July 12, 2016
On the other hand, decades ago, when I...
July 1, 2016
This week turned out to be a momentous one in the saga of the climate change subpoenas. It started with three pending subpoenas from U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker; it ended with none. In between there was a court hearing, but the demise of subpoenas had little to do with the hearing. And CEI still has a fight on its hands. We continue to pursue...
June 14, 2016
New in the climate change subpoena saga: Last Thursday New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman delivered a speech (video below) at the Bloomberg Big Law Business Summit defending his investigation against claims that it violates free speech rights. One charge that Schneiderman repeatedly made was that his critics were guilty of “First Amendment opportunism.”
Schneiderman characterized the statements of the...
A Complaint We Didn't Expect to Hear: Virgin Islands Attorney General Now Says We're Wasting His TimeJune 6, 2016
Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker filed his opposition last week to CEI’s motions for attorney fees and sanctions. As you may know if you’ve been following this subpoena saga, on April 7 Walker served CEI with a massive document request, covering a decade’s worth of all our work on climate change and energy policy, including confidential information on our donors. This was a violation of both our First Amendment rights and those of our supporters—a view shared by many commenters regardless of their political leanings, and a position forcefully presented by our outside counsel, Andrew Grossman and David Rivkin of Baker Hostetler. Forty-three days after serving the subpoena, Walker withdrew his DC subpoena, though he graciously...
June 2, 2016
The average merger and acquisition has as much chance of escaping litigation as you have of winning the lottery.
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. In recent years, about 97 percent of sizable mergers (those valued at $100 million or more) have been hit by shareholder challenges. These challenges usually produce bupkis for shareholders themselves; the typical settlement results in meaningless additions to the proxy materials, extravagant attorney fees to the lawyers bringing the case, and nothing else. And that, unfortunately, is not an exaggeration. The supplemental proxy additions hardly ever provide useful information to the shareholders themselves, who essentially pick up the tab for their attorneys and get nothing in return. And because the merging companies are as eager to finish the deal as the shareholder attorneys are to collect their fees, the settlement proposals...
October 26, 2015
Bellion Vodka has one strange website. Bellion claims to be “the next step in the evolution of spirits” and “a smarter way to drink.” Its secret is NTX—“a technology developed to evolve spirits by making them functional and smarter.”
But if you’re hoping for more information, forget about it. There’s a warning that NTX will “not prevent alcohol intoxication, will not ameliorate the overall harmful effects that occur from drinking in excess, and will not render alcohol safe for those who suffer from alcoholism, liver disease, diabetes, or any other disease for which alcohol is contraindicated.” And there’s the factoid that NTX is trademarked by a company called Chigurupati Technologies.
Now websites announcing new breakthroughs are sometimes deliberately designed with an air of mystery, keeping the details secret in order to...
October 1, 2015
Litigation has been an important part of CEI since its earliest years—from our NYC rent control case in the 1980s, to our lawsuits against the lethal aspects of federal fuel economy standards several years later, to our constitutional challenges to the Big Tobacco deal (unsuccessful) and Sarbanes Oxley (successful). More recently, there was our Supreme Court Obamacare case, decided this past June (tragically unsuccessful) and our newly-revived Dodd Frank case, reinstated by a D.C. Circuit panel in July.
Today we announce CEI’s merger with the Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF), a young nonprofit outfit that has racked up an extremely impressive track record of objecting to abusive class action settlements. These are class actions and shareholder derivative cases in which the plaintiff class wins little or nothing, while their...
June 17, 2015
In the days just before the March 4 Supreme Court hearing in King v. Burwell, I got a number of calls from total strangers who had read about the case and who wanted to be plaintiffs in it. I explained to them that it was too late to join the case then, but listened to their stories of cancelled insurance policies and jobs jeopardized by Obamacare. One call stood out in particular. It was from a woman in California who had moved to the U.S. years ago from the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. After explaining her health care predicament, she asked me: Do you understand how crazy this is? I left a totally dysfunctional country to come here, and now I find myself trapped in this insanity!
That’s an interesting contrast to the disaster stories that we’ve been hearing for months, about what will happen if the Supreme Court rules in our favor in King. At issue in the...
December 8, 2014
A few years ago I assembled several quotes about Communism that I thought would make good epitaphs for it. Unfortunately, the ideology has turned out to be far from dead. But the quotes I collected were pretty good, and I figure there’s no better time to dust them off again than today, the 23d anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
November 11, 2014
It was very good news, delivered in a very surprising way. Shortly after noon last Friday, the Supreme Court announced that it would review our Fourth Circuit Obamacare challenge, King v. Burwell.
Ever since we filed the case with the Supreme Court this past July, we’d been hopeful that the Court would take the case. The likelihood of the Court accepting any case is extremely low, but there were several major factors in our favor.
First, the question involved is extremely important to millions of Americans, be they taxpayers, health insurance policyholders, or workers. (In most cases, they’ll be all three.) The issue is whether Obamacare health insurance subsidies are available nationwide, as the White House claims, or whether they are...