Accurate, Focused Research on Law, Technology and Knowledge Discovery Since 2002

Reading the ACA’s Findings: Textualism, Severability and the ACA’s Return to the Court

Gluck, Abbe R – Reading the ACA’s Findings: Textualism, Severability and the ACA’s Return to the Court, 130 Yale L.J. F. 132 (2020). The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is back in the Court, but challengers’ “textualist” arguments are not textualist at all. They argue a findings section in the ACA is an “inseverability clause,” meaning that if the insurance mandate is eliminated, the whole ACA goes down with it. They argue this despite the fact that those findings are specific to one subsection, of one part, of one subtitle, of the ten-title law, and despite the fact that the language they seize on is boilerplate language that Congress often uses not for severability, but to justify its commerce power. Congress expressly tells us that too in the ACA’s text. Challengers argue that Congress has explicitly spoken to the issue, but Congress’s established drafting practices, and examples throughout the U.S. Code, make clear that when Congress actually writes an inseverability clause, it is unmistakably explicit about it and uses specific language absent from the ACA. Inseverability is a nuclear bomb. Congress doesn’t hide it in mouseholes. There is a burgeoning movement to better understand how Congress drafts laws, one as relevant for textualists as anyone else. [h/t Mary Whisner]

Modeling COVID-19 scenarios for the United States

Reiner, R.C., Barber, R.M., Collins, J.K. et al. Modeling COVID-19 scenarios for the United States. Nat Med (2020) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-1132-9 [full-text] “We use COVID-19 case and mortality data from 1 February 2020 to 21 September 2020 and a deterministic SEIR (susceptible, exposed, infectious and recovered) compartmental framework to model possible trajectories of severe acute respiratory syndrome… Continue Reading

Paper – Educating for Misunderstanding

Sam Wineburg, Joel Breakstone, Nadav Ziv, and Mark Smith, “Educating for Misunderstanding: How Approaches to Teaching Digital Literacy Make Students Susceptible to Scammers, Rogues, Bad Actors, and Hate Mongers” (Working Paper A-21322, Stanford History Education Group, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 2020). https://purl.stanford.edu/mf412bt5333. Graduate School of Education Open Archive. “Russian troll farms sow disinformation. Fake news… Continue Reading

Unemployment Rates and Household Debt During the COVID-19 Pandemic

CRS report via LC – Unemployment Rates During the COVID-19 Pandemic: In Brief, October 23, 2020: “The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant effect on unemployment in every state, industry, and major demographic group in the United States. This report provides information on which groups have experienced the largest increases in unemployment… Continue Reading

Wikipedia and W.H.O. Join to Combat Covid Misinformation

The New York Times – The health agency will license much of its material to the online encyclopedia, allowing the information to be reposted widely into almost 200 languages. “As part of efforts to stop the spread of false information about the coronavirus pandemic, Wikipedia and the World Health Organization announced a collaboration on Thursday:… Continue Reading

Trump Issues Order Giving Him More Leeway to Hire and Fire Federal Workers

The New York Times – “President Trump signed an executive order this week that could substantially expand his ability to hire and fire tens of thousands of federal workers during a second term, potentially allowing him to weed out what he sees as a “deep state” bureaucracy working to undermine him. The executive order, issued… Continue Reading

The Media Manipulation Casebook

“Using the Life Cycle of Media Manipulation, each case study features a chronological description of a media manipulation event, which is filtered along specific variables such as tactics, targets, mitigation, outcomes, and keywords…Led by Joan Donovan, PhD, the Technology and Social Change project (TaSC) is a team of interdisciplinary researchers analyzing how contemporary technologies of… Continue Reading

United States of America, General Elections, 3 November 2020: Interim Report

Politico: “The first 2020 U.S. election report by international observers makes for sober reading, Ryan Heath emails us. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe — which has 47 member countries including the U.S. — has deployed 30 experts around the U.S. to monitor all aspects of the election through October. While that’s well… Continue Reading

ADL Launches Online Election Incident Reporting Tool in Response to Concerns of Extremist Interference

“In response to growing concerns that extremists could attempt to interfere at the polls in the next few weeks as Americans cast their ballots, ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) has established a new online incident reporting tool that will enable voters to flag any potential hate crimes or disruptions involving extremists. In addition to an online… Continue Reading

Pandemic Reality: Law Librarians Grapple With 24/7 Availability, Accelerated Digital Transition

Law.com – LegalTechNews [paywall] Pandemic Reality: Law Librarians Grapple With 24/7 Availability, Accelerated Digital Transition – “HBR Consulting revealed some early survey findings highlighting the impact COVID-19 has had on firms’ law librarians’ workload, print materials and innovation. In law firms’ “new normal,” lawyers may have to quarantine books for 72 hours before they’re placed… Continue Reading

Increased ebook lending popularity leaves publishers worried, librarians still dissatisfied

Via LLRX – Increased ebook lending popularity leaves publishers worried, librarians still dissatisfied –  Chris Meadows was a Editor and Senior Staff Writer at TeleRead, a site focusing on e-book and library news. It is with sadness that I share one of his last articles – he passed away last week after a hit and… Continue Reading

Where to Find Public Records Online

Life Hacker – “You can use the internet to find almost anything: a good restaurant, a recording of a half-remembered old commercial, recommendations for a good book, a podcast about basically anything, and yes, even public records. While our most private information (usually) can’t be found online, you can track down items like birth certificates,… Continue Reading