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Walter Olson

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies. Prior to joining Cato, Olson was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and has been a columnist for Great Britain’s Times Online as well as Reason. His writing appears regularly in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and theNew York Post. He has appeared numerous times before Congress and advised many public officials. The Washington Post has dubbed him the “intellectual guru of tort reform.” His approximately 400 broadcast appearances include all the major networks, CNN, Fox News, PBS, NPR, and “Oprah”.

Olson’s most recent book, Schools for Misrule: Legal Academia and an Overlawyered America (Encounter Books), appeared in 2011 and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “cutting-edge commentary,” “astute,” “witty” and “hard-hitting.” His previous book on mass litigation, The Rule of Lawyers, was hailed in leading publications including Forbes, The American Lawyer, and Barron’s. The Excuse Factory, his 1997 book on lawsuits in the workplace, was met with accolades in the London Times and the A.B.A. Journal. Olson’s widely discussed first book, The Litigation Explosion, was cited by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in a major Supreme Court case. On the web, he founded and continues to run, widely cited as the oldest blog on law as well as one of the most popular.

Walter Olson's Articles

How the FDA - and Other Agencies - Shape What You Hear about Them

Organizations and agencies like the FDA like to use "close-hold embargoes" – forbidding reporters from talking to anyone but the organizations themselves about issues they are involved in. The result is biased, half-true reporting by force.

- September 28, 2016

Special Interests May Kill Free Online Courses

If the DOJ and special interest bullies get their way, MOOCs could become a thing of the past.

- September 20, 2016

Trump's Threat to Judge Is What Authoritarianism Looks Like

Donald Trump is telling us exactly what he'll do if he assumes the most powerful office on earth; we should listen.

- May 30, 2016

Trump Isn't the First Politician to Threaten Newspapers

Trump threatens the Washington Post, Amazon, and Jeff Bezos with libel, IRS, and antitrust suits if he becomes president.

- May 20, 2016

Environmental Inquisition Targets Think Tank for "Climate Denial"

The Attorney General of the US Virgin Islands has ordered CEI to turn over a decade's worth of private emails and documents.

- April 08, 2016

The Frogs Who Wanted a King

"The Frogs, grieved at having no Ruler, sent to Jupiter entreating for a King."

- March 09, 2016

4 More Crushing Defeats for the Obama Administration

Executive agencies have routinely exceeded their authority, but independent courts have routinely smacked them down.

- February 25, 2016

New York's Chilling Global Warming Witch Hunt

New York is investigating Exxon for donating to wrongthink tanks.

- February 10, 2016

CDC's Paternalistic Finger Wagging to All "Pre-Pregnant" Women

The idea that women's everyday pleasures are worth zero risk is patronizing, sexist, and ultimately impossible.

- February 09, 2016

Student Demands: Conformity, Thought Police, Show Trials

“We suggest that every week a faculty member come forward and publicly admit their participation in racism.”

- November 30, 2015

Governments Are the Worst Polluters

Governments violate the Clean Air and Safe Water laws much more often than private firms — and are less likely to be penalized for it.

- November 19, 2015

Trial Lawyers (Via the New York Times) Attack Arbitration

People switch credit cards for lower interest, extra miles, and better perks — but never for contracts that favor lawsuits over arbitration. Trial lawyers would like the state to "fix" that. 

- November 03, 2015

Making Assault on Police a "Hate Crime" Is a Terrible Idea

There is no good reason to make assault on police a hate crime, but there are couple very dangerous ones.

- October 20, 2015

Bernie Was Right, and Hillary Wrong, on Gun-Lawsuit Bill

Congress was right to protect innocent gun manufacturers from bogus lawsuits designed to bankrupt them. 

- October 14, 2015

Take a Valium and Call Me in the Morning. From Jail.

A pregnant woman who took a safe dose of Valium faces ten years in prison, even though the baby suffered no ill effects.

- September 29, 2015

Obama Administration Declares War on Franchisors and Subcontractors

This union-backed regulation will set the labor market back forty years.

- September 02, 2015

Drug Warriors Are "Putting a Bounty on the Heads" of Anyone in the Legal Pot Industry

Anti-drug groups are shaking down Colorado's legal pot businesses (and their bankers, landlords, and anyone else connected to them) with racketeering suits.

- August 16, 2015

No, Rick Santorum, the Gay Marriage Ruling Is Not Like Dred Scott

Senator Santorum and other social conservatives are comparing Obergfell to Dred Scott

- August 10, 2015

Don't Agree with Boston's Mayor? No Permits for You!

Boston's mayor again uses regulation to retaliate against political speech. 

- July 20, 2015

"Let Them Eat Cake, and Then Shut Up about It"

When is disagreeing with a court decision an illegal "threat" of future discrimination?

- July 09, 2015

Religious Charities, Gay Marriage, and Adoption: A Case for Pluralism

Shutting down religious adoption agencies won't help kids. 

- July 06, 2015

SCOTUS Says You Can Be Held Liable for Unintentional Discrimination

Cities and landlords can now be sued no matter what they do (or even try to do).

- June 26, 2015

5 Reasons the FDA’s Ban on Trans Fat Is a Big Deal

Government doesn’t always know best about your health or nutritonal science.

- June 16, 2015

Senator: Bring RICO Charges Against Climate Wrongthink

A left-wing US Senator wants to make defending fossil fuels or denying climate change a federal crime.

- June 03, 2015

How Cops' Extra Rights Contribute to Misconduct

Union contracts and special laws give police accused of misconduct a host of extra rights.

- April 27, 2015

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