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Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice. Usually, occupational licensing is a one-way ratchet: States impose licensing but almost never repeal it absent a court order. A study published in 2015 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, for instance, found just a sparse handful of examples of occupations...

Lockdown Orders Have Devastated Restaurants. Politicians Think Price Controls Might Save Them.

Restaurants across the country have had their dining rooms shuttered or been forced to operate under restrictive, profit-crushing social distancing protocols. City politicians are trying to throw them a lifeline in the form of price controls on delivery apps. On Wednesday, the Portland City Council voted unanimously to cap the fees third-party delivery...

New on SCOTUSBlog: "It must be nice to have John Marshall on your side"

A few moments ago, I shared my new essay, titled Presidential Subpoenas during the Burr Trials. I adapted this essay for SCOTUSBlog's Symposium on Vance and Mazars. My entry is titled, "It must be nice to have John Marshall on your side." Here is the introduction: Two centuries after his death, Chief Justice John Marshall still presides over the Supreme...

New Essay: "Presidential Subpoenas during the Burr Trials"

For the past two years, I have been sitting on an essay I wrote about Aaron Burr's treason trials. By 2018, I anticipated that Special Counsel Mueller would subpoena President Trump. And that subpoena would trigger a Supreme Court case. Thankfully, we never crossed that threshold. But the Manhattan District Attorney and the House of Representatives...

The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package Should Also Repeal Tariffs

Members of Congress and the Trump administration are negotiating plans for another round of economic stimulus as the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated. But before dropping more cash into Americans' bank accounts or bailing out businesses, the federal government should drop the costly tariffs it has imposed since 2018. Abolishing those tariffs would...

Stateless Dramatizes Cruelty of Immigrant Detention Bureaucracies

Stateless. Available now on Netflix. There's something semi-surreal about watching Stateless, the new Netflix drama about immigration. There's not a facemask to be seen anywhere—the show was shot in the golden yesteryear before coronavirus—nor a single word about Donald Trump, for Stateless is set not in Texas or California but Australia. Stateless...

This Week in Policing Reform: Hawaii Lifts Police Secrecy, Civilian Oversight Boards Make Ballots in Miami and Philadelphia

It's been another busy week for policing reform around the country. While legislation remains moribund in Congress, local and state governments around the country have continued to press forward with bills and proposals addressing police use of excessive force, civilian oversight and transparency, body cameras, and police in schools. Congress Sen....

John Roberts Just Annoyed Everybody. Is He the New Anthony Kennedy?

When Anthony Kennedy retired from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018, he enjoyed the unique distinction of having been denounced by every major political faction in the country. For conservatives, Kennedy was the activist judge who "invented" a right to gay marriage. For progressives, he was the corporate shill who authored Citizens United. For libertarians,...

ICE's Policy of Excluding Online Students isn't "New"

I've seen countless stories about ICE's "new" requirement barring student visas for students who would be taking only online classes (e.g., NPR). The idea that this is "new" is false. Foreign students have long been required to take a "full course of study" to fulfill visa requirements. The longstanding rule is that a study may take only one online...

Mazar's Maze

I have now finished reading Trump v. Mazars. That case was the most unsatisfying constitutional law decision I have read in some time. It sort of abruptly ended, without any real resolution of the specific questions presented. Moreover, the Court adopted a balancing test of the worst sort. Justice Thomas aptly describes the majority's analysis: "a nonexhaustive...

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