Wednesday round-up

SCOTUS Blog - Wed, 08/16/2017 - 06:39

At BuzzFeed News, Chris Geidner reports that “[o]ne of the country’s top lawyers” has filed a cert petition on behalf of an Arizona death-row inmate who “has been arguing for the past three years that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional because it doesn’t do enough to narrow who is eligible for the death penalty, among those convicted of murder.” Additional coverage comes from Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), who reports that “[f]ormer acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal is … asking the court to decide whether ‘the death penalty in and of itself violates the Eighth Amendment, in light of contemporary standards of decency.’”


  • In USA Today, Richard Wolf cites two upcoming Supreme Court cases, Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, which stems from a challenge to Ohio’s voter-roll purge, and Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, which asks whether mandatory-arbitration agreements that deprive workers of their right to collective proceedings are enforceable, as examples of the “Trump administration … switching sides in some of the nation’s most consequential legal battles.”

  • In The Economist, Steven Mazie reports on the pivotal role Justice Anthony Kennedy will likely play in several high-profile cases on the Supreme Court’s docket for October Term 2017.
  • At E&E News, Amanda Reilly reports that “[t]he Trump administration recently weighed in on two complex interstate water disputes in the Supreme Court, in both cases building on the arguments made by the Obama administration,” and that the administration’s “responses … come as the Supreme Court is considering reports issued by special masters assigned to the cases.”
  • At Balkinization, Mark Tushnet weighs in on Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, in which the Supreme Court will decide whether a federal statute that prohibits New Jersey from repealing its ban on commercial sports betting is unconstitutional, arguing that “Congress has simply preempted state property law on this issue,” and “[i]t can’t be that the anticommandeering doctrine makes all federal laws preempting state property (or contract or tort) rights unconstitutional.”

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

The post Wednesday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Toyota Patents Cloaking Device To Make Car Pillars Appear Transparent

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 21:25
Toyota has patented a cloaking device that aims to make big, chunky car pillars transparent. The "apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent" which Toyota just patented uses cleverly placed mirrors to bend light around an object making it visible from the other side. The Drive reports: So you're not really seeing through the pillars, you're seeing around them. This is a much cheaper option than adding more cameras and screens all over the place and much more realistic than Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. The patent was filed with the U.S. patent office by Toyota North America, so if Toyota does go forward with this technology, we can probably expect to see it in cars in the U.S.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

US Institute of Peace – Negotiating Civil Resistance

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 20:11

Negotiating Civil Resistance July 19, 2017. By Anthony Wanis-St. John and Noah Rosen. United States Institute of Peace.

“Reviewing the literature on negotiation and civil resistance, this report examines the current divide between the two and digs deeper to identify the fundamental convergences. It builds on these findings to illustrate why negotiations and negotiation concepts are essential to the success of civil resistance campaigns. Using historical examples, it then examines the dynamics of negotiation in the context of these strategic domains.

  • Nonviolent uprisings and protest movements can help channel popular discontent into positive political and social change.
  • Negotiation can enable opposition movements to more effectively press for such change.
  • Despite enormous complementarities, civil resistance activists and negotiation scholar-practitioners have tended to develop separate communities of practice and divergent theories.
  • Rights advocates often focus on ends; the conflict resolution community emphasizes processes and methods.
  • Demands of a movement can be structured to make either pragmatic, incremental gains toward justice or peace, or far-reaching, transformative changes to restructure a system.
  • Movement leaders need to recognize the three key purposes of a demand: collectivizing, dramatizing, and generating momentum.
  • Direct action campaigns should increase the social power of a movement by mobilizing key populations and establishing the moral high ground of the movement vis-à-vis the target regime.
  • Effective direct action has a clear target, whether a policy or a regime.
  • Broad-based participation that moves beyond demonstration and becomes transgressive shows the opponent that obedience and compliance cannot be taken for granted.
  • The leverage nonviolent movements have depends on the quality and strength of the negotiated agreements within the coalition and with the regime. Such negotiations are far from a mere formality: the process of unpacking an old regime and rebuilding a functional, harmonious society is usually a process, rarely a definitive end-state.
  • Rather than marking the formal end of a civil resistance campaign, negotiation is essential to successfully initiating, expanding, and sustaining it.
  • Despite clear and important cleavages and divergence between the negotiation and conflict resolution field, on the one hand, and the civil resistance field, on the other, their convergence is promising..”
Categories: Research

