Tag: law

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The Rule of Lawyers

 

Let me start by telling you a story. Mr. @MattBalzer and I, we make board games. One of these games we call the Presidential Rumble. You play as one of history’s greatest presidents in the midst of a knock-down drag-out election against each other, marshaling characters from the past and laying claim to the symbols of liberty. You get some pretty great things going on; in one game Martin Luther King Jr. named Frank Sinatra to the Supreme Court. In another, Joe McCarthy declared Tecumseh to be a communist. You’ll frequently see the FBI confiscate the Constitution as evidence or the EPA declare the Statue of Liberty to be polluting and destroy it.

I’ve printed up several prototypes too. There’s a company out of Madison, WI called The Game Crafter that specializes in this sort of thing. They’ve got a pretty good racket; there are a lot more people who want to make board games then there are people who will make a living that way. The Game Crafter will professionally print and assemble single copies of a game, so you can get your idea produced even if your only customer is your mother. Really I’ve had excellent experiences with them, excepting one thing.

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Quote of the Day: “Not Law but Fraud”

 

In Mark Helprin’s 2012 novel In Sunlight and in Shadow*, we meet a returning WWII veteran, Harry Copeland, who inherits the family business from his deceased father. When the business is threatened by a mafia boss, resulting in the death of one employee, and Harry himself nearly beaten to death, Harry learns that he will find no help from law enforcement or any other authority because all of them are being paid off. Harry must decide whether he will take matters into his own hands — eliminating the mafia boss himself.

“My enemy is not the law,” he found himself saying under his breath as he walked — talking to himself was not a good sign — “but the enemy of the law, against which the law is too weak to defend itself. If the law is complicit in crime, is it the law? If, when not complicit, it not only fails to protect but proscribes self-protection, then it is not law but fraud. Anarchy arises not from those who defend themselves by natural right, but from officials who fail in their calling, look the other way, succumb to threats and blackmail, or who are themselves criminal. If without defending me the law says I can’t defend myself, it is no longer the law, and I have to defy it.”

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The (ill)Logical End of the “Why Does Anyone Need That Kind Gun?” Argument

 

David French has an excellent piece in National Review on the new push for gun control within the Democratic Party.

As a doctor, I feel I have a duty to inform the public of what I have learned as I have observed these wounds and cared for these patients. It’s clear to me that AR-15 and other high-velocity weapons, especially when outfitted with a high-capacity magazine, have no place in a civilian’s gun cabinet.

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A Question of Religious Liberty?

 

The push to foist Newspeak upon Middle America’s unconverted heathen is now in full force, as recent events in Ohio and Virginia attest. (Frankly, I’m surprised that such controversy would erupt so deep within red America. Perhaps the administrators in Portsmouth and West Point felt an extra need to demonstrate their progressive bona fides.) In both […]

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Forced To Serve Everyone – Slave or Free?

 

In light of recent controversies requiring bakers, florists, photographers, and others to perform whatever service a potential customer demands, I was intrigued by a stage-setting episode in a short story written in 1927by P.G. Wodehouse (one of the best writers of humor stories in the English language). In setting up the story in The Romance […]

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NH state employees will save more than $1 million a year after Janus

 

New Hampshire state employees who don’t wish to join a union will save more than $1 million a year in compulsory union fees following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling in Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, according to data obtained by the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy through a […]

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Blurred Lines: Are Music Copyrights Becoming Patents?

 

Without patents or copyrights, “idea space” would be a commons. “Idea space” is the realm of potential ideas. A patent and a copyright both permit their owner to declare a region of “idea space” his own private property for a period of time, but under different terms. A copyright encloses a particular expression of an idea and was originally intended to prevent, well, copying during the duration of the copyright. A patent encloses not just one particular expression of an idea, but the idea itself, declaring all other expressions of the same idea, whether they’re copies or not, off-limits for the duration of the patent. A patent is thus a much broader right than a copyright, enclosing a far larger region of the intellectual commons than does a copyright; consequently, a patent inhibits others’ right to stake their own claim in idea space much more than a copyright does.

Copyrights have been expanding. Complaints about the increasing length of the copyright period are common. More problematic, though, is copyrights’ increasing breadth. As a copyright expands to inhibit expressions which aren’t fairly obviously copies, it becomes more like a patent in its scope, enabling rent-seeking and inhibiting creativity. This appears to be happening in the music industry. In March 2015, the creators of the hit “Blurred Lines” were convicted of infringing the copyright on Marvin Gaye’s “Got to Give it Up.” This is a blow to unoriginal songwriters everywhere. Worse, it does a lot of collateral damage in the process. As a “Blurred Lines” defense attorney put it, “This ruling elevates ‘groove’ and ‘feel’ to the level of copyright infringement.” Forensic musicologists and lawyers can expect to profit from such expansion, but artists – and listeners – can expect to suffer.

