…And she did some walking around…
The opinion of the U.S.D.C. for the E.D. of Kentucky in Bevin v. Stewart dismissing a lawsuit brought by the Governor of Kentucky, Mattew Bevin, is short. However, it requires a bit of background to understand how incredibly preposterous the Governor’s actions were. Here’s the chronology:
- Kentucky had one of the most expansive and successful expanded state programs under the ACA.
- Bevin and the Republicans in the Kentucky legislature moved to roll back the expanded program.
- In order to effect the rollback, Kentucky had to obtain what is known as a Section 1115 waiver from the Department of Health and Human Services.
- Of course, under the Trump Administration, Bevin et al. obtained that waiver.
- Sixteen plaintiffs filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the waiver on various grounds.
- Kentucky intervened in the D.C. action.
- Ultimately, the “D.C. Court determined in the D.C. Action that [HHS] acted arbitrarily and capriciously in granting the Kentucky . . . waiver, and the [D.C.] Court remanded the matter to HHS.”
- Now, prior to the ruling by the D.C. Court, Bevin brought an action in the E.D. of Kentucky against the sixteen plaintiffs in the D.C. Action, challenging the claims they brought in the D.C. Action.
There is clearly something wrong with this picture. In essence, in the E.D. of Kentucky case, Bevin was claiming that Kentucky would be damaged if the sixteen plaintiffs prevailed in the case that they brought in D.C. and the D.C. Court ruled in their favor. That theory was quickly disposed of by the Kentucky Court. However, Bevin’s clever attempt at legal legerdemain would have, if successful, opened a realm of possibilities. Consider the following:
An individual enters a bank. He presents the bank teller with a note and a cloth sack, directing that all of the cash in the teller’s drawer be placed in the sack or else. The fearful teller complies. Seeing what is transpiring, a brave bank patron jumps on the individual involved in the transaction, wrestling him to the ground and recovering the cash. The individual is arrested by the police for bank robbery. Under Bevin’s theory, that result is wrong.
According to Bevin, the individual who presented the teller with the note made the teller an offer. The bank teller, by his or her actions, accepted that offer and a contract was thereby created. The individual involved was damaged due to tortious interference with his contract by the bank patron and the police officer.
There are now approximately 200 former national security officials who have signed the following statement:
In a recent statement 15 senior former senior intelligence officials expressed their strong opposition to actual or threatened removal of security clearances from former government officials. All of us believe it is critical to protect classified information from unauthorized disclosure. But we believe equally strongly that former government officials have the right to express their unclassified views on what they see as critical national security issues without fear of being punished for doing so. Our signatures below do not necessarily mean that we concur with the opinions expressed by former CIA Director Brennan or the way in which he expressed them. What they do represent, however, is our firm belief that the country will be weakened if there is a political litmus test applied before seasoned experts are allowed to share their views.
A copy of the statement with a list of current signatories is here. The statement is an update to the statement that I mentioned here (when there were only 60 signatories) and references another statement by “15 senior former senior intelligence officials” that I mentioned here when the number was only 12 former officials.
A California jury has awarded $289 million to DeWayne Johnson, a groundskeeper who has non-Hodgkins lymphoma and claims his disease was caused by glyphosate, Monsanto’s blockbuster pesticide marketed most prominently as Roundup.
Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times reviews the facts of the case and the scientific dispute surrounding glyphosate’s role, or lack thereof, in causing cancer. He points out, reasonably, that a courtroom is a lousy places to resolve scientific disputes; how many of the twelve jurors could define “statistical significance” or “type II error”? And the notion that non-experts can pick out the truth in a swearing contest between experts is simply laughable.
Hilzik notes that alternatives, including “bringing these cases before specialized tribunals or setting up public funds for victims of certain products,” “all have their own flaws,” and concludes with an expert’s view that the jury trial “is a highly imperfect process,” but that “like democracy, it’s the best we have.”
I doubt it. Continue Reading…
On a poorly-planned trip, I got fewer good pics than last year, but a few decent ones. Mainly, the trip demonstrated the value of high-quality equipment. My full-frame camera with a 300mm lens got much better pics than my new super-zoom Nikon P900. The P900 got a few cool pictures of parachutists from miles away, but the soft lens, camera jitter, and related challenges made it hard to do action shots at high zoom.
A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit against Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and his agency, dealing a blow to advocates challenging how the department enforces fair housing laws.
Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed the case after finding that the plaintiffs, three housing advocacy nonprofit groups, failed to prove they were harmed by HUD’s move to effectively suspend an Obama-era rule requiring communities to address housing discrimination.
The WaPo article on the decision did not link to the court’s opinion. We do.
One of the extraordinary things about language is how we can at some level understand familiar forms and grammar even when we don’t know the meaning of words (Anyone who has traveled abroad to a country whose language they didn’t speak may resonate with this).
As a remarkable, clever, and very funny illustration of this phenomenon, watch this brilliant bit by Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television.
California and other states have brought a lawsuit against Wilbur Ross, as Secretary of Commerce, to include a question as to citizenship on the 2020 census. California and other states challenging the Census Bureau contend that the question will result in a less accurate census, a conclusion that the Chief Scientist of the Census Bureau agrees with.
This evening, District Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S.D.C. for the Northern District of California denied the Commerce Department’s Motion to Dismiss.
Jessica Denson, a national phone bank administrator for the Trump Campaign, brought a complaint against the Campaign Committee for various forms of harassment during her employment. Judge Arlene Bluth of the Supreme Court of N.Y. for N.Y. County held that the non-disclosure agreement could not be used to compel arbitration of affirmative claims arising out of Denson’s employment. The court found that:
Here, the issue is defendant’s conduct. With the instant agreement, which governs five specific aspects of plaintiff’s conduct, the Court would be abdicating its responsibility if it deferred the question of arbitrability of defendant’s conduct to an arbitrator.
(Emphasis in the original.)
I note that the case is distinguishable from the arbitration request that the Campaign Committee appears to have brought against Omarosa Manigault-Newman.
Now there’s a letter from an additional 60 former CIA officials protesting the revocation of Brennan’s security clearance. There’s also been a report that additional former intelligence officials have added their names to the letter noted here. I will update the previous report as soon as I can confirm.