Gallup – 2 Reasons Why Employee Engagement Programs Fall Short

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:40

Larry Emond – Gallup: “…An employee engagement program needs to be a manager education and development initiative, not a measurement initiative — but many are really just the latter. An annual survey by itself does not help anyone. The survey should be just an audit of whether things are getting better. But the program should be all about providing managers with learning and tools to increase engagement within their teams, week in and week out — through ongoing conversations between managers and their employees….

…Companies are not nearly selective enough about whom they name as their managers, at every level. Most people become managers either because they were top individual performers or because they’ve been around the company a long time. Neither of those two things has ever shown a strong relationship to being a good manager. In fact, Gallup research has found that only 10% of human beings are naturally wired to be great managers — and some others, while not naturally gifted, are teachable. But companies choose candidates with the right talent for the job only 18% of the time….”

Categories: Research

CBO – The Effects of Terminating Payments for Cost-Sharing Reductions

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:31

“Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurers receive federal payments to cover costs incurred when offering plans with reduced deductibles, copayments, and other cost sharing to some people who purchase plans through the ACA marketplaces. If those payments for cost-sharing reductions stopped after the end of this year, participating insurers would raise premiums to cover the costs. CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation estimate that ending those payments would increase the federal deficit, on net, by $194 billion from 2017 through 2026, mostly because that change would result in increased costs for premium assistance tax credits. The number of people uninsured would be slightly higher in 2018 but slightly lower starting in 2020.”

Categories: Research

Neo-Nazi Site The Daily Stormer Moves To Dark Web After Shutdown

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:20
After being shutdown by Google and GoDaddy, prominent neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer has moved their site to the dark web. "The new site is now only available through the Tor network, which allows users to set up their own domains," reports VICE News. "The original site,, is now fully offline." From the report: The homepage, as of Tuesday morning, contained articles that make light of the car ramming attack that claimed the life of 32-year-old Heather Heyer; admonish the "Jew media;" liberally employ various racial epithets; and, in a less offensive post, provided an update on which characters are available on Pokemon Go. In a statement, the site's founder promised to bring his site back online. "The Daily Stormer will be live in internet prison with drug dealers, terrorists and perverts, which is where we've been exiled to, for all time," Andrew Anglin said in a statement sent to VICE News. "We should have a real domain online within 24 hours. If it gets shut down again, people will know we are on the black web."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

ALA condemns racism and violence in Charlottesville

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:18

“Today American Library Association President Jim Neal released the following statement regarding the weekend’s tragic violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. [The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 57,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.]

“The ALA expresses our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those lost and injured during this weekend’s protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. We will not forget their efforts to enlighten and safeguard their communities from bigotry while opposing racist, anti-immigrant, anti-GLBTQ, and anti-Semitic violence. We stand in solidarity with the people of Virginia as well as anyone who protests hate and fights for equity, diversity and inclusion. “The vile and racist actions and messages of the white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville are in stark opposition to the ALA’s core values. No matter the venue or the circumstance, we condemn any form of intimidation or discrimination based on culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Our differences should be celebrated, and mutual respect and understanding should serve as the norms within our society. “The ALA supports voices of hope as such actions mirror the library community’s efforts to abolish bigotry and cultural invisibility. As we recently stated, ‘we must continue to support the creation of a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society,’ and we will do this through the work of our members and through resources such as Libraries Respond.”

