Short Circuit: A roundup of recent federal court decisions

(Here is the latest edition of the Institute for Justice’s weekly Short Circuit newsletter, written by John Ross.)

This week, the Supreme Court refused an invitation to rubber-stamp prosecutorial misconduct, reining in prosecutors who intentionally discriminated on the basis of race during jury selection. Bravo, says Evan Bernick of the Center for Judicial Engagement. See Evan’s article here.

Read on, friends.

Nurses’ aides at York, Pa. clinic threaten to slash tires, punch faces of other aides suspected of being disinclined to join union. Union wins election. NLRB: The threats, some of which came from an aide who had recently been in a knife fight, were jokes and unlikely to be taken seriously. So the election results stand. D.C. Circuit: Not so.

By law, members of educational institutions who make public-records requests are eligible for reduced fees. Gov’t: Teachers, but not students, are eligible. So a Ph.D. student must pay full freight ($900) for a search for documents related to polygraphs. D.C. Circuit: No, she mustn’t. (But the DOD need not release the documents, lest the information fall into the hands of subversives.)

Bank of America sold subprime assets to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but, says the Second Circuit, the government failed to prove bank officials knew those assets would not be investment-quality at the time that they were delivered, a necessary element of fraud. So verdict overturned, and the bank need not pay a $1.2 billion penalty.

The FCC has not completed mandatory reviews of rules meant to promote diversity in broadcast-company ownership (among other aims) in nearly a decade. Indeed, commissioners have not settled on a working definition of minority- or women-owned. Third Circuit: We’ll not vacate the rules (yet). Instead, the agency must take action pursuant to mediation overseen by the district court.

A spate of perceived police misconduct has meant hard times for Terry (the 1968 Supreme Court decision sanctioning warrantless stop-and-frisks), but it remains good law that can defuse tension on the streets, writes Judge Wilkinson, concurring in a Fourth Circuit decision letting in evidence obtained from the frisk of a Wheeling, W.V. man.

A Wake Forest, N.C. detective failed to disclose on search warrant application that confidential informant (who purchased contraband from the defendant) also stole money from the sheriff’s department, among other material omissions. Fourth Circuit: Suppress the evidence.

Man takes ecstasy, suffers debilitating stroke. His insurer declines to pay for his medical care. Fifth Circuit: The ecstasy wasn’t consumed on the advice of a health practitioner, so, under his policy and the Texas Insurance Code, the insurer needn’t pay.

Army officer, a lieutenant colonel, engages prostitute advertised online as a 19-year-old. In fact, she’s underage. Now-former officer: I was conducting scholarly research. Jury: Sex trafficking of a child. Fifth Circuit: No reason to disturb the jury’s verdict.

In 2013, Saginaw County, Mich. officials banned electronic devices that can record audio or video from a government building containing courtrooms and executive and legislative offices. Man: I would like to record but do not wish to be fined or jailed. Sixth Circuit: Plaintiff hasn’t shown a credible threat of prosecution so cannot raise constitutional claims.

Chicago says individual peddlers need to have licenses to prevent “fraud” — but what kind of “fraud” can someone even get up to when they’re selling you a magazine about baseball? This Seventh Circuit panel has no idea, but since the preliminary-injunction record is insufficient to decide the point, the district court will have to figure it out in the first instance.

Milwaukee police surround car they suspect is illegally parked within 15 feet of (unmarked, snow-covered) crosswalk. One of the car’s occupants, has a gun despite being a felon. Seventh Circuit: So back to prison for him. Dissent: This is a case of parking while black — police used the parking violation as a pretext for a warrantless seizure, which violates the Fourth Amendment.

Lawyer with Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office tells man that subpoenaed documents (related to his malicious-prosecution claims against Chicago) no longer exist. But wait! They exist. Can the lawyer appeal the $35k fine and judicial censure imposed by the district court? The censure was warranted, says a Seventh Circuit panel, and as for the fine, the county paid (so no appealing it).

Two witnesses to Chicago murder both identify the same man, a stranger, in photo arrays. He’s convicted. Yikes! His trial attorney did not interview six witnesses who say the man was at a barbecue at the time of the shooting. Ineffective assistance and grounds for habeas relief? State court: No. Seventh Circuit: Maybe. Let’s have an evidentiary hearing.

