The Supreme Court Gets It Right

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The court ruled that that families have a right to seek the best educational opportunities for their children, by preventing states from blocking the participation of religiously affiliated schools in state school choice programs. The decision was the usual 5-4 split–only this time the five were in favor of not discriminating against religious schools.

The article reports:

Tuesday’s decision in Espinoza removed the largest state constitutional obstacle by holding that so-called Blaine Amendments cannot be used to deny choice to parents.

Under the U.S. Constitution, states no longer may prevent parents from choosing religious schools if they are participating in a school choice program.

“A state need not subsidize private education. But once a State decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools simply because they are religious,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion of the court in Espinoza.

This decision struck a blow to the notoriously anti-Catholic Blaine Amendment in Montana’s Constitution that sanctioned explicit discrimination against religious schools in funding. Montana’s discrimination hurt families who have a wide variety of values and preferences when it comes to their children’s education.

As the Supreme Court had previously noted, Blaine Amendments have an “ignoble” history. The amendments are named after Sen. James G. Blaine of Maine, who in 1875 sought a federal constitutional prohibition of aid to “sectarian” schools.

The article concludes:

In Mitchell v. Helms, Thomas wrote of Blaine Amendments: “This doctrine, born of bigotry, should be buried now.” On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s decision in Espinoza took us one step closer to achieving that goal.

Now is the time for states to cast aside these 19th-century rules rooted in prejudice that unfairly punish religious families, students, and schools. The Constitution requires states to provide a level playing field for religious and secular education.

The legal impediment to school choice programs is now gone, and it’s up to state legislatures to move forward advancing education choice.

The court made it clear that policymakers across the country now have the power to enact robust school choice programs. They should do just that.

If the education establishment wants American children in public schools, they have a responsibility to make public schools better. Until then, parents who want their children educated will seek out voucher programs that will allow them to send their children to schools that teach the basics–not get bogged down by the social justice trend of the day.

This Decision Does Not Protect Women

Yesterday The National Review posted an article about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Louisiana’s law regarding doctors at abortion clinics. The law in question required doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Because women can die from legal abortions, hospital admitting privileges are important. The Supreme Court struck down this requirement, putting the lives of women at risk. Chief Justice Roberts was the deciding vote on the issue, disappointing many Americans who expected him to be a conservative voice on the Court.

The article reports:

The conservative legal establishment has long been particularly enamored of this ideal: the umpire calmly calling balls and strikes. It is a very important virtue. But it is not the first virtue. An umpire who can be cowed by the crowd will not call the same strike zone for both teams. Without courage, good ideas about the law are just empty words on a page. Without courage, even the clearest-written rights are empty promises, the plainest limitations on power are easily overwhelmed, and the entire project of rule by written law becomes just another hollow formality.

Two of today’s Supreme Court decisions, on abortion and separation of powers, are further evidence of this. Chief Justice John Roberts has yet again shown the absence of courage that has so often undermined his Court. Roberts’s repeated demonstrations of lack of courage are rapidly becoming a threat to the Court itself, and to the conservative legal project.

First up, we have June Medical Services L.L.C. v. Russo, which by a 5–4 vote struck down a Louisiana abortion-clinic regulation challenged by the clinics. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch would have upheld the Louisiana law, but Chief Justice Roberts sided with the Court’s four liberals, claiming that his hands were tied by precedent.

In the 2016 case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court ruled 5–3 against a Texas abortion law that required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. States routinely impose such requirements on the practice of medicine, especially invasive or surgical procedures. As Justice Gorsuch observed, the Louisiana law “tracks longstanding state laws governing physicians who perform relatively low-risk procedures like colonoscopies, Lasik eye surgeries, and steroid injections at ambulatory surgical centers.” The Court in both Whole Woman’s Health and June Medical ruled that “unnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion impose an undue burden on the right” to an abortion. Yet what the Court defines as an “unnecessary” requirement would be uncontroversially legal for any other medical procedure under the sun, and the “constitutional right” itself is, of course, nowhere even vaguely mentioned in the actual Constitution.

Chief Justice Roberts has been a disappointment almost from the beginning. His ruling on Obamacare was questionable at best. Please follow the link to the article to read further details regarding the contradictions between the decision on the Louisiana law and the previous opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts

How Long Will The Flynn Saga Continue?

The American Spectator posted an article today about the ongoing case of General Flynn.

The article includes a very good lawyer joke:

Sigmund Freud dies and goes to Heaven, where he’s met at the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter.

“Dr. Freud, thank goodness you’ve come! We have a crisis and need your professional help!”

“How so?” asks Freud.

“It’s God. He’s having delusions of grandeur.”

“What are His symptoms?” asks Freud.

“He thinks He’s a federal judge!”
 — Old trial lawyer joke

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan seems to have forgotten that he is not god in handling the Flynn case. Judge Sullivan had been ordered by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to dismiss the case.

The article explains what happened next:

In filings before the circuit court, Sullivan explained that he plans to “question the bona fides of the government’s [dismissal] motion,” “inquire about the government’s motions and representations,” “illuminat[e] the full circumstances surrounding the proposed dismissal,” and probe “whether the presumption of government regularity for prosecutorial decisions is overcome” in “the unusual facts of this case.”

In a 2-1 decision, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the petition and ordered Sullivan to grant the motion to dismiss the criminal charge against Flynn.

Noting that, although Rule 48 requires “leave of court” before dismissing charges, under well-founded legal precedent “decisions to dismiss pending criminal charges — no less than decisions to initiate charges and to identify which charges to bring — lie squarely within the ken of prosecutorial discretion”  and that “the principal object” of the “leave of court” requirement is “to protect a defendant against prosecutorial harassment … when the Government moves to dismiss an indictment over the defendant’s objection.”

The article concludes:

And, when Sidney Powell took over Flynn’s representation, Sullivan accused her of some kind of purportedly unethical and previously unknown crypto-plagiarism because she had not, in his estimation, properly attributed the source of the legal precedents cited in her pleadings. I’ll give it to Sullivan. That was a first in my book since every legal filing I’ve ever seen used case citations indistinguishable in format from those used by Powell.

So, what’s the chance that Sullivan will seek a rehearing en banc? Seven of the 12 circuit court judges were appointed by Democrat presidents. Combine those favorable odds with Sullivan’s demonstrated hostility to Flynn, his grandiose concept of his judicial powers, his undoubted humiliation at being subjected to a writ of mandamus for committing, in the words of the panel, “clear legal error,” and the answer begins to come into focus.

Given those factors, why wouldn’t Judge Sullivan seek a rehearing before the full circuit court? And, even if he should fail in that regard, why wouldn’t he then take his cause to the U.S. Supreme Court? It’s a no-lose situation for him. Given the political composition of the D.C. Circuit, he may win. But, even if he doesn’t, by pursuing the litigation he will continue to provide ammunition to the anti-Trump forces that pervade the D.C. swamp and, at the very least, gain a permanent open invitation to all the right Georgetown cocktail parties.

