Under the Freedom of Information Act, you can obtain government records, but usually you have to pay for them. But the law limits the fees that can be charged certain types of requesters, including “educational institutions.” On Friday, in Sack v. U.S. Dept. of Defense, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that this means students seeking to use FOIA are eligible for reduced fees as well.
Hans Bader practices law in Washington, D.C. After studying economics and history at the University of Virginia and law at Harvard, he practiced civil-rights, international-trade, and constitutional law.
May 23, 2016, 3:11 PM EDT
May 17, 2016, 5:06 PM EDT
The criminal justice system is too lenient in punishing most violent crimes, theft, and embezzlement. That’s especially true in the District of Columbia, where criminals go on to commit rape and murder because they were spared any real punishment for prior offenses. The Washington Post today provides a revealing glimpse into how soft-on-crime policies result in tragedy, in a story titled “How a violent offender slipped through D.C. justice system: Lenient Sentencing and law enforcement can give many chances despite repeated criminal behavior.”
May 13, 2016, 4:46 PM EDT
Today, the Obama administration issued a “decree” not simply banning discrimination against transgender people, but also effectively mandating affirmative accommodation of them in terms of things like access to locker rooms and bathrooms. Its reasoning is very dubious. Although it was addressed to schools and colleges, if its reasoning is accepted, it could lead to lawsuits against private employers under Title VII. Past bathroom disputes have led to costly lawsuits and substantial settlements against businesses.
May 11, 2016, 4:56 PM EDT
Left-wing economist Thomas Piketty is treated like a “rock star” by many progressives for giving a veneer of legitimacy to the economic myths they cling to. But his false claims about economic history are refuted by readily available facts and figures (such as historical data you can find in the tables at the end of federal budgets submitted in recent years by presidents such as Obama).
May 3, 2016, 3:29 PM EDT
A Bergen County, N.J. father has been jailed for non-payment of support for kids that live with him. It is one example of the abuses committed by unjust, sometimes sexist (anti-male) judges in that county.
April 25, 2016, 4:00 PM EDT
Democratic “Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia will used his executive power on Friday to restore voting rights to more than 200,000 convicted felons, circumventing his Republican-run legislature. The action will overturn a Civil War-era provision in the state’s Constitution,” reported the New York Times earlier today. “The sweeping order, in a swing state that could play a role in deciding the November presidential election, will enable all felons who have served their prison time and finished parole to register to vote. Most are African-Americans, a core constituency of Democrats, Mr. McAuliffe’s political party.” Even murderers and rapists are now allowed to vote.
April 18, 2016, 2:57 PM EDT
Siding with a minority of liberals, Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) yesterday vetoed alimony reform legislation that Florida’s GOP-controlled legislature had passed by a margin of nearly two to one, even though it was supported by 70% of Floridians. Scott’s veto was unfair, anti-family, and anti-small-business. But it thrilled some wealthy divorce lawyers, who hired high-paid “lobbyists with close ties to Scott” to lobby him to kill the bill.
April 15, 2016, 2:44 PM EDT
In the lead up to Equal Pay Day this month, supporters of more federal pay regulations promoted myths about the pay gap between men and women.
April 12, 2016, 11:28 AM EDT
California’s legislative analyst projects that the recent increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour will cost taxpayers $3.6 billion more a year in government pay alone.
April 11, 2016, 10:38 AM EDT
Days after CEI criticized investigations of Exxon by State Attorneys General over its speech related to climate change, CEI was hit with a subpoena demanding 10 years’ worth of documents relating to a wide range of topics. The subpoena was issued by Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker on April 4 and received by CEI on April 7.
April 6, 2016, 11:56 AM EDT
Virginia’s Dillon rule prevents cities and counties from regulating the employment practices of private businesses. That bars them from setting minimum wages higher than the state or federal minimum wage, or adding new protected classes of employees at businesses’ expense (through anti-bias ordinances). That is good for businesses, promotes freedom of contract, and prevents a confusing patchwork quilt of regulation that varies from city to city and county to county. It is also one reason why Virginia has a better than average business climate.
April 4, 2016, 5:16 PM EDT
22 Senators asked the Appropriations Committee to increase the budget of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights by almost 30 percent.
April 1, 2016, 9:47 AM EDT
In Cuba last week, President Obama offered glowing praise to institutions in that communist country that did not deserve it. Obama called Cuba’s “system of education” an “extraordinary resource” that “values every boy and every girl.”
March 28, 2016, 12:02 PM EDT
Judges don’t like it when someone makes a claim that turns out not to be true in order to get a lawsuit dismissed, such as by claiming records don’t exist when they do. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) failed to disclose the existence of some records in response to a Freedom of Information Act request until after a federal judge had already ruled in the case. When the judge found out, he issued an Order to Show Cause asking OSTP to explain why the Court should not impose sanctions on it, or permit discovery against it.
March 24, 2016, 2:56 PM EDT
On January 8, 2014, the White House posted a controversial video claiming that global warming causes more severe winter cold. Called “The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes,” it featured the director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP), John Holdren, claiming that a “growing body of evidence” showed that the “extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States” at the time was “a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”
February 16, 2016, 11:40 AM EST
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead yesterday at the age of 79. His death will have a powerful effect on the ideological balance on the Supreme Court, which has frequently divided 5-to-4 over the scope of federal agencies’ power over citizens, businesses, and schools. Recent Supreme Court rulings over Justice Scalia’s dissent overturned laws designed to protect public safety, such as a ruling overturning mandatory life without parole for the most vicious teenage murderers (resulting in thousands of dangerous people becoming eligible for parole).
January 28, 2016, 4:24 PM EST
Should government officials be able to cut off donations to groups because they employ people disparaged as “climate change deniers,” even if the group in question is a think tank that studies a wide range of topics, only a few of which relate to climate change at all, and the “denial” in question includes telling politically inconvenient truths about the cost of proposed climate change legislation? Only a single-issue zealot with ideological blinders and a contempt for the First Amendment would think so.
January 26, 2016, 10:41 AM EST
The Talmud aptly observes that “he who is kind to the cruel is cruel to the kind.” The Supreme Court was kind to the cruel yesterday in its decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016), which ruled that people convicted and sentenced to mandatory life without parole as juveniles must generally be allowed to challenge their convictions even decades later, and even if they committed the most heinous of crimes. (Some of the worst crimes — such as torture-murders — have been committed by 16 or 17-year-olds). The biggest losers from yesterday’s ruling will be the nation’s children, since the victims of homicides and other atrocities committed by minors are disproportionately likely to be other minors. More egregious child murders will be the outcome.
December 7, 2015, 10:23 AM EST
In response to the mass murders recently committed in San Bernardino, liberal reporters and bloggers jumped to conclusions about who was responsible and how to prevent such acts in the future. They turned out to be wrong.
November 16, 2015, 4:28 PM EST
Critics warned that ISIS would take advantage of Europe’s mass absorption of Syrian and other “refugees” to infiltrate terrorists into Europe. Now, that warning has come true. The London Daily Mail reports the following: