Quick Obama signing predicted: “USA shows strong support for new global Arms Trade Treaty” [Amnesty International] Senate less enthusiastic about it [The Hill] A dissent: non-lefty Prof. Ku doesn’t think treaty poses big gun control danger [Opinio Juris]
“A pencil is a weapon when it is pointed at someone in a threatening way and gun noises are made” [NBC Washington] Time was when you could get the counselors on your case if you *didn’t* bring a Swiss Army knife on a nature trip [Free-Range Kids] “High School Student Expelled for Unloaded Gun Forgotten In Trunk” [same]
“Studios fret that New York’s gun laws could hamper film production” [NYTimes]
“Why maximal enforcement of federal gun laws is not always a good idea” [Kopel] “The Worst Gun Control Idea Has Bipartisan Support” (new mandatory minimums for firearm possession; Daniel Denvir, The New Republic)
Food Safety Modernization Act would impose only modest costs on farmers, or so we kept being assured when it passed in 2010. Someone tell the orchard guys [WaPo, earlier] Town of Brooksville becomes ninth in Maine to pass symbolic “food sovereignty” resolution [Jordan Bloom, The American Conservative; Food Renegade (Dan Brown of Blue Hill)]
“Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food” by lawprof Timothy Lytton [Prawfs]
“Why Is Your Child’s Safety The Responsibility Of Some Stranger Who Sold You Instant Soup?” [Amy Alkon]
Aaron Powell ties Bloomberg’s soda ban in with John Stuart Mill and the dreadful-sounding new book Against Autonomy [Libertarianism.org] Too bad editors of the New York Daily News, which lives by newsstand choice, can’t identify with food choice [Charles Cooke]
D.C. councilmember sponsors bill requiring gun owners to buy $250K liability insurance [WaPo, earlier] Discussion of mandatory liability insurance for gun owners with Jacob Sullum, Don Taylor of Duke, and Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute [Reason/HuffPost]
“Obama’s gun agenda is at least as much about provoking Republicans to say and do things to alienate women voters as it is about passing laws.” [@davidfrum]
Some of the “hazing” rules sound innocuous, if extensive, like being forbidden from wearing the sorority colors of pink and green or any colors that could be blended into pink and green. In one humorous moment, the lawsuit notes that the pledges, who were called the “sweets,” couldn’t even wear white pearls.
Other hazing allegations are more serious. At one point, the pledges were told not to talk to non-sorority members at Howard, according to the suit. “[Alpha Kappa Alpha members] on campus addressed the sweets by calling them weak bitches,” Compton’s mother wrote in a complaint to the sorority.
After Cofield’s mother, also an Alpha Kappa Alpha sister, complained, the two pledges found themselves ostracized in the sorority for being “snitch-friendly” or “snitch-sympathists.”…
The aspiring sisters say they’re being discriminated against because, as legacies, their mothers were also in the sorority. In other words, they’re being treated differently because of their “familial status”—a protected class under the D.C. Human Rights Act. In addition to monetary damages, the would-be Alpha Kappa Alphas want the court to grant an injunction putting the pledging process on hold.
The first shipment of the new [SmarTrip card] machines did not have the audio and Braille features required under the Americans with Disabilities Act. But Metro thought it could roll out the machines and add the audio and Braille a couple of months later. When disability advocates raised concerns, Metro realized that going forward would violate the ADA, and the transit agency halted the rollout.
So nearly three weeks after every station was to have its own SmarTrip card dispenser, riders at nearly half of the stations in the Metrorail system are out of luck if they need to buy a card.
Riders who stay with paper Farecards are charged an extra dollar a trip.
In a free country you can’t keep out a restaurant because you dislike its owner’s politics [Boston Herald on Chick-Fil-A controversy, more on death through regulatory delay as a city tactic, mayor's letter in PDF; good discussions at Amy Alkon and Popehat/Ken] Comments: “Inclusion. He gives this as justification for excluding someone.” [Ken R at Alkon] “Also, has Boston ever been ‘at the forefront of inclusion’?” [@thad_anderson]
For a powerful vignette of what can happen in certain big cities when the ruling government nomenklatura comes to view the local merchantry as there by sufferance, see John Kass’s recent Chicago Tribune column, recalling the struggles of his Greek immigrant grocer father, via David Zincavage.
