Showing posts from January, 2015

Freedom to force the artist’s hand

Some people have jumped on what I think is an incoherent bandwagon that creates crazy consumer rights. An uncontroversial wedding cake that the baker could've declined to decorate  for dislike of flowers or the color pink. photo by tracyhunter Under federal law, public accommodations are places where consumers go to receive a service . Consumers can’t be kept out of or denied services at public accommodations because of their sex or other protected attributes. [It's true that under many anti-discrimination laws, sexual orientation is not a protected attribute. But it should be. It's fair to allow people to go and buy regardless of how they self-identify.] But regardless of who they are, consumers have no right to demand specific services. Sure, if a service is offered, it should be offered to all with only limited exceptions (like those based on age or individual behavior). But consumers generally can’t force a business to offer any particular service. Yo

Defense of the jury system

Lady Justice and a jury             Juries are not perfect, but if I were on trial, I would rather have a group of biased strangers, who must reach a unanimous decision (at least in federal court) within the bounds set by a judicial referee, ultimately decide my fate than have one human referee call all the shots. Juries are not as unpredictable as the news media often make them seem. According to a survey of 30 years of jury studies, “the jury system is healthy.” [1] "Quite a bit of their decision is determined by the case that the lawyers present to them. . . . [W]hat seems like a wild card, in fact, follows rules. The strength of the evidence in the case will give you a good sense about what a jury is going to do." [2] Juries take the parties’ fates out of the hands of simply one human judge. “The strength of the jury is a diversity in decision making, which makes for a very robust process.” [3] Additionally, juries serve “many purposes and functions that go