I hope I’m wrong. But five decades of closely observing pampered, egocentric federal judges tells me that I’m not.

I hope he is wrong; I fear he is not.

 

 

When Government Ignores The Constitution

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about an incident in San Jose, California, that should give us pause.

The article reports:

In 2013, Lori Rodriguez called San Jose police to her home because her husband was having a mental health crisis and making violent threats. Seven years later, she is petitioning the Supreme Court to force the city to return her guns.

“It’s not right. I shouldn’t have to do this to get back what’s mine,” Rodriguez told the Washington Free Beacon. “They violated several of my constitutional rights.”

Rodriguez claims police ordered her to open the couple’s gun safe so they could seize all of the weapons in the home after her husband was detained for making threats that the city says included “shooting up schools.” Cops seized not only her husband’s weapons but also the guns that were personally registered to Rodriguez. The city has repeatedly rebuffed her requests to return her property.

The suit is now the sole case with Second Amendment implications remaining before the Court after the justices rejected 10 other gun-rights cases on June 15. Rodriguez’s legal challenge comes as the federal government and a number of states debate “red flag” bills that would allow authorities to deny gun rights to citizens. It has the potential to clarify the extent to which the Second Amendment protects individuals from seizures of firearms.

San Jose city attorney Richard Doyle did not respond to a request for comment. The city defended its actions, saying that authorities were within their rights to confiscate the guns, calling Rodriguez’s claim “borderline frivolous.”

“If the government has lawful authority to effect the forfeiture and observes the requirements of due process in so doing, it has complied with the Constitution,” Doyle said in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. “The forfeiture does nothing whatever to impair the previous owner’s right to buy, possess, or use firearms, and notwithstanding that the owner may recover the full market value of the guns through their transfer and sale.”

The article continues:

Several of the guns confiscated from Rodriguez by San Jose police have special sentimental value, according to Rodriguez. Police confiscated not only handguns that she and her husband purchased but also a war souvenir inherited from a family member.

“One of them is a gun my great uncle brought back from WWII,” she said. “I really want that one back. You can’t replace that one, obviously.”

Don Kilmer, Rodriguez’s lawyer, said that while the case implicates the 2nd Amendment, in addition to the 4th and even 14th Amendments, it ultimately comes down to an undisputed fact: Lori Rodriguez is not prohibited from owning the firearms San Jose took from her house.

“Her mental health has never been at issue,” Kilmer told the Free Beacon. “The law that the city is holding these guns under says that you can confiscate weapons of people who are mentally ill. Lori is not mentally ill.”

In the years since the initial police call, the Rodriguez family continues to live together, but Lori has taken steps to ensure she can legally own the confiscated firearms. She has transferred all of the firearms into her name and she is the only family member who knows the combination to the gun safe. Her lawyers argue that she is in compliance with all California gun laws—including those for individuals who live with people who can not own firearms themselves.

If her husband was the problem and he had no access to the gun safe, how can the city justify taking her guns away? This is definitely overreach.

The Supreme Court Lost Their Copy Of The Constitution

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. It’s interesting that they chose to uphold the program when President Obama, the author of the program, admitted various times that the program was illegal.

Yesterday PJ Media posted a list of the ten times President Obama declared that his creation of DACA was illegal. Please follow the link to the article for the details, but here is the basic list:

  1. During remarks at a 2010 Cinco de Mayo Celebration
  2. During remarks on comprehensive immigration reform at American University
  3. During an MTV/BET town hall meeting and a question-and-answer session
  4. During a radio interview with Univision
  5. During a Univision town hall
  6. During remarks at a Facebook town hall meeting and a question-and-answer session
  7. During the 2011 Miami Dade College commencement
  8. During remarks on comprehensive immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial
  9. During remarks to the National Council of La Raza
  10. During a roundtable with questions from Yahoo!, MSN Latino, AOL Latino, and HuffPost Latino Voices

So a President who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution passed a law (a violation of the separation of powers) and now the Supreme Court is not willing to undo that law. That is another reason Americans think Washington has lost its way.

The Western Journal posted a screenshot of a tweet by The Daily Caller summarizing what Justice Thomas said in the dissent:

As usual, Justice Thomas got it right.

 

 

Some Thoughts On Our Religious Liberty

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at The National Review about a recent Supreme Court decision. The title of the article is, “It wasn’t just religious liberty that Chief Justice Roberts strangled.” The article is detailed and complex, so I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. However, there are a few things I want to point out that I think are very significant.

The article notes:

Most startling was that Chief Justice John Roberts not only joined the court’s four left-leaning justices (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan) in declining to uphold religious liberty. Roberts also wrote a brief opinion explaining his decision. 

That opinion is an eye-opener. Roberts accords the right to worship no deference by virtue of its being a fundamental liberty expressly protected by the First Amendment. We are to see it as an activity like any other activity, commercial or social, the pros and cons of which technocrats must weigh in fashioning regulations. The opinion, moreover, champions the power of government officials to dictate to the people who elect them without “second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary” — exactly the power that the Bill of Rights, and the incorporation jurisprudence by which the court has applied much of it to the states, are meant to deny.

The article also points out:

In rejecting the religious liberty claim, Roberts counters that it is not a matter of unlawful discrimination if different things are regulated in different ways. Religious gatherings, he rationalized, are being restricted like gatherings that are physically similar, such as lectures, concerts, theater productions and spectator sports. He conceded that less intense restrictions have been imposed on other activities, such as shopping, banking and laundering. But that, he insists, is because of salient differences in the way they are conducted: small groups, no extended proximity, and so on.

But wait a second. What about the constitutional pedigree of religious exercise? That was the point pressed by Justice Brett Kavanaugh, in a brief dissent joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch. (Justice Samuel Alito also opposed the denial of First Amendment relief but did not join Kavanaugh’s dissenting opinion.)

The article concludes:

There is no recognition, in Roberts’ rendering, that there is another side to this equation — a side where 400 times the number of people who’ve died have lost their jobs, millions of them facing ruin. The stubborn message: Don’t expect the court to help you, you’re the ones who elected these people; if you don’t like what they do, un-elect them. If you’ve elected social engineers who say the Bill of Rights is above their pay grade, that’s your problem.

The justices are happy to order that abortion must be available, to decide which couples (or perhaps throuples) must be permitted to marry, and to dictate what’s ever next in the ceaseless march of progressive, organic “liberty.” But as for the liberties that are actually in the Constitution, we are on our own.

Unfortunately Justice Roberts has been something of a disappointment to those of us who expected him to be a responsible judge who would uphold the Constitution. He has wandered away from the constitutional role of the judiciary more than once.

This Is Really Pathetic

Yesterday Breitbart reported the following:

House Democrats told the Supreme Court on Monday they need access to secret grand jury materials because they are still investigating President Donald Trump in connection with Russia “collusion” and may want to impeach him, again.

