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Stopping the Bureaucrats Requires an End to Chevron Deference

By Iain Murray     •     National Review Online

bureaucracy_big governmentAnyone who studies the power bureaucrats have over ordinary Americans’ lives swiftly comes to the realization that the courts, which are meant to redress grievances, will be of little help. That’s because of a doctrine the Supreme Court adopted in the 1984 case Chevron USA Inc v. NRDC. The doctrine, known as Chevron Deference to those in the know, states that courts should usually defer to executive agencies when it comes to the interpretation of ambiguous statutes, of which there are many. A further doctrine, known as Auer after the case Auer v. Robbins, holds that courts should defer to agencies in how they interpret their own regulations.

The rationale behind these decisions is well explained by Harvard’s Adrian Vermeule in a law review article published today on the subject of deference and due process. He points to the argument that “on grounds of both expertise and accountability, agencies are better positioned than courts to interpret governing statutes.” He also points to a growing body of case law incorporating Chevron principles and to the “Court’s recent emphatic pronouncement that Chevron may actually grant agencies the power to determine the scope of their own jurisdiction.” [Read more...]

Judge rules in favor of House Republicans in Obamacare lawsuit

Says administration usurped Congress’s power of the purse

By Tom Howell Jr.     •     The Washington Times

President Obama has been hoping to shore up his health legacy — roughly 20 million have gained coverage under his reforms — instead of fending off repeated legal challenges to reforms. (Associated Press)

A federal judge dealt President Obama and his health care law a major blow Thursday, ruling in favor of House Republicans who said the administration broke the law and trod on Congress’ fundamental powers by paying Obamacare insurers without permission from Capitol Hill.

An appeal is certain, but should U.S. District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling be upheld, it could spark the economic “death spiral” Republicans have predicted and Democrats feared would doom the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

But the ruling has implications far beyond Obamacare, signaling that federal courts may begin to play a more active role in reeling in executive powers that many legal experts say have grown far beyond what the country’s founders intended. [Read more...]

Harvard Prof Urges Liberals to Treat Evangelical Christians Like Nazis

by Thomas D Williams     •     Breitbart

A Harvard Law professor is telling his fellow liberals that the culture wars are over and the victorious Left should treat conservative Christians the way the allies treated Germany and Japan after World War II, offering no quarter or clemency.

In an online post, the 70-year-old professor Mark Tushnet, a surviving member of the old guard of 1960s liberal elites, advises his like-minded minions to unabashedly take up “aggressively liberal positions,” because they will no longer meet resistance, especially after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Since “they lost, we won,” Tushnet confidently announces, it is time to press the liberal advantage and abandon any defensive positions. [Read more...]

Former Obama speechwriters laugh at ‘you can keep your plan’ promise

By T. Becket Adams     •     Washington Examiner

Obamacare HurtCharlie Rose and a trio of former Obama speechwriters laughed it up this week at the mention of the president’s infamous promise that that under the Affordable Care Act, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep your healthcare plan.”

The moment occurred during the Monday edition of “Charlie Rose: The Week,” as the host and former speechwriters Jon Lovett, Jon Favreau and David Litt discussed the president’s writing abilities and his gift for oration.

Lovett mentioned that he was most proud of the president’s more serious speeches on the economy and healthcare, and that’s when Favreau ribbed him for the “you can keep your plan” line.

“My point is, do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etc.?” Rose asked. [Read more...]

Government Regulations Add $84,671 to New Home Prices

Average cost of regulation is rising more than twice as fast as ability of Americans to pay for it

by Ali Meyer     •     Washington Free Beacon

Government regulations are responsible for adding $84,671 to the final price of a new single-family home, according to a report from the National Association of Home Builders.

According to the report, regulations implemented during the lot’s development are responsible for 14.6 percent of the total, while 9.7 percent is due to costs that accrue after the builder has purchased a finished lot.

“Regulations come in many forms and can be imposed by different levels of government,” explains the report. “At the local level, jurisdictions may charge permit, hook-up, and impact fees and establish development and construction standards that either directly increase costs to builders and developers, or cause delays that translate to higher costs.” [Read more...]

A Confession of Liberal Intolerance

by Nicholas Kristof     •     New York Times

We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren’t conservatives.

Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us, as long as they think like us.

O.K., that’s a little harsh. But consider George Yancey, a sociologist who is black and evangelical.

“Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black,” he told me. “But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close.”

I’ve been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point. [Read more...]

Welcome to Your Curated Future

You’re going to miss out on a lot

By Sonny Bunch     •     Washington Free Beacon

The reverse-chronological social media feed—that relic of, oh, like, five years ago that showed you all the posts by everyone you followed on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram—is dying. Indeed, it’s only a matter of time until it’s dead altogether:

Not everyone trusts large tech companies, of course. Whenever and wherever the chronological feed is replaced with its curated descendant, users worry that information they want to see will be hidden, while the content they don’t (like, say, advertisements) will be promoted. It’s an understandable fear. But, well, that ship has sailed: We’ve already given a lot of our online identities and public conversations over to social networks that we can’t hold directly accountable.

When it’s a question of simply seeing photos in a different order, well, that’s no real biggie. What about when it’s something a bit more substantial, however?

Hm. [Read more...]

Safe From “Safe Spaces”

On the rare good sense of a college administrator.

The New Criterion

Rendered-helpless-by-microaggression-cartoonThe Ohio state legislature ought to give the Ohio State University President Michael Drake some sort of medal or commendation.