See also: “U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) released the following statement today on the white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia: “Our Founders fought a revolution for the idea that all men are created equal. The heirs of that revolution fought a Civil War to save our nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to that revolutionary proposition. “Nothing less is at stake on the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, where a violent attack has taken at least one American life and injured many others in a confrontation between our better angels and our worst demons. “White supremacists and neo-Nazis are, by definition, opposed to American patriotism and the ideals that define us as a people and make our nation special. “As we mourn the tragedy that has occurred in Charlottesville, American patriots of all colors and creeds must come together to defy those who raise the flag of hatred and bigotry.”

Categories: Research

Free Law Project – We Have Every Free PACER Opinion on

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:15

“At Free Law Project, we have gathered millions of court documents over the years, but it’s with distinct pride that we announce that we have now completed our biggest crawl ever. After nearly a year of work, and with support from the U.S. Department of Labor and Georgia State University, we have collected every free written order and opinion that is available in PACER. To accomplish this we used PACER’s “Written Opinion Report,” which provides many opinions for free. This collection contains approximately 3.4 million orders and opinions from approximately 1.5 million federal district and bankruptcy court cases dating back to 1960. More than four hundred thousand of these documents were scanned and required OCR, amounting to nearly two million pages of text extraction that we completed for this project. All of the documents amassed are available for search in the RECAP Archive of PACER documents and via our APIs. New opinions will be downloaded every night to keep the collection up to date.”

Categories: Research

NIST – Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations

beSpacific - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 19:06

Security and Privacy Controls for Information Systems and Organizations, August 2017. Draft NIST Special Publication 800-53 Revision 5.
This publication provides a catalog of security and privacy controls for federal information systems and organizations to protect organizational operations and assets, individuals, other organizations, and the Nation from a diverse set of threats including hostile attacks, natural disasters, structural failures, human errors, and privacy risks. The controls are flexible and customizable and implemented as part of an organization-wide process to manage risk. The controls address diverse requirements derived from mission and business needs, laws, Executive Orders, directives, regulations, policies, standards, and guidelines. The publication describes how to develop specialized sets of controls, or overlays, tailored for specific types of missions and business functions, technologies, environments of operation, and sector-specific applications. Finally, the consolidated catalog of controls addresses security and privacy from a functionality perspective (i.e., the strength of functions and mechanisms) and an assurance perspective (i.e., the measure of confidence in the security or privacy capability). Addressing both functionality and assurance ensures that information technology products and the information systems that rely on those products are sufficiently trustworthy.”

Categories: Research

Petition of the day

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 18:38

The petition of the day is:

Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. United States 17-57

Issues: (1) Whether sales of energy through centralized market exchanges form direct contractual privity between buyers of that energy and the federal agencies selling it, such that the Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction over a suit to recover overcharges from the federal agencies; and (2) whether petitioners were in privity with the federal power marketing agencies for those sales because the energy exchanges acted as the parties’ agents in facilitating their transactions.

The post Petition of the day appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

POGO and Brennan Center Call for Concurrent Investigations

Project On Government Oversight - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 14:57
A joint op-ed in The Hill Understanding the Anti-Lobbying Laws by the Project On Government Oversight and the Brennan Center calls on Congress to investigate concurrently with the Department of Justice.
Categories: Research

Tech Companies Urge Supreme Court To Boost Cellphone Privacy

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 14:40
More than a dozen high technology companies and the biggest wireless operator in the United States, Verizon, have called on the U.S. Supreme Court to make it harder for government officials to access individuals' sensitive cellphone data. From a report: The companies filed a 44-page brief with the court on Monday night in a high-profile dispute over whether police should have to get a warrant before obtaining data that could reveal a cellphone user's whereabouts. Signed by some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, including Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Snap and Alphabet's Google, the brief said that as individuals' data is increasingly collected through digital devices, greater privacy protections are needed under the law. "That users rely on technology companies to process their data for limited purposes does not mean that they expect their intimate data to be monitored by the government without a warrant," the brief said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Symposium: Lift the harmful, failing federal ban on sports betting

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 14:26

Stacy Papadopoulos is general counsel and senior vice president of industry services at the American Gaming Association, which filed a cert-stage amicus brief in support of the challengers in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association.

