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wayward Republicans

Texas: a ploy fails

by Walter Olson on March 5, 2014

“Flush with trial lawyer cash, the PAC’s public face is ‘Texans 4 Justice,’ which portrays itself as a conservative grassroots group.” It didn’t work: Texas GOP primary voters yesterday returned incumbent Supreme Court justices. [Texas Observer, Houston Chronicle, earlier]

Related: Plaintiff’s lawyer Steve Mostyn, “omnipresent” in Austin, and his involvement with “Conservative Voters of Texas” [Chamber-backed Legal NewsLine]

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Public employment roundup

by Walter Olson on August 14, 2013

  • “Retirement benefits cost Connecticut more than half of payroll” [Raising Hale] Jagadeesh Gokhale, “State and Local Pension Plans” [Cato] “In the report Krugman cites, the researchers note (repeatedly) that the trillion-dollar figure is very likely a dramatic understatement of the size of the unmet liability.” [Caleb Brown]
  • California: “Bill would reinstate state workers who go AWOL” [Steven Greenhut]
  • Eyebrow-raising federal salaries at unaccountable-by-design CFPB [John Steele Gordon, Commentary]
  • “North Carolina Ends Teacher Tenure” [Pew StateLine]
  • Not all states would benefit from a dose of Scott Walkerism, but Massachusetts would [Charles Chieppo, Governing]
  • “Prison Ordered to Hire Back Guards Fired over an Officer’s Murder Because Everybody Else Was Awful, Too” [Scott Shackford]
  • “New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Disabled Patients” [Danny Hakim, New York Times] NYC educators accused of sex misconduct can dig in for years [New York Daily News]
  • “Pennsylvania’s GOP: Rented by Unions” [Steve Malanga, Public Sector Inc.] NYC’s Working Families Party expands into Connecticut [Daniel DiSalvo, same]

Half a century ago, selling the Tennessee Valley Authority was regarded as a free-marketeers’ politically impossible dream. Now guess who’s for it — and who’s against. (Hint on the latter: R-Tenn.) [Knoxville News via Future of Capitalism]

P.S. More on this welcome Obama initiative from Chris Edwards: “former Cato chairman Bill Niskanen was barred by Congress for even looking into TVA reform when he was on President Reagan’s CEA.” So progress marches on. And: Fortune 1933 article on TVA.

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The House Republican Study Committee calls for reconsideration of over-restrictive copyright law, then un-calls for it a day later [TechDirt, rueful update; Alex Tabarrok]

P.S. And check out this upcoming Dec. 6 Cato discussion of the newly published Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive To Excess (Mercatus Center; Jerry Brito, ed.)

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June 28 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 28, 2012

  • Cato Institute settles lawsuit over its governance [Adler]
  • As regulators crack down on payday lending, Indian tribes fill the gap [Business Week] Tribal leaders say they are at war with the CFPB, and no, there is no Elizabeth Warren angle [Kevin Funnell]
  • “SEA LAWYER. A shark.” [1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue via Nancy Friedman]
  • Trial lawyers in Oklahoma, as in Texas and Florida, endow slate of favored GOP candidates [Tulsa World]
  • Simple reforms could ease path to more interstate adoptions of foster kids [Jeff Katz, Washington Post]
  • “Can you say ‘overzealous service mark claimant’?” [@internetcases]
  • “Today, anyone can sue anyone else, regardless of how ridiculous the claim may be. But it wasn’t always like this.” [Don Elliott, The Atlantic]

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June 11 roundup

by Walter Olson on June 11, 2012

  • Nortel portfolio now used for offense: “How Apple and Microsoft Armed 4,000 Patent Warheads” [Wired]
  • Via Bill Childs: “This shows up in Google News despite fact that it’s lawyer advertising.” [TheDenverChannel.com] At “public interest watchdog” FairWarning.org, who contributed this article about Canadian asbestos controversies? Byline credits a law firm;
  • Another Bloomberg crackdown in NYC: gender-differential pricing in haircuts and other services [Mark Perry]
  • A “Pro-Business Regulation Push” from Obama White House? Oh, Bloomberg Business Week, sometimes you can be so droll [Future of Capitalism]
  • “Trial Lawyers’ Support of Republican Candidates Yields Less Than Stellar Results” [Morgan Smith, NY Times; Examiner editorial; more from TLRPac on Texas election results]
  • “Community banks to Congress: you’re crushing us” [Kevin Funnell]
  • If an emergency injunction could stop one reality-TV show, why couldn’t it stop them all? [Hollywood Reporter]

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World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon is again running for a Connecticut seat in the U.S. Senate, two years after she won the Republican nomination for the state’s other Senate seat but then lost badly to Democrat Richard Blumenthal. Chris Powell of the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, a prominent commentator on Connecticut politics, expressed scathing opinions on the type of entertainment purveyed by WWE under McMahon’s leadership, deeming it a “business of violence, pornography, and general raunch.” On Friday a WWE vice president, in a letter sent to news media throughout the state, “threatened the Journal Inquirer with a libel lawsuit.” In response, the newspaper contends that “The programs were issues in the Senate election two years ago and, by distributing its libel lawsuit threat throughout Connecticut’s news media, the McMahon campaign aims to prevent them from being mentioned this year.” [via Jared Eberle](& Rick Green, Hartford Courant)