In a legal filing published by CNN, Democrats said that they need the grand jury materials because the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment inquiry into Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation is ongoing.

Unbelievable. The story belongs in the Babylon Bee, but unfortunately it is real. This needs to be added to the list of reasons to end Democrat control of the House of Representatives in November. I can’t believe this is what Democrat voters voted for.  What have the Democrats accomplished in the House of Representatives in the past two years other than harass the President?

The article continues:

The Democrat-run House seeks “disclosure to the House Committee on the Judiciary of a limited set of grand-jury materials for use in the Committee’s ongoing Presidential impeachment investigation,” the Supreme Court filing says.

The saga began in 2019, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller determined that there had been no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. When he released his report, however, Mueller submitted two volumes — one on the collusion investigation, and one on a separate obstruction of justice investigation. Though he made no recommendation for prosecution, Democrats seized on the latter as providing the basis for potentially impeaching Trump for obstruction.

Democrats also claimed that certain redactions in the report must have hidden relevant information — though they declined to read a less redacted version. They also demanded access to material that Mueller had shown a grand jury. Normally grand jury proceedings are secret, and so Attorney General William Barr, citing federal law, declined the Democrats’ request. They then held him in contempt of Congress, and took their case for the materials to federal court.

The case made its way through the courts, and Democrats won at the D.C. Circuit. The Department of Justice appealed to the Supreme Court on May 7, and Chief Justice Roberts put a temporary hold on the grand jury materials on May 8.

In their court filing, the Democrats complain that further delays in the release of the grand jury materials would make it impossible for them to impeach the president again before Congress’s term ends:

Maybe the Democrats should actually try to accomplish something instead of chasing partisan unicorns.

Making It Easier To Deport Criminals

Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an article about a decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday.

The article reports:

A divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled to make it easier for the federal government to deport lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have been convicted of serious crimes.

In a 5-4 decision, the top court justices sided against a man who was seeking to cancel deportation orders stemming from firearm and drug offenses. LPRs who are subject to deportation orders can apply to have their removal canceled under a federal immigration law if they meet strict eligibility requirements.

That law gives the attorney general power to cancel the removal of an applicant who has been an LPR for five years and has resided continuously in the United States for seven years, during which time he or she must not have been convicted of an aggravated felony. If an LPR is found to have committed such felonies, a rule called the “stop-time rule” would be triggered. This rule would cause the accrual of the seven-year requirement to pause from the time when the individual commits a crime that renders them “inadmissible.”

The court on Thursday ruled to uphold a lower court decision that found the man ineligible for the discretionary cancellation of his removal because he had committed aggravated assault offenses within the initial seven years of his residency, even though those crimes were not grounds for his deportation.

The ruling is widely viewed as a victory for the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has been running on a platform that pushes for stronger enforcement of national immigration laws.

There is no reason for us to allow criminals who are not Americans to remain in this country. We are perfectly capable of creating enough criminals on our own–we don’t need to take anyone else’s.

Losing Our Constitutional Rights One At A Time

As we celebrate Resurrection Day tomorrow, most of us won’t be gathered in our churches to celebrate. In some places we won’t even be able to do celebrations reminiscent of drive-in movies where we gather in our cars and listen to the sermon on our car radios (with the windows up even). That is an unnecessary restriction that some states have imposed and that the citizens of those states are tolerating. We really need to rethink this.

Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Governor Northam of Virginia has signed several pieces of gun control legislation into law.

The article reports:

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed several pieces of gun control legislation into law, including mandating background checks on every gun sale, ordering reporting of lost and stolen firearms, and reinstating the state’s former one-handgun-purchase-a-month policy.

…Following Virginia Democrats’ takeover of both chambers of the state legislature in the 2019 elections, the party put forth a slew of gun control measures to be considered in the 2020 legislative session.

The signing of the slate of bills comes nearly three months following the rally of over 20,000 gun rights activists in the Virginia Capitol to protest the legislation. The gun laws will go into effect on July 1.

The article mentions two of the laws that did not pass:

Two major gun control bills, the assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limits, were proposed and debated while Virginia lawmakers were in session but, ultimately, failed to pass both chambers of the state legislature. However, supporters of the bills have advocated to bring them back in the next session.

Northam also proposed amendments to legislation currently being debated in the Virginia state legislature’s upper and lower chambers.

Senate Bill 35 and House Bill 421 would enable municipalities to regulate firearms in public buildings, parks, recreation centers, and during permitted events. Senate Bill 479 and House Bill 1,004 would bar individuals subject to protective orders from possessing firearms, require them to turn over their firearms within 24 hours, and would require them to certify to the court that the weapons were turned in.

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

That right was put in there to protect Americans from an overreaching government.–not to make sure they could go hunting. We are at the point where government overreach is here. Hopefully the laws signed by the Governor will be overturned by the Supreme Court, but the laws like this need to be stopped long before they get to the Supreme Court. I am hopeful that the people of Virginia will embrace their history and remove this Governor from office in the next election.

Seems Fair To Me

On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the logical next step after the Supreme Court decision that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment.

The article reports:

In 2018, Mark Janus convinced the Supreme Court that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment. Now he wants his money back.

After his triumph at the High Court, Janus asked a federal trial judge to require the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pay out about $3,000 in agency fees the union collected from his paycheck between 2013 and 2018. The judge declined and Janus lost on appeal, prompting a new petition to the Supreme Court.

So-called right-to-work cause lawyers including the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Foundation are litigating some 30 cases that collectively seek $120 million in garnished wages for public sector workers. Public sector unions proved surprisingly resilient after the Janus decision, seeing modest increases in membership and limited losses of revenue. Judgments ordering restitution to aggrieved workers, however, could vindicate doomsayers who predicted the end of agency fees would devastate organized labor. Approximately 5.9 million public employees paid mandatory fees prior to Janus, a massive pool of prospective plaintiffs.

The article concludes:

Trial judges in about two dozen other cases and two appeals courts have reached the same conclusion and rebuffed worker attempts to recoup lost wages. If allowed to stand, those decisions “are likely to doom all such cases,” Janus’s petition to the High Court warns.

“This Court should grant review so the employees in these suits can recover a portion of the ‘windfall’ of compulsory fees unions wrongfully seized from them,” the petition reads.

Other Janus follow-on cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court. One petition asks the Court to declare the so-called integrated bar unlawful under Janus. Integrated bar rules require lawyers to join a state bar association and pay fees as a condition of practicing law. Another petition asks whether employers can designate a union as the sole representative of its workers in collective bargaining.

The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October, if it grants review. AFSCME’s response to Janus’s petition is due on April 9. The case is No. 19-1104 Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

Open Secrets details some of what the dues paid to AFSCME were used for:

In the 2016 races, almost all of AFSCME’s more than $1.7 million in candidate contributions went to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. The breakdown is similar in the 2018 election cycle — more than 99 percent of its $1.1 million in candidate contributions so far have gone to Democrats.