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Paging John Yoo & Richard Epstein. California & The Supremacy Clause

 

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra (D-CA), has threatened private citizens in California with prosecution and fines should they help Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in identifying illegal aliens for incarceration and possible deportation. Said Becerra in response to a question about the announcement: “There are new laws in place in California now in 2018 with the […]

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Law-Abiding Gun Owners Who Actually Abide By The Law

 

The General Accounting Office (GAO) decided to test one of the more common ideas of the gun control crowd, that it’s easy and quick to buy a gun on the internet, and no background check is required.

The GAO set up a simple test: They would try to buy guns without a background check on the Surface Web (sites like Armslist, Gunbroker, etc) and they would also try to buy guns on the Dark Web (sites that use Tor and other encryption tools to conceal who is buying what).

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“Lying to the FBI” and Other Meta-Crimes

 

I’m a bit concerned about Michael’s Flynn’s guilty plea. Not because Michael Flynn doesn’t belong in jail. From all I can tell, he’d sell his country or his mother for a dollar, so I rather imagine that he probably belongs in jail for something. But I’m concerned about it, and about George Papadopoulos’ plea too, for that matter.

No, it’s not because I fear they’re going to turn state’s evidence on the Donald either. While I’ve been pleased with some of his actions as president, I’ve never had any confidence in Donald Trump’s character and won’t be surprised if it turns out there’s an actual fire under this smoke. Nor will I lose any sleep if he’s replaced with Mike Pence. (On the contrary, I’ll sleep better.)

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This week on OppCast, we let the legal nerds take over. With the marathon Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge Neil Gorsuch finally in the bag, it’s not totally clear what was learned, what was accomplished and what to expect moving forward. That’s why we brought in special guest Shoshana Weissmann, digital media director of Opportunity Lives and a card-carrying legal nerd, along with the Cato Institute’s Senior Constitutional Scholar Ilya Shapiro, to geek out on what you may have missed. (And perhaps a little mutton-busting while we’re at it.)

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Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for February 14, 2017 it’s the Stephen Miller, Be Our Valentine edition of the podcast. We are brought to you this week by Harry’s Shave. Two comments: (1) you’ve heard about it, you’ve thought about it, get it now you *will* love it, (2) use the URL harrys.com/Harvard. We are also brought to you by Casper mattresses: with over twenty thousand reviews and over 4.8 out of 5 stars, it is quickly becoming the internet’s favorite mattress. And we are brought to you by The Great Courses Plus. They have over 8,000 video lectures on a wide assortment of topics. Learn something new today.

This week on the podcast we discuss the poster child for amnesty, the golden nugget sympathy case for open borders, Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos. De Rayos, or as we think of her, mother Guady, has been deported. She is a mother of two American-born children (i.e. anchor babies). She has been in America for 22 years. She came here as a 14 year old looking for a better life. She is doing what she is doing “out of love.” (Where have we heard *that* before??). And she only committed one, almost insignificant felony (identity theft) and she’s reaaaalllly sorry about that. The elitist media Cannot Conceive of why anyone would want the law to be enforced and mother Guady forced to leave. The reaction of the average deplorable is, however, “it’s about time.”

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Intersection Accident Nightmare in Arizona

 

In criminal cases, it is not uncommon for courts to order restitution along with the criminal sentencing. My Arizona bar newsletter contained a story about a lawyer who got the statutory law changed so he could represent his daughter in seeking criminal restitution for the death of his son-in-law. The case began with a 7 AM traffic accident at an intersection. The decedent, Jeffrey Roof, turned left across several lanes of traffic. The accused, Jeffrey Meyn, sped up to get through the intersection on, he claims, a yellow light. Meyn t-boned Roof’s automobile. There were no drugs or alcohol involved. Meyn stayed at the scene and was released by the officers who told him that he was not at fault.

The police continued to investigate. Meyn cooperated with the investigation even testifying before a grand jury. Meyn’s lawyer notified the prosecutor in writing that if he were going to be charged, Meyn would voluntarily turn himself in. Instead, the police used Meyn’s six-year-old son to lie to Meyn to get Meyn outside where the police swarmed him with weapons drawn, ordered him to his knees and handcuffed him, all apparently in front of the six year old.

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