I’ve been writing more lately on policy issues arising in my adopted state, such as the boat tax and Baltimore’s fight with liquor stores, and you can keep up by following my local Twitter account @walterolsonmd:
- If you think the current federal crusade on disparate minority school discipline rates is unreasonable, check out the Maryland state board of education’s even loopier plans for racial quotas in discipline [Hans Bader and letter, Roger Clegg/Center for Equal Opportunity] “However, there’s no plan for gender balance in school discipline.” [Joanne Jacobs]
- After the state’s high court stigmatized pit bulls as distinctively dangerous, the state legislature has (as warned of in this space) reacted by extending liability to owners of all dogs, “first bite” or not [WaPo] “The trial lawyer’s expert just testified he sees dogs as a man or woman’s ego on the end of a leash.” [Mike Smigiel]
- A Washington Post article asks: “Is the ‘nanny state’ in Montgomery working?” (No, but it makes councilors in the affluent liberal redoubt feel good about themselves.) And even in Montgomery, councilman George Leventhal (D-At Large) spots a Laffer Curve [Dan Mitchell, Cato at Liberty]
- Also in Montgomery, county slates vote next month on union-backed bill to require service contractors to take over employment of displaced workers for 90 days [Gazette] Leventhal is caustic: “I do not only work for SEIU 32BJ. My colleagues may feel they do.” [Rachel Baye, Examiner]
- Despite its solicitude for the SEIU, the county’s concern for low-income workers has its limits, as when property owners seek to increase the stock of affordable housing near jobs by dividing one-family residences into two-family [Ben Ross, Greater Greater Washington]
- “Doctors, hospitals concerned about hefty malpractice awards” [Baltimore Sun]
- MD public pension planners whistle through graveyard [Hayley Peterson, Washington Examiner, Tom Coale/HoCoRising, Ivan Osorio, CEI "Open Market"] The state still hasn’t shaken its AAA bond rating, but Annapolis lawmakers are working to change that by unionizing more state workers [Washington Times]
The New York Times tells of a Beverly Hills, Calif. student who
videotaped friends at a cafe, egging them on as they laughed and made mean-spirited, sexual comments about another eighth-grade girl, C. C., calling her “ugly,” “spoiled,” a “brat” and a “slut.” J. C. posted the video on YouTube. The next day, the school suspended her for two days.
Now, before clicking the link, guess who collected the resulting $107,150.80. Right. Ken at Popehat thinks the judge decided the case in favor of the right party, more or less, which doesn’t keep the right party from also being a deplorably wrong party (strong language, invective, etc.)
Heather Mac Donald in City Journal:
As part of its plan to comply with a federal desegregation order now decades old, Tucson’s school district adopted racial quotas in school discipline this summer. Schools that suspend or expel Hispanic and black students at higher rates than white students will now get a visit from a district “Equity Team” and will be expected to remedy those disparities by reducing their minority discipline rates.
What? They can’t comply by collaring and disciplining a random selection of additional white students?
In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Lochhead quotes me on the Supreme Court pick:
“It’s not as if I think Obama’s incapable of nominating someone who is more adventurous and more activist by nature,” said Walter Olson, a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. “Maybe we should save the all-out blast for when he nominates that one.”
I also have a comment on Ricci v. DeStefano, the lawsuit that arose from relatively blatant discrimination by the city of New Haven against non-minority firefighter applicants. I would not be surprised to learn that Sotomayor’s views on reverse discrimination differed widely from my own, but still note that it’s vaguely incongruous to treat as Exhibit A for a charge of judicial activism an instance in which the judge and her colleagues ducked a case.
Finally, my postings on the Sotomayor nomination continue at Point of Law, including an item on a Connecticut school discipline case where the nominee has drawn fire for (as part of a unanimous panel) siding with the school authorities. More: Jake Tapper, ABC.
Making a federal case out of petty politics in high school cheerleading: Where else but Texas?
The mother of a former Creekview High School cheerleader has filed a federal lawsuit against Carrollton-Farmers Branch schools, arguing the district did not sufficiently discipline cheerleaders who she says bullied her daughter.
The lawsuit, brought by Liz Laningham, argues that the district discriminated against her daughter and “turned a blind eye” to the harassment. The lawsuit could result in a jury trial.
So far as I can tell from the linked story, the main element of damages appears to be that Liz Laningham’s daughter did not make the cheerleading squad in her senior year, after being a member in her junior year. And there are the usual allegations of Facebook frippery, rumors and innuendos within the team, biased judging during senior year tryouts, etc. etc.
What I can’t tell from this Dallas Morning News story is what possible basis Liz Laningham’s lawyer could have for bringing this action in federal court. While various civil rights acts prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, religion, disability, etc., none of those are named as putative grounds for the suit. As for sex and age discrimination, presumably the victim and her harassers are all young women. Does Title IX prohibit girls from being girls?
And does any girl, no matter how spoiled and entitled her mother has made her, have a right to lead cheers?
Just trying to dispose of all the nude cellphone pic lawsuit stories in one weekend, so that we can get back to more seemly litigation topics. (The other one was the case of the couple suing an Arkansas McDonald’s, saying the husband left his cellphone in the restaurant and the nude photos of his wife that were on it wound up on the internet.) In Bothell, Washington, parents of two cheerleaders “have sued the Northshore School District, alleging school officials erred when they suspended the girls from the team this year after nude photos of them circulated throughout the student body via text message.” Cellphone pictures of the two were separately and, it is said, accidentally circulated among fellow students; the lawsuit charges, inter alia, that the school was arbitrary to suspend the two girls while not disciplining students that had seen the pictures. (Jessica Blanchard, “Cheerleaders’ parents sue in nude photos incident”, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Nov. 21).