintiffs’ lawyers. Couple the former’s wild-eyed global aspirations with the latter’s eagerness to drag corporations through our one-of-a-kind tort system, and it’s Katy, bar the door. The Chief’s rule blocks all that: if it happened abroad, that’s it. Justice Breyer’s position, in contrast, would compel the Court to monitor all the places and institutions where this stuff gets out of hand: the Ninth Circuit; the wildest district courts in the country; the folks who are in charge of the Restatement of Foreign Relations; and the people who crank up “customary” international law (which becomes “customary” when someone at Yale Law School says it is, and the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs agrees). If some foreign employees of a U.S. company sue other employees of that company over tortious sexual harassment at the company’s foreign plants, has the defendants’ conduct “substantially and adversely affect[ed] an important American national interest,” that of serving as a beacon of sexual equality in the world? You tell me.

To ask the Supreme Court to keep an eye on this is to declare surrender. So it’s good that the Court has drawn a line. Whether it’ll hold, we’ll see.

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November 15 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 15, 2012

  • Ninth Circuit dissent: ruling “jeopardizes academic freedom” by making it too easy for students to sue professors [WSJ Law Blog]
  • When the bumptious and sociopathic go after our blogging friend, it’s Ken 1, b./s.-ers zero [Popehat]
  • Uh-oh: “Election Results Seen as Victory for Business of Law” [Gina Passarella, The Legal Intelligencer]
  • In the mail: “How to Feed a Lawyer: And Other Irreverent Observations from the Legal Underground” [Evan Schaeffer]
  • “Cato Files Brief in the First Federal Appeal Regarding the Contraception Mandate” [Ilya Shapiro, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • “Judicial independence” campaigners snooze through unfair attacks on D.C. Circuit [WSJ, earlier]
  • “Anyone whose blood pressure needs a boost should check out Overlawyered…” [James DeLong, American Thinker]

A new type of Ninth Circuit opinion. [Joe Palazzolo, WSJ Law Blog]

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A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit led by Judge Stephen Trott has rejected a settlement between class action lawyers and Kellogg over allegedly misleading promotion of its Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal. The settlement involved a smallish refund offer for the class of consumers, an unrelated food giveaway (so-called cy pres relief, given to beneficiaries other than the class initially wronged), and $2 million to the plaintiff’s lawyers, or roughly $2,100 an hour. [Hans von Spakowsky/PJ Media, Ted Frank/PoL, ABA Journal]

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As green czars go, the powers of the Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator are at least circumscribed by law, the powers of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals much less so. When a majority of the circuit ruled the other day that California could not resume permitting suction panning of riverbeds for traces of gold, Judge Milan Smith Jr. along with three colleagues dissented with some asperity. “Here we go again,” he began, and went on to cite Gulliver bound by the Lilliputians. To quote the WSJ Law Blog:

No legislature or regulatory agency would enact sweeping rules that create such economic chaos, shutter entire industries, and cause thousands of people to lose their jobs. That is because the legislative and executive branches are directly accountable to the people through elections, and its members know they would be removed swiftly from office were they to enact such rules,” he wrote.

“Unfortunately,” he added, “I believe the record is clear that our court has strayed with lamentable frequency from its constitutionally limited role.”

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Medical roundup

by Walter Olson on May 21, 2012

  • Government’s hospital care guidelines may be fueling dangerous overuse of antibiotics [White Coat] FDA says fewer drugs are in shortage [Reuters, earlier here, etc.]
  • “Post-tort-reform Texas doctor supply” [Ted Frank/PoL and commenters] “Change in Procedures Lets Medical Malpractice [Insurance] Industry Thrive” [PC 360]
  • Forcing companies to make politicized disclosures to customers implicates First Amendment [Hans Bader on HHS "must credit ObamaCare" reg]
  • Iqbal and Twombly SCOTUS decisions on pleading have helped protect pharmaceutical defendants from flimsily based suits [James Beck, who has changed law firms to Reed Smith]
  • How accurate is hospital data coding? Ask thousands of pregnant British men [Nigel Hawkes via Flowing Data]
  • Class-action-fed boom in Medicaid dentistry + “let’s put docs in schools” idea = scope for horrific abuse, no matter how it’s financed [Bloomberg via Jesse Walker]
  • Suits blaming obstetricians for cerebral palsy rack up $78 million win in Philadelphia, $74 million in California [Legal Intelligencer, Cal Coast News]
  • Ninth Circuit: on reflection, let’s not seize control of VA mental health programs [AP, earlier here, etc.]

Although you might say they’re a little late to this story, it’s still a welcome development. I discuss the piece and its background in a new Cato post (& welcome Glenn Reynolds/Instapundit readers). Hans Bader and Jacob Sullum also weigh in.

