NewYorkUniversity
LawReview
Current Issue

Volume 81, Number 5

November 2006
Articles

“How’s My Driving” for Everyone (and Everything)?

Lior Jacob Strahilevitz

This is an Article about using reputation-tracking technologies to displace criminal law enforcement and improve the tort system. The Article contains an extended application of this idea to the regulation of motorist behavior and examines the broader case for using technologies that aggregate dispersed information in various settings where reputational concerns do not adequately deter uncooperative behavior.
The Article proposes a compulsory “How’s My Driving?” program for all motor vehicles. Although more rigorous study is warranted, the initial data from voluntary “How’s My Driving?” programs is quite promising, suggesting that the use of “How’s My Driving?” placards on commercial trucks is associated with fleet accident reductions ranging from 20% to 53%. By delegating traffic regulation to the motorists themselves, the state might free up substantial law enforcement resources, more effectively police dangerous and annoying forms of driver misconduct, reduce information asymmetries in the insurance market, and alleviate road rage and driver frustration.

The Article addresses obvious objections to the displacement of criminal traffic enforcement with a system of “How’s My Driving?”-based civil fines. Namely, it suggests that using the sorts of feedback algorithms that eBay and other reputation tracking systems have employed can ameliorate the problems associated with false and malicious feedback. The Article also explains why driver distraction costs would be manageable and addresses privacy and due process implications of the proposed regime.

The core strategy animating “How’s My Driving?” for Everyone is to use technology to transform loose-knit environments, where reputation often fails to constrain antisocial behavior, into close-knit environments, where reputation constrains misbehavior more effectively. Using such technologies, society can replace state policing with citizen policing and laws with norms. The Article concludes by examining various nondriving applications of feedback technologies to help regulate the conduct of soldiers, police officers, hotel guests, sports spectators, and participants in virtual worlds, among others.

Big Differences for Small Governments: Local Governments and the Takings Clause

Christopher Serkin

This Article argues that the Fifth Amendment’s Takings Clause should apply differently to local governments than to higher levels of government. The Takings Clause is at the heart of an increasingly contentious debate between property rights advocates and proponents of deference to government regulation. More often than not, the terms of the debate have focused on a traditional economic account of the Takings Clause. Property rights advocates argue that expanding the compensation requirement is necessary to force the government to internalize the costs of its actions, ensuring that regulations will occur only where benefits exceed costs. Others, however, argue that governments respond to political and not monetary costs, so that a compensation requirement will not influence government decisionmaking in any predictable way. Public choice theorists, in particular, argue that regulations are more likely to result from special interest group rent-seeking, while costs are passed on to taxpayers generally. Where the public choice theory critique applies, compensation will not serve as a meaningful check on regulatory incentives.
This Article argues that the strength of the public choice critique rises and falls with the level of government. Local governments are largely majoritarian and specifically responsive to local homeowners. Because local governments also receive most of their revenue from local property taxes, forcing local governments to compensate under the Takings Clause will, in fact, force them to internalize the costs of their actions. However, local governments’ regulatory incentives are subject to their own specific distortions. Local governments are risk averse, so the prospect of a large takings judgment may over-deter them from acting. Local government regulations also tend to impose significant positive and negative externalities on neighboring communities. This Article therefore proposes (1) ratcheting down compensation for takings by local governments to account for their risk aversion, and (2) creating
a form of intergovernmental liability to allow local governments to capture the positive externalities of their actions and to force them to pay for the negative externalities.

Paying for Delay: Pharmaceutical Patent Settlement as a Regulatory Design Problem

C. Scott Hemphill

Over the past decade, drug makers have settled patent litigation by making large payments to potential rivals who, in turn, abandon suits that (if successful) would increase competition. Because such “pay-for-delay” settlements postpone the possibility of competitive entry, they have attracted the attention of antitrust enforcement authorities, courts, and commentators. Pay-for-delay settlements not only constitute a problem of immense practical importance in antitrust enforcement, but also pose a general dilemma about the proper balance between innovation and consumer access.
This Article examines the pay-for-delay dilemma as a problem in regulatory design. A full analysis of the relevant industry-specific regulatory statute, the Hatch-Waxman Act, yields two conclusions. First, certain features of the Act widen, often by subtle means, the potential for anticompetitive harm from pay-for-delay settlements. Second, the Act reflects a congressional judgment favoring litigated challenges, contrary to arguments employed to justify these settlements. These results support the further conclusion that pay-for-delay settlements are properly condemned as unreasonable restraints of trade. This analysis illustrates two mechanisms by which an industry-specific regulatory regime shapes the scope of antitrust liability: by creating (or limiting) opportunities for anticompetitive conduct as a practical economic matter, and by guiding as a legal matter the vigor of antitrust enforcement in addressing that conduct.