St. Paul police officer tells evangelical Christian preacher that he’s not welcome at an annual Irish fair in public park. He leaves. City officials indicate that he’ll be allowed to preach at subsequent fairs. Eighth Circuit: So he doesn’t have standing to sue the city, the police chief, or the police officer in her official capacity. But he can sue the officer in her personal capacity.

San Diego police summoned to apartment complex to investigate men with guns. Instead, they encounter a family barbecue. They point assault rifles at the family (including young children) and handcuff many of them, pushing a pregnant woman to the ground and tearing a man’s rotator cuff in the process. They search the family home without a warrant or consent. Ninth Circuit: No qualified immunity.

Anaheim police summoned to apartment complex to investigate man with gun. They encounter man with what turns out to be a BB gun. Ninth Circuit: A jury might conclude the officers unreasonably killed the man moments after giving him conflicting orders, but they are entitled to qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claims. The state law claims were erroneously dismissed, however.

Private prison company settles class action, agrees to increase staff at Kuna, Idaho corrections facility. The company reneges, falsifies staffing records. Ninth Circuit: No reason to alter the fines the district court ordered (in the event of continued noncompliance) or to lower the fees awarded to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Three years ago, the IRS seized $68,000 from a nearly 100-year-old family business, Vocatura’s Bakery, in Norwich, Conn. because its owners deposited cash in the bank in increments of less than $10,000. Despite a 2014 policy change, whereby the IRS promised to stop seizing money from small businesses that merely “structured” their deposits without evidence of any other crime, the IRS did not return the money. Indeed, in February a prosecutor demanded that the Vocatura brothers plead guilty to criminal structuring charges and agree to up to four years in prison. The brothers declined, but rather than prosecute, the government subpoenaed every business document the business generated over the last eight years, so that agents could launch a new investigation. This week, just hours after IJ filed suit, the IRS returned the $68,000. The retaliatory tax investigation continues, however, and so the Vocaturas will continue to fight. Read more here.

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/short-circuit-a-roundup-of-recent-federal-court-decisions-5/

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No peace for Greenpeace

In December, Greenpeace urged the federal government to investigate oil companies and organizations that dispute the risks of climate change under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Specifically, Greenpeace media officer Cassady Sharp called upon the Justice Department to undertake a “broad” investigation to “look into the role of [ExxonMobil and] other fossil fuel companies, trade associations, and think tanks in sowing doubt about the risks of climate change.”

Greenpeace was not the first to call for RICO investigations into those who oppose costly climate change policies. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) made a similar call last year (prompting criticism from home-state press), as have others.  Greenpeace may soon have second-thoughts about its embrace of RICO, however.

Earlier today, Resolute Forest Products filed a civil RICO suit in a federal district court in Georgia, alleging a pattern of defamatory and fraudulent behavior by Greenpeace and allied organizations.  According to the 100-plus-page complaint (and appendix), Greenpeace and its affiliates are a RICO “enterprise” that have waged a deliberately defamatory campaign against Resolute, misrepresenting the company’s practices and environmental record in order to raise funds and promote Greenpeace’s environmentalist agenda:

The common purpose of the Greenpeace Enterprise was to target Resolute with a disinformation campaign that could be used to fraudulently induce millions of dollars in donations from individual donors and foundations that could be used to fund the salaries of the enterprise members and its leaders, perpetuate more fraudulent fundraising, and expand the campaign to direct attacks on Resolute customers that would provide even more powerful fundraising opportunities… .

In perpetuating this fraudulent scheme, Greenpeace has developed a playbook that is readily recognizable. It identifies or manufactures a hot-button environmental issue;disseminates sensational, alarmist, and false claims about impending calamity related to that issue; targets a high-profile company to vilify for the impending calamity, including by staging fake videos, photographs, and other evidence (such as staging animal slaughters by Greenpeace members impersonating others, and misrepresenting ordinary trees that have fallen as “ancient trees” harvested by its targets or photos and videos of one location or event passed off as another); bombards supporters with urgent requests to “DONATE NOW”; and directs extortive demands, tortious interference, and other illegal conduct at its targets and their customers. When Greenpeace’s extortion succeeds, it insists that its target publicly endorse its campaign and lies,which it then uses to drive more donations and attacks

The heart of Resolute’s complaint is that Greenpeace and its affiliates have repeatedly and systematically misrepresented the company and its forest practices as part of its fundraising efforts. According to Resolute, Greenpeace officials and representatives knowingly and deliberately make false and sensationalist claims about the company when seeking publicity and soliciting donations, including (but not limited to) fabricating evidence of Resolute’s alleged environmental malfeasance.

