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Sapere aude - dare to be wise
Friday, September 05, 2003
Posted 2:51 PM by Joshua Claybourn
Around the Horn
There're lots of good legal articles out on the web today. Here are a couple that I found particularly interesting. First, Prof. Glenn Reynolds ponders whether Ralph Nader should be held liable for faulty policies:
Why aren't those advocates who sell policies to the public held to the standards of people who sell burgers?

McDonald's serves hamburgers. If you eat too many of them, you'll get fat. If you don't know that, you're an idiot. But if McDonald's knew, or should know, that its burgers were fattening, and told you otherwise (remember the Seinfeld episode about the "fat-free" frozen yogurt that wasn't?), it would be liable.

So what about policy entrepreneurs who tell you that a policy will do things that they know, or should know, it won't?
I find the proposition amusing mainly because so many of Ralph Nader's pet issues, such as seatbelts, airbags and restrictive trade, have had a significantly detrimental impact. But in practical terms this sort of liability would cause chaos in a democratic society. In all fairness, though, I don't think Reynolds was totally serious about the idea.

The second piece is a bit more political in nature, but it finds its roots in law. David Keene explores the growing international tastes the Supreme Court is developing in "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." In my humble and inexperienced opinion, this phenomenon will have an enormous impact on American law that isn't getting the attention it deserves. Stuart Buck notes that this devlopment may actually have a more conservative impact on current abortion rulings.

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