The Progressive-Leaning Democrat has more in common with Donald Trump than you might think.
Willful bungling of the coronavirus crisis cuts across ideologies and political parties. That’s the lesson that we learn from the story of Bill de Blasio. He is very different, across many different dimensions, than Donald Trump. But it turns out that he shares something important with Trump: a tendency to place personality over expertise. De …CONTINUE READING
Proposed Tort Liability Protection for Businesses
Sen. Mitch McConnell is demanding that any future coronavirus relief law provide a litigation shield for businesses, and other conservative/business interests have made similar proposals. So far, the supporters of these proposals have engaged in some dramatic handwaving but haven’t begun to make a reasoned argument in support of a litigation shield. In this post, …CONTINUE READING
What duties do countries have to avoid causing global harms?
There’s been talk lately of demanding compensation if a country’s negligence allowed a disease to spread globally. There is a long history of discussion regarding similar damage claims in international environmental law. The same principles seem applicable to disease spread. In theory, damages should be available in both cases. The core principle of international liability …CONTINUE READING
How Plastics Companies and Environmental Groups Can Help Us Find an Answer
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, concerns have grown over the safety of grocery bags. Many U.S. states—among them New York, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Oregon—have suspended or delayed their single-use plastic bag bans in the past two months. Some places like Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and San Francisco have gone even further to temporarily ban reusable …CONTINUE READING
Unfortunately, if anything, reality has often turned out somewhat worse than predicted.
The White House thinks coronavirus models are too pessimistic. If anything, the evidence suggests the models aren’t pessimistic enough. Their projections of future deaths have often been too low.CONTINUE READING
Conservatives versus Lockdowns
Spurred on by conservative groups, protesters are demanding that their states go back to business as usual. This sentiment isn’t limited to the kinds of hotheads who insist on congregating in public during an epidemic, or even to conservatives like Betsy DeVos who help to fund these groups and promote their protests. It also includes …CONTINUE READING
Reactionary State Responses to COVID-19 (and Other Threats to Public Health) Don’t Mean Federalism Is For Suckers
For decades, “states’ rights” has been a rallying cry of the right wing. Most Americans are familiar with the dynamics that required the federalization of civil rights law, both in the 1860s and again in the 1960s, the protection of much of our nation’s federal lands, and the national crises that necessitated the federal government …CONTINUE READING
Once again, the famed libertarian law professor offers wildly offbase advice.
Having previously pooh-poohed the dangers of the coronavirus, Richard Epstein is now calling for an immediate end to social distancing and business shutdowns. It’s unfortunate that he has chosen to dig himself deeper into a hole rather than admitting his earlier mistake and moving on. As I discussed in a previous post, Epstein initially predicted …CONTINUE READING
The little virus who loved to make friends.
Once upon a time, there was a little coronavirus named Rona. Rona loved to make friends with people and play with them. She could make friends with one person and just a few days later be playing with two or three or four people they met together. Rona’s Uncle Donald told everyone it was ok …CONTINUE READING
The effects are more gradual, but deregulation could be as deadly as the pandemic.
The Trump Administration has been busy repealing pollution laws that protect public health. The health impact of these rollbacks isn’t as dramatic as an epidemic. There’s a credible argument, however, that it will be just as deadly. In order to put some numbers on the effects of deregulation, we need to make some assumptions on …CONTINUE READING