In the two years since Congress overhauled trade secret laws, a spike of court filings and a record-setting judgement could signal the opening of a new frontier in misusing intellectual property law reminiscent of patent trolling which has become a drag on economic growth.
Last year’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME (2018) is properly seen as a landmark ruling in the area of compelled speech (e.g., here and here), but it is more than that. By overruling Abood v. Detroit Board of Education(1977), the Supreme Court in Janus acknowledged that its extension of private-sector labor law precedents concerning union-security clauses to the public sector was erroneous. I have previously written about “the road to Abood” (here and here), and explained why the Court’s poorly-reasoned decisions under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) should not govern arrangements involving government employees. Justice Alito, who authored Janus and the decisions leading up to it, scathingly dissected the Court’s NLRA precedents, most of which were issued during the heyday of the Warren Court.
On February 28, 2019, I was honored to speak at the University of Virginia School of Law, at a day-long program sponsored by the UVA student chapter of the Federalist Society, entitled “The Future of Originalism: Conflicts and Controversies.” Congratulations to Jenna Adamson (President of the UVA student chapter), her colleagues, and the participating faculty, speakers, and moderators (including Judges Thomas B. Griffith, Diane S. Sykes, and John K. Bush) for planning and executing a terrific event. At lunch, Clark Neily and I debated the topic “Judicial Engagement v. Judicial Restraint: Equally Compatible with Originalism?” The moderator was UVA Professor Lillian BeVier.
Earlier this month, I testified in Austin about our property taxes with state legislators. Let me assure you that Chicken Little is alive and well in the halls of our state capitol. They have convinced most everyone that Texas is one of the most taxed states in the country, that property taxes are skyrocketing out of control and seniors are being taxed out of their homes.
It is not news that Texas law has long required businesses to respect the terms of their written agreements. Businesses remain in Texas and many new ones are drawn here, in part, because they know they can rely on the written agreements they enter into and expect the rule of law to be applied to everyone.
Imagine how you’d feel if you didn’t get a promotion because of your religion or skin color. The only good news would be that you could probably sue your employer for discrimination.
I have reminisced at length about my student days at the University of Texas School of Law (here), and also expressed concern about the leftward drift of the Texas Law Review, on whose editorial board I served during 1979-80 (here). Recent events have only heightened my concerns (here). Specifically, on February 7-8, 2019, the TLR is co-hosting (with the left-leaning American Constitution Society) a constitutional law symposium at the law school, entitled “Reclaiming—and Restoring—Constitutional Norms,” that appears to be little more than an anti-Trump political rally. The announcement is here.
Have you traveled an interstate near you lately and noticed 18-wheelers parked on the shoulder? It happens so frequently on Interstate 10 between San Antonio and Beaumont that it isn’t uncommon to see as many as seven or eight big rigs pulled over on the shoulder. Is it legal for 18-wheelers, commercial trucks, and the like to park there? Is the shoulder lane available for parking to anyone at all? The answers to these questions might surprise you.
Is it Beyoncé’s fault that some of her fans are blind? Is the performer a “public accommodation,” like a hotel, restaurant, or department store? Is it society’s obligation to rectify all misfortunes in life’s lottery? These questions may seem silly, but they lie at the heart of a cottage industry of abusive class-action litigation against websites pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a well-intentioned but poorly conceived—and horribly drafted—law that continues to generate unintended consequences decades following its passage in 1990. Computer users afflicted with various disabilities—blind consumers seem especially litigious—regularly sue companies hosting websites that allegedly aren’t sufficiently “accommodating” of their condition. Beyoncé and her website (beyonce.com), through her management company, became their latest target.
The 85-year old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is approaching her 25th anniversary as a justice. She is historic in many respects: the second female to serve on the high court, the first Jewish female justice, and the longest-serving Jewish justice ever. Her record as a reliable liberal vote on the court, along with her well-publicized background as a trail-blazer for women’s rights, has made her an icon on the Left—celebrated as the “Notorious RBG” and featured in the recent film “On the Basis of Sex.”
18 wheelers share the highway with us 24/7. The most dangerous time to share the road with them is nighttime. There is a reason why truckers call the time from midnight to 6:00am the DANGER ZONE.
The civil rights movement gave millions of people a new share in the American Dream. Tragically, many violent crimes committed against black families struggling for equality during this time remain unsolved.
On July 5th I wrote that conservatives remembered what the left had done to Judge Robert Bork and believed Judge Brett Kavanaugh would be a just appointment to the seat Bork was denied. The extreme efforts to stop his nomination confirm that the left was determined to prevent that from happening. Of course, at the end of the day the ferocity of the opposition to this appointment illustrates the outsized power the court has assumed in our country. The fear of losing the power of the court as their vanguard, of the gavel being in the hand of others, explains the lefts willingness to “do anything” to defeat the nomination. Indeed, some even suggested Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley was not qualified to lead the committee because he is not a lawyer. The fact is Senator Grassley has as many hours in law school as Senator Feinstein, the ranking minority member.