Lectures

The New Role of State Supreme Courts as Engines of Court Reform

Randall T. Shepard, Chief Justice of Indiana

Brennan Lecture

In this speech delivered for the annual Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice, the Honorable Randall T. Shepard examines the growing role of state supreme courts in remaking the American system of justice. The vast size of the state court system, the flexibility of state rulemaking authority, and recent changes in the way state courts are financed have placed these high courts at the forefront of efforts to administer and reform their states’ court systems. Chief Justice Shepard explores three major areas of court reform led by state supreme courts. First, state high courts have reformed the American jury by making it more inclusive and representative, and by improving its decisionmaking capabilities. Second, these courts have implemented new initiatives to ensure equal access to justice by providing legal assistance to low-income individuals in civil cases, creating pro bono programs, and assisting pro se litigants. Third, state supreme courts have fostered equal opportunity by addressing bias and disparate treatment within the court system, and by working to ensure that the legal profession itself is open to all people. Finally, Chief Justice Shepard describes a range of other ways in which state supreme courts have been remaking their states’ court systems, from creating specialized courts to training judges in the sciences. In a profession that is fond of tradition and slow to change, many of these reforms could only proceed with leadership from state high courts.

Notes

Rethinking FISMA and Federal Information Security Policy

Robert B. Silvers

In this Note, the author offers a broad-based critique of the statutory scheme that governs how the federal government must safeguard data on its information systems. Examining two illustrative case studies from major federal agencies, the author identifies serious structural flaws in the design and implementation of the relevant legislation. Through the lens of bureaucratic and organizational theory, he explains why the legislation is not well-suited to achieving comprehensive information security-and why the federal government’s track record in this area has been so poor. Finally, the author proposes five concrete reforms Congress should enact to address these shortcomings.

The Ties That Bind: How the Constitution Limits the CIA’s Actions in the War on Terror

Elizabeth Sepper

In the war on terror, the Executive, through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has detained, mistreated, and tortured suspected “enemy combatants” in secret prisons around the world. Shocking evidence of torture and denial of due process has provoked widespread condemnation. Yet, the Executive continues to deny that its agencies-in particular the CIA-are prohibited by law from engaging in such activities. Scholars have argued that the Executive’s actions violate both international treaties and domestic statutes prohibiting torture. This Note takes a different approach and contends that, even in the absence of treaty or statutory law, the Constitution limits the authority of an executive agency like the CIA to act against foreigners abroad. The author relies on Supreme Court case law on the extraterritorial application of the Constitution, which holds that certain fundamental constitutional provisions limit the government’s actions wherever and against whomever it acts. She also highlights references to the fundamental rights approach in recent war on terror cases. She then argues that such fundamental rights include, at minimum, prohibitions against indefinite detention and torture under the Fifth Amendment Due Process and Self-Incrimination Clauses and the Eighth Amendment. Ultimately, she concludes that the Constitution simply does not permit the United States to engage in indefinite detention or torture-regardless of the end, the place, or the victim.

“Dead Men Tell No Tales”: Rule 92 Bis – How the Ad Hoc International Criminal Tribunals Unnecessarily Silence the Dead

Ari S. Bassin

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda adopted Rule 92 bis-Proof of Facts Other than by Oral Evidence-as a good faith attempt to hone the rules of evidentiary admissibility and provide a better balance between fairness and efficiency. While Rule 92 bis provides certain benefits, this Note argues that because of the unique nature and purpose of the Tribunals, this Rule is not the optimal framework within which to determine the admissibility of deceased witness statements. Applying Rule 92 bis to prior statements of deceased witnesses needlessly reinforces existing incentives to kill important witnesses before they can testify in person at the Tribunals and unnecessarily limits the admissibility of testimony of classes of victims that survived the initial crimes but did not live long enough to testify in person in front of the Tribunals. This Note presents two ways that the Tribunals could admit written statements of deceased witnesses while maintaining many of the important benefits of Rule 92 bis, and consequently, provide a better balance between fairness and efficiency than is currently achieved under Rule 92 bis.