Net Loss: D.C. Circuit Upholds FCC “Net Neutrality” Rule


In a momentous decision, a panel of the D.C. Circuit (Judges Srinivasan, Tatel, and Williams; opinion by Srinivasan, partial dissent by Williams) has upheld the FCC’s “net neutrality” rule. Henceforth broadband providers will be regulated not as information providers but as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. Among other things this entails “must carry” obligations and a command that the providers may not charge different rates to different content providers (in regulatory parlance, “paid prioritization”).

Read More

Thought Experiment – Transcript of Islamic State National Security Council Meeting 6/17/16


(Self-appointed) Caliph: I have called you, the members of the IS National Security Council, together today in my bunker to discuss future strategy in light of the Orlando shooting in the US, the growth of right wing nationalist movements in Europe and the US, and our current situation on the ground in Iraq and Syria. Remember, our objectives are first to retain our state and second to expand it. Let’s start with the views of our military chief of staff. How are we doing?

Read More

To Promote Innovation Let Non-Lawyers Earn Income From Legal Services

The rule of law is a great boon to liberty, enabling us to plan our lives.  Making law more transparent and less expensive to use also increases liberty because then more people can take advantage of that stability at lower cost. It is a particular boon to the poor and middle-class who cannot afford high-priced lawyers to help them see through a fog of law.

Fortunately, the ever increasing power of computation is creating new mechanisms to improve access to  law. As I described in my presentation this week at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, machine intelligence is transforming legal practice.  It is making discovery of facts easier through predictive coding, permitting search by semantic concepts rather than just legal terms, generating simple but personally tailored legal documents, like wills and trusts, and helping predict the outcome of legal cases. Discovery, search, document generation, and legal prediction constitute a large part of legal practice.

The single most important structural change to accelerate such innovation is to permit non-lawyers and corporations to earn income from the practice of law—something that is forbidden by ethical rules in all our states.

Read More

The Most Important Person in America

The following post is written by Bill Levin, my friend and former colleague from the Office of Legal Counsel. He has written in this space before.   With fewer than 50 days to the start of the Democratic convention, the legal and political peril of Hillary Clinton has reached its climatic phase. Her career has come full circle, from a staffer in the Watergate proceedings to the lead in Emailgate, with two presidencies in the balance. Prior to the recent State Department IG Report, it was widely believed that Mrs. Clinton could weather the storm. The FBI has avoided official comment, except to call…

Read More

They’re Into Masochism

US Capitol dome detail

Among its myriad other mysteries, the 2016 election presents this Madisonian puzzle: Why are so many members of Congress genuflecting before presidential nominees whose platforms include emasculating them?

Read More

The San Francisco Compromise: A Conversation with Michael Anton

san franThis conversation with Michael Anton explores how the gargantuan wealth of Silicon Valley allied with San Francisco Progressivism and is now redefining American culture and politics. But how durable is the alliance?

Will the Show Run America?

WASHINGTON, DC - Flags have been lowered to half staff on the Washington Monument grounds.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The capability of radical Islamist terrorists claiming fealty to ISIS to attack soft targets here has been painfully demonstrated again, this time in the form of 49 dead and 53 wounded in an attack on a gay nightclub in Florida.  The Orlando massacre is now added to ISIS-inspired attacks on Philadelphia (January of this year, 1 police officer shot 3 times); San Bernadino (December 2015, 14 dead, 21 injured); Dallas (May 2015, 1 wounded), New York City (October 2014, hatchet attack on 4 police). The Tsarnaev brothers who killed 3 and wounded 264 in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing also reportedly had ISIS ties.

Read More

Did the FBI Fail and Is It Failing to Admit It?

The dots appear to have been connected. Yesterday, I noted that the FBI had questioned the mass murderer (MM) in 2013, based on his claims that he knew terrorists. The FBI concluded that his claims could not be substantiated. But then in 2014 they discovered that MM actually had contact with a terrorist who engaged in a suicide bombing. The 2014 event confirmed that MM knew terrorists. What did the FBI do? They closed the investigation. It now turns out that, had they kept the investigation open, his mass murder might have been prevented. MM was placed on a federal watch list for 10…

Read More

Puerto Rico: The Process Works, So Far

Puerto Rican flag on beach

In a 5-2 decision in Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Franklin California Tax-Free Trust (Justice Alito recused), the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico may neither avail itself of the protections of Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code nor, by way of a “Recovery Act,” authorize its municipalities and utilities to restructure debts owed to bondholders and various other entities (some $70 billion, at last count). Justice Thomas’s opinion for the Court rests on a strict reading of the statute, which says (in one provision) that Puerto Rico isn’t a “state” “for purposes of defining who may be a debtor under chapter 9” but defines the Commonwealth as a “state” for purposes of its preemption provision, which bars any state from enacting debt relief measures for municipalities outside Chapter 9.

Read More

Moral Language and Time Preferences: Assessing the Great Libertarian Lacuna

Erfolg im Business Handshake

William Ruger and Jason Sorens have identified a lacuna in both thought and rhetoric in the current conceptualization of individual freedom on the part of libertarians: an inability or perhaps unwillingness to engage arguments for virtuous self-government. 

Read More