I confess that I’m no big fan of RICO, particularly when used to fight what is ultimately a political battle, but if the statute may be deployed against climate skeptics (as Greenpeace has urged), I see no reason why it can’t be used against environmentalist groups as well, particularly if (as Resolute alleges) some groups are deliberately fabricating evidence as part of their media and fundraising campaigns.  This last point is important, for Resolute is not merely disputing Greenpeace’s rhetorical claims or disputing its conclusions (though it does this). Resolute also maintains that Greenpeace officials and affiliates deliberately falsified evidence (such as by doctoring photographs).

Perhaps now that it is a RICO defendant and faces the prospect of expansive discovery in addition to a substantial financial judgment, Greenpeace might consider that it’s better to wage policy fights in the policy arena — with facts and logical arguments — and not the courtroom. One can only hope.

Interestingly enough, today’s RICO filing is not Resolute’s first legal attack on Greenpeace. The company also filed a defamation claim against Greenpeace in a Canadian court. How this suit proceeds might give Greenpeace and its allies second thoughts about Michael Mann’s defamation claims against climate skeptics as well. (The appeal in Mann’s suit is still pending in a D.C. court after 18 months.)

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/no-peace-for-greenpeace/

DOJ to Judge Hanen: There was no bad faith, and your order is illegal

Having blogged recently about Judge Andrew Hanen’s odd order in the DAPA immigration case, in which Hanen ordered the creation of a new continuing legal education requirement for Justice Department lawyers, I thought I would flag the Justice Department’s relatively short response to the order that was filed this morning. The Justice Department is seeking a stay of the order, which presumably will be denied quickly (and perhaps angrily) but will then let the Justice Department bring up the issue to the Fifth Circuit. The gist of the Justice Department’s argument is that there was no bad faith in the representations to the court by Justice Department lawyers and that Hanen’s order was itself illegal because it exceeded his authority. From the Justice Department’s memorandum:

The Department of Justice is committed to maintaining high standards of ethical conduct and professionalism for its attorneys. Department policy requires, with few exceptions, that its attorneys annually complete at least four hours of professionalism training (above and beyond any State bar requirements), including at least two hours of instruction in professional responsibility and one hour in government ethics, to ensure that Department of Justice attorneys receive the training needed to perform at the high level of professional and ethical standards expected of them. Declaration of Lee J. Lofthus, dated May 31, 2016 (filed herewith) (“Lofthus Decl.”), ¶¶ 6, 8.3

We submit that this Court has no inherent authority to superimpose additional ethics-training requirements applicable to more than 3,000 Department of Justice attorneys, see id., ¶ 11, for the purpose of assuring that Department lawyers meet qualifications of the Court’s choosing when they appear before other tribunals, such as state and federal courts in the Plaintiff States, see May 19 Order at 24. “[T]he limited reach of [a] court’s inherent authority” does not extend to policing proceedings in other courts that do not threaten its own judicial authority in the cases before it. Positive Software Sols., Inc. v. New Century Mortg. Corp., 619 F.3d 458, 460-61 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing Maxxam, 523 F.3d at 593); see also In re FEMA Trailer, 401 F. App’x at 883-84. Rather, the purpose of the inherent power is “the control of the litigation before [the court].” Maxxam, 523 F.3d at 591. It cannot be said that judicial supervision over the ethical training of more than 3,000 Department of Justice attorneys who may appear in courts (state or federal) located in one or more of twenty-six States is essential to preserve the Court’s authority over the cases pending, or the counsel appearing, before it. Positive Software, 619 F.3d at 460; In re FEMA Trailer, 401 F. App’x at 884.