January 5 roundup

by Walter Olson on January 5, 2012

  • Big business vs. free markets again: light bulb makers “fuming” over GOP effort to restore consumer choice [Sullum] Large grocery chains like DC’s bag tax [Tim Carney]
  • Eeeuw! Bystander can sue train fatality victim whose body part flew through air and hit her [Chicago Tribune]
  • “Recommended Cell-Phone Ban Comes as ‘Shocking,’ ‘Heavy-Handed’ To Some” [Josh Long, V2M]
  • “Exploding churros are newspaper’s fault, Chilean court rules” [AP]
  • In New Jersey and North Carolina, GOP friends of trial bar block legal reform bills [Armstrong Williams, Washington Times]
  • Kozinski vs. ill-prepared lawyer in case of Sheriff Arpaio vs. newspaper that covered him [The Recorder; Phoenix New Times case]
  • Federal judges block cuts to in-home personal care services in California, Washington [Disability Law, San Francisco Chronicle, KQED]

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It only took Charlie Crist a few months, and was no particular surprise given his record in office [Daily Caller, WSJ Law Blog]. More: Turkewitz.

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March 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on March 21, 2011

  • “Cleveland Browns lawyer letter is apparently real” [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
  • “Headlines of the Apocalypse: ‘Lady Gaga eyes legal action over breast milk ice cream.’” [@vsalus re: Breitbart via @EdDriscoll]
  • Chesley discipline prospects in Kentucky fen-phen scandal: “King of Torts Dethroned” [Laura Simons, Abnormal Use]
  • Busy construction-defect lawyers vex Fresno builders [Bee, Business Journal]
  • “NHTSA Postpones Back-Up Camera Requirement Rule” [The Truth About Cars, earlier]
  • Lawyers in Italy call strike to protest law requiring mediation of commercial disputes [WSJ Law Blog]
  • NYT’s Mark Bittman has a magical touch with food (alas) [Patrick at Popehat]
  • Beasley Allen lawyers sluiced $850K to Alabama GOP judicial contender [Birmingham News via PoL]

Former Florida Governor Charles Crist has signed on with the big Orlando personal injury firm of Morgan & Morgan, “run by one of his longtime political supporters, Democrat John Morgan.” [St. Petersburg Times] More: Timothy Carney, Examiner.

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prettysoon2

Not long ago the U.S. Senate refused to accept an amendment to the stimulus bill by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) that would have reformed some CPSIA provisions and delayed the implementation of others. Last night it rejected a similar DeMint effort in the form of a budget amendment, and this time there was a roll call, which confirmed that the rejection was largely along party lines: every Democrat voted against the measure except for Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), and Ben Nelson (Neb.), while every Republican voted in favor except Susan Collins (Maine), John Cornyn (Tex.), Mike Johanns (Neb.), Mel Martinez (Fla.), and John McCain (Ariz.). Independent Bernie Sanders (Vt.) voted against, while Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) did not vote.

Following Wednesday’s rally on Capitol Hill, small business people who fanned out to visit their Senators brought back many encouraging-sounding stories of the favorable “We hear you!” “We get it!” reactions they had received visiting the offices of Democratic Senators like Roland Burris (Ill.), Joseph Lieberman (Conn.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), and Charles Schumer (N.Y.). Whether or not anyone in those offices hears or gets the outcry, it sounds as if the members even more clearly hear and get a different message: that of party discipline.

Kimberly Payne feels oddly hopeful: “The original vote on the CPSIA was nearly unanimous – this one was 39-58. I call that progress!”

The WSJ editorializes on the law again today, its third, concentrating this time on the youth motorcycle/ATV ban. More: Montana senators fiddle while small businesses perish (Mark Riffey, Flathead Beacon); the rally and the Democrats (Rick Woldenberg).

Public domain image: Yankee Mother Goose (1902), illustrator Ella S. Brison, courtesy ChildrensLibrary.org.

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ATLA’s politics

by Walter Olson on August 25, 2003

One subtheme at the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s annual meeting, held this summer in San Francisco, was ATLA’s big plans to develop influence within the Republican Party to go with its strong clout among the Democrats. A trial lawyer/GOP caucus expects soon to have chairpersons in all fifty states. “Asked by the lawyers how to talk to representatives who see them as the enemy,” a pollster and former Newt Gingrich aide offered several pieces of advice including, as a National Law Journal reporter paraphrases it, “tell them you want to give them money”. (David Hechler, “The Elephant and the Trial Lawyer”, National Law Journal, Aug. 5). Scheduled speakers at the meeting included Sens. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), John Edwards (D-N.C.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and Reps. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

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