Later this month, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case—Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby— that has arisen as society tries to reconcile corporate rights with religious liberty.
Since the Hobby Lobby’s founding, the Green family has managed their company in accordance with their Christian principles. Among the religious tenets guiding them is their moral opposition to contraceptives. However, within the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) thousands of pages is a requirement that corporations with more than 50 employees must provide coverage in their group health plans for certain medical services (contraceptives being one) or face severe penalties, which forces the Greens to chose between their religious principles or their business. The Greens sued to protect the right to exercise their religion, and now the case will be heard, front and center, in the Supreme Court.
In this specially created ebook, Eugene Volokh, one of the nation’s foremost First Amendment scholars and founder of the renowned Volokh Conspiracy, has merged previously published work with new content and analysis to offer an exceptionally clear, understandable, and compelling work that provides readers with a comprehensive primer on religious accommodation in the in the context of the ACA’s contraceptive mandate. In addition, the ebook begins with a comprehensive foreword by Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies at the Cato Institute, which maps out the historical, legal, and current policy framework of the case.
Are you ready for another edition of io9's March Madness? In previous years, we've crowned the best movie, the worst movie, and the best TV show. But this year, we're going bigger. The most famous series in science fiction and fantasy will battle it out, to see which genre reigns supreme! ... As for the bracket itself, you can click on it to expand, or click here to zoom in on a really big version.
For your amusement and edification, I attach my choices for the entire tournament. To be clear, these are not the series I think will win but the ones I think should win.
Most of the choices were pretty easy. The most painful one was Terry Pratchett's Discworld series' early exit at the hands of Tolkien's/Jackson's Lord of the Rings. If Discworld had been in either the Magic and Monsters or Dystopia brackets (albeit not a good fit for the latter), it would have cruised into the Final Four.
There are some curious omissions, which are probably due to io9's preference for "orks that have proven their staying power either by developing into a huge series or by being adapted into other media." Even so, I would have opted for Heinlein's Future History series instead of Starship Troopers (I fear that decision was tainted by the execrable Paul Verhoeven film and its evil progeny). How about John Scalzi's Old Man Universe, which probably is today's hottest SF series? Or Charles Stross' wonderful Laundery Files? Or oldies but goodies like Jerry Pournelle's CoDominium series or Gordon Dickson's Dorsai books? Any of them likely would have made my Sweet Sixteen or even Elite Eight.
Anyway, on to my choices:
Got my copies today of Insider Trading Law and Policy. From the book description:
This compact text (260 pp) is for use in law school classes on insider trading, securities regulation, or business associations. It offers a clear and direct exposition of the law and policy concerns raised by this important and high-profile area of the law. The author provides sufficient detail for a complete understanding of the subject without getting bogged down in minutiae. Faculty interested in teaching a short course on insider trading or making insider trading a major part of a course in securities or corporate law will find the text highly teachable, while students taking such a course using other materials will find it a useful study aid.
In doing some research on director versus shareholder primacy (what else?) in New Zealand law, I came across a very nice plug for my work in Jean Jacques du Plessis et al., Principles of Contemporary Corporate Governance 9 (2d ed. 2011):
Until very recently, the ‘shareholder primacy model’ and ‘stakeholder primacy model’ of corporate governance have been the most prominent models, but Stephen Bainbridge, in his excellent work, The New Corporate Governance in Theory and Practice, analyses these theories and provides some exciting new perspectives on corporate governance models by expanding on the ‘director primacy model’ that he developed recently.
A review in today's WSJ prompted me to order The Wars of Reconstruction: The Brief, Violent History of America's Most Progressive Era by Douglas R. Egerton. I have long thought that the North's failure to pursue a more radical policy of land and political reform, protection of the newly freed slaves from terrorism by white supremacists, and generally to eliminate the political and economic power of the defeated Confederate traitors and rebels was perhaps the greatest missed opportunity in our history. Based on the Journal review, I suspect my belief will be confirmed by Egerton's book:
The history of that era has rarely if ever been as well told as it is in Douglas R. Egerton's forcefully argued and crisply written "The Wars of Reconstruction." Mr. Egerton presents a sometimes inspiring but more often deeply shocking story that reveals the nation at its best and worst, when newly freed slaves and idealists, both black and white, struggled heroically against pitiless white terrorism to preserve the rights that Union armies had won on the battlefield and that Republican members of Congress affirmed in the years after the war.