P.S. Speaking of taking outspoken stands on same-sex marriage, Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed covers a (very successful!) fundraiser I helped throw over the weekend for like-minded folks in Maryland and D.C. If you’d like to donate as part of the event, you can do so here.
Prediction: Homeland Security to emerge as major regulatory agency prescribing security rules to private sector [Stewart Baker] Regulators fret: air travel’s gotten so safe it’s hard for us to justify new authority [Taranto via Instapundit] “Romney’s regulatory plan” [Penn RegBlog]
“‘Temporary’ Takings That Cause Permanent Damage Still Require Just Compensation” [Ilya Shapiro, Cato]
On the ObamaCare decision’s wild card, the ruling on “coercive” conditions on Medicaid grants under the Spending Clause [Mike McConnell, Ilya Somin] Ramesh Ponnuru argues that ruling is no victory for supporters of limited government [Bloomberg]
Used and vintage dealers in Adams-Morgan and other in-town Washington, D.C. neighborhoods are aghast at city regulations that would require secondhand dealers “to submit to MPD’s [the Metropolitan Police Department's] pawn unit a detailed list of goods acquired each time they make a purchase. Additionally, MPD wants the stores to hold items for 15 days for police inspection before they can be sold.” Whether or not such regulations make sense as applied to traditional pawnshops, dealers in vintage apparel, records and books say it would make their business uneconomic or drive them to the suburbs. [Prince of Petworth, DCist]
Update: Via Twitter, the D.C. government says after talking with business owners it is proposing to exempt book, record and apparel resellers from having to get a secondhand goods license; they would need only a general business license. It also says the regulations to the contrary are not new but have simply gone unenforced before now (via Alexander Cohen, Business Rights Center).
…and so Washington, D.C. watches with some satisfaction as government agencies and congressional panels begin to take bites at the super-successful company on antitrust, tax and other grounds. [David Boaz, Cato-at-Liberty and New York Daily News]. More on the affluent culture of Washington D.C. from Andrew Ferguson [via MR]
In Georgetown, for instance, Eastbanc has proposed to replace the Canal Rd. Exxon with a five story condo building. From a true historic preservation perspective, there’s not much of a case against the project. It wouldn’t break up the rhythm of the block and the proposed style, while not particularly elegant, was at least not discordant.
But neighbors along Prospect Street would lose a part of their fabulous view across the Potomac. So they argued vociferously during the design review process that the project should be reduced to preserve their views. This had little to nothing to do with genuine historic preservation. … This pattern is repeated frequently in Georgetown and in other historic districts.
The local opponents have thus far blocked the project, which means the historic district is still adorned with the Key Bridge Exxon. One might ask the neighbors whether they feel a gas station enhances the neighborhood’s quaint Nineteenth Century ambiance, except that, taking a leaf from lower Manhattanites, they might say it does.
I’ve got a new opinion piece up at the Daily Caller correcting some of the Washington Post’s persistent misconceptions about self-defense law, on both its editorial and reporting sides. Sample:
… how [Post reporters] Fisher and Eggen do stack their lead anecdote. Their opening paragraphs tell of a youth who innocently “knocked at the wrong door” and was greeted by an irate homeowner who, seemingly without reason or provocation, blasted him in the chest, only to be set free by the police, since in Florida, the victim’s father sorrowfully avers, it seems “the shooter’s word is the law.”
Pretty horrifying, right? It takes 17 paragraphs of unrelated matter before the first scraps of the other side of the story emerge: it was 4 a.m. and the youth, bipolar and “blitzed” on alcohol that night, was ignoring repeated pleas to leave a property with a young mother and baby inside; the husband/shooter (whom the Post never managed to reach for his side of the story) told police that he had asked his wife to call 911, which hadn’t shown up; that he had warned the intruder many times, and fired only after being “lurched” at; he was then arrested, “but Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia concluded that his actions were ‘justified.’”
