Monthly Archives: July 2021

Some People Can’t Stand This

If you are not subscribed to the weekly Short Circuit summary of interesting (primarily) appellate cases, then you ma be missing a lot of summaries about important cases involving civil liberties, especially (these days) strange affirmances by courts of appeal of qualified immunity decisions in police violence cases. Sample:

Coleman County, Tex. jailer watches a suicidal man wrap a phone cord around his neck and pass out. Instead of calling 911, the jailer calls his boss, who arrives ten minutes later. Only then does the jailer enter the cell, unwrap the cord, and call paramedics—but neither try to resuscitate the man, who dies. Fifth Circuit: Qualified immunity. Dissent: “Qualified immunity is not the judicial equivalent of the Armor of Achilles, an impenetrable shield that governmental actors can wield to insulate themselves from liability no matter how flagrant their conduct.”

You are certainly missing out on consistently dark, or at least grey, humor such as this:

Gov’t contractor affixes ankle monitor to one-legged man waiting to stand trial on gun charge. Guess which leg. While the man’s prosthesis and monitor stay at home, he commits a murder. Can the victim’s family sue the gov’t under the Federal Tort Claims Act for negligently hiring the contractor—a company knee-deep in litigation for a history of falling down on the job? D.C. District Court: No.

And yes, both the court and Short Circuit had the good grace not to suggest that plaintiffs did not have a leg to stand on.

I’m not 100% on board with the sponsoring organization, the Institute for Justice, but it’s often out there where libertarianism meets liberalism, so there’s considerable common ground. And the newsletter is consistently good.

Posted in Law | Comments Off on Some People Can’t Stand This

Well That Didn’t Take Long

Remember that nutty DeSantis-inspired law that would make it illegal for some, but not all, large social media companies to ban politicians from their platforms?

On Wednesday US District Judge Robert Hinkle issued a 31-page preliminary injunction blocking it.

Or, as Ars Technica summarized it, “Judge tears Florida’s social media law to shreds for violating First Amendment: Judge blocks Florida law, calls it example of “burning the house to roast a pig.”

It wasn’t a gentle ruling; the Ars Technia piece linked above hits the (many) high points.

Gavel image licensed under Creative Commons  CC BY-SA 3.0 by Alpha Stock Images.

Posted in Florida, Law: Constitutional Law, Law: Free Speech | Comments Off on Well That Didn’t Take Long

We Robot Will Be Held in Person this September!

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We’re delighted to announce that We Robot 2021 — our 10th anniversary edition — will be held live and in person at the University of Miami’s Newman Alumni Center. Workshops take place on September 23, and the main conference will be on Sept. 24-25. For the latest information about our terrific schedule see the We Robot 2021 Program page on this blog.

Admission to We Robot requires registration, and while there may be tickets at the door if space is available, we strongly advise advance registration as space will be limited due to the University of Miami’s requirement that seating respect its social distancing rules.

We are still accepting proposals for our Poster Session until July 15, 2021.

Starting with its first edition here in Miami, We Robot has sought — we think successfully — to create and encourage interdisciplinary conversations about robotics (and AI) law and policy. We now have a decade’s worth of success at evolving a common vocabulary and a body of work which includes bedrock scholarship for the rapidly expanding fields represented at the conference. We have fostered, and continue to foster connections between a diverse, international, and interdisciplinary group of scholars, ranging from graduate students to senior professors to persons in government and industry. And — not least — we’ve had a lot of fun doing it.

Given the circumstances, we anticipate having a lot of (careful) fun in September. Please join us!

We strongly advise that attendees be vaccinated against COVID-19, and we may require proof of a recent negative COVID test from persons who cannot demonstrate they have been vaccinated. Masks may be required in the conference venue. Please monitor our website and the University of Miami’s COVID response page for the latest COVID-related information.

Posted in Robots, Talks & Conferences | 1 Comment