While we’re at it, here are some more links not yet blogged in this space on this busy extraction industry: Hackensack, N.J. has its own serial ADA filer [Bergen Record; letter from Marcus Rayner, NJLRA]. California small businesses continue their protests [Lodi News-Sentinel, background on George Louie; ABC L.A. (Alfredo Garcia, who's filed hundreds of ADA suits, described as "illegal immigrant and convicted felon"; background on his attorney, Overlawyered favorite Morse Mehrban)] And in case you were wondering about the enabling role of the courts, here’s a recent Ninth Circuit decision ruling it an abuse of discretion for a trial court to have cut a lawyer’s fee award in an ADA barrier case [Bagenstos, Disability Law] Much more at our ADA filing mills tag.

April 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 16, 2012

  • Although I’m known as a foe of everything John Edwards stands for, I hope he beats this campaign finance rap [Atlantic Wire]
  • Michael Bloomberg launches demagogic new campaign against Stand Your Ground laws, calling to mind the recent critique of the NYC mayor’s paternalist dark side by Conor Friedersdorf in the Atlantic;
  • Jerry Brown frees grandmother dubiously jailed in shaken-baby death [Slate, earlier]
  • As Scruggs (Dickey not Earl) still pursues vindication, Alan Lange looks back on Mississippi scandals [YallPolitics]
  • Deservedly favorable profile of Fifth Circuit judge Jerry Smith [NOLA]
  • In which I tell off Bill Donohue’s Catholic League for its double insult last week to gays and to adoptive parents [IGF]
  • “The Ninth Circuit was, believe it or not, correct” [Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus, Cato, on administrative law case arising from NLRB rules change on drug rep overtime]

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The Ninth Circuit properly vindicates the constitutional principle of freedom of association in a clash with housing discrimination law. [Rigel Oliveri, Washington Post]

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February 9 roundup

by Walter Olson on February 9, 2012

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November 8 roundup

by Walter Olson on November 8, 2011

I’ve got an instant analysis up at Cato at Liberty of the retailer’s big Supreme Court win today in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, the class action certification case. The Court ruled unanimously that the Ninth Circuit had jumped the gun in certifying the case as a class action, and 5-to-4 (Scalia writing) that plaintiffs had failed to assemble the evidence needed for certification. (& welcome Real Clear Politics “Best of the Blogs”, Atlantic Wire, Nicole Neily/Daily Caller, Jon Hyman, SCOTUSBlog)

More: Josh Blackman (with a comment on the Court’s recognition of the work of the late Richard Nagareda), Hans Bader, Jim Copland, John Steele Gordon. Spot-the-errors dept.: Dahlia Lithwick. Briefs and other resources on the case at SCOTUSBlog.

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May 16 roundup

by Walter Olson on May 16, 2011

  • The Economist on the future of the legal business;
  • Hairpin reversals of fortune in long-running Barbie v. Bratz doll fight [Cal Biz Lit, earlier]
  • As I note in Schools for Misrule, institutional reform litigation is alive and well: Reinhardt says 9th Circuit should take over VA’s mental health efforts, Kozinski dissents [LAT, AP, The Recorder]
  • Court rejects Koch suit over spoof website posing as Koch’s to make political points [EFF, earlier]
  • “Romeo and Juliet” amendment could soften harsh Texas sex-offense laws [Lenore Skenazy] Law isn’t especially protective of teen boys persuaded to sign paternity declarations [Amy Alkon]
  • “Disney Trademarks ‘Seal Team 6′” [Atlantic Wire]
  • Great moments in human rights law: UK high court rules airplane hijackers should have been admitted to country as refugees [five years ago on Overlawyered]

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Even the Ninth Circuit’s not buying that one, note David Lehrer and Joe Hicks at City Journal.

Developments in an emerging area of law much explored in my forthcoming book:

  • “Developing Countries Could Sue for Climate Action — Study” [NYT/ClimateWire] “Do We Need Global Governance To Combat Global Warming?” [Ilya Somin/Volokh]
  • From UN and oddly uncontroversial Human Rights Watch, pressure on U.S. to alter labor law in union-friendly direction [ShopFloor, Chamber Post]
  • Recent academic conferences: “2009 National Forum on the Human Right to Housing” [Nov. 2009, Georgetown Law] “International and Comparative Law Review Symposium on the significance of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities” [Loyola L.A., Mar. 2010]
  • At whose expense? “UN General Assembly Invents a Right to Water and Sanitation” [GGW, BoingBoing]
  • Again, some survivors of U.S.S. Cole attack on U.S. military personnel sue government of Sudan [Jay Nordlinger/NRO "Corner", related paper by Elizabeth Bahr, George Mason]
  • Copying liberals’ homework, some anti-abortionists claim mantle of international human rights for their cause [NRO "Bench Memos," approvingly, via Ku/OJ]
  • “An Eminently Sound Approach to (Supposed) International Human Rights Norms, from the 9th Circuit” [Volokh]
  • What Keynes knew: after 92 years, Germany finally pays off the last Versailles reparations [Marian Tupy, Cato at Liberty]