- “Executive Power in the Age of Obama,” podcast interview with Prof. David Bernstein about his new book Lawless, from Encounter Books [Liberty and Law] And so many choices: Bernstein picks his top five acts of Obama administration lawlessness;
- Donations-wise, law firms love Hillary Clinton [Above the Law] as do teachers’ unions [RiShawn Biddle]
- “The Criminalization Of Politics: Is It Happening, And Is It A Problem?” David Lat covers the Federalist Society convention panel [Above the Law]
- Donald Trump’s fondness for legal threats can be traced back to his early association with infamous attorney Roy Cohn [Business Insider video with Michael D’Antonio; June 1989 Spy magazine “Those Who Can, Sue” noting the Trump/Cohn connection; a Steven Brill anecdote about Cohn and Ford Motor that I quoted in my first book] More: @andrewmgrossman on “Ex. 1 to defendant’s anti-SLAPP motion,” Trump on Kasich;
- “Sheldon Silver lied to us” [New York Daily News editorial] More: Lawyers for Silver “don’t plan to call any witnesses. They will instead enter some documents as evidence in their defense, offering a case so minimal that U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni used air quotes when referring to it.” [WSJ]
- Raunchy emails in Kathleen Kane saga: “Pennsylvania’s attorney general seems to have decided that if she has to go, she’s going to take others down with her.” [AP/Yahoo]
- Eternal return? Ex-con reinstalled as mayor of Bridgeport, Ct. played key role in cities-sue-gun-business episode [U.S. News, back then]
The topic came up again at Tuesday’s Democratic debate, and even if Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) hesitated to defend his vote in favor of the gun-lawsuit-curbing Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), I’m happy to defend it for him at Cato. More: David Freddoso, Washington Examiner, Adam Lidgett, International Business Times. Earlier on PLCAA and Hillary Clinton last week and more generally on the law.
P.S. Although some critics of PLCAA describe it as if it were some sort of absolute and across-the-board bar to liability, the law in fact is carefully crafted to permit liability across a range of situations. Taking advantage of one of those exceptions, plaintiffs just obtained a $6 million verdict against a Wisconsin gun dealer that they argued had winked at evidence that a customer was really a “straw buyer” purchasing a firearm for someone else. More: Jacob Sullum; George Leef/Forbes.
Remarks by presidential candidate Hillary Clinton have brought an old topic of mine — gunmaker liability, and the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act — back into the news [Brian Doherty, Reason] I last wrote about it in this piece for Power Line Blog two years ago, and the attempt to use coordinated litigation to take down the gun industry, thus achieving gun control by other means, was the subject of a chapter in my 2004 book The Rule of Lawyers.
The new lawsuit by the prominent Connecticut personal-injury firm of Koskoff, Koskoff, and Bieder [news coverage: WSJ Law Blog, CNN] seeks to get around the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act by latching on to the law’s narrow exception for “negligent entrustment.” That’s not a reasonable reading of the law, and I argue in a new post at Cato at Liberty that courts should toss attempts like these to revive gun control through litigation, all the more so because legislative attempts to overturn PLCAA (as I discussed last year) are rightfully going nowhere.
Some out there seem to think it’s okay to use litigation as a way of lashing out against opponents, whether by way of a winning case or not:
Newtown families sue gunmaker for massacre http://t.co/ZmbbAqd0lL good for them even tho may be dismd at least they take a swing at them
— Danny Wash (@danwash) December 15, 2014
More: “The Sandy Hook Families’ Lawsuit Against Bushmaster Will Fail. Here’s Why.” [Bob Adams, Bearing Arms] And Eugene Volokh’s analysis breaks down the provisions of PLCAA and its interaction with the specifics of Connecticut law, concluding that “unless there is some evidence that the defendant manufacturers and gun sellers in this case violated some specific gun regulations (judgments actually made by legislatures), plaintiffs’ claim will go nowhere — and rightly so, I think.” Yet more: Steve Chapman.
I’ve got a guest column up at the widely read PowerLine blog, my first there, countering misleading criticisms of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in the Washington Post and elsewhere. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is trying to rally efforts to gut or repeal PLCAA in line with the critics’ charges, but his efforts have picked up little traction thus far.
