The Volokh Conspiracy (29)

Does Sen. Blumenthal have an emoluments clause problem?

Sen. Richard Blumenthal is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by members of Congress alleging that President Trump is violating the foreign emoluments clause. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that because President Trump “has a financial interest in vast business holdings around the world ...

A cosmopolitan case against world government

The World Government Research Network has just published my new article, “A Cosmopolitan Case Against World Government.” Here is an excerpt, which briefly summarizes the rest: The debate over world government and global governance' typically pits cosmopolitan supporters of globalization ...

My National Review' op ed on fair weather federalism

Earlier today, National Review published my new op ed on “fair weather federalism,” which explains how both left and right could benefit from a more systematic commitment to enforcing limits on federal government power. Here is an excerpt: The Republicans are supposed to be the party of ...

'FedEx is closely monitoring potential effects of the total solar eclipse'

So FedEx reports, noting, “Events of this nature often cause pickup and delivery delays and disruptions for FedEx customers. FedEx is prepared to provide service to the best of its ability.” Sounded very odd to me at first , what, they're afraid a dragon will eat the sun? , but then I ...

Libertarianism and environmental protection

The full contents of the Encyclopedia of Libertarianism are now online at Libertarianism.org, a website maintained by the Cato Institute. One of the newly posted entries is one I authored on “Environment.” Here's a taste: Environmental protection emerged as a major policy issue in the ...

Jail for nursing home staff who willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident's preferred name or pronouns'?

A California bill — passed by the state senate and recommended for passage by an assembly committee — would authorize jail for nursing home staff who “willfully and repeatedly fail to use a resident's preferred name or pronouns”: Existing law provides for the licensure and ...

Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, a wife concluding that she is lesbian, and child custody

A very interesting decision handed down Wednesday by a New York appellate court . Note that, of course, though this case involves ultra-Orthodox Judaism, similar stories could happen in Muslim communities, and for other religions as well. First, the facts and procedural history, which are long but ...

Judge refuses to order Congress to outlaw parts of the Koran or issue an official federally edited Koran

From Levay v. United States, handed down Wednesday by a federal district court: On February 17, 2017, Plaintiff Ross Levay filed a complaint alleging that the United States and various government officials have committed gross negligence, breach of contract, First Amendment violations, and breach of ...

Odd statement from the ACLU: 'White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech'

The three California ACLU chapters put out a joint ACLU of California Statement: White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech: Our country's greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in ...

Odd statement from the ACLU of California: 'White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech'

The three California ACLU chapters put out a joint ACLU of California Statement: White Supremacist Violence is Not Free Speech: Our country's greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in ...

Un-American activities

I've been struck by the similarity between recent calls for suppressing white supremacist speech and past calls for suppressing Communist speech. Of course, there are differences as well , there always are for any analogy , but I thought I'd note some likenesses: Communist speech, 1950s White ...

'No Free Speech for Fascists' is impossible

On the other hand, “no free speech for those whom the government decides to label 'fascists'” , now that's possible.

Libel by quotation out of context

An interesting opinion Tuesday, from a unanimous U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit panel : Walter Block is an economics professor … at Loyola University and is an Adjunct Scholar at the Mises Institute. He alleges that, consistent with his published writings and his self-described ...

Can private employers fire employees for going to a white supremacist rally?

That turns out to depend on the state where the employee is employed. 1. The First Amendment applies only to government employers; it doesn't apply to nongovernmental entities (whether or not

Judgment or judgement?

A few days ago, I wrote about a document sent to Google purporting to be a court's “judgement entry” , but which the judge, when I contacted him, told me that he had never entered. (The person who appears to have sent the document to Google claims that the document was just a proposal of

First Amendment banned from D.C. Metro — literally!

In November 2015, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority , operator of the Washington public transit system, amended guidelines regarding commercial advertisements that it would accept for Metro cars and Metro stations.  The guidelines contain 14 numbered restrictions, including ...

Free speech and White Supremacy at Texas A & M

At the height of the deadly racist mayhem last Saturday in Charlottesville, a so-called white nationalist named Preston Wiginton announced that he would hold a “White Lives Matter” rally on September 11 on the grounds of Texas A & M, a public university in College Station. The rally ...

Why slippery slope arguments should not stop us from removing Confederate monuments

This past weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Virginia arose from a gathering of racists, neo-Nazis, and white nationalists, whose ostensible purpose was to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Over the last several years, efforts to remove Confederate monuments ...

Massive new searchable database of federal court opinions, including ones that haven't been formally published

The Free Law Project, famous for its RECAP browser extension for PACER users, has now scraped all the federal court opinions available for free on PACER, and put them in a free database with a fairly powerful search engine : At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the ...

Rare chance to hear from a formal federal persecutor

I occasionally receive emails from public relations firms that have lawyer clients. In most cases, the email explains the lawyer's expertise and invites me to speak with the lawyer about some subject I have written about here at the blog. The idea, I assume, is that the clients want more media in ...

A closer look at DOJ's warrant to collect website records

The Hill is getting a lot of attention in privacy circles with a story headlined “Justice demands 1.3M IP addresses related to Trump resistance site.” Here's the opening: The Department of Justice has requested information on visitors to a website used to organize protests against ...

What seems like a court's 'judgement entry' ordering removal of my Post item about a previous forged court order

As I've mentioned before, Google will sometimes deindex material , essentially hide it from online searches , when it sees a court order that finds the material to be defamatory. This leads some people to submit forged court orders instead of real ones . In April, I mentioned two prosecutions

The doges of Venice

At Venice Beach and this doge just rode right past me like wtf pic.twitter.com/1dZ9vBuzOh , FOX | Julio Fuentes August 13, 2017 The moment I heard about the “doge” meme thing several years ago, my first thought was of course: “Like the Doge of Venice?” And now this tweet ...

Will marijuana make federalism go up in smoke?

During the campaign, Donald Trump endorsed medical marijuana and said pot legalization “should be a state issue, state-by-state.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on the other hand, is a fierce opponent of marijuana and has opposed measures that would limit the federal government's ...

Short Circuit: A roundup of recent federal court decisions

Friends, Texas is doubly blessed. Both the Texas Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit take seriously the right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government interference. So argues Arif Panju, managing director of IJ's Texas

Sealed case against ex-Fox News commentator Andrea Tantaros unsealed, over her objections

An interesting decision in a case involving “Tied Up in Knots,” a book officially authored' by then-Fox News commentator Andrea Tantaros; the case is still officially titled v. , but will presumably be renamed Krechmer v. Tantaros: Before the Court is defendant's motion for a preliminary ...

Translating Genesis: Concluding thoughts on legal interpretation and biblical translation

This is the seventh and final post in a series on Genesis 1–11: A New Old Translation for Readers, Scholars, and Translators.' My coauthor for this project is the excellent Hebrew scholar John Hobbins. In recent posts I've considered several topics , double translation, physicality , ...

The path forward for law and corpus linguistics

For reasons we've been discussing, we see corpus linguistic analysis playing a central role in legal interpretation going forward. When problems of ambiguity in legal language arise, we expect judges and lawyers to turn increasingly to data from linguistic databases and less to mere dictionaries. ...

Blasphemy controversy in Russia about film on Saint-Czar Nicholas II's affair with a ballerina

I hadn't realized it, but Czar Nicholas II was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church . Now a forthcoming Russian movie,”Matilda,” about his affair with ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya has led to calls for its suppression, largely on