The AFSCME also contributes millions of dollars to liberal outside spending groups.

The union has given roughly $3.6 million to outside spending groups in the 2018 election cycle alone. More than 70 percent of that spending has gone to a super PAC called For Our Future, which was formed by labor unions to support Democratic candidates. Sky Gallegos, who is listed as For Our Future’s treasurer, is the Democratic National Convention Committee’s deputy CEO for intergovernmental affairs.

The union gave just over $11 million to outside spending groups in 2016, and about half those contributions went to For Our Future.

The AFSCME has lobbied Congress on right-to-work policies, according to lobbying disclosures. The union’s lobbying efforts overall have totaled than $2.3 million annually since 2009, peaking at $2.9 million in spending in 2011.

Union dues account for much of the money in politics. If people who choose not to join the union are not required to pay union dues, this will impact political campaigns in America.

This Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone

The Epoch Times posted an article today about a sexual assault case in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. The alleged assault took place in a gender-neutral bathroom in a high school. I sincerely question if the people who came up with the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms were ever teenagers. Unfortunately we don’t live in a world that can safely support the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms. I’m not sure that world ever existed, but it does not exist now.

The article reports:

According to News 9 WOAW, 18-year-old Austin Sauer was arrested on Thursday on charges of child enticement, fourth-degree sexual assault, and exposing genitals to a child, the sex of whom has not been reported.

The Wisconsin state law defines fourth-degree sexual assault as “sexual contact with a person without the consent of that person.”

An officer from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department told the local ABC affiliate that the incident took place in a gender-neutral bathroom at Rhinelander High School. The school has promptly closed that bathroom.

In a statement released to WOAW, Rhinelander School District Superintendent Kelli Jacobi said that “both students went into the bathroom voluntarily.”

“This was not a random incident, as both students went into the bathroom voluntarily,” she said. “The male student will no longer be able to be on school grounds, and the gender-neutral bathroom is no longer available to students.”

The article concludes:

Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision in a privacy lawsuit against a public school district in Dallas, Oregon. A panel of three judges ruled in favor of the school district, saying that it did not violate federal law or constitutional rights with a “student safety plan” that allows transgender students to use bathroom, locker, and shower facilities that “match their self-identified gender.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court last May refused to hear an appeal in a case from Pennsylvania, in which lower federal courts upheld a school district’s policy of permitting transgender students to use restrooms or locker rooms matching their gender identity. Four students, who felt uncomfortable with the policy, sued the school district on the basis that it violated their privacy rights and federal laws under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

It seems to me that common sense needs to be part of this discussion. The majority of our high school students are not transgender. Those students are entitled to privacy. There is no reason for a student with male genitals to be in a high school girls’ locker room. I don’t know exactly what provisions would have to be made, but I wouldn’t want my granddaughters to have to deal with boys in their locker room. If they still have their male body parts, they are boys and do not belong in the girls’ locker room. If they no longer belong in the boys’ locker room, then other facilities need to be made available.

Why The Citizens United Decision Matters

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning campaign finance. The Supreme Court ruled on January 21, 2010, prevents the government from restricting campaign contributions from corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.

National Review posted an article on March 5, 2014, showing political campaign donations from 1989 to 2014. Below is the chart included in the article:

As you can see, unions donate a significant amount of money to political campaigns.

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner reported that the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is investing $150 million to defeat President Trump in November.

The article reports:

The get-out-the-vote campaign is the biggest investment that the union has ever made in getting voters to the polls. It will largely focus on Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press. It will also focus on urban areas such as Detroit and Milwaukee. And while television ads will be part of the campaign, most of its resources will go to direct contact and online ads targeting minority voters.

Maria Peralta, the union’s political director, said Trump has made inroads with some minority voters who traditionally vote Democratic if they do vote. The Trump campaign plans to open community centers to win the black vote. The offices will feature African Americans who support Trump.

So what is this about? Through deregulation and other policies, the Trump administration has seen record economic growth. In order for the Democrats to stay in power, they need a permanent underclass that is dependent on the government to support them.

On February 15, Breitbart reported:

Approximately 6.1 million individuals dropped off the food stamp rolls since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office in February 2017, according to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

This is a threat to the growth of the Democrat party. If the Democrats can defeat President Trump, reverse his economic policies, and create a failing economy, they can gain more control over the everyday lives of Americans. That is their goal. That is the reason we need corporate money in elections to counter the union money. That is the reason Citizens United was a good decision.

It should also be noted that as the number of people dependent on the government decreases, the size of the administrative state should also decrease. That should also decrease the cost of government. That is a goal that totally frightens those involved in the administrative state. If the administrative state continues at its present size, we will never get federal deficits under control. Eventually the deficit will crash the economy.

Common Sense In Immigration Policy

On Monday CNBC posted an article about a Supreme Court decision regarding President Trump’s immigration policy.

The article reports:

The Supreme Court said Monday that it will allow the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule to take effect after the immigration policy had been blocked by lower courts.

The 5-4 vote was divided along partisan lines, with the court’s four Democratic appointees indicating that they would not have allowed the policy to be enforced.

The court’s five conservatives, including Chief Justice John Roberts, formed the majority siding with the administration. The decision came as Roberts was presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate.

The rule, which was proposed in August, will make it more difficult for immigrants to obtain permanent residency, or green cards, if they have used or are likely to use public benefits like food stamps and Medicaid.

Under previous federal rules, a more narrow universe of public benefits, such as cash assistance and long-term hospitalization, were considered in determining whether an immigrant was likely to become a “public charge.”

The following statistics are from the Center for Immigration Studies:

  • No single program explains non-citizens’ higher overall welfare use. For example, not counting school lunch and breakfast, welfare use is still 61 percent for non-citizen households compared to 33 percent for natives. Not counting Medicaid, welfare use is 55 percent for immigrants compared to 30 percent for natives.
  • Welfare use tends to be high for both newer arrivals and long-time residents. Of households headed by non-citizens in the United States for fewer than 10 years, 50 percent use one or more welfare programs; for those here more than 10 years, the rate is 70 percent.
  • Welfare receipt by working households is very common. Of non-citizen households receiving welfare, 93 percent have at least one worker, as do 76 percent of native households receiving welfare. In fact, non-citizen households are more likely overall to have a worker than are native households.1
  • The primary reason welfare use is so high among non-citizens is that a much larger share of non-citizens have modest levels of education and, as a result, they often earn low wages and qualify for welfare at higher rates than natives.
  • Of all non-citizen households, 58 percent are headed by immigrants who have no more than a high school education, compared to 36 percent of native households.
  • Of households headed by non-citizens with no more than a high school education, 81 percent access one or more welfare programs. In contrast, 28 percent of non-citizen households headed by a college graduate use one or more welfare programs.
  • Like non-citizens, welfare use also varies significantly for natives by educational attainment, with the least educated having much higher welfare use than the most educated.
  • Using education levels and likely future income to determine the probability of welfare use among new green card applicants — and denying permanent residency to those likely to utilize such programs — would almost certainly reduce welfare use among future permanent residents.
  • Of households headed by naturalized immigrants (U.S. citizens), 50 percent used one or more welfare programs. Naturalized-citizen households tend to have lower welfare use than non-citizen households for most types of programs, but higher use rates than native households for virtually every major program.
  • Welfare use is significantly higher for non-citizens than for natives in all four top immigrant-receiving states. In California, 72 percent of non-citizen-headed households use one or more welfare programs, compared to 35 percent for native-headed households. In Texas, the figures are 69 percent vs. 35 percent; in New York they are 53 percent vs. 38 percent; and in Florida, 56 percent of non-citizen-headed households use at least welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native households.