P.S. Thanks to Eugene Volokh for the link and kind words (“I generally quite agree with it, except that the title (‘six myths about the law that bans gun lawsuits’ is imprecise — the law bans many lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers, but by no means all,” citing the law’s sec. 4(5)(A).)
And that includes Judge Reinhardt.
- A triumph for good sense, good policy, and the Constitution: Supreme Court declines to disturb 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, thus ending NYC’s wrongful and unfair lawsuit against gun makers [AP/Law.com] Interestingly, the Obama administration joined its predecessor in urging that the law’s constitutionality not be questioned [Alphecca] One of my fond memories is of giving the lead presentation to the House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the bill during its drive for passage.
- “Tinkering With DWI Evidence Costs NY Judge and Law Prof Their Jobs” [ABA Journal; Buffalo, N.Y.]
- Coalition of media organizations urges First Circuit to reverse judge’s “truth-no-defense” defamation ruling, but the Circuit denies en banc rehearing [Bayard/Citizen Media Law and sequel; earlier]
- Car-crash arbitration-fixing angle heating up in probe of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania judicial scandals [ABA Journal]
- ACORN helping with the Census? Based on their voter work, we can be sure they’ll give it that 110% effort [Jammie Wearing Fool]
- To protect the public, why do you ask? Cook County, Ill. sheriff engages in “constant surveillance of Craigslist’s erotic services” [Patrick at Popehat]
- Imposed-contract provisions mean that Employee Free Choice Act is “not as bad as thought. It’s worse!” [Kaus]
- West Virginia lawmaker proud of introducing ban-Barbie bill: “If I’ve helped just 10 kids out with this, to me it was worth it” [AP/Charleston Gazette-Mail, earlier]
Don Surber welcomes Hizzoner’s conversion; Sister Toldjah remains to be convinced (disclaimer; and see quote from me here; our page on firearms litigation and regulation). More: By coincidence, the Bloomberg administration is in court at the moment trying to argue that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act doesn’t actually put the kibosh on the city’s gun suits, despite a mountain of evidence that it was intended to do just that (Mark Hamblett, “2nd Circuit Hears Arguments on Letting NYC’s Gun Suit Go to Trial, New York Law Journal, Sept. 24).
- In the Supreme Court November 29: Watters v. Wachovia. Also an AEI panel November 28, broadcast on C-SPAN1, 2pm to 4pm Eastern. [Point of Law; AEI; Zywicki @ Volokh]
- Also in the Supreme Court November 29: Massachusetts v. EPA global warming regulation case. Previously an AEI panel November 21. [Adler @ Volokh; AEI; C-SPAN (Real Media)]
- Legal cliche: If the facts are against you, pound the law; if the law is against you, pound the facts; if both are against you, pound the table. Table-pounding class of Gerry Spence protegee offers lessons in emotionally creating jury sympathy worth millions. [LATimes]
- What judicial activism?, Part 7356: Indiana state court judge holds “Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act” unconstitutional, complains gun industry supported the law. [Indianapolis Star via Bashman; Indiana Law Blog]
- Entertaining doctor victory in medmal case. [Musings of a Dinosaur via Kevin MD]
- Dahlia Lithwick gets something right; if only it was on an issue more important than a suit advertisement. [Slate]
- Leftover from Thanksgiving: lawyers acting like turkeys. [Ambrogi]
- Ninth Circuit grants potential standing to monkeys over Kozinski dissent. Earlier: Oct. 21, 2004. [Bashman roundup of links]
- Gloria Allred joins the Borat pile-on. [LATimes]
- Speaking of, here’s the future case of Allred v. Kramer. More Allred: Oct. 16. [Evanier]
- Speaking of Allred nostalgia, and of primates, whatever happened to chimpanzee victim St. James Davis? (Mar. 17, 2005; Mar. 8, 2005) [Inside Edition; “The Original Musings”; CNN Pipeline ($)]
- More Allred nostalgia: is Veronica Mars‘ Francis Capra the next Hunter Tylo? Discuss. [Prettier than Napoleon]
The first battle over the constitutionality and scope of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is taking place in Judge Weinstein’s courtroom in City of New York v. Beretta U.S.A. Corp.. The AEI Liability Project has the briefing available in the November 29 entry in its Documents in the News page. Previous coverage: Apr. 13, 2004, Nov. 9, and Nov. 25.