Marginal Tax Brackets for 2001

I recently solved a problem that has been bothering me for almost a year now. For reasons no one wants me to get into, I had been attempting to model US federal marginal income tax brackets for individuals under 26 USC §1. The math is pretty straightforward. The brackets are adjusted each year according to the average CPI-U for the period September TY-2 through August TY-1. There are some quirky rounding rules, but I had

read more

Tonight: Qwertz on Gay Marriage & the Spousal Privileges at Philosophy in Action

Tonight, philosopher Dr. Diana Hsieh will interview me about "Gay Marriage and Spousal Privilege" on her live internet radio show, Philosophy in Action. This is the subject on which I wrote an unpublished Law Review comment many moons ago. It wasn't a particularly relevant topic back then, but a recent Supreme Court decision striking down §3 of the Defense of Marriage Act makes it vastly more likely that the

read more

Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition

After weeks of hunting, I am pleased to present to you the complete electronic version of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, as supplied by the U.S. Department of Labor as ASCII files on 34 floppy disks. This electronic version contains data published in the following print volumes:

  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, Vol. I
  • Dictionary of Occupational Titles, Revised Fourth Edition, Vol II
  • Selected Characteristics of Occupations Defined in
read more

On Amendment One and Obama's ABC Interview

On Tuesday, North Carolina voters approved Amendment One, which strips unmarried couples of all legal recognition of their relationships under State law. Billed as a simple gay marriage ban, the amendment actually goes much further, as Patrick at Popehat describes, and voids all other legal protections unmarried couples, gay or straight, might seek for themselves, including wills, adoptions, medical powers of attorney, and possibly even joint tenancy in realty. [Part 2 and Part 3 in

read more

The Producer, the Librarian, and the Promise-Breaker

TLDR: This changes nothing.

Today the Librarian of Congress announced new rules promulgated pursuant to the Librarian's rulemaking authority under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to exempt certain actions from the prohibition against circumvention of copyright protection systems found in 17 U.S.C. §1201. The "anti-circumvention provision" states:

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
The Librarian is required by §1201 to make

read more

Gill v. OPM Update

Sixteen months ago, I reported on Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, a suit against various governmental agencies by same-sex married and widowed persons challenging the constitutionality of §3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (specifically, Judge Joseph L. Tauro) granted summary judgment on many of the plaintiffs' claims today. Opinion here. [PDF]

Back then, I opined that the case was philosophically flawed because

read more

McDonald v. Chicago

The Supreme Court decided McDonald v. Chicago, the sequel to D.C. v. Heller, this morning. A majority held that the Second Amendment applies to state and local governments and threw out Chicago's ban on handguns. A plurality of four Justices (Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy) held that the Second Amendment is incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, and avoided addressing the question of whether the Slaughterhouse Cases, which long ago castrated

read more

Snyder v. Phelps

One who would defend the [Constitution] must share his foxhole with scoundrels of every sort, but to abandon the post because of the poor company is to sell freedom cheaply. It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have often been forged in controversies involving not very nice people.

Kopf v. Skyrm, 993 F2d 374, 308 (4th Cir. 1996). Judge Hall was writing about the Fourth Amendment, but the

read more

Lawyers are Good People

Via Paul Hsieh at Geekpress, "16 Things Your Lawyer Won't Tell You", a piece purporting to arm consumers of legal services the better to keep tabs on their lawyers, but which ultimately severely misrepresents the profession. The overall problem with the article is that it assumes that it is immoral for a lawyer to make money off his clients' legal woes. Here are the most misleading points from the article, and my explanation of why

read more

Diving Sign Fail

Via FAIL Blog, this Orange County sign:

diving sign

The references are to the Orange County Codified Ordinances. The ordinances read:

Sec. 2-5-49. - Diving/jumping. No person shall dive or jump into any body of water in park, beach or any recreational area from any pier, bridge, rock or precipice other than at those places designated and posted for diving or jumping by the Director, as authorized by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. Violation of
read more