The Court’s Order also exceeds its authority because compelling the Attorney General to implement a prescribed supplementary program of legal ethics instruction for over 3,000 Department Attorneys unconnected to this case, and to appoint an official to implement the Court’s order, contravenes the Constitution’s separation of powers. “[I]f any power whatsoever is in its nature Executive, it is the power of appointing, overseeing, and controlling those who execute the laws.” Free Enter. Fund v. Pub. Co. Accounting Oversight Bd., 561 U.S. 477, 492 (2010); see Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 164 (1926). By imposing a different standard as to the qualifications that Department of Justice attorneys must meet in order to appear on behalf of the United States in state and federal courts located in the twenty-six Plaintiff States, the Government respectfully submits that the Court has interfered with the Attorney General’s executive authority both to determine who will appear on behalf of the United States in litigation, see 28 U.S.C. § 517, and to direct the attorneys under her supervision in the performance of their duties, id. § 519. We therefore submit that the Court’s May 19 Order encroaches on central prerogatives of the Executive Branch as established by the Constitution and statutes, in violation of the separation of powers. See Miller v. French, 530 U.S. 327, 341 (2000); see also Bond v. United States, 564 U.S. 211, 222 (2011); New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 182 (1992).

As always, stay tuned.

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/doj-to-judge-hanen-there-was-no-bad-faith-and-your-order-is-illegal/

A small but significant victory for landowners at the Supreme Court

This morning, the Supreme Court issued a single opinion in an argued case that should be of particular interest to private landowners and administrative law aficionados: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes. In Hawkes, a unanimous court concluded that private landowners may challenge a federal agency’s conclusion that a given piece of land is subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act (CWA) once such a “jurisdictional determination” has been made. With this ruling, the court handed private landowners a small but significant victory.

Here’s some background. Under the CWA, it is illegal to “discharge” a “pollutant” into the “waters of the United States” without a federal permit. These terms are defined quite broadly, so that the deposit of soil, dirt or clean fill may constitute the “discharge” of a “pollutant.” This means that a private landowner who seeks to build on his or her property, perhaps by building a home, must obtain a federal permit if (and this is the key part) that land is considered part of the “waters of the United States.” How would a piece of land be considered “waters”? Because the federal government has defined the “waters of the United States” to include wetlands. If such lands are sufficiently connected to other waters, such as rivers and streams, they are subject to the CWA’s permitting requirements.

For an individual landowner, it is not always clear whether a given piece of land is subject to the CWA regulation. For this reason, landowners may seek a jurisdictional determination from the federal government (specifically, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), in order to find out whether federal regulators believe a permit is required. If the Army Corps says “no,” then the landowner is in the clear (at least under the CWA). If the Corps says “yes,” then the landowner must obtain a permit before, say, placing fill on the property.

Under today’s decision, a jurisdictional determination is a final agency action that is subject to judicial review. This is because once the Army Corps determines that a given parcel is subject to regulation under the CWA, it has reached a final conclusion about its jurisdiction, and this decision has clear consequences. If the Corps concludes it has no jurisdiction, the landowner can be sure the he or she will not risk federal prosecution for developing the property without a permit. If the Corps concludes it does have jurisdiction, then the landowner knows that developing the property without a permit is, in the view of the agency, illegal. Further, the court concluded, once an affirmative jurisdictional determination has been made, a landowner has no meaningful alternative to judicial review to contest the agency’s decision.

What this means, in practical terms, is that landowners have greater ability to determine whether their property is subject to federal regulation and to challenge potentially overbroad assertions of jurisdiction. If the Army Corps tells a landowner that a given property is subject to CWA regulation, and the landowner disagrees, the landowner may challenge the Army Corps’ determination right away. Had the federal government prevailed, however, a landowner faced with an unfavorable jurisdictional determination would have had to seek a federal permit (which can be costly and time-consuming, and its own source of uncertainty) or risk prosecution by developing the property without a permit.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Three other justices wrote concurrences: Justice Anthony Kennedy (joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas), Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Elena Kagan.

Kennedy’s concurrence stressed that even with the court’s decision (and its prior decision in Sackett, which I discussed here and here), the application of the CWA to private property “continues to raise troubling questions regarding the Government’s power to cast doubt on the full use and enjoyment of private property throughout the nation.”

Also, of particular interest to administrative law types, Kagan and Ginsburg expressed differing opinions on the effect of Bennett v. Spear on finality doctrine — an interesting question to be resolved another day.

