• Innovation in the US Patent System [Fourth Branch]
    Articles,  Blog

    Innovation in the US Patent System [Fourth Branch]

    Over the last few decades, the Patent and Trademark Office has dramatically increased the number of patents it has issued. At the same time, patent litigation has increased dramatically. Alex Blumberg of our Planet Money team and NPR’s Laura Sydell have this report on a patent system that’s been turned on its head. When you talk about the patent system among techies in Silicon Valley, there’s usually an audible groan. If I say patent system what do you say? I think it’s just a way for lawyers to make money. Josh Malone, inventor of Bunch O Balloons — a device that allows you to fill one hundred water balloons in…

  • Raul Mas Canosa v. City of Coral Gables & Florida Dept. of State & Florida Dept. Law Enforcement
    Articles,  Blog

    Raul Mas Canosa v. City of Coral Gables & Florida Dept. of State & Florida Dept. Law Enforcement

    Just imagine if a police officer followed you around. Just following you in your car everywhere you went and that would make you nervous. And now imagine if that same police officers followed you around everywhere you went for the last three years. The city of Coral Gables is a suburb of the city of Miami. Beautiful residential community that happens to sit right in the middle of Miami-Dade County. I’ve lived here practically my entire life. It’s the city that I love but Big Brother has now taken over our city. We have now automatic license plate readers and closed-circuit television cameras positioned all throughout the city of Coral…

  • From the Founder’s Federalism to the Administrative State | Paul Moreno
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    From the Founder’s Federalism to the Administrative State | Paul Moreno

    I’m going to defend the kind of states rights of federalism that professor Barbara has described. No Calhoon-ite but there is, I think, an alternative to the kind of national federalism that he did describe. I’m going to claim that that was the Founders constitutionalism or the Founders view of federalism, which was meant to prevent unlimited government or the kind of centralized bureaucratic state that we have today. On the other hand, I do want to emphasize that the Founders believed that federalism was instrumental. Federalism was not something that was an end in itself or good for its own purposes but it was meant to protect a more…

  • Mark Rienzi: The Administrative State and Religious Freedom
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    Mark Rienzi: The Administrative State and Religious Freedom

    As the administrative state grows, you have more conflicts between administrative power and, and religion. As administrative power grows, the, the room for conflict grows, and you’re more likely to have these conflicts. You’re also more likely to have them because elected representatives and elected officials tend to be generalists. They have to, they get elected by a broad swath of the voters. People who work at agencies tend to be single-minded and narrowly focused on their one particular task, and that may be a very important task, but it’s frequently the case that agency bureaucrats are willing to either ignore or just steamroll religious liberty when it gets in…

  • Enforcing Patents for Bunch O Balloons [Fourth Branch]
    Articles,  Blog

    Enforcing Patents for Bunch O Balloons [Fourth Branch]

    A really experienced water balloon filler and tier can do about six, maybe seven, water balloons per minute if they’re really fast. I had for many years, many summers, filled and tied water balloons to play outside in Texas. It’s hot and when you get outside you need water and, so, I’ve got eight kids. They’re good sports, they’ll do their share, which is, you know, they filled and tied ten water balloons, come on Dad, let them play now. It’s a tedious, it’s a difficult task and most people don’t have the patience for it or the skill. I spent a lot of time year after year thinking about,…

  • Kisor v. Wilkie [SCOTUSbrief]
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    Kisor v. Wilkie [SCOTUSbrief]

    The Kisor case centers around a Department of Veterans Affairs regulation governing the ways in which veterans can apply for disability benefits or reopen past claims in which their appeals for benefits were denied. In this case, the question is whether Mr. Kisor has new information that is relevant, that’s the word in the regulation, “relevant,” to his previous claim that was denied. The word relevant appears in a VA regulation and so the litigation is all about the question of whether the agency is obeying its own regulations as it denies Mr. Kisor’s claims. In a narrow sense, the issue of the case is whether Mr. Kisor is entitled…

  • Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority [SCOTUSbrief]
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    Thacker v. Tennessee Valley Authority [SCOTUSbrief]

    Thacker vs. Tennessee Valley Authority is a case about a fisherman who got hurt out on the water. He blames the Tennessee Valley Authority which has supervision over the waterway for causing his accident. The Tennessee Valley Authority was replacing some conductor power lines that stretch over and across the river. One of those lines fell into the water. That obviously creates a hazard for boaters. The TVA knew that. They contact the Coast Guard, which is their emergency protocol. The TVA also has a couple of patrol boats that come in the area. Thacker and Szozda come in at about sixty miles an hour, hit this conductor line that’s…

  • Federalism and the Administrative State | Michael Greve
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    Federalism and the Administrative State | Michael Greve

    I’m here to scare the living daylights out of you and it won’t take me 20 minutes. My assigned topic is the administrative state and federalalism. This is a very vibrant topic among law professors. There was an entire volume of the Duke Law journal on it. In 2008 Ernie Young wrote a terrific piece on that. It is an even bigger issue I think in political life and it is politically salient. Why is that? Here’s the way I think about it. For about a hundred and fifty years of our history our federalism came from the Constitution. This is a federalism they teach you. It’s a government of…