Also, correspondent Lee Pacchia interviewed me at Bloomberg Law about the law’s application to the Trayvon Martin case in a 9 minute+ segment posted today. More commentary from my Cato Institute colleague Tim Lynch at Jurist. Earlier here.
Updated twice: According to college paper Nota Bene, the student bar association Senate at George Washington University is asking the law school to consider a proposed policy which would attach substantial new restrictions to student decisions to invite speakers from “hate groups” to campus. (More: GW Patriot; a list of the asked-for restrictions, which include hiring security personnel at the expense of the inviting group and making “this is a hate group speaker” pre-announcements to audiences, is here; Nota Bene reports that the demand will not be considered this semester, and other sources say NB coverage has overstated how far the proposal managed to get). Making matters especially problematic, the blacklist would consist of groups designated as “hate groups” by Morris Dees’s Southern Poverty Law Center [SPLC] or the Anti-Defamation League.
Dees, long a deeplycontroversialpublic figure and polemicist, has been roundly criticized in recent years for expanding his list of “hate” and “extremist” groups, sent to law enforcement groups across the country, far beyond violent and criminal groups to include organizations and websites that advocate various (typically conservative) causes in a vehement and unpleasant manner, and thus offend liberal SPLC donors (and typically offend me as well). This year SPLC came in for widespread derision when it added a new category in its hate group report for “pickup artist” blogs, a target of feminist ire.
The demands for a policy change at GW were apparently triggered by an appearance on campus by the anti-gay Family Research Council, a spinoff of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family group. I have about as low an opinion of the FRC as it’s possible to have, but it’s not exactly to be confused with the Aryan Nations — major Republican politicians are willing to appear at its events, for example — and if you’re a student at a law school, it’s probably not a bad idea to be made aware that there are people out there with a wide range of views on the controversies of the day.
When I speak to audiences about the ideological law school atmosphere described in Schools for Misrule, I’m sometimes asked whether the pressures for conformity and silence are getting worse. Usually I argue the reverse, that law schools have tended to become more open in recent years to a broad spectrum of debate. If the advocates pushing the GWU initiative manage to get their proposal taken seriously by the law faculty, I may need to revise my thinking. [Updated 3/28 to reflect subsequent NotaBene report and questioning of its coverage; h/t Peter Bonilla, FIRE]
Per Chevron, Kerry Kennedy getting undisclosed percentage of the take, potentially in millions, to side with plaintiffs in Ecuador suit [NY Post] Long New Yorker take-out on case [Patrick Radden Keefe]
Freetail Brewing fields a nastygram: “How to Comply With a Cease-and-Desist Letter But Still Win” [Lowering the Bar]
I.e. boycotts illegal? Odd Minnesota law bans economic “reprisals” based on “political activity.” [Volokh]
“Chris McGrath v. Vaughan Jones: An Unpleasant Peek Into U.K. Libel Law” [Popehat; suit over science-and-theology book review] Related: “You Can’t Read This Book: why libel tourists love London” [Nick Cohen, Guardian, on his new book]
Business experience isn’t be-all or end-all for presidential qualifications, but might avert some policy howlers [Kling]
“Arbitration Is Here to Stay and One Lawyer Says That Is Good for Consumers” [Alan Kaplinsky interview, Mickey Meese/Forbes, PoL]
Off-topic random thought: “Iranian nuclear scientist who moonlights in Broadway Spider-Man cast” must be world’s most uninsurable job description;
“D.C. Lawmakers Propose Requiring Students to Apply to College” [Fox]
Get your copy today!My new book tackles the question of why so many bad ideas come from the law schools. "Cutting-edge commentary, hard-hitting, witty, astute." -- Publisher's Weekly. "Excellent... A fine dissection of these strangely powerful institutions" -- Wall Street Journal.