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/a-small-but-significant-victory-for-landowners-at-the-supreme-court/

Prosecution of anti-Westboro-Baptist-Church protesters dismissed

As I noted in an April 12 post, four members of the group Journey 4 Justice had been convicted of illegally demonstrating outside a house of worship, for holding American flags on the sidewalk near the Westboro Baptist Church building in Topeka, Kan. (Westboro is the “God Hates Fags”/“Thank God for Dead Soldiers” group, which often demonstrates near soldiers’ funerals.) The Journey 4 Justice people weren’t standing on Westboro property, they weren’t yelling, they weren’t blocking access and they weren’t even directly conversing with Westboro members; they were just displaying flags.

Topeka, though, has an ordinance that bans (1) “standing or sitting or walking in a repeated manner past or around a house of worship, by one or more persons while carrying a banner, placard, or sign” (2) “within 50 feet of the property line on which a house of worship is situated” if any entrance to the house of worship is located on that side of the property, (3) from half an hour before an “announced religious event” to half an hour after it. Westboro had announced that it holds religious events every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., so the ordinance bans all picketing within 50 feet of the front property line of the church every day from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (The ordinance was enacted in 1995 as an attempt to suppress Westboro’s own picketing outside churches and funerals.)

The Journey 4 Justice members were found guilty by the Topeka Municipal Court and appealed to the Topeka District Court, represented pro bono by Michael Raupp and Michael Owens of Husch Blackwell LLP. (Disclosure: I offered some advice on the motion and planned to be involved in the appeal, if there was one.) I’m very happy to report that, on Friday, the city agreed that the ordinance cannot constitutionally be applied to the Journey 4 Justice people, and the court therefore dismissed the charges. The city believes the ordinance is facially valid and is prepared to apply it in other cases — but not where, as here, the church is trying to totally block all demonstrations (except in the dead of night) by claiming that it is continuously engaged in “religious events.” Here’s an excerpt of the city’s reasoning:

8. On September 12, 2015, the date in question, Westboro Baptist Church had published, as it regularly did, a notice that it “has religious events on Sun thru Sat 7am thru lOpm.”

9. In analyzing the First Amendment implications of a predecessor ordinance prohibiting focused picketing of religious events, [a trial court decision in an earlier case] warned against postings for religious events ‘in continuous operation’ that effectively delegate to
religious organizations the ability to control picketing on public sidewalks.

10. Without evidence that notice of a specific “religious event” was published (including start time and stop time or duration of a specific “religious event”) and evidence that the specific “religious event” took place as scheduled, the City cannot enforce the ordinance. To do so would place a restriction on the free speech rights of the Defendants that is not narrowly tailored to the intended purpose of preventing focused picketing of an announced religious event.

11. As noted by [the earlier trial court decision], the City can avoid an “as applied” challenge to an ordinance by tailoring enforcement to maintain the narrowest infringement on speech rights. This is what the City has chosen to do.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal (Jonathan Shorman), the city also added, in a news releaase,

In this instance, the City’s ordinance, as enforced, allows a vague notice to effectively prevent all speech on public property outside a house of worship, without the religious organization being required to identify the events and without evidence the events took place and were attended.

I still think that the ordinance is facially unconstitutional, for reasons discussed in this post and in the brief to which it links. But of course I’m very glad that, at least in this instance, the First Amendment rights of the Journey 4 Justice protesters were (finally) vindicated.

Thanks again to Raupp and Owens — who put in a great deal of effort, not just on the motion to dismiss in Topeka District Court but on the Municipal Court trial — and also their colleague Gene Summerlin, who helped shepherd the case into the firm when I first approached him about it.

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/prosecution-of-anti-westboro-baptist-church-protesters-dismissed/

‘Star Wars’ is about freedom of choice

If you’d told me a year ago that I would end up writing a book about “Star Wars,” I wouldn’t have believed you. But when my young son, Declan, fell for the movies, I got hooked. One reason is that the saga makes a series of claims about freedom — not only in politics and law but also in individual lives. If George Lucas had one thing to say, it’s this: You are free to choose. (That’s the title of a famous book by Milton and Rose Friedman, but it could also be the epigraph for “Star Wars.”)

You can take that as a claim about politics — about what distinguishes a republic from an empire (and I’ll get to that in later posts). But in “Star Wars,” it’s also an intimate claim about the pervasive presence of forks in the road.

