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OpenMarket: Law and Constitution

  • Best Books of 2019: Legal Systems Very Different from Ours

    December 26, 2019
    Many years ago at a Mont Pelerin Society conference in Reykjavik, I saw David Friedman give a talk on Icelandic law during the Free State period, roughly 1000-1300 A.D., when the island had no central government. As it turns out, Free State Iceland was just one of many times and places in history that had governance without government.
  • Weighing Bad Capitalism and Good Socialism

    December 24, 2019
    Recently economics professor Walter Block of Loyola University New Orleans wrote a great op-ed for The Wall Street Journal titled “Bad Capitalism and Good Socialism.” It helps clarify some confusion about the relative merits of different economic systems and the ostensible aspects of capitalism and socialism that people most often object to.
  • Year in Review 2019: Supreme Court

    December 24, 2019
    The nature of the term ending in June 2019 was set at the end of 2018 when the cases were selected. When the term opened there were only eight justices on the court, Justice Kennedy having stepped down—Justice Kavanaugh was in the middle of a very contentious nominating process. Given this it appears the justices avoided many of the big and important issues, leaving those to the October 2019 term. But there were still some very interesting cases.
  • Dutch Supreme Court Upholds Climate Lawsuit against Government

    December 20, 2019
    The Dutch Supreme Court on December 20th rejected an appeal by the Dutch government to overturn an appellate court’s October 2018 decision to uphold a lower court’s June 2015 decision requiring the government to cut Holland’s carbon dioxide emissions at least 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
  • Best Books of 2019: The Narrow Corridor

    December 19, 2019
    Predatory governments with high corruption, that don’t respect political and economic freedoms, are extractive. Countries with these sorts of institutions tend to be both poor and repressive. Countries with inclusive institutions, such as strong property rights, democratic accountability, and the rule of law, tend to be both wealthy and free.
  • Best Books of 2019: A Republic, If You Can Keep It

    December 18, 2019
    Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch explains in vivid detail the purpose of the separation of powers in his 2019 book "A Republic, If You Can Keep It." He presents specific examples of what happens when those lines are blurred. He shows how accountability of our government to the American people through their elected representatives is undermined by giving unelected officials unreviewable power to determine the law.
  • USMCA Won't Protect Tech from Trudeau

    December 16, 2019
    A point of contention in the debate over the new U.S., Mexico, Canada (USMCA) trade agreement has been whether or not the final deal will include language inspired by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Despite opposition from some including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Section 230-type language will be included in the final agreement.
  • Down in Flames: Judge Dismisses New York Climate Lawsuit against ExxonMobil

    December 10, 2019
    New York Supreme Court Justice Barry Ostrager today acquitted ExxonMobil of all charges brought against the company by New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • Government of Singapore Demonstrates Real Online Censorship

    December 2, 2019
    Singapore’s recent policing of online content provides an instructive example of the difference between private curating of material by platform owners and dangerous curtailing of free speech by governments. 
  • Twitter's Ban on Political Ads Has No First Amendment Implications

    October 31, 2019
    Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey announced that the social media platform will ban all political advertising. This comes on the heels of Facebook’s recent announcement that the company won’t fact check political ads on their platform. Whichever tack tech companies take with their privately owned platforms, there are no First Amendment implications. The First Amendment prevents only the government from making laws that abridge freedom of speech.

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