At this point I need to say that I am not against helping people in need, but we do need to get our priorities in order. Our Veterans’ Administration health system is horrible. It is underfunded and does not have the facilities necessary to meet the needs of our returning veterans. We have been at war for eighteen years, and we have broken faith with those who have fought those wars. Shouldn’t taking care of those veterans be a higher priority than taking care of people who are not American citizens? Look at the budget deficits we are running–we can’t afford to do both.

I applaud the Supreme Court for upholding a common-sense approach to immigration.

A Very Easy ‘Follow The Money’

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the House is planning to vote next week on a law that would override right-to-work laws in the 27 states that have those laws.

The article reports:

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat, argued that such “right-to-work” laws are unfair to unions and the workers that back collective bargaining, necessitating his bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

“Under current law, unions are required to negotiate on behalf of all employees, regardless if they belong to the union or not,” Scott told the Washington Examiner. “The PRO Act simply allows workers to decide that all workers represented by the union should contribute to the costs associated with negotiating on their behalf.”

Scrapping the state laws would force potentially millions of individual workers to give away part of their salaries, whether they wanted to or not, said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee, which represents workers in cases against unions. “The term ‘right to work’ means the right to not have to pay for union so-called representation that workers don’t want, didn’t ask for, and believe actually goes against their interests,” he told the Washington Examiner.

The article notes:

Right-to-work laws say that employees cannot be forced to join or otherwise financially support a union as a condition of their job. Specifically, the laws prohibit union-management contracts from including so-called fair share fee provisions that require all workers to support the union financially.

When you consider that unions donate large amounts of money to Democrat campaign coffers, this bill is not a surprise. However, it seems to me that it is a violation of the Tenth Amendment–the federal government does not have the authority to determine right-to-work laws in individual states.

The article concludes:

The resurgence in right-to-work laws may now be ebbing. No other state appears poised to adopt one. Missouri would have been the 28th state, but voters last year approved a referendum stopping the measure before it went into effect.

The PRO Act would rewrite the NLRA to undo the 1947 amendment. “This bill, and others we’ve seen in various states, tries to subtly redefine ‘right to work’ to mean only the right to not have to formally be a member of the union, which is already guaranteed by the Supreme Court,” Mourad said. Nonmembers would still be obligated to support unions financially.

There has long been support for scrapping right to work on the Left, but the PRO Act enjoys unprecedented support among Democrats. The Senate version of the PRO Act was introduced with 39 original co-sponsors, comprising almost the entire Democratic caucus. The legislation is certain to pass the Democrat-majority House but is unlikely to be taken up in the Republican-led Senate.

“They’re testing the waters for the next time they are in the majority,” Vernuccio said.

In this instance, the Democrats are standing for the unions–not for the working man. This is simply a scheme to take more money our of workers’ pockets, give it to unions, and have unions give it to Democrat candidates. Democrat majorities in Congress are not helpful to the average American.

Interesting Take

On Friday, The Daily Wire posted an article about Trey Gowdy’s recent comments concerning the purpose of impeaching President Trump. The article points out that there is very little hope that President Trump will be impeached in the Senate and that there is very little chance that President Trump will not be re-elected. So what is the goal?

The article notes:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday that Democrats are not trying to remove President Donald Trump with impeachment, but instead are focused on kneecapping his second term by flipping the Senate so he can’t get anything done.

“Let’s skip over the process,” Gowdy said. “The process, the three month long inquiry investigation was laughable. But they voted. That’s the House’s prerogative. They voted, not a single Republican went along with them. In fact, they didn’t even keep all the Democrats. But the House exercised its prerogative and they impeached the president.”

“There is no mathematical way he is ever going to be convicted and they know that,” Gowdy continued. “So their goal cannot be to remove Donald Trump from office, it is to neuter his second term. I think he is going to win in November. It’s to neuter that second term by targeting the Cory Gardners and the Martha McSallys and the Thom Tillises and the Susan Collins and Joni Ernst because if Trump wins and doesn’t have the Senate then he is not going to get any judicial vacancies filled and he’s not going to replace a Supreme Court Justice if he or she retires.”

One of the major accomplishments of the Trump administration is the reshaping of the judiciary. President Trump has appointed a record number of judges to serve in the federal appeal courts.

On December 19th, The National Review reported:

Let’s first put the confirmation results in some statistical perspective. From 1981 through last year, the Senate confirmed an average of 45 judges, or 5.5 percent of the judiciary, per year. This year’s total is more than twice the annual average and constitutes 11.9 percent of the judiciary. It’s the second-highest confirmation total in a single year in American history.

Those 102 confirmations include 20 to the U.S. Court of Appeals, the third-highest annual total in history. President Donald Trump has appointed 50 appeals court judges in his first three years, compared to 55 appointed by President Barack Obama — in eight years. And this is only the second time in American history that the Senate has confirmed double-digit appeals court nominations three years in a row. The only downside is that only one current appeals court vacancy exists anywhere in the country right now, the fewest in more than four decades.

The Democrats understand that the legacy of judges will be a lasting legacy. They desperately need to take the Senate in order to stop the continuing confirmations of judges. That strategy is much more logical than a futile effort to unseat a President who is popular with most Americans (although hated by the Washington establishment).

An Interesting Take On Impeachment

The American Thinker posted an article today about the next step in the impeachment process.

The article notes:

The latest reporting I’ve seen is that the Senate will take up President Trump’s impeachment trial this week.  What’s wrong with that, you ask?  I’ve already said what’s wrong: the Schiff-Nadler Star Chamber violated President Trump’s Fifth Amendment rights to procedural due process, rendering the resulting impeachment articles null and void as “poisoned fruit.”  The GOP leadership should do what the Founders would have done: challenge the legal legitimacy of the impeachment articles.  The logic blueprint I will present below — Mr. Jefferson knew logic — will help make the case in court.