In 1992, Congress enacted the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which prohibits all but a few states from legalizing and regulating sports betting. A quarter of a century later, sports fans, state policymakers, the law-enforcement community and even some professional sports leagues agree that PASPA is misguided and failing. During its next term, the Supreme Court will decide whether PASPA is also unconstitutional.

There is no dispute that Congress could, as a matter of federal law, prohibit or regulate interstate sports betting, and in the process pre-empt any state law on the subject. But PASPA does not do that. Instead, PASPA forces states to continue prohibiting sports betting as a matter of state law – and, presumably, to enforce those prohibitions using state resources. State governments are required to maintain their sports-betting laws as they existed in 1992, but have no power to amend, strengthen or repeal those laws. The effect of PASPA has been to freeze in place state law as it existed in the early 1990s and to interfere with states’ police powers and authority to regulate local matters of economic development and public morality.

For over a century, however, the Supreme Court has made clear that Congress may not require states to require or prohibit certain acts, even when the federal government could require or prohibit those acts in the first instance. Under this “anti-commandeering doctrine,” the court has repeatedly struck down laws that coopt the states’ law-enforcement apparatus and treat states as mere outposts of the federal government. Thus, in New York v. United States, the Supreme Court held that Congress could not force states either to take title to low-level radioactive waste generated within their borders or to adopt federal standards regulating such waste. Similarly, in Printz v. United States, the court determined that Congress could not compel state law-enforcement officials to perform background checks for would-be purchasers of firearms. Simply put, Congress may not command states to “promulgate and enforce laws and regulations,” control or influence the manner in which states “regulate private parties,” or “require the States … to regulate their own citizens.” This is because, as the Supreme Court has recognized, a state’s ability to decide what its own law is (or is not) is a “quintessential attribute of sovereignty” and “precisely what gives the State its sovereign nature.”

PASPA violates these core principles of American federalism by compelling almost every state to continue prohibiting sports betting, regardless of what is in the best interest of the state and its citizens. The harm of such federal overreach is more than purely structural. Preserving a state’s autonomy to enact, enforce, modify and repeal its own laws as it sees fit protects individual rights and promotes democratic accountability. PASPA’s effect on New Jersey’s long-running effort to legalize and regulate sports betting is a prime example of what happens when the people who are required to enforce a law are prohibited from changing that law to reflect new circumstances or evolving public opinion.

As a policy matter, PASPA is a failure. Passed with the salutary purpose of protecting problem gamblers and shielding the integrity of sports, PASPA has fueled a thriving black market that operates beyond the reach of law enforcement or regulatory oversight. My organization, the American Gaming Association, estimates that each year, Americans illegally wager more than $150 billion on U.S. sporting events. In other words, if the U.S. illegal sports-betting market were a company, it would have come in at No. 11 on the Fortune 500 – right behind AT&T and Ford, two spots ahead of Amazon, and with annual revenue roughly equal to the combined revenue of Microsoft, Facebook and Goldman Sachs. The prevalence of illegal sports betting is particularly concentrated around the nation’s most popular sporting events. Earlier this year, Americans bet an estimated $15 billion on the Super Bowl and the NCAA men’s basketball tournament; an estimated 97 percent of those bets were illegal.

This black market exists only because of PASPA. When given a choice between a black market and a legal, regulated market, consumers invariably choose the latter. In Nevada, the United Kingdom, and other places with legal sports betting, there simply is no demand for illegal betting. Because PASPA forces almost all sports betting underground, the statute has failed to protect consumers or local communities. In an unregulated market, bettors cannot rely on consumer-protection laws or even basic principles of contract enforcement. As a result, those citizens – particularly low-income and otherwise disadvantaged individuals – are susceptible to exploitation. Illegal sports revenue not only exacts personal costs on individuals, it also inflicts broader social damage: Illegal sports-betting revenue funds organized crime and other illicit activity, such as drug and human trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. PASPA prevents states from redirecting that revenue to lawful, productive means. A recent report by Oxford Economics estimates that repealing PASPA and creating a regulated market for sports betting would create up to $26.6 billion in annual economic impact, including up to $14.2-billion growth in gross domestic product, $5.3 billion in tax revenue and $7.5 billion in wages.