We’ll come back to the admirable President Drake below. First, the story thus far. For the last six months, since the disruptive and pitiable nonsense at the University of Missouri and Yale made headlines nationwide, university administrators have been in full-cringe mode. Students across the country, seeing what pushovers the administrators at Yale and Mizzou were, have tied themselves into squalid little knots of needy and petulant resentment. At Yale, a posse of students showed up at President Peter Salovey’s house at midnight to present him with a list of demands, including the demand for “a University where we feel safe.” President Salovey, though acknowledging that the students had appeared “somewhat late” on his doorstep, professed himself “deeply disturbed” by the “distress” they felt and promised that he would “seriously” review their new demands.

He certainly did that. Among many other accommodations, he promised to distribute $50 million to the congeries of ethnic, racial, and sexual pseudo-disciplines that provide holding pens for the exotic populations with which contemporary universities assuage their guilty consciences. [Read more...]

Are Liberals Bailing On ObamaCare, Too?

Investor’s Business Daily

obamacare tire mud“I am not the first president to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last.” That was President Obama in a speech before Congress back in Sept. 2009, pitching the health reform plan he’d sign six months later.

It doesn’t look like he’s going to get his wish.

In the three-plus years since the ObamaCare exchanges opened, the law is teetering on the edge of the abyss. Enrollment is well below expectations, not enough young people are signing up, insurers are failing or dropping out of the program, and, by all appearances, premiums are set to spike even higher than last year.

Now a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released late last week shows that the public is far from satisfied with what Obama claimed was the be-all and end-all of reform. [Read more...]

University President Defies Trend, Defends Intellectual Diversity

In an open letter to faculty, George Mason University president resists descent into grievance culture.

By Alice B Lloyd     •     Weekly Standard

In the May 9th issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, the Scrapbook reports a particularly shameful episode of campus outrage. Recently, at George Mason University, thuggish puritanical progressivism apotheosized in a meeting of the university’s faculty senate and a vote to disapprove of naming the law school for the late Justice Scalia. “Thus continues the closing of the campus mind,” the Scrapbook wrote.

But in an open letter on Friday April 29, GMU president Angel Cabrera responded to his faculty. He defended the future Antonin Scalia Law School and commended his dean’s fundraising prowess, bucking the New York Times’ front page “exposé” of major donors’ alleged undue influence. More importantly, though, he came out on the side of education:

“…We must ensure that George Mason University remains an example of diversity of thought, a place where multiple perspectives can be dissected, confronted, and debated for the benefit and progress of society at large. Rejecting a major naming gift in honor of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice on the basis that some of us disagree with some of his opinions would be inconsistent with our values of diversity and freedom of thought.”

Read the full letter.

 

Supreme Court rules in redistricting case: Illegal immigrants can be counted

By Stephen Dinan     •      The Washington Times

In this Tuesday, July 7, 2015 file photo immigrants from El Salvador and Guatemala who entered the country illegally board a bus after they were released from a family detention center in San Antonio. Women and children are being released from immigrant detention centers faster on bond, with many mothers assigned ankle-monitoring bracelets in lieu of paying. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that illegal immigrants and other noncitizens can be counted when states draw their legislative districts, shooting down a challenge by Texas residents who said their own voting power was being diluted.

The ruling does not grant noncitizens the power to vote, but says the principle of one person, one vote doesn’t require localities to only count those who are actually eligible to vote when they are deciding how many people to put inside of each district.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, said even though only eligible voters are supposed to cast ballots, elected officials represent all people within their districts, and it is that act of representation, not the election itself, that the boundaries are drawn to. [Read more...]

Supreme Court Got It Wrong: Noncitizens Shouldn’t Be Counted

by Hans von Spakovsky     •     The Daily Signal

In a loss for voters, the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against two residents of Texas who had argued that the Texas legislature diluted their votes when it used total population to redraw state Senate districts.

In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court allowed states to use total population in redrawing district lines, even though that this includes a large number of noncitizens (legal and illegal), felons, and others who are ineligible to vote.

Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger challenged the state Senate districts drawn by the Texas legislature using total population in 2013. They claimed that both the number of citizens of voting age and the number of registered voters in their districts deviated substantially—between 31 and 49 percent—from the “ideal” population of a Texas Senate district. They argued that this disparity significantly diluted their votes in comparison to those of voters who live in districts with large numbers of non-voters. [Read more...]

FCC Kept ‘Obamaphone’ Fraud Under Wraps Until After It Expanded Program

Commissioners were instructed not to reveal $5 million fine until day after controversial Lifeline expansion vote

by Lachlan Markay     •     Washington Free Beacon

Tom Wheeler/AP

Federal regulators were instructed to keep a massive fraud investigation under wraps until a day after a controversial vote to expand a program that was allegedly used to bilk taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars, one those regulators claims.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced that it would seek $51 million in damages from a cell phone company that allegedly defrauded the federal Lifeline program of nearly $10 million.

The commission’s five members unanimously backed the Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), but Republican commissioner Ajit Pai parted from his colleagues in a partial dissent. According to Pai, he and other commissioners were told not to reveal the details of its investigation until April 1, a day after the FCC voted to expand the Lifeline program. [Read more...]

Florida Governor Signs Bill Requiring Actual Criminal Charges Before Seizing Property

Important reform to reduce asset forfeiture abuse

by Scott Shackford     •     Reason.com

Some great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a “civil”, not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they’ve pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs. [Read more...]

Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Free speechFederal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”

I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.

Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. [Read more...]