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OpenMarket: Law and Constitution

  • LOST at Sea

    June 29, 2007
    Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media quotes our beloved Fred in his column today about the Law of the Sea Treaty, and the debate over ratification that went on recently at the Heritage Foundation:
    In a release, [House Republican Whip Roy] Blunt declared, "More than 25 years ago, President Reagan refused to commit this country to a treaty that would've weakened our sovereignty at home, and rendered American companies less competitive abroad…We need all the energy we can get, whenever and wherever we can get it. Submitting ourselves to an unelected, unaccountable international ocean bureaucracy when it comes to distributing what American companies rightfully mine doesn't strike me as a good thing to do―25 years ago, today, tomorrow, or in the future." At the Heritage event, Fred Smith of the...
  • Supreme Court Overturns Race-Based Student Assignments

    June 28, 2007
    The Supreme Court has overturned the race-based assignment of students in Seattle and Louisville schools. (The decision can be found here). CEI filed an amicus brief arguing that schools shouldn't receive deference from the courts when they use race, pointing to the bizarre racial statements made by the Seattle Schools. CEI pointed out that the Seattle Schools, on their website, have falsely claimed that "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology" constitutes "cultural racism," that only whites can be racist, that it is racist to expect minorities to plan ahead the way white people do, and that colorblindness is bad. Chief Justice Roberts' opinion announcing the court's decision cites these statements, which were brought to the court's...
  • Racist School Policies Get the Supreme Smackdown

    June 28, 2007
    The Associated Press is reporting on the latest SCOTUS opinion from this morning, and as it turns out it's one on which we filed an amicus brief (PDF link). In its decision on Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, the justices struck down the use of race by public school districts when admitting/assigning students to their various institutions. I'm sure legal maestro Hans will have much more to say later today (UPDATE: he has), but here's the quick take for now:
    The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected school diversity plans that take account of students' race in two major public...
  • Reid Removed Limit on Welfare for Amnestied Illegal Aliens

    June 27, 2007
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) omitted a limit on welfare for amnestied illegal aliens previously adopted by the Senate when he revived the Senate immigration bill supported by Ted Kennedy and George Bush. In reviving the bill, Reid included a "clay pigeon" amendment that supposedly included all the amendments passed by the Senate to the original version of the immigration bill. But although Sen. Reid included all the anti-business amendments to the bill, such as limits on guest-worker programs and high-skilled immigrants, he left out an amendment sponsored by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that would have protected taxpayers. The Sessions amendment, agreed to by a majority of the Senate, would have prevented those who were once illegal aliens from receiving the earned-income...
  • Supreme Court Denies Property Owners Relief from Harrassment

    June 27, 2007
    On Monday, the Supreme Court weakened property owners' protection against government harassment in Wilkie v. Robbins.  Law Professor Ilya Somin explains why the decision was wrongly decided here. Plaintiff Harvey Robbins described an extended campaign of harrassment and intimidation against him by government officials seeking to obtain an easement across his land. But in a 7-2 decision on Monday, the Supreme Court held that he could not obtain relief either under the Fifth Amendment (through a so-called Bivens action) or under RICO, the federal racketeering statute. Robbins ran a private cattle and commercial guest ranch in Wyoming.   His ranch extends for 40 miles, occasionally interspersed with property owned by the federal government....
  • First Amendment Double Standards

    June 26, 2007
    Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued two First Amendment rulings, one expanding First Amendment protection and the other narrowing it. In Morse v. Frederick, the Court ruled 5-to-4 that a high-school student could be disciplined for displaying a cryptical and nonsensical "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner near a school during a parade that passed the school. The Court resolved a split among the lower courts about whether drug-related speech can be censored by schools. (This was a difficult case, and I predicted the court would do this. As I have explained...
  • Massive Flaws in Senate Immigration Bill

    June 26, 2007
    The Senate immigration bill supported by Ted Kennedy and George Bush will make things worse for high-tech businesses, according to a news story in The New York Times and an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. While making things worse for many categories of skilled legal immigrants, the bill would allow many categories of illegal aliens with criminal records to receive amnesty without even paying back taxes. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has a list of 20 loopholes in the Senate immigration bill that show that is is nothing more than a scam to deceive the American people. It turns out that virtually everything positive that...
  • Pantless Judge Goes Home Empty Handed

    June 25, 2007
    In more legal news, DC administrative law judge Roy L. Pearson has lost his case against his local dry cleaner, whom he was suing for breathtaking sum of $54 million. The respondents has committed the heinous act of...losing his pants. They tried to replace them, of course, but Judge Pearson was never satisfied with any of their overtures. At one point they offered to settle for the more realistic (but still ludicrously excessive) amount of $12,000, but Pearson just kept pushing it. Our legal maven Hans has been following this case closely; you can find his previous posts here (6/19),...
  • The Supreme Court Rulez

    June 25, 2007
    The Supreme Court today struck a small chunk out of the mountain of unconstitutionality that is the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. From the Mark Sherman of the Associated Press:
    The court, split 5-4, upheld an appeals court ruling that an anti-abortion group should have been allowed to air ads during the final two months before the 2004 elections. [...] The provision in question was aimed at preventing the airing of issue ads that cast candidates in positive or negative lights while stopping short of explicitly calling for their election or defeat. Sponsors of such ads have contended they are exempt from certain limits on contributions in federal elections.
    One provision down, how many more to go?
  • Crybaby Judge Can Be Fired for Seeking $54 Million for Lost Pants

    June 19, 2007
    Roy Pearson, an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia, recently cried on the witness stand while seeking $54 million from his drycleaners for losing his pants. He claimed at the trial that "there is no case . . . in the United States that comes anywhere close to the outrageousness of the behavior of the defendants in this case." (The $54 million he demanded at trial is less than the $65 million he initially sought in his lawsuit). In this Sunday's Washington Times, I explained why it would be perfectly appropriate, and legal, for the government to fire him for his...

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