It also is unclear that PASPA even protects the integrity of professional and amateur sports. In countries with legalized sports betting, law-enforcement agencies, sports leagues and betting operations can use aggregate data to identify suspicious betting patterns. Just last year, a legal sports book alerted authorities to suspect betting patterns on doubles matches at the Australian Open. By contrast, in the United States, if point-shaving or match-fixing is uncovered, it is almost always by accident and as the result of an unrelated investigation. Given these facts, it is not surprising that a majority of sports fans and even the commissioner of the National Basketball Association now support a legal, regulated sports-betting market.

Sports fans, law-enforcement authorities and state governments demand change. In 2011, the voters of New Jersey – recognizing the failure of prohibition and seeking to capture the tremendous economic potential of a safe and regulated betting market – overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative authorizing the state legislature to legalize sports betting. The state has taken this cause all the way to the Supreme Court. Should New Jersey succeed in its effort, more states are likely to follow. As of July 24, there are currently 23 bills in 13 other states that could potentially legalize sports betting. Once PASPA is overturned or repealed, federal and state government, law-enforcement agencies, the gaming industry and the sports leagues will be able to devise a 21st-century regulatory framework that protects bettors, generates revenue for local communities and protects the integrity of our national pastimes.

The post Symposium: Lift the harmful, failing federal ban on sports betting appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Symposium: Sports-betting ban clearly within Congress’ power over interstate commerce

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:56

Michael K. Fagan, an adjunct professor at Washington University Law, coordinates the Predatory Gambling Liability Project, a strategic litigation effort of the 501(c)(3) group, Stop Predatory Gambling. He served as a career federal prosecutor and as Special Attorney to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.

As its recent term drew to a close, the U.S. Supreme Court surprised many observers by agreeing to hear New Jersey’s and the commercial gambling industry’s appeals in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association and New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, Inc. v. NCAA. The cases have been consolidated and will be argued together, most likely in the late fall or early winter. The cert grants came despite the U.S. solicitor general’s opposition and despite the Supreme Court’s fairly recent denial of cert to the same parties in an earlier iteration of the cases.

The consolidated cases involve defiance of a federal statute, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, by New Jersey and its controlling partner, the commercial gambling industry. PASPA prohibits states and individuals from actively taking steps to facilitate or engage in state-sponsored commercial sports gambling, and it explicitly bans states from authorizing or licensing such activities. Enacted in 1992, PASPA excluded from its prohibition the handful of then-existing state-authorized commercial sports-gambling schemes. These pre-existing configurations were not seen as threats to interstate commerce and the national economy in the same harmful ways or to the same extent as widespread commercial sports gambling. PASPA also provided that if New Jersey were to authorize commercial sports gambling in its Atlantic City casinos within one year of PASPA’s effective date, the exemption from PASPA’s prohibition would extend to that action; however, New Jersey did not act in time and its potential exemption expired.

Nearly a generation later, however, with an eye toward raising state revenue via taxation and relying upon an intervening amendment to its state constitution, New Jersey twice passed laws attempting to allow commercial sports gambling to take place in the state – as long as the gambling did not involve college sporting events taking place in New Jersey or games played anywhere by teams from New Jersey colleges. Each time, the major professional sports leagues and the NCAA sought and received federal court injunctive relief (as PASPA enables affected sports leagues to do) to block New Jersey’s perceived disregard of PASPA. Two district-court judges, two different panels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, and the en banc appellate court rejected claims that PASPA violates the anti-commandeering doctrine by requiring a state to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. (In each of the appellate rulings, dissents were filed.)