Here’s Leia, speaking of Han’s apparent desertion of the rebellion in “A New Hope”: “A man must follow his own path. No one can choose it for him.” Here’s Obi-Wan to Luke, again in “A New Hope”: “Then you must do what you think is right, of course.” Here are Lucas’s own words: “Life sends you down funny paths. And you get many opportunities to keep your eyes open.”

In the original trilogy, Darth Vader tells Luke: “It is your destiny; join me and together we can rule the galaxy as father and son.” Wrong! The Emperor tells Luke: “It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now … mine.” Wrong again!

A lot of people disparage the prequels, and understandably so; they’re not nearly as good as the original trilogy. But in their own way, they’re not just beautiful; they’re also awfully clever. Here’s the best part: All of the choices in the first trilogy are precisely mirrored in the prequels. The two trilogies are about freedom of choice under nearly identical conditions. Lucas was entirely aware of this: “Luke is faced with the same issues and practically the same scenes that Anakin is faced with. Anakin says yes and Luke says no.”

In the pivotal scene in the prequels, the situation in “Return of the Jedi” is explicitly inverted, as Anakin saves Palpatine (Darth Sidious) and ultimately allows him to kill Mace Windu. When Windu is triumphing over Palpatine, the Sith Lord begs for Anakin’s help, offering these defining words: “You must choose.” He does, choosing Palpatine — and then yields to the Dark Side.

At the crucial moments, destiny and prophecies are just background noise. Time and again, the most important characters in “Star Wars” encounter two paths, and they intuit something about the consequences of both, and they decide accordingly. Padmé insists: “There’s always a choice.” Does Anakin hear the echo of her voice decades later, when he decides to save their son from the Emperor? I like to think so.

Choices are what doom and redeem Anakin, and they are certainly what turn Han into a fighter for the rebellion (kind of), and Luke into a Jedi. Choices are what turn Finn into a Resistance fighter and Rey into a Jedi-to-be. Lucas once more: “You have control of your destiny. … You have many paths to walk down.”

In a 2015 interview, here’s how Lawrence Kasdan, co-author of several of the “Star Wars” movies, put it:

My favorite line that I ever wrote is in Raiders [of the Lost Ark]. Sallah says to Indy, “how are you going to get the box back?” And Indy says: “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.”

That is the story of everybody’s life. It happens to be very dramatic for Indiana Jones. Get on the truck, get on the horse. But for you and me, we’re making it up, too. Here’s how I’m going to behave. Here’s what I’m willing to do to make a living; here’s what I’m not willing to do. How we make up our lives as we go.

That’s such a powerful idea, because it’s very exciting. It’s the biggest adventure you can have, making up your own life, and it’s true for everybody. It’s infinite possibility. It’s like, I don’t know what I’m going to do in the next five minutes, but I feel I can get through it. It’s an assertion of a life force.

“Star Wars” builds on a universal narrative, common to many religions and myths, but it’s also all-American. By pointing to people’s capacity to make up their own lives as they go along, Kasdan gets at the reason.

A time-honored question: What’s the Force? My answer, both personal and political: That’s the Force.

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/star-wars-is-about-freedom-of-choice/

Cass Sunstein guest-blogging on ‘The World According to Star Wars’

SunsteinStarWars

I’m delighted to report that Prof. Cass Sunstein (Harvard Law School) will be guest-blogging this week about his new book, “The World According to Star Wars.” Sunstein is one of the most influential legal scholars working today, as well as a past administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (2009-12). He is the founder and director of the Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, and the author of many books, including “Republic.com” (2001), “Risk and Reason” (2002), “Why Societies Need Dissent” (2003), “The Second Bill of Rights” (2004), “Laws of Fear: Beyond the Precautionary Principle” (2005), “Worst-Case Scenarios” (2001), “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness “(with Richard H. Thaler, 2008), “Simpler: The Future of Government” (2013), “Why Nudge?” (2014) and “Conspiracy Theories and Other Dangerous Ideas” (2014). His new book takes a somewhat different approach than his past work, but actually deals with some of the same issues; I very much look forward to his guest posts!

Originally Found On: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/31/cass-sunstein-guest-blogging-on-the-world-according-to-star-wars/