“A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was ‘racist,’ the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.” Police calls seem to be a frequent occurrence in the local schools: “Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.” [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- In the mail: “No Child Left Alone: Getting the Government Out of Parenting,” forthcoming book by Abby Wisse Schachter [more: Pittsburgh Tribune Eric Heyl interview]
- Neighbor reports Winnipeg mom to child services for letting kids play in fenced-in back yard [Canadian Press/National Post via Amy Alkon]
- “Public space in Germany is not held hostage by liability lawsuits; Berlin playgrounds are not designed by lawyers.” And they’re awesome [Anna Winger, New York Times]
- Controversy intensifies further on Scotland’s Named Person scheme [Scottish Mail on Sunday (“complete stranger” will be assigned as Named Person to each child over school holidays), Gerald Warner/CapX, earlier here and here]
- Omar Mateen’s road to becoming a security guard: “He had issues. All the records were discarded by the school system, per statute. Clearly, if his employer had access to his juvenile record, he would be the last person to own a weapon.” [Yahoo]
- Kansas Supreme Court orders state legislature to increase funding for poor districts [ABA Journal, earlier here, here, etc.]
- Left-right cooperation on school reform begins to break down amid demands to toe social justice line [Robert Pondiscio]
- Disparage at thy peril: three Democratic lawmakers demand FTC investigation of private group that purchased $58,000 in ads disparaging CFPB, a government agency [ABC News] So many politicos targeting their opponents’ speech these days [Barton Hinkle]
- A pattern we’ve seen over the years: promoting himself as outspoken social conservative, trial lawyer running for chairman of Republican Party of Texas [Mark Pulliam, SE Texas Record]
- Some of which goes to union political work: “Philly Pays $1.5 Million to ‘Ghost Teachers'” [Evan Grossman, Pennsylvania Watchdog via Jason Bedrick]
- “However objectionable one might find Trump’s rhetoric, the [event-disrupting] protesters are in the wrong.” [Bill Wyman/Columbia Journalism Review, earlier]
- Hillary Clinton’s connections to Wal-Mart go way back, and hooray for that [Ira Stoll and column]
- I went out canvassing GOP voters in Maryland before the primary. Here’s what they told me. [Ricochet]
- California appeals court says state’s teacher tenure law doesn’t violate Equal Protection Clause, similar suits pending in NY, Minn. [ABA Journal, Neal McCluskey/Cato, earlier on Vergara case]
- Maryland to local school district: no, families can’t opt out from standardized tests, we might lose federal funds [Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Frederick News-Post]
- Teachers fearful as disorder spreads in St. Paul, Minn. schools [Joanne Jacobs, background on feds’ role]
- Somerset County, N.J.: “It’s ‘harassment’ for a sixth-grader to criticize vegetarianism to a vegetarian classmate” [Eugene Volokh]
- UK agency reverses decision to downgrade rating of pre-school for not teaching cultural diversity [Guardian]
- Schools have rules, but only up to a point: “NY moves to allow illegal immigrants to teach in public schools” [Malia Zimmerman, Fox News]
A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment—and much of the comment is in opposition to lifting the ban.
Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.
Comments on the proposal are here; for a student-eye recounting of the possible advantages of the proposal, scroll (h/t Ilya Somin) to the fifth letter in the series, by Peter Donohue, editor in chief of the George Mason Civil Rights Law Journal.
It is somewhat surprising (in a good way) to find the ABA inviting such a shakeup of the way things are done in legal academia, and less surprising to find many faculty resisting.
Just as other licensed professionals typically have an incentive to resist competition from alternative providers — lawyers to resist the incursions of paralegals, physicians those of RNs and pharmacists, and so forth — so professional educators have an incentive to resist competition from on-the-job training. That helps explain why the organized providers of government-licensed education are so keen to draw and enforce boundaries in this area: nothing for which the student gets paid should count toward obligatory time spent in education. And yet some employers would bid significant sums for the work efforts of lawyers in training, and that compensation in turn could make a dent in the typically high cost of obtaining a law degree. “Any proposed changes will come back to the council for final consideration in March.”
- Constitutional right to teach children in a foreign language: the story of Meyer v. Nebraska, 1922 [Dave Kopel]
- Court to address Indian law issues in three cases this term: right of counsel in tribal courts, conditions of removal from tribal to federal courts, tax authority on former tribal land [Daniel Fisher]
- As constitutional conservatives go, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are at odds on Lochner. Why that’s important [Roger Pilon]
- 2013 Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell decision hasn’t killed off Alien Tort cases, especially not in Ninth Circuit [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris on rejection of certiorari in Doe v. Nestle, background John Bellinger/Lawfare]
- Textbook-resale case from 2013 term, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, is coming back for a ruling on fee award standards in copyright cases [ArsTechnica]
- High court will review federal court’s jurisdiction to resuscitate denied class certification [Microsoft v. Baker, Ninth Circuit ruling; Fisher]
- “Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh: If You Don’t Want To Be Tracked, Turn Off Your Phone” [Motherboard/Vice on stingray surveillance]
More of people’s reading is being done on Facebook these days, yet Overlawyered has only a few thousand followers there. So please go like us now if you haven’t and recommend us to friends. Our Facebook page tends to share several items a week, mostly about interesting cases, a mix of our own posts and stories published elsewhere (versions of which usually turn up in this space in roundups or otherwise, but why not see them first there?)
The best way to see more Overlawyered on Facebook, and to spread the word, is to directly share our blog posts yourself, whether or not our Facebook page has done so. If you “tag” Overlawyered when you post something, we’ll see that you’ve done this and maybe even send you some Facebook readers.
While we’re at it, I’ll urge you to like my personal Facebook author page, which will get more of my writings to show up on your timeline, most though not all of them on legal subjects. I also have an active personal FB page, mostly aimed at persons with whom I have in-person or professional connections (but all are welcome to “follow”).
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- Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
- “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
- Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
- About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
- Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
- No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
- Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]
On Jan. 11, the Supreme Court hears what may well be the most important case of the term. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 10 teachers have challenged a state requirement that they support political causes with which they disagree and that hurt their students.
At issue is a kind of law that exists in 25 states which forces public-sector workers either to join a union or pay an amount that covers the cost of the union’s collective bargaining. For California teachers, that means annual dues of about $1,000 or “agency fees” of about two-thirds that amount.
— Ilya Shapiro and Jason Bedrick, Orange County Register. More: Shapiro and Jayme Weber, The Federalist; Richard Epstein, Robert Alt first, second (empirical evidence that unions can do well even when nonmembers not obliged to pay agency fees), third (stare decisis) posts, George Will. Earlier on Friedrichs and its predecessor cases Harris v. Quinn and Knox v. SEIU. A contrary view: New York Times editorial.