Defending its most recent enactment, New Jersey maintained that its statute merely repealed state laws against commercial sports gambling and was neither an authorization or licensing of such gambling, so that PASPA was not violated. The sports leagues and the federal courts’ majorities, however, observed that the language used in New Jersey’s statute plainly was intended and served to authorize commercial sports gambling only at limited, pre-existing licensed gambling venues and only for certain people. Substance prevailed over form. The practical authorizing effect of the state statute controlled, said the 3rd Circuit majorities, rather than any legislative effort to beguile by labeling the law as a mere repeal. Finding a plain conflict between the state law and PASPA’s prohibitions, the appellate majorities then determined that PASPA did not offend the anti-commandeering doctrine, because it did not require the state to do anything affirmatively. The courts concluded that PASPA barred the state from permitting commercial sports gambling.

One way some have framed the issue now before the Supreme Court is whether PASPA, seen as a federal statute that prohibits modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on private conduct, impermissibly commandeers the regulatory power of states in contravention of two 1990s-era cases, New York v. United States and Printz v. United States. PASPA, however, does not prohibit modification or repeal of state-law prohibitions on solely private conduct. Rather, it prohibits states (actually, any “governmental entity”) or persons “acting pursuant to the law or compact of a governmental entity” from engaging in certain conduct. That prohibited conduct is “to sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or [as might a governmental entity, to] authorize by law or compact” any gambling scheme on any athletic game or individual performance in a game. PASPA’s prohibitions do not preclude conduct unless it is pursuant to some government’s authorizing or licensing law, which, by definition, makes the conduct something other than entirely private. PASPA’s prohibition on governmental conduct is also not a prohibition on “private” conduct, because governmental conduct is, by definition, public.

The 1990s-era cases cited above gave rise to the judge-made anti-commandeering doctrine, a doctrine rooted not in the words of the 10th Amendment or elsewhere in the Constitution (originalists, take note), but in a perceived structuring by that document of relationships between the federal and state governments. The contours of that structuring, of course, depend on which justices, activist or otherwise, are doing the perceiving. The doctrine presently says that Congress cannot compel the states to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program affirmatively or directly. It protects states from being “commandeered” against their will into spending their resources or their officials’ reputations on some federal regulatory effort.

Yet PASPA’s prohibitions plainly do not require the legislating state either to act affirmatively or to expend resources or reputation by regulating a federal program. Instead, PASPA obligates states (and other governmental entities) not to act in ways that may injure and corrupt channels of interstate commerce; that impair other states’ commercial and quality-of-life interests; that defy national protective policies inherent in the constitutionally assigned federal powers over interstate and foreign commerce and taxation; and that, in the aggregate, remove capital from productive uses to involve it in sterile transfers of wealth.

The commerce and supremacy clauses of the United States Constitution have long afforded the federal government ample power to prohibit a state from passing laws that shift from the legislating state to other states and to the national government the costs of a state-authorized vice occurring in the legislating state, when that vice both necessarily affects interstate commerce and does so by design. This is especially the case when the legislating state has not allowed or provided recompense for the harms associated with the vice.

New Jersey’s attempt to authorize commercial sports wagering necessarily affects interstate commerce, most plainly because the state’s statute bans bets on games involving New Jersey colleges. This, of course, attempts to protect New Jersey colleges from the integrity risks inherent in sports gambling. The ban, however, shifts the risks of corruption to other states’ college games and related commercial interests. Precluding such self-interested legislation that disadvantages other states is a key reason why the U.S. Constitution granted the federal government broad powers over interstate and foreign commerce. Since Gibbons v. Ogden in 1824, Congress’ power to prevent commercial wars among the states (as PASPA does) has been well-established.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld those broad federal powers, especially when they are exercised (i) to limit the use of interstate and foreign commerce as vehicles for criminal activity; (ii) for nonproductive or illicit wealth transfers; (iii) for tax-evasive activities; (iv) for thwarting state laws prohibiting, limiting or regulating commercial gambling; and (v) for increasing wealth disparity, imposing costly mental and other health burdens, and harming family cohesion. PASPA advances each of these aims. People may argue over whether PASPA promotes a wise policy, but nothing about the statute violates settled constitutional law.

Like all commercial gambling (and unlike noncommercial gambling), government-authorized commercial sports gambling’s business model seeks:

[1] to get as many people as possible

[2] to gamble as often as possible,

[3] for as long as possible,

[4] and to bet as much as possible.