Mr. Egerton, a history professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., and the author of "Year of Meteors," a first-rate account of the 1860 election, asks us to see Reconstruction not as bad policy further doomed by corruption and incompetence but as a profoundly forward-looking program that was subverted by organized violence. ...
Although defenders of the old South will doubtless disagree, Mr. Egerton makes a compelling case that American society as a whole would have benefited mightily had Reconstruction been permitted to fulfill its early promise. In particular, it would have saved the U.S. from the long Jim Crow agony of racial repression and the distortion of national politics by the South's determination to protect segregation at any price. ...
The author remedies a particularly glaring deficit in our memory. He shows that black officeholders in the early Reconstruction era—demeaned by many pro-Southern historians and portrayed as lascivious buffoons by fictionalizers such as Thomas Dixon Jr., whose novels became the basis for "Birth of a Nation"—were substantial citizens well-prepared to govern. They had often risen from a middle class of ministers and businessmen that existed in antebellum America beyond the view of racist whites. By the turn of the 20th century, however, once-effective biracial coalitions across the South had been destroyed and black voters almost completely disenfranchised through physical intimidation and electoral trickery. White supremacists took control in all the former Confederate states.
The failure of Reconstruction remains a stain on our national soul. It is well to remember that hard fact.
Dr Paul Fryer reviews the Research Handbook on Insider Trading edited by yours truly in 2014 Journal of International Banking Law and Regulation 64-65:
This handbook, edited by Stephen M. Bainbridge, Professor of Law at the University of Californi, is designed to provide a broad overview of research focusing on insider trading, predominantly in the United States but also offer global perspectives from Asia, Australasia, and Europe. It also seeks to provide an additional dimension by critically examining some of more challenging and under-explored aspects of financial crime. ...
This research handbook is, in parts, highly innovative with chapters that focus on areas not generally associated with insider trading activities, such as gender and the impact of social media activities. However, the vast majority of chapters focus on "nuts and bolts" issues that academics and practitioners in this field with be familiar with. Stephen Bainbridge and his contributors have produced a valuable reference source for scholars and practitioners of corporate law who wish to gain a greater understanding of insider trading.
Law and Business
From the WSJ:
"Christians today," writes John L. Allen Jr. , "indisputably are the most persecuted religious body on the planet." So widespread and systematic are the attacks, he explains, that they amount to a global war, which he proclaims "the transcendent human rights concern" in the modern world.
Mr. Allen is by no means the first writer to address this phenomenon, but he may be the best qualified. He has through the years established himself as among the best-informed commentators on the Vatican and the state of the Roman Catholic Church, and hearing so many contacts recount stories of persecution and discrimination has naturally sensitized him to anti-Christian campaigns, and by no means only those directed against Catholics.
The range of stories he tells is staggering and offers a compendium of modern-day heroes equal to anything in the church's long history. We are awed by the story of Catholic Archbishop Christophe Munzihirwa, who died in 1998 trying to safeguard his flock from the mounting carnage in the wars engulfing Congo and Rwanda. Time and again, he stood face to face with oppressors, dictators and genocidaires, until finally some soldiers shot him in the streets.
Mr. Allen's main point, though, is less to report the persecutions than to ask in bafflement why the West seems to care so little about them. Yes, the American media report individual attacks, provided they cause some critical minimum number of fatalities—20, say—but they offer no sense of generalized mayhem, any awareness that the same groups and denominations are being victimized in India and Sudan, in Indonesia and Kenya. Would such silence prevail in the face of a global campaign against any other group, ethnic or religious?
From Iraq and Egypt to Sudan and Nigeria, from Indonesia to the Indian subcontinent, Christians in the early 21st century are the world's most persecuted religious group. According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, 80 percent of violations of religious freedom in the world today are directed against Christians. In effect, our era is witnessing the rise of a new generation of martyrs. Underlying the global war on Christians is the demographic reality that more than two-thirds of the world's 2.3 billion Christians now live outside the West, often as a beleaguered minority up against a hostile majority-- whether it's Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, Hindu radicalism in India, or state-imposed atheism in China and North Korea. In Europe and North America, Christians face political and legal challenges to religious freedom. Allen exposes the deadly threats and offers investigative insight into what is and can be done to stop these atrocities.
