Lisa McElroy On Books and Thankfulness

Popehat is pleased to welcome a guest post from Lisa McElroy, an associate professor of law at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. Her first novel, Called On, was just published by Quid Pro Books. Several years ago, my father forwarded me an email he thought seemed suspicious. “Do you think this is a scam?” he asked. The email was from an elderly woman in Miami Beach, Florida, who had retired from teaching and was moving into an assisted living situation. She was clearing … [Read More...]

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Lawsplainer: Why Chuck C. Johnson Is About To Get MOED Down

In June, journalist Chuck C. Johnson of California — after a litany of threats to sue almost anyone who had ever said an unkind word about him — ponied up and filed a defamation action against Gawker and several of its contributors, each haling from New York.  Johnson complained that Gawker had published several defamatory articles […]

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D.C. Circuit: First Amendment Trumps Birthers, Stupid People, Walruses

The United States Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit today handed a victory to Esquire Magazine and a bitter defeat to Joseph Farah of WorldNet Daily and author Jerome Corsi, who are widely known as critics of the Obama Administration, conspiracy theorists, birthers, and repeat sexual abusers of walruses. Equire's victory, and […]

Serious Questions Raised By My FIRE Interview

So FIRE — the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — interviewed me about free speech and anonymity and stuff. The video raises question. 1. Why has no one ever taught me to shave properly? What the fuck, Dad? 2. Is the distracting way my wattles shake when I talk the reason that I have […]

Bad Reporting on Matthew Keys' Possible Sentence Conceals Prosecutorial Power

For years I've been grumbling ineffectually about how the media gets criminal justice stories wrong. In particular, I've repeatedly complained that the media distorts stories about federal criminal prosecutions by reporting the statutory maximum sentence that defendants face without noting that the actual remotely plausible sentence they face is usually much lower. Here's a case […]


This Royal Throne of Feels, This Sheltered Isle, This England

When I talk about how completely appalling the United Kingdom's approach to even mildly upsetting speech has become, I am aware of the mote in my own eye. The United States has all sorts of speech problems too, many of them related to a broken legal system that favors cash over justice, and a populace […]

In Space, No One Can Hear You Threaten Lawsuits

I like computer games, and I like defamation law, but when the two collide the result is never your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter goodness. Whether it's flailing developers or consumer movements apparently schooled in jurisprudence via a distracting hand gesture and a shovel, game culture makes bad legal culture. This story is not a departure from that trend. Star […]

Down With Peeple

Entrepreneurs Julia Cordray and Nicole McCullough have found a way to monetize and weaponize the worst that humanity has to offer, like some beast made out of reality TV, slankets, and spray cheese. They're launching "Peeple," a web site where people can rate each other romantically, professionally, and personally. The human condition: reduced to one […]

Ninth Circuit Imposes (Some) Limits On Cops Yanking Things Out of Your Ass

Mark Tyrell Fowlkes had a bad day. For you or me, that means realizing that there's no credit left on our Starbucks card or our co-workers being annoying or getting a flat tire. For Fowlkes, it meant the Long Beach Police Department forcibly pulling something out of his ass. LBPD, assisted by the DEA, were […]

Arthur Chu Would Like To Make Lawyers Richer and You Quieter and Poorer

Arthur Chu, noted for being able to frame things in the form of a question and for being easily agitated, has launched very silly broadside against one of the most important American laws about the internet: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Chu invokes Reagan, asking President Obama to "tear down this […]

If You Watch the Tape, You'll Still See What You Want To

The pro-life advocacy group Center for Medical Progress went undercover to expose Planned Parenthood's practice of (legal) fetal organ harvesting during (legal) abortions and the subsequent (generally legal) sale of those organs (if certain regulations are followed). That sounds like pretty neutral language to me, though I will concede that (at least) the words "pro-life", […]

In Roca Labs Case, FTC Takes Novel Stand Against Non-Disparagement Clauses

Last week Adam ably covered the Big Bad News for our old customer-threatening lawyer-suing pink-paste-purveyor Roca Lab: the Federal Trade Commission has sued it for unfair trade practices in violation of the FTC Act. Most of the FTC's complaint is routine and can be summarized as "Roca Labs sells crap and lies about it." One […]

Revisiting The UN Broadband Commission's "Cyberviolence" Report

So last week I talked about the UN Broadband Commission's "Cyber Violence Against Women And Girls" Report. After looking at some of their sources, and after some more thought, I think I was too uncritical of it. So, I'd like to make a few more observations about why it's troubling to me as a free […]