These four goals are largely absent from noncommercial (e.g., private, social or most charitable) gambling. They ensure that both gamblers and nongamblers would lose from nationally-expanded legalization of commercial sports gambling, because there is no way to limit to only gamblers or the industry the social and economic harms and costs inherent to commercial gambling. PASPA recognizes this reality.

Organized harm, made unlawful, does not become harmless simply because a state attempts to make it lawful. PASPA recognizes this reality, too. And when that organized harm affects interstate or foreign commerce, the power to regulate or prohibit it resides with Congress, as it has for centuries.

Unless at least five members of the Supreme Court seek to markedly expand or modify the anti-commandeering doctrine, it is difficult to see why the court granted certiorari in this case, in which the primary issues are clearly political, not constitutional.

(The Supreme Court may address other doctrinal arguments, such as PASPA’s interplay with the equal-sovereignty or private-non-delegation doctrine, but the cert grant focused on the anti-commandeering issue, so I have not discussed these other arguments here.)

The post Symposium: Sports-betting ban clearly within Congress’ power over interstate commerce appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Everything Old is New Again: Trump’s Bipartisan Proposals to Curb Improper Payments

Project On Government Oversight - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 10:41
President Trump’s crackdown on improper payments could represent a bipartisan effort to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the federal government.
Categories: Research

Justice Department Demands 1.3 Million IP Addresses Related To Anti-Trump Website

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 09:00
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: In a blog post today, online web hosting provider DreamHost disclosed that it has been involved in a months-long legal battle with the Justice Department over records on visitors to an anti-Trump website. The dispute focuses on a Justice Department demand for information on data related to, which describes itself as a group of activists "building the framework needed for mass protests to shut down the inauguration of Donald Trump and planning widespread direct actions to make that happen." DreamHost is taking issue with a warrant issued by the department for "all files" related to the website, which DreamHost says would compel them to turn over electronic data like visitor logs. That would include IP addresses and other information that could be used to identify anyone who visited the site. "The request from the DOJ demands that DreamHost hand over 1.3 million visitor IP addresses -- in addition to contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people -- in an effort to determine who simply visited the website," the company said in its blog post. The warrant, DreamHost argues, would also require it to hand over any communications that are even tangentially related to the website. "In essence, the Search Warrant not only aims to identify the political dissidents of the current administration, but attempts to identify and understand what content each of these dissidents viewed on the website," the company said in a legal filing arguing against the warrant. A hearing on the situation is set for Friday in Washington, DC Superior Court.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Tuesday round-up

SCOTUS Blog - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 07:02


  • Constitution Daily looks at three Supreme Court cases involving the Ku Klux Klan that posed “fundamental First Amendment questions about the ability of organized white supremacists to speak and demonstrate in the public forum.”
  • At the Cato Institute’s Cato at Liberty blog, Ilya Shapiro urges the Supreme Court to review a florist’s First Amendment challenge to a state antidiscrimination law, arguing that “[w]hile same-sex couples ought to be able to get marriage licenses—if the state is involved in marriage at all—a commitment to equality under the law can’t justify the restriction of private parties’ constitutionally protected rights like freedom of speech or association.”
  • In an op-ed at STAT, Michael Burg weighs in on the court’s recent opinion in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, in which the justices reversed a state court finding  specific personal jurisdiction over out-of-state plaintiffs in a multistate lawsuit, arguing that “[b]y foreclosing to plaintiffs state court venues other than those where [defendant] companies are ‘at home’ — generally meaning where they are headquartered or incorporated — the Supreme Court has placed an almost impossible burden on state court litigants.” [Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.]

