Monthly Archives: February 2011

Alabama’s Shelby County Once Again Battling the Voting Rights Act

Anthony Kammer Less than two years after the Supreme Court’s ruling in NAMUDNO v. Holder, conservative legal groups are renewing their efforts to invalidate the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (“VRA”). On Wednesday, February 2, Federal District Judge John Bates heard a challenge brought by Alabama’s Shelby County and its conservative backers claiming that Section 5 of the VRA was…

You have the right to remain silent, now hand over your iPhone

Jessica Jackson Last month’s California Supreme Court decision in People v. Diaz represents an unprecedented expansion of the government’s ability to search without a warrant. The defendant, Diaz, was arrested for possession of narcotics after an informant bought six pills of ecstasy from him. Ninety minutes after Diaz had been cuffed, the arresting officer confiscated and searched Diaz’s cell…

The Administrative State is Still The State

Zach Luck In the Invention of Money, a Planet Money feature on This American Life last month, the reporters peel back the layers on the terrifyingly crazy fiction called money.  But, in doing so, they are surprisingly quick to uncritically repeat another fiction: the idea that some government agencies somehow aren’t really part of the government.  During his…

Ninth Circuit Suffers “Decade of Reversal,” Judge Says

Michael Stephan  The Lewis & Clark Law Review recently published an essay by Judge Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain of the Ninth Circuit.  The essay discusses the reversal rate of Ninth Circuit cases at the Supreme Court over the past decade.  Judge O’Scannlain, who is considered strongly conservative by some, concludes that “the Ninth Circuit’s record in the Supreme Court has…

Bloomberg, Progressives, and 2012

Rachel Lauter A lot has been written about whether or not New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing himself for a presidential run in 2012. His recent advocacy on gun control (including this pretty awesome and brazen undercover sting at an Arizona gun show), and his calls for federal immigration reform, are certainly plays to shape the policy agenda,…

A Progressive Paradox: Environmental Regulations and Affordable Housing

Yevgeny Shrago  An interesting paper (gated) by Matthew Kahn and Jonathan Zasloff focuses on the effects that California’s Coastal Boundary Zone regulations  had on housing prices in the area. The authors find (unsurprisingly) that a house located within the Boundary Zone sells for a substantial price premium over a similar house located just over the boundary. This is a…

Oklahoma’s Wind Blows

Smita Ghosh Lawmakers in several states have followed the Oklahoma’s lead in seeking to ban the enforcement of international law in state and federal courts. Say what you will about Oklahomans, they certainly know how to pass a ballot initiative.  Last Fall, Oklahomans voted to make English the “common and unifying language” of the state, allow individuals…

Punishment > Crime

Zach Luck Last week the blogs buzzed with the story of a mother hit with a 10-day jail sentence and a $30,000 fine for misstating where she lived (she used her father’s address) to get her daughters into a better school.  The mother, Kelley Williams-Bolar, is now unable to get an Ohio teaching license despite…

Blackwater trial tests the effectiveness of U.S. courts

Marshall Thompson A federal judge held last week that a civil suit against military contractors who allegedly shot 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007 can move forward in a North Carolina state court. The move came because Judge Terrence Boyle ruled that the non-resident plaintiffs, the relatives of the killed Iraqis, would not be able to sue in…

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