From today's NYTimes obituary for Warren E. Avis, who founded the car rental company that bears his name: In 1946, when Mr. Avis opened his first Avis Airlines Rent-A-Car in Florida and Michigan, all his rival companies were in downtown garages. So Mr. Avis, a former major in the Army Air Force who spent a great deal of time at airline terminals, decided to open rental centers at airports, where he reasoned thousands of airline passengers would need a ride. "Nobody thought it would work," Mr. Avis said in a 1987 interview. "There was incredible trouble.
Richard A. Posner is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for theSeventh Circuit and a senior lecturer at the University of ChicagoLaw School. The Judge in a Democracy By Aharon Barak (Princeton University Press, 332 pp., $29.95) Aharon Barak, a long-serving justice (eventually the chief justice)of the Supreme Court of Israel, who recently reached mandatoryretirement age, is a prolific writer, and this is his most recentbook.
by Cass Sunstein No one doubts the sheer ability of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. No one should doubt their characters or their commitment to the law. But at the time of their confirmations, there was real disagreement about whether they would turn out to be essentially predictable in their votes, or whether their commitment to the law, and their lawyerly skills, would lead them, on occasion, in surprising directions.
by Jeffrey Herf One of the historian's favorite words is "conjuncture." It refers to the simultaneous presence of causal factors that leads to an outcome that none on their own would have produced. It is our alternative to simplistic, single-cause explanations of events.
It's been a good week for Larry, so we should just let him bask in all of his glory: There was another [after the Supreme Court decision], less visible piece of good news out of Washington this week. Namely, Democrats don't have the votes to affect government-sponsored price controls for drugs. Score it capitalism 10--socialism zero. Ten to nothing, wow! It's a blowout. Stopping socialist price controls and promoting the sanctity of life for the unborn are economic and cultural victories. Make no mistake about that. Are those in ascending or descending levels of importance?
by Alan Wolfe For those--I include myself--who continue to blame Ralph Nader for the disaster known as George W. Bush, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Gonzales v. Cahart caps the story. It is not merely that this decision is one more example of the way in which the American right has become more statist than the left. It is that the paternalism of the decision flows directly from Nader's particular version of statism. Nader believes that consumers make irresponsible purchases and it is the job of the government to prevent them from decisions they will later regret.
by David A. Bell Charles Krauthammer Friday morning gives a good example of how fatuous and unproductive the debate about gun control can be in this country. In a column on the Virginia Tech horror he writes the following: [...] we should have no illusions about what laws can do. There are other ways to kill in large numbers, as Timothy McVeigh demonstrated. Determined killers will obtain guns no matter how strict the laws. And stricter controls could also keep guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens using them in self-defense.
Harry Reid doesn't seem overly thrilled with the Supreme Court's abortion decision yesterday: "A lot of us wish that Alito weren't there and O'Connor were there." That's nice, and I agree, but then why did Reid vote for the D&X ban in the first place?
Some conservatives and libertarians have hinted at this already, but I suppose somebody had to make the argument outright. In today's Washington Times, it happened: Reason's Jacob Sullum said that students need to carry guns. In shootings at other schools, armed students or employees have restrained gunmen, possibly preventing additional murders. Four years ago at Appalachian Law School in Grundy, Va., a man who had killed the dean, a professor and a student was subdued by two students who ran to their cars and grabbed their guns.