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.
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.
January 28, 2016, 4:24 PM EST
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:
November 4, 2015, 11:46 AM EST
Two weeks ago, 72 left-wing groups, including the Feminist Majority Foundation, American Association of University Women, and Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, asked federal civil-rights officials to crack down on anonymous politically-incorrect speech on campus, which they claim violates federal civil-rights laws such as Title IX. They claim they are concerned about “harassment” on anonymous social media applications like Yik Yak, as the Chronicle of Higher Education notes in the article “Women’s Groups Urge Colleges and Government to Rein in Yik Yak.”
October 19, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT
Last week the New York Times published a balanced news story that inadvertently revealed the stupidity of “Yes Means Yes” policies. Those policies redefine a great deal of consensual sex and touching as “sexual assault,” and effectively require college students to engage in “state-mandated dirty talk” during sexual encounters (as one supporter of “Yes Means Yes” policies gloated). That potentially violates the Constitution, and such policies have led to costly lawsuits against colleges that have such policies.
October 5, 2015, 3:49 PM EDT
As Howard Portnoy noted earlier, some countries that ban or heavily restrict guns have higher rates of mass shootings than the U.S. does. Yet, in discussing the recent college murders in Roseburg, Oregon, President Obama falsely claimed we need more gun regulations because “states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.”
September 28, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT
The College Fix published an interesting story titled “Department of Education shredded for lawless overreach in Senate hearing.” It was about Congress getting annoyed with the Education Department for imposing mandates on colleges and schools out of thin air, without even going through rulemaking or the notice and comment required by the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Examples include school bullying rules and counterproductive mandates for handling sexual harassment and assault claims.
September 16, 2015, 5:09 PM EDT
When due process is eroded for a disfavored class of people, many innocent people are harmed, and the exception to due process tends to expand over time, causing ever more damage to the rule of law. But left-wing legislators seem blind to that danger, especially when the people being railroaded are falsely accused of civil-rights violations or discrimination.
September 3, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT
If two couples make almost the same amount of money, should one of them be charged $2,000 more in Medicare Part B premiums? Logically, no, but to the federal government, the answer is sometimes “yes.” This problem will get worse in 2016, and much worse by 2018.
August 28, 2015, 3:12 PM EDT
“Murders are up 43 percent this year” in Washington, D.C., yet when the City’s African-American mayor, Muriel Bowser, proposed an “increased police presence in neighborhoods” most affected by this, “Black Lives Matter protesters tried to shout her down,” notes Powerline. This happened “yesterday, when Bowser came to a crime-ridden D.C. neighborhood where the murder has nearly doubled this year.” She was there “to counter the spike in the loss of (almost exclusively black) life due to killings,” which have risen largely due to black-on-black violence. “Bowser spoke for about half an hour, despite being shouted at and heckled throughout.”
August 21, 2015, 3:38 PM EDT
Federal affordable housing mandates do little to increase homeownership rates, but they did help cause a devastating financial crisis in 2008 by encouraging risky lending.
August 19, 2015, 10:36 AM EDT
In a January 17, 2008, interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, then-Senator Obama said that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” under his plan to fight global warming. He also said that under his plan, “if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
August 18, 2015, 12:18 PM EDT
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act was enacted partly to end the problem of “too-big-to-fail” banks, but it has done quite the opposite. It has curbed competition with big banks by eliminating competing small banks whose failure would not endanger the financial system. It used to be that 100 new banks were created every year; now, not one is created in a typical year.
July 24, 2015, 10:37 AM EDT
When Congress declines to pass a law that would expand an agency’s powers, the agency will sometimes respond by making up the law on its own. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently did this, by adding a new protected class to federal employment laws, at the expense of America’s employers. This flouted Article I of the Constitution, which vests all legislative power in Congress, not federal agencies.
July 22, 2015, 11:28 AM EDT
Failure to meet a racial quota is not the same thing as segregation. That basic fact has eluded the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which recently adopted a rule called “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” that seeks to alter the racial makeup of America’s cities and towns even when there is no justifiable reason to do so.
July 9, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT
The federal government is now admitting that its own financial aid is partly to blame for rising tuition, reports Blake Neff in The Daily Caller:
July 6, 2015, 3:08 PM EDT
The Supreme Court’s June 25 decision in Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. creates confusion and uncertainty in multiple respects. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court ruled that the Fair Housing Act bans landlord rental practices and local housing regulations that are racially neutral and nondiscriminatory on their face, if they have a “disparate impact” on a minority group, by excluding minorities at a higher rate than whites, and thus causing a racial imbalance deemed statistically significant.
June 19, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT
Under the Obama administration, the Education Department has pressured schools and colleges to restrict speech, including off campus speech, even when it is protected by the First Amendment, and is not severe and pervasive. It claims this is required by federal anti-discrimination laws such as Title IX and Title VI. It also expects colleges to investigate off-campus sexual misconduct by students, even though most federal appellate court rulings say schools have no such duty under Title IX.
May 27, 2015, 3:06 PM EDT
The Federal Aviation Administration is endangering public safety by getting rid of key merit-based hiring criteria for air traffic controllers (such as rewarding high scores on the Air Traffic Selection and Training exam (