The Guardian's book blog asks:
The term "grand master of science fiction" summons up, for me at least, the image of a venerable, white-haired author who was speculating upon mankind's future when the idea of putting a human on the moon was still a pipe dream.
But the appellation is a distinct honour, awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America to a living author who is announced, towards the end of the year, to be the recipient of the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master award. ...
As worthy as all the past winners of the Grand Master award undoubtedly are … what of the next generation? Is it feasible to now cast the grand master net wider, perhaps consider those writers born in the 1950s, or the 1960s? Even someone born as relatively recently as the 1970s could now be in their 40s. Who from that crop would be worthy of the honour?
For me that's easy: John Scalzi and Charles Stross. Between them they have 8 Hugo Best Novel nominations in the last 8 years.
My article Unocal at 20: Director Primacy in Corporate Takeovers, 31 Delaware Journal of Corporate Law 769 (2006), was reprinted in its entirety in I Law and Economics of Mergers and Acquisitions 449 (Steven M. Davidoff & Claire A. Hill eds. Edward Elgar Publishing 2013), along with many other fine (albeit lesser) articles. Granted, it's a bit pricey, but consider the priceless prose that would be at your disposal!
Justin Fox at HBR has an interesting analysis of the recent rash of insider trading cases, in the course of which he comments that:
... the insider trading prohibition has been elaborated through Supreme Court decisions and SEC orders in the U.S., and has spread to many other countries as well. It has also been the source of unending discussion and controversy among legal scholars. Just in the past few months, the Columbia Business Law Review has come out with an entire issue devoted to the topic (based on a symposium held at Columbia last fall), and Edward Elgar has published a 512-page Research Handbook on Insider Trading edited by UCLA Law Professor (and prolific blogger) Stephen Bainbridge.
I will not claim to have read all or even most of the contributions to these volumes (law professors write long), but just dipping into them is an educational if bewildering experience. (The Langevoort article cited above is from the Columbia Business Law Review; my brief history of insider trading law is partly cribbed from Bainbridge’s introduction to the Handbook.)
I contributed an article on the effect excessive and poorly chosen corporate and securities laws have on the viability of US business to a recent volume entitled The American Illness. The volume has now received a positive review from an English barrister named John Holbrook:
Against a litigious background on both sides of the Atlantic, it is refreshing to come across a collection of essays that puts the US legal system in the dock and subjects it to the sort of forensic analysis that lawyers usually reserve for others. The 20-plus contributors to The American Illness focus on the relationship between law and economics and ask whether and why the US legal system has contributed to the country’s long postwar decline. ...
Several authors draw attention to the harm that several decades of expanding liability is now causing the American economy. Whereas low levels of liability boost investments in novel technologies, product innovation is harmed at very high levels of liability. Nowadays, American consumers are effectively required to purchase product-liability insurance with everything they buy and producers have been turned into general insurers. This constitutes a deadweight cost that makes American producers less competitive in the international marketplace. Neither do consumers benefit because, apart from paying higher prices, the burdens imposed from a safety first-and-foremost regulatory framework reduces consumer choice.
The book’s strength is its compelling analysis of the relationship between law and economics. Too many lawyers, academic and practising, see law as a discipline to be understood on its own terms. Yet The American Illness makes clear that too many lawyers can be positively harmful for an economy. The recognition of the legal system as a means of making the economy work more efficiently is also welcome, not just because it is true but because it also raises this question: at what point does the legal system cease to be a force for good and become a force for harm?
When addressing this issue, the contributors demonstrate the need not just for an appreciation of economics and law, but also for an understanding of the overriding importance of politics. The argument that there can be an optimum number of lawyers per head of population is a technical approach to the issue that goes nowhere because it all depends what those lawyers do. Neither can it be right that increasing liability is merely a response to increasing wealth and consumer demand, as another contributor remarks. ...
By drawing attention to the significant economic harm that litigation is causing America, The American Illness is a welcome contribution to a debate that needs to be had. But if the safety first-and-foremost approach of legislators and judges is to end there needs to be a much wider debate about the political and moral values that fuel a blame-and-claim culture.
Kindly go read the whoile thing. Oh, and don't forget to buy the book.