Short Circuit 167 | Section 230 and a Drones Search

We get a little high-tech this week. Techdirt founder Mike Masnick joins us to explain how Section 230 actually works, and how it was somewhat unusually applied in a recent Second Circuit case. (Mike’s explanation may differ from what a multitude of “experts” have recently been saying in Congress and elsewhere.) And have you seen any drones above your house? IJ attorney Josh Windham tells a story about a drone that flew above someone’s property, and thereby committed a “search” under the Fourth Amendment (well, the government in charge of the drone did). This very interesting case from the Michigan Court of Appeals allows us to talk about drones, reasonable expectations of privacy, and whether the air above your house is an “open field.”

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Recent Episodes

June 10, 2022

Short Circuit 223 | Clerks and Harassment

We discuss a couple legal immunities, one listeners will be familiar with and one that’s pretty unknown. The second is being addressed by our special guest, Aliza Shatzman. She is the co-founder of The Legal Accountability Project, a new nonprofit whose mission is to ensure that as many law clerks as possible have positive clerkship experiences while extending support and resources to those who do not. Aliza had a harrowing experience as a law clerk and found that the laws that apply to other government employees often don’t extend to those in the judicial branch. She also presents a recent case from the Fourth Circuit about a judicial branch employee who brought a number of claims to try and get around sovereign immunity—and actually succeeded on a few of them. Then Kirby Thomas West of IJ discusses a Fifth Circuit case with terrible facts, but a good outcome on the qualified immunity front.

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June 06, 2022

Short Circuit 222 | Live at IJ’s Law Student Conference

Recording in front of a live audience at the 2022 Institute for Justice’s Law Student Conference, we look at some of the best, and some of the worst, from the Fourth Circuit. First, Justin Pearson explains why a restriction on “political” advertising on the side of buses was unconstitutional even though it recognized the side of a bus is not a “public forum.” Then, Michael Bindas gives us his best sommelier (or is it wino?) impersonation and discusses a tipsy opinion allowing North Carolina to prevent out-of-state retailers from shipping wine to the state’s consumers. It’s pretty much not what the Supreme Court has said about the dormant Commerce Clause and alcohol.

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