Remember, we rely exclusively on our readers to send us links for our round-up.  If you have or know of a recent (published in the last two or three days) article, post, or op-ed relating to the Court that you’d like us to consider for inclusion in the round-up, please send it to roundup [at]

The post Tuesday round-up appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

Categories: Research

Perspectives on Harmful Speech Online

beSpacific - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 22:25

Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University – “This collection of essays includes perspectives on and approaches to harmful speech online from a wide range of voices within the Berkman Klein Center community. Recognizing that harmful speech online is an increasingly prevalent issue within society, we intend for the collection to highlight diverse views and strands of thought and to make them available to a wide range of audiences. We issued an open call to our community for short pieces that respond to issues related to harmful speech online. Through this collection, we sought to highlight ongoing research and thinking within our extended community that would be available to readers in a way that is more accessible than traditional academic research. The 16 short essays compiled in this collection are authored by a global group of friends, colleagues, and collaborators. We hope that this diverse mix of perspectives, viewpoints, and data points provokes thought and debate, and inspires further exploration. Evidence of the complexity of the issue is that no two writers sought to cover the same topic from a similar point of view; from legal perspectives to research results to paradigm-shifting provocations, a multitude of topics, opinions, and approaches are included. Many pieces draw from research, while others are more opinion-based, indicating that discourse around this topic can be inherently opinionated and passionate as well as scholarly and academic. Some pieces are written in a style evocative of advocacy, whereas others are written with scholarly communities in mind. The range of perspectives and opinions found here—and the lack of consensus on some topics—highlight the dynamic complexity of the issues and how competing values are frequently entangled. The pieces are organized into three categories: Framing the Problem, International Perspectives, and Approaches, Interventions, and Solutions. The first and last sections include essays that build upon our understanding of their categories, and the section on International Perspectives addresses specific geopolitical contexts and ways in which the regulation of harmful speech may or may not be serving the citizens of a particular country or region..”

Categories: Research

Judge Says LinkedIn Cannot Block Startup From Public Profile Data

Slashdot: Your Rights Online - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 22:05
A U.S. federal judge on Monday ruled that LinkedIn cannot prevent a startup from accessing public profile data, in a test of how much control a social media site can wield over information its users have deemed to be public. Reuters reports: U.S. District Judge Edward Chen in San Francisco granted a preliminary injunction request brought by hiQ Labs, and ordered LinkedIn to remove within 24 hours any technology preventing hiQ from accessing public profiles. The dispute between the two tech companies has been going on since May, when LinkedIn issued a letter to hiQ Labs instructing the startup to stop scraping data from its service. HiQ Labs responded by filing a suit against LinkedIn in June, alleging that the Microsoft-owned social network was in violation of antitrust laws. HiQ Labs uses the LinkedIn data to build algorithms capable of predicting employee behaviors, such as when they might quit. "To the extent LinkedIn has already put in place technology to prevent hiQ from accessing these public profiles, it is ordered to remove any such barriers," Chen's order reads. Meanwhile, LinkedIn said in a statement: "We're disappointed in the court's ruling. This case is not over. We will continue to fight to protect our members' ability to control the information they make available on LinkedIn."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Research

Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report

beSpacific - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 22:00

United States International Trade Commission – Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report, May 2017

“Recent Trends in U.S. Services Trade: 2017 Annual Report focuses on U.S. exports and imports of professional services, particularly accounting and auditing, architecture and engineering, legal, and management consulting services. In 2015, the United States exported $139.7 billion in professional services and imported $91.0 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $48.7 billion for this segment of the services sector. By comparison, the total U.S. services trade surplus was $263.4 billion. U.S. professional services contributed $2.6 trillion to U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, or 19 percent of total U.S. private sector GDP. Professional services employed over 29 million full-time equivalent employees in 2015, representing 25.8 percent of U.S. total private sector employment. The healthcare sector supplied about half of professional services’ contribution to employment and GDP. Wages for professional services workers have grown slightly more slowly than those in many other services industries. The workers earned an average wage of $65,861 in 2015, exceeding the private sector average, but trailing wages in electronic services, financial services, and goods manufacturing.Professional services such as management consulting are being transformed by digital technology, as software is increasingly able to perform routine tasks. However, many professional services also require non-routine creative tasks, as well as social interaction, neither of which can easily be automated. Sectors like legal services and accounting and auditing services remain highly regulated, and these regulations can significantly influence patterns of international trade.”

Categories: Research