As we know, protecting the rights of the accused is of fundamental importance in a just legal system and is a key motivation behind the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which asserts that “[no person shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”  The Supreme Court has interpreted due process broadly to include:

    • procedural due process rights,
    • substantive due process rights, and
    • prohibition against vague laws
    • as the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

Of concern here are only procedural due process rights (PDPRs), which include:

    1. An unbiased tribunal.
    2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
    3. The opportunity to present reasons for the proposed action not to be taken.
    4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
    5. The right to know the opposing evidence.
    6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
    7. A decision based only on the evidence presented.
    8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
    9. A requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
    10. A requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and the reasons for its decision.

I can sum this up with one question, “If you were on trial would you be happy to have the same rights as a defendant that President Trump was given by the House of Representatives?”

If the God-given rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by our Constitution matter, the impeachment case put together by the House of Representatives needs to be thrown out for not respecting those rights.

Following The Spirit Of The Law As Well As The Letter Of The Law

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday about an aspect of the Trump presidency that I think has been largely ignored.

The article notes:

Ronald Reagan made nearly 250 recess appointments during his time in office. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush made dozens each. George W. Bush made 171, and Barack Obama notched 32.

President Trump, meanwhile, stands at a big zero.

No other president has gone this deep into an administration without making a recess appointment. In fact, he is poised to become the first president never to get one — save William Henry Harrison, who died just one month into office.

The article also reports:

The Constitution places the recess power in Article II, which lays out the role of the executive branch, assigning the president “power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.”

That was the key trade-off: The president could fill vacancies, but the appointees’ terms were limited unless the Senate voted to approve them.

In the early years of the republic, when Congress was frequently out of session for a majority of each year, it was standard for a president to begin his tenure with a slew of recess appointments for posts that opened during the transition.

Each new president would notify the Senate of his actions and ask the upper chamber to confirm the person once it was back in session. In nearly every case, the Senate did so.

In recent years, the political rancor between the parties has changed that and recess appointments are not always confirmed–John Bolton is one example of this and I am sure there are others. President Trump thinks like a businessman. The article notes that he has used the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to make ‘acting’ appointments that allow him to remove people or move them when he sees fit.

The article concludes:

Analysts debate whether the recess appointment has become a constitutional anachronism. But some are wondering whether Mr. Trump might try to use that power heading into the last year of his term.

Even if Congress never goes into a full recess anymore, it still divides each year into a separate session — and on Jan. 3, both chambers will gavel out the first session of the 116th Congress and gavel in the second session.

The Supreme Court was silent on that type of recess in its Noel Canning ruling.

There is precedent for using the intersession period to make recess appointments. Roosevelt used the tactic in his 1903 power play.

One of the biggest mistakes America ever made was to air condition Congress so that they could stay in session during the summer.

Trying To Track All Of The Moving Parts

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the timelines involved in the respective strategies of the Democrats and Republicans in the impeachment saga. It is a very complex article, and I suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. However, I will try to list a few highlights here.

The article reports:

Today we have some new background to help see the narrative race and legal race. Pelosi and Schiff are not only racing the impeachment vote against the IG report, they are also racing against the Judicial branch wiping out all prior “impeachment inquiry” validity.

Effective at the end of business today the House is now in recess for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The article explains the calendar:

On December 9th the IG report on FISA abuse and DOJ/FBI corruption will be released. On December 11th Michael Horowitz will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

So there are two races.

♦ One race within the Trump impeachment is for the narrative: Trump Impeachment -vs- DOJ/FISA corruption against Trump. This is the race everyone is discussing.

♦ The second race within the Trump impeachment is legal: Pelosi, Schiff and ultimately Nadler -vs- the Judicial branch. This is the race few are watching, but actually could be far more consequential because it could invalidate the entire HPSCI process.

The aforementioned mid-December House Impeachment Vote is not a vote to impeach President Trump. It is a vote at the end of their “inquiry”; and a vote to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to begin their “official” impeachment hearings.

The mid-December vote will be to authorize the House Judiciary Committee to begin the “official” impeachment hearings. Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff need this vote fast; they need this vote before they lose any court case that could make the “impeachment inquiry” invalid.

Additionally, Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler need this full House authorization vote to gain the authority to penetrate the constitutional firewall that protects the separation of power in the “official” impeachment investigation. And they are hoping that any loss in the three pending cases will not undermine the validity of the prior impeachment inquiry…. that’s an issue.

That’s why Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler need to get that mid-December House vote before they lose any SCOTUS ruling. There are three cases, each of them appears heading to the Supreme Court; one is already there.

Please follow the link to the article for the details on the three court cases. December is going to be a very interesting month. I suspect that the Democrats are hoping that people will be too busy with Christmas things to be paying attention. Meanwhile, we may actually get to the bottom of the Russian hoax.

 

A Bad Decision May Eventually Have Good Results

The Federalist posted an article today about the recent California jury decision that found undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates guilty of trespass, breach of contract and of non-disclosure agreements, and fraud, as well as state and federal laws prohibiting the unconsented recordings of third parties. The California-based jury also found that Daleiden and the other defendants had violated the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law—a federal statute that triples any damage award. The defendants were also hit with punitive damages exceeding $800,000.

The article reports:

On Friday, a jury awarded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates, damages set to exceed $2.3 million in their civil case against undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates. The country’s largest cohort of abortion providers sued Daleiden and his colleagues after the 2015 release of a series of investigative videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in fetal parts.

The article explains why the case will probably eventually make its way to the Supreme Court:

Daleiden’s lead attorney, Peter Breen, of the public policy legal firm Thomas More Society, promised an appeal. “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal,” Breen said in a press release. “This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,” Breen added, noting, “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilized standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.”

Breen has several solid grounds for appeal, and initially will likely challenge presiding judge William Orrick III’s refusal to recuse from the case. While appellate courts are hesitant to second-guess a trial court’s decision on whether recusal is required, in this case the facts strongly suggest recusal was required.

Specifically, Judge Orrick was a founder and a longtime officer and director of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, an organization which, according to Daleiden, houses and participates in a joint venture with one of the named Planned Parenthood affiliates. Further, during the pendency of this case, as Breen pointed out in briefing, Orrick was “held out to the public as serving as an Emeritus Board Member of [the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center].”

Judge Orrick’s refusal to allow Daleiden and the other defendants to testify concerning their reasonable beliefs about abuses in the fetal tissue business, from harvesting of organs from born-alive babies to selling tissue and body parts for profit, as well as the judge’s decision barring the admission of the video evidence, will also be areas ripe for reversal.

What David Daleiden did used to be called investigative journalism. What he uncovered needed to be uncovered. The only redeeming thing about this case having to go to the Supreme Court is that it will further expose the selling of aborted baby body parts and the callousness of the people in Planned Parenthood who are engaged in these activities. Callousness is not illegal, but selling aborted baby body parts should be.

Today At The Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It is interesting that the case has taken so long to get to the Supreme Court.

In September 2017, the Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following statement by former President Obama:

Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”

I guess he changed his mind. Also, just for the record, former President Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional Law Professor. We are not a democracy–we are a representative republic. Did he know that?

