- Electric-car maker Tesla doesn’t get many kind words from free market types, but here’s one [Coyote] More: North Carolina auto dealer lobby strikes back [News & Observer]
- One lawyer’s selection of the worst lawyer billboards, though they’re far from the worst we’ve seen [John M. Phillips]
- House hearings on litigation abuse and on litigation and international competitiveness [Judiciary, more, Point of Law]
- Ninth Circuit cites conflict of interest, throws out credit reporting class settlement [Trial Insider; Daniel Fisher]
- Private pensions, market-based water rates and more: “Australian travel notes from a policy wonk” [Alex Tabarrok]
- “Use elevators properly. Riding outside of cars can be dangerous and deadly” [Scouting NY, seen in Bronx apartment building]
- “It’s long been my view that blawgs, law blogs, are the greatest peer reviewed content ever created.” [Greenfield]
- In quiet retreat from STOCK Act, Congress dispenses with trading transparency for its staff [Prof. Bainbridge]
- Deep-pocket quest: hotel named as additional defendant in Florida A&M hazing death [Orlando Sentinel, earlier]
- “Keynes didn’t expect to have kids so he didn’t care about the future” wheeze long predates Niall Ferguson [Kenneth Silber; my new post at IGF, where I’ve also been posting lately on the topic of adoption]
- Ten and five (respectively) reasons for a plaintiff’s lawyer to turn down a personal injury case [Eric Turkewitz, Max Kennerly]
- Setback for man seeking to trademark “Eat More Kale” [AP, earlier]
- Gawker is now on the UK “Warning: This bag of nuts may contain nuts” case [earlier]
- Overlawyered’s Twitter feed just passed the 7,000-follower mark, while our Facebook page, which recently stood at 1,000 likes, has now surged to nearly 2,500. Thanks for following and liking, and if you’d like to engage with other parts of Cato on social media, check out this nifty guide by Zach Graves.
- Visual representation of debate result (courtesy Chris Fountain) “Obama should have spent more time in court” [David Frum] “Can you imagine the rewards points we earned by paying for wars with the national credit card?” [@BCAppelbaum via @TPCarney]
- Correcting the tax side of the debate: factory relocation, oil deductions, corporate jets [Daniel Mitchell, Cato-at-Liberty]
- Race heats up for three Florida justices [Insurance Journal, earlier] Unions campaign for incumbent justices even as court deliberates on pension lawsuit [Sunshine State News]
- Maybe Rep. Todd Akin isn’t the most unscientific member of the House Science Committee after all [TPM]
- Yes, the HHS welfare work waiver is a real issue [WSJ editorial]
- “Whistle-Blower Lawyers Throw Support Behind Obama” [NYT via FedSoc]
- Michael Greve doesn’t hold back, tells us what he really thinks of Mme. Warren [Law and Liberty]
The federal government should keep its busy hands off local traffic laws — and that goes for bribing states to its will, as well as issuing direct orders. Today the House will debate a measure that would make that point by cutting off a fledgling program that would pay states for doing what “distracted driving” crusader and DoT secretary Ray LaHood lacks the constitutional authority or political capital to do directly. I explain in my new post at Cato at Liberty.
- Jackpot justice and New Jersey pharmacies (with both a Whitney Houston and a Ted Frank angle) [Fox, PoL, our Jan. 3 post]
- New Mexico: “Trial lawyers object to spaceport limits” [Las Cruces Bulletin]
- Dodd-Frank: too big not to fail [The Economist] Robert Teitelman (The Deal) on new Stephen Bainbridge book Corporate Governance After the Financial Crisis [HuffPo] Securities suits: “trial lawyers probably won’t be able to defend a defective system forever” [WSJ Dealpolitik]
- Uh-oh: U.K. Labour opposition looks at unleashing U.S.-style class actions [Guardian] “U.K. Moves ‘No Win, No Fee’ Litigation Reforms to 2013” [Suzi Ring, Legal Week]
- More on controls on cold medicines as anti-meth measure [Radley Balko, Megan McArdle, Xeni Jardin, earlier here, here, here]
- Recognizable at a distance: “In Germany, a Limp Domestic Economy Stifled by Regulation” [NY Times]
- Fewer lawyers in Congress these days [WSJ Law Blog]
“Rights-bearing individuals do not forfeit those rights when they associate in groups” argue my Cato colleagues Ilya Shapiro and Caitlyn McCarthy in the John Marshall Law Review [SSRN via Cato at Liberty]:
Much of the criticism of Citizens United stems from the claim that the Constitution does not protect corporations because they are not “real” people. … This essay will demonstrate why the common argument that corporations lack rights because they aren’t people demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of both the nature of corporations and the First Amendment.
Meanwhile, Virginia blogger/attorney Doug Mataconis [via the much missed Larry Ribstein] analyzes a constitutional amendment advanced by a number of Democratic representatives and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) which would, among other provisions, propose to abolish the constitutional rights of incorporated businesses, with the possible exception of rights held by “the press.” The measure would also impose a constitutional prohibition on (not just authorize official regulation of) such businesses’ engagement in “expenditures,” such as buying newspaper ads expressing their views, during initiative and referendum campaigns as well as elections for office.
Along with abolishing incorporated businesses’ rights, the Sanders proposal contains a further provision of high importance (flagged by Eugene Volokh) that would abolish the constitutional rights of any and all non-profits and similar private entities that are “established … to promote business interests,” and would impose on them the same constitutionally mandated silence during initiatives, referenda and the like. Note the results of this language, which we must presume are intentional: in, say, a fight over a ballot measure that would increase some business tax, the citizens’ committee organized to agitate against the tax would be forbidden to expend money upon a determination that it had been “established … to promote business interests.” Such a private group would also be deemed to have no constitutional rights of any other sort — rights against, say, having its meetings stormed and broken up by police. Meanwhile, the citizens’ committee organized to agitate for the tax would retain not only its rights to speak and to spend money on behalf of its views but also all its other constitutional rights. Rarely do politicians, in this country at least, make it so clear in advance that their intent is to silence their opponents.
Who are the lawmakers who would propose such a measure? The House version was introduced by Rep. Theodore Deutch [FL] and its co-sponsors are Reps. Steve Cohen [TN], John Conyers, Jr. [MI], Peter DeFazio [OR], Keith Ellison [MN], Sam Farr [CA], Barney Frank [MA], Marcia Fudge [OH], Raul Grijalva [AZ], Alcee Hastings [FL], Sheila Jackson Lee [TX], “Hank” Johnson, Jr. [GA], Rick Larsen [WA], John Larson [CT], Barbara Lee [CA], Carolyn Maloney [NY], Jim McDermott [WA], Frank Pallone, Jr. [NJ], Chellie Pingree [ME], Charles Rangel [NY], Betty Sutton [OH], Chris Van Hollen [MD], and Peter Welch [VT].
They’re coming up within the next few days, but Prof. Bainbridge warns that the draft legislation circulating from the office of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is “bizarre” and “toothless.” Earlier here, here, etc.
More: Gillibrand’s office says the weakness of the proposal was due to an inadvertent drafting error and that it will be given teeth. C-SPAN covers the hearing, the SEC and Sen. Scott Brown make their views known, Todd Henderson and Larry Ribstein take a contrarian position, and Prof. Bainbridge covers the scholarly testimony.