Attorney Alan Gura, with whom I had the pleasure of dining just before he argued District of Columbia v. Heller to the United States Supreme Court, is now challenging Chicago's handgun regulations. The Court granted certiorari last month. The case, McDonald v. Chicago, goes further than Heller did because the District of Columbia is a Federal jurisdiction. Heller didn't address whether the Second Amendment also applied against state governments. McDonald will now try to answer

read more

FCC Ready to Kill Internet

According to Reuters, FCC commissioners voted 5-0 today to proceed with crafting a "net neutrality" rule, sending the current language (which would strip telecom companies of the right to control how they use their own property) to the printing office for public comment. Comments will be accepted until January 14th.

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available online here [PDF].

You can upload your comments using ECFS here, using proceeding number 09-191. You can read

read more

British Official Knows Nothing About First Amendment

Via Prawfsblawg, a story from Reuters India reports that a British official has asked California Governor Schwarzenegger to shut down a Website that she says encourages prostitution in the UK. Prostitution is legal in the UK. Quoth the official,

Surely it can't be too difficult for "The Terminator" to terminate Punternet and that's what I am demanding that he does.

Patently, Ms Harman is not acquainted with our First Amendment, which is precisely what prevents

read more

<i>De Minimis</i> Establishment Clause Violations?

I just saw this ad on telly:


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Ad Council (both organizations about which I have nothing positive to say), has funded and produced an advertisement featuring religious figures endorsing and promoting government programs. No mention of the featured anthropomorphic vegetables' religious affiliation is mentioned. Something about using explicitly religious characters to encourage children to follow

read more

Scalia on the Meaning of the Latin Cross

The ongoing controversy over a Latin cross erected in 1934 on Federal land in Mojave National Preserve to honor WWI dead reached the Supreme Court today on the question of whether Congress' sale of the land where the cross sits to a private entity in an effort to remove the constitutional violation itself violated the injunction ordering the government to remove the constitutional violation.

Photo by Eric Nystrom, courtesy National Park Service

The case is

read more

And Maine Makes Five

Maine legalizes same-sex marriage

By legislative action, no less. Without a court telling them they had to do it. That makes Maine the second state to enact same-sex marriage without a judicial order to do so, and the first state to enact same-sex marriage without a judicial order to at least create a parallel licensing system (as the Vermont Supreme Court did back before that state created its civil union system). Also, the first state

read more

An excerpt from a footnote in my <em>Law Review</em> article

Here is a hopefully useful excerpt from a footnote in my Law Review article. It's not the whole footnote, and I'm not going to share the entire article for at least some time, as I have other plans for it. But this one footnote, the result of many, many hours of research, could be useful to others and I thought I would share it.

(For those who are interested, the article is not really about

read more

"Knock, Knock!"

"Who's there?"


"Orange who?"

"Orange you glad you didn't vote for McCain!"

I still say Stevens is due - he'll be 89 this year. And Ginsburg has health issues. Luckily all three are part of the liberal bloc and will be replaced with liberals - not likely to upset court balance.

I'm in the middle of finals week in my last semester in law school. Assuming I pass everything, I'll graduate on May 17th,

read more

<em>Gill v. Office of Personnel Management</em>

Complaint here. [pdf]

Various plaintiffs married to or formerly married to and now widowed by persons of the same sex under Massachusetts law after Goodridge filed suit in the United States District Court for District of Massachusetts yesterday (case no. 1:2009cv10309) directly challenging the constitutionality of § 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, Pub L. No. 105-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (1996) (codified at 1 U.S.C. § 7) under implied equal protection afforded

read more

<em>District of Columbia v. Heller</em>


The Court has released the opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller (07-290), on whether the District’s firearms regulations – which bar the possession of handguns and require shotguns and rifles to be kept disassembled or under trigger lock – violate the Second Amendment. The ruling below, which struck down the provisions in question, is affirmed. Justice Scalia wrote the opinion. Justice Breyer dissented, joined by Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg. Today's opinion by
read more