At any rate, DACA is now at the Supreme Court. Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the coming hearings.

The article notes:

The long-running battle over the Trump administration’s bid to end the Obama-era program for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” will land before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
***
“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.

“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”

It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue — which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor.

The article concludes:

I haven’t studied the briefs so as to be up to speed on the technical arguments that will be presented to the Court tomorrow. But at the end of the day, it is hard to see how the courts can hold that the president is legally barred from carrying out his constitutional duty to see that the laws–including the immigration laws–are faithfully executed.

Stay tuned.

When The Politics Of Personal Destruction Became Acceptable

Many Americans look around at the political scene and wonder how we got to the point where anyone who disagrees with those in the media (and any liberal) is a horrible person probably guilty of hate speech. The concept of personal destruction has been with us for a while, but there are a few moments in American history that we can point to as watershed moments. One is the confirmation hearing of Robert Bork in 1987.

Robert Bork was recognized as a qualified conservative judge. In 1962, he became a law professor at Yale. In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed him to the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit. In 1987, he was nominated for the Supreme Court. His nomination hearing was one of the low points of American history. The unfounded attacks on him were a shadow of things to come.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about Joe Biden’s role in the confirmation hearings of Robert Bork.

The article notes:

During the fourth Democratic debate on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden — the ostensible moderate in the race — bragged about his role in the acrimonious political attack that first made Supreme Court confirmation battles as vicious as they are today. While Democrats often blame House Speaker Newt Gingrich for coarsening America’s political rhetoric, the character assassination of Robert Bork first ignited the partisan political warfare that hit a fever pitch with Trump.

Biden is campaigning on a platform of “restoring the soul” of America, aiming to reverse the influence of Trump, whom he blames for the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va. Yet the former VP played a key role in the political declaration of war that turned Bork’s last name into a verb. On Tuesday, he bragged about that.

Asked about abortion, the former senator — and Senate Judiciary Committee chairman — bragged, “When I defeated Robert Bork, I made sure we guaranteed a woman’s right to choose for the better part of a generation.”

So the smearing of Robert Bork (also the smearing of Brett Kavanaugh) was actually about abortion. It worked the first time; it didn’t work the second time–Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed–Judge Bork was not.

The article continues:

Yet bragging about Bork is a bad strategy, especially for a candidate who aims to present himself as a return to political civility.

As Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in his excellent book Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal, the “Borking” of Robert Bork helped create the “angry constituency” that spurred on (Newt) Gingrich’s success.

…Biden played a large role in the character assassination.

Stage management was a key part of this made-for-tv political drama, and one of the central cast members was the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Delaware Senator Joe Biden. His former staffers later admitted that chairman Biden hatched a plan to work with outside advocacy groups to heighten the visibility of the Bork hearings. Biden thought a Supreme Court fight could be a key lever to boosting his name recognition in advance of the 1988 Democratic primary.

Because character assassination worked in that instance, the Democrat party has tried it on other occasions. It wasn’t until they tried it on President Trump that they met someone who was willing and able to fight back. That is one of many reasons that the Democrats are trying to remove him from office–their normal bag of tricks is not working on him.

Who Runs This Agency?

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up a dispute over the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a case that could dramatically scale back the agency’s authority to police financial markets or eliminate it altogether. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), considered to be the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, was created in 2010. It was one of a few misdirected responses to the housing bubble that burst in 2008.

Just for the record, I want to review a few facts about the financial collapse of 2008 that the mainstream media somehow missed.

The following video was posted at YouTube in September 2008. The video was essentially a campaign ad, but the information in it is important. The CFPB never addressed the actual problem. (For that matter, neither did Dodd-Frank). The video below tells a story you might not be familiar with:

 

The article reports:

The court said Friday it will hear a challenge from a California-based law firm that argues the CFPB, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is unconstitutionally structured.

Opponents of the CFPB, created in 2010, argue that its structure violates the separation of powers, as Congress gave it broad authority to regulate mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer products, and is helmed by a single director who can’t be removed by the president except for cause.

The court said it will also address whether the entirety of the law that created the CFPB, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that re-ordered the financial regulatory system, should be struck down.

The Trump administration said in a filing with the Supreme Court it concluded the “statutory restriction on the president’s authority to remove the director violates” the Constitution, and “the director of the bureau has since reached the same conclusion.”

Trump tapped Kathy Kraninger to replace Mick Mulvaney, the acting CFPB director, last year.

Congress set up the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, and its director is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The director serves a term of five years.

Cases challenging the constitutionality of the agency have been weaving their way through the lower courts. In 2016, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said in a ruling in a similar case the CFPB is a “gross departure from settled historical practice.”

Stay tuned. A decision is expected by the end of June.

Moving The Goalposts When They Aren’t Winning The Game

The Democrat loved the Supreme Court before President Trump appointed two Justices. They are concerned now because their allies on the Court are not young, and President Trump is still President despite their best efforts. So, since they can’t seem to get what they want honestly, they are trying to change the rules.

CNS News posted an article today with the headline, “Five Democrats Warn Supreme Court It Could be ‘Restructured;’ Urge It to Drop 2nd Amendment Case.” Wow. Talk about arrogance.

The article reports:

Five Democrat senators have filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to stay out of a pending Second Amendment case and warning it that a majority of Americans now believe the “Supreme Court should be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.”

The case, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, is the first major challenge to gun laws since 2010, the senators said.

According to SCOTUS blog, the New York State Pistol and Rifle Association, representing gun owners who live in the city, are challenging the city’s ban on transferring licensed, unloaded guns anywhere outside city limits — including to a weekend home or to a shooting range.

The lower courts upheld those restrictions, so the gun owners took their case to the Supreme Court.

The article continues:

The senators argue that the National Rifle Association and The Federalist Society have “engineered the case” so the Republican-appointed majority will rule in their favor.

“[C]ourts do not undertake political ‘projects.’ Or at least they should not,” Whitehouse, Hirono, Blumenthal, Durbin, and Gillibrand wrote. “Americans are murdered each day with firearms in classrooms or movie theaters or churches or city streets, and a generation of preschoolers is being trained in active-shooter survival drills.

“In the cloistered confines of this Court, notwithstanding the public imperatives of these massacres, the NRA and its allies brashly presume, in word and deed, that they have a friendly audience [on the Court] for their ‘project.’”

Further, the Democrats argue that the gun-transporting restrictions have now been rescinded, making the case moot, yet the plaintiffs “soldier on” with their case.

“The judiciary was not intended to settle hypothetical disagreements,” the brief says. “Rather, the Framers designed Article III courts to adjudicate actual cases and controversies brought by plaintiffs who suffer a real-world harm.”

The Democrats also argue that the Supreme Court is increasingly “political” (now that it has an “engineered” Republican-appointed majority).

