Hans Bader is a senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

My Articles

May 19, 2015, 5:14 PM EDT
Welfare is often unpopular with voters, who fund it with their taxes. So California politicians and academics who support it are now redefining welfare recipients as “workers” even if they do almost no work, and as members of “working families” if they live in the same household as someone who does a tiny bit of work. By doing this, they hope to brand critics of welfare as “anti-worker.”
April 29, 2015, 12:10 PM EDT
Discrimination may be bad for business, but that doesn’t mean laws banning discrimination are good for business. Often, these laws are like the proverbial Trojan Horse, applied by the courts in unexpected ways that are harmful to businesses, including employers who harbor no prejudice of any kind. For example, the Supreme Court interpreted a federal race and sex discrimination law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) as banning unintentional “disparate impact” (which is when a neutrally applied selection criterion weeds out more black than white applicants) even though that statute explicitly limited relief to cases where there was a showing that the employer had “intentionally engaged in or is intentionally engaging in an unlawful employment practice.” [See Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971); 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(g).] The result of that case was to outlaw a wide array of useful, colorblind standardized tests.
April 14, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
Equal Pay Day is coming up on April 14. That means it's time for false statistics and legal claims from groups pushing for more rules and red tape governing employee pay, such as the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act.
April 10, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT
If you hug your boyfriend and as a result your clothed body (including your breasts) touches him, you could be accused of “sexual assault” through “sexual contact” under the University of Virginia’s broad new “sexual assault” policy adopted to appease the Office for Civil Rights, where I used to work (assuming you do it without explicitly agreeing on the details of the hug).
April 2, 2015, 10:17 AM EDT
Myths have permeated the media’s coverage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act enacted in Indiana. (I have no position on such legislation, which I previously discussed at length at this link.)
March 25, 2015, 10:19 AM EDT
Recently, members of the Oklahoma chapter of the SAE fraternity were caught on video chanting a mind-bogglingly racist song that included “a line that suggests lynching blacks is preferable to admitting them in the fraternity.” Quite reasonably, the national fraternity “shut down the chapter.” More controversially, the University of Oklahoma (which, unlike the fraternity, is part of the government and thus constrained by the First Amendment) expelled two of the fraternity members.
March 23, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT
On March 4, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division issued a report criticizing the Ferguson police department and courts. In response, President Obama stated that “he doesn’t believe Ferguson is typical of most police departments,” and that the city’s practices were “not the norm.”
March 20, 2015, 9:59 AM EDT
Recently, I participated in a March 13 panel discussion at the National Press Club titled “Bringing an End to Second-Class Justice,” discussing how federal micromanagement of college discipline by the Education Department ignores federal court rulings, increases college costs, and stacks the deck against some accused students. Here is the text of my remarks at the event, which was put together by the group Stop Abusive and Violent Environments:
March 13, 2015, 3:32 PM EDT
On February 26, two members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow, wrote to the chairmen of the congressional appropriations committees, to warn “against” a “provision of the proposed Obama budget that would increase funding for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (‘OCR’) by 31%.”
March 2, 2015, 3:42 PM EST
Recently, I wrote about a report to the Senate by a task force of college presidents, on how the Education Department is illegally dumping an avalanche of new rules and regulations on America’s schools, without even complying with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements.
February 26, 2015, 11:46 AM EST
Recently, a task force of college presidents chronicled massive regulatory overreaching by the U.S. Department of Education, which, on a daily basis, floods America’s schools with new rules and obligations that Congress never intended. Most of these rules are not even listed in the Code of Federal Regulations, and have never gone through the formal rulemaking process, much less been adequately vetted. “The Report of the Task Force on Federal Regulation of Higher Education: Recalibrating Regulation of Colleges and Universities” correctly notes that:
February 11, 2015, 2:34 PM EST
NPR receives taxpayer subsidies based on its false pretense of objectivity and accuracy. Its departing ombudsman, Edward Schumacher-Matos, recently declared that “as a public media that receives some 11 percent of its funding indirectly from the government, it cannot be partisan or have a declared bias.”
February 5, 2015, 2:56 PM EST
Ed Pinto had a depressing and revealing op-ed in The Wall Street Journal Friday about how the Obama administration is artificially creating markets for risky mortgages, using the Federal Housing Finance Agency and the government-controlled mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Not only will this put taxpayers at risk, but it will burden prudent homebuyers through “cross-subsidies” for risky borrowers “subsidized by less-risky loans.”
February 5, 2015, 10:28 AM EST
The Obama administration perversely rewards agencies that overstep their authority by giving them budget increases to handle the increased workload that results.
February 2, 2015, 11:28 AM EST
President Obama’s policies reduced employment and slowed America’s economic recovery by discouraging people from working. The Congressional Budget Office says Obamacare will shrink employment by around two million workers, which is not surprising, since it punishes some people for earning more money by suddenly taking away thousands of dollars in healthcare tax credits.
January 27, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
Bad things can happen when an agency (like the Education Department) throws caution to the wind and regulates based on slanted media coverage from National Public Radio, rather than facts and evidence.
January 22, 2015, 2:54 PM EST
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called for tax increases on the wealthy, such as by increasing the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends, and by imposing what is effectively double taxation on inheritances (by imposing both estate taxes and capital gains taxes on the very same asset). Obama also wants to tax the not-so-wealthy, such as taxing many college savings plans.
January 16, 2015, 9:33 AM EST
Campus hysteria about sexual assault may have claimed another victim, judging from a news report by NBC 5 in Dallas: “Brian Ferguson, a 20-year-old autistic student, has been suspended from special-needs classes at Navarro College in Texas for mistakenly hugging a woman he did not know and kissing her on the top of her head, according to the student’s mother, Staci Martin. She said, ‘And then they labeled it “sexual assault” because of the kissing,’ Martin said. ‘They said a kiss is considered an assault.'”
January 9, 2015, 9:44 AM EST
Can agency officials declare you in violation of the law, not for actions that flout the text of a statute, but for failing to parrot the agency’s controversial views about how the statute should be applied in hypothetical situations?
January 9, 2015, 9:20 AM EST
My wife Sylvie, who grew up in France, is terribly shocked this week’s terrorist attack on the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which murdered 12 people, including four prominent French cartoonists.