A Jamaican official says British Prime Minister David Cameron must “apologize personally” because “his lineage has been traced and his forefathers were slave-owners” Well, no. [Brendan O’Neill, The Spectator; Daniel Hannan; NY Times “Room for Debate”; earlier here and here, etc.] More on reparations here and here; I wrote about them at chapter length in Schools for Misrule.
- “Lawyers Won 10x Fee Payoff By Avoiding Competition, Objector Claims” [Daniel Fisher, Center for Class Action Fairness on Capital One TCPA settlement]
- DMCA surprise: “Automakers are supporting provisions in copyright law that could prohibit home mechanics and car enthusiasts from repairing and modifying their own vehicles.” [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; Pete Bigelow, AutoBlog]
- Comments deadline May 19 on proposed Indian Child Welfare Act regulations; American Academy of Adoption Attorneys files comments warning they go beyond statute, will harm kids [related group, earlier and general]
- Asbestos lawsuits are “economic engine” of rural Edwardsville, Ill. [Associated Press]
- Chicago pays damages to victims of police torture, suggestively labeled “reparations” [Sandhya Somashekhar, Washington Post, thanks for quote]
- Court dismisses pro se litigant’s handwritten “God v. gays” complaint for lack of basis for federal jurisdiction, other predictable deficiencies [Volokh, Lowering the Bar and followup]
- “Starbucks not liable in police coffee-spill case, jury decides” [WRAL, earlier]
Now this is welcome: the New York Times (via Ronald Bailey) has a column by George Johnson jumping off from the question of whether locating a giant telescope on Mauna Kea would unfairly desecrate the religious and ancestral heritage of (some) native Hawaiians. Johnson notes:
While biblical creationists opposing the teaching of evolution have been turned back in case after case, American Indian tribes have succeeded in using their own religious beliefs and a federal law called the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to empty archaeological museums of ancestral bones — including ones so ancient that they have no demonstrable connection to the tribe demanding their reburial. The most radical among them refuse to bow to a science they don’t consider their own. A few even share a disbelief in evolution, professing to take literally old myths in which the first people crawled out of a hole in the ground.
In this turn back toward the dark ages, it is not just skeletal remains that are being surrendered. Under the federal law, many ceremonial artifacts are also up for grabs. While some archaeologists lament the loss of scientific information, Indian creationism is tolerated out of a sense of guilt over past wrongdoings.
Even some scientists bow and go along in the spirit of reparations, while admitting the loss to human inquiry and future knowledge. Earlier on NAGPRA and the Kennewick Man controversy here, here, etc.
- California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
- Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
- Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
- Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
- 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
- Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times “Room for Debate”]
- Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]
- While Bond v. U.S. ruling was a letdown, notably absent was a liberal concurrence defending broad treaty power against critique of Thomas, Scalia et al [Noah Feldman, Bloomberg View, Peter Spiro/Opinio Juris, Julian Ku and John Yoo, David Golove And Marty Lederman]
- Think before you ratify: in controlled experiment, framing proposed change in domestic law as “required by human rights treaty” boosted support especially among Republicans [Spiro/OJ; more on international human rights treaties here]
- Sen. Ted Cruz publishes “Limits To the Treaty Power” in Harvard Law Review Forum [FedSoc Blog, Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz]
- “The Ever Expanding Role of Trade Agreements: Human Rights” [Simon Lester, Cato]
- EU brass, reformist NGOs insisted that Romania shut down international adoption. Too bad what happened then [Meghan Collins Sullivan/World Affairs Journal, Stephen Beale/National Catholic Register]
- UK plaintiff’s firm Leigh Day helping Caribbean nations in reparations suit against UK [Telegraph, related]
- Not so liberal: Russia cites U.N. Convention on Rights of the Child in rationalizing anti-gay legislation [Box Turtle Bulletin; related on illiberal treaty applications in internet censorship (related), marijuana (related, earlier)]
* John McWhorter, “The Case Against Racial Reparations” [The Daily Beast]
* Jonathan Blanks, “Why Aren’t There More Black Libertarians?” [Libertarianism.org]
* Richard Epstein on Coates’ “acute tunnel vision” and misreadings of individual rights [Hoover “Defining Ideas”]
Plus: not a reaction but an older piece, “How Far Back Should We Go? Why Restitution Should Be Small” [Tyler Cowen, 2002, PDF]
- Worst article of the week? Cheering on tort lawsuits as a way to trip up legalized pot [John Walters and Tom Riley, Weekly Standard]
- Remember not long ago when they used to tout VA health care as a success story and model to be imposed on other health providers? [James Taranto, recalling Paul Krugman, Ezra Klein and many others; more thoughts from Coyote and Roger Pilon]
- Muscle and intimidation: union + allies surge onto Oak Brook, Ill. McDonald’s headquarters property, closing key management building [Bloomberg; related earlier here, here, here, etc.] Yesterday I got into a Twitter conversation with Tim Noah (defending the protesters’ action) and William Freeland (siding with my own view), culminating in this rather startling comment from a Center for American Progress/ThinkProgress reporter: “This entire convo backs up the point the private property law itself functions as gov’t cronyism for the wealthy.” Wow!
- Long, impassioned Ta-Nehisi Coates case for reparations [Atlantic, sidebar, Jonathan Blanks, my 2008 thoughts which eventually grew into a chapter in Schools for Misrule]
- “Insurers Demand $2 Million for Negligent Squirrel-Torching” [Holland Twp., Mich.; Lowering the Bar]
- R.I.P. left-wing historian Gabriel Kolko, whose project of de-mythologizing the Progressive Era won him a large libertarian fan base; initially contemptuous of that fan base, he came eventually to mellow with age and discern elements of common ground [Jesse Walker]
- Hard lesson for Congress to learn: “Hawaiians simply aren’t American Indians in the constitutional sense” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato, background]
“It was the craziest thing I have ever seen,” one former high-ranking department official said. “We had applications for kids who were 4 or 5 years old. We had cases where every single member of the family applied.” The official added, “You couldn’t have designed it worse if you had tried.” …
Accusations of unfair treatment could be checked against department files if claimants had previously received loans. But four-fifths of successful claimants had never done so. For them, “there was no way to refute what they said,” said Sandy Grammer, a former program analyst from Indiana who reviewed claims for three years. “Basically, it was a rip-off of the American taxpayers.” …
In 16 ZIP codes in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina, the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race in 1997, the year the lawsuit was filed. Those applicants received nearly $100 million.
At Prawfsblawg, Paul Horwitz notes that legal scholars active in areas like reparations and discrimination law have up to now said little or nothing about the high quantum of fraud in the much-publicized Pigford settlements and asks (perhaps a bit rhetorically?) whether they will soon be taking note of the “public interest graft” revealed in the Times piece. And Hans Bader wonders whether the Obama administration might have avoided going down the embarrassing settlement route had it taken more seriously the Supreme Court’s 2001 decision in Alexander v. Sandoval. More: Ted Frank, Point of Law; Daniel Foster, NRO. Joel Pollak: “Even the Kinko’s guy knows about Pigford.” Earlier here, etc.