“Today, fifty-five percent of Americans believe the Supreme Court is ‘mainly motivated by politics'(up five percent from last year); fifty-nine percent believe the Court is ‘too influenced by politics’; and a majority now believes the ‘Supreme Court should be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics,'” the brief says.

The senators conclude their brief with a warning about “restructuring” the court, an idea advocated by some of the Democrats running for president:

“The Supreme Court is not well,” they wrote. “And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.”

Presumably, the court will not be “healed” until a majority of the justices are appointed by Democrats.

When they are out of power, Democrats tend to act like spoiled brats.

Remembering Our Roots

On Wednesday, The Washington Times posted an article about the Second Amendment. There has been a lot of talk lately about the Second Amendment, but very little talk about the relationship of the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution.

The article reminds us:

The U.S. Supreme Court has twice ruled in the past 11 years that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual pre-political liberty. That is the highest category of liberty recognized in the law. It is akin to the freedoms of thought, speech and personality. That means that the court has recognized that the framers did not bestow this right upon us. Rather, they recognized its pre-existence as an extension of our natural human right to self-defense and they forbade government — state and federal — from infringing upon it.

It would be exquisitely unfair, profoundly unconstitutional and historically un-American for the rights of law-abiding folks — “surrender that rifle you own legally and use safely because some other folks have used that same type of weapon criminally” — to be impaired in the name of public safety.

It would also be irrational. A person willing to kill innocents and be killed by the police while doing so surely would have no qualms about violating a state or federal law that prohibited the general ownership of the weapon he was about to use.

With all of this as background, and the country anguishing over the mass deaths of innocents, the feds and the states face a choice between a knee-jerk but popular restriction of some form of gun ownership, and the rational and sound realization that more guns in the hands of those properly trained means less crime and more safety.

Can the government constitutionally outlaw the types of rifles used by the El Paso and Dayton killers? In a word: No. We know that because in the first Supreme Court opinion upholding the individual right to keep and bear arms, the court addressed what kind of arms the Second Amendment protects. The court ruled that the Second Amendment protects individual ownership of weapons one can carry that are of the same degree of sophistication as the bad guys have — or the government has.

The government? Yes, the government. That’s so because the Second Amendment was not written to protect the right to shoot deer. It was written to protect the right to shoot at tyrants and their agents when they have stolen liberty or property from the people. If you don’t believe me on this, then read the Declaration of Independence. It justifies violence against the British government because of such thefts.

Governments are the greatest mass killers on the planet. Who can take without alarm any of their threats to emasculate our right to defend our personal liberties?

The Second Amendment is there to protect us from a tyrannical government. Does anyone believe that 90 percent of the people in government would not become tyrants if the population were not armed?

The article concludes:

The president also offered his support for “red flag” laws. These horrific statutes permit police or courts to seize guns from those deemed dangerous. Red flag laws are unconstitutional. The presumption of innocence and the due process requirement of demonstrable fault as a precondition to any punishment or sanction together prohibit the loss of liberty on the basis of what might happen in the future.

In America, we do not punish a person or deprive anyone of liberty on the basis of a fear of what the person might do. When the Soviets used psychiatric testimony to predict criminal behavior, President Ronald Reagan condemned it. Now, the president wants it here.

The United States is not New Zealand, where a national legislature, animated by fear and provoked by tragedy, can impair fundamental liberties by majority vote. In America, neither Congress nor the states can outlaw whatever handguns or rifles they want to outlaw or infringe upon the right to own them.

The government can no more interfere with Second Amendment rights than it can infringe upon any other rights. If this were not so, then no liberty — speech, press, religion, association, self-defense, privacy, travel, property ownership — would be safe from the reach of a fearful majority.

That’s why we have a Constitution.

A government that prefers an unarmed citizenry is not a government I want to support.

If You Are A Parent, This Is Frightening

Life Site News posted an article on Wednesday about what I would consider a serious violation of parental rights by the government.

The article reports:

The Minnesota mother whose son was maneuvered through a “sex change” by county officials has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review her case. She is charging the government with usurping her parental rights when its agents provided her son with transgender services and narcotic drugs against her wishes.

The Thomas More Society petitioned the High Court Wednesday on behalf of Anmarie Calgaro, arguing that Calgaro’s due process rights were “trampled on” when St. Louis County and its referred health providers “ended her parental control over her minor son without a court order of emancipation.”

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare,” Thomas More Society special counsel Erick Kaardal said. “Anmarie Calgaro’s child, while a minor, was steered through a life-changing, permanent body altering process, becoming a pawn in someone else’s sociopolitical agenda and being influenced by those who have no legal or moral right to usurp the role of a parent.”

Calgaro sued state agencies and health providers in federal court in 2016 for terminating her parental rights without due process after her minor son was given elective medical services for a so-called “sex change” without her consent or a legal order of emancipation.

Her suit said the state’s entities decided on their own that the then-17-year-old boy was emancipated.

The defendants handled Calgaro’s son as an emancipated minor even though there had been no court action to that effect, the Thomas More statement says. Neither the school district, the county, nor any of the medical agencies named in the lawsuit gave Calgaro any notice or hearing before ending her parental rights over her minor child.

A district judge dismissed Calgaro’s lawsuit in May 2017, admitting that the boy was not legally emancipated by a court order but ruling that Calgaro’s parental rights “remained intact.” The Thomas More Society says the judge decreed that the de facto emancipation of Calgaro’s minor son by the county, school, and medical care providers did not constitute an infringement of constitutionally protected parental rights.

The case was appealed in July 2017 and the district court ruling upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in March of this year.

St. Louis County decided without any basis that Calgaro’s son was emancipated and could receive government benefits, even though Calgaro was a “fit parent” who objected to their actions, the legal non-profit’s statement on the Supreme Court filing said.

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“And the St. Louis County School District in Minnesota has a custom and practice of barring a parent from involvement in the child’s education for more than two years after a child is deemed by the school principal, not by a court order, to be emancipated,” he said. “This is an unacceptable situation for any parent and a serious violation of parental and due process rights.”

Minnesota’s language regarding emancipation is vague, and state law presents no procedural due process rights for “fit parents,” according to Kaardal, even though it does so for those deemed unfit.

“Why wouldn’t we make this same effort for fit parents?” he asked.

Kaardal said he was concerned in particular about the conflict in Minnesota’s legal statutes.

“The U.S. Court of Appeals ignored the major disconnect in the District Court decision where the mother’s parental rights are admitted but not honored, and the ridiculous claims that the agencies which have violated Calgaro’s rights did nothing wrong,” he stated. “The United States Supreme Court now has the opportunity to untangle this incompatible and untenable scenario; so, nationwide fit parents can keep parenting without governmental interference.”

“Under federal law, the right to parent is considered an unenumerated right, protected from governmental interference by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments,” said Kaardal. “The “liberty” of the Due Process Clauses safeguards those substantive rights “so rooted in the traditions and conscience as to be ranked as fundamental.”

The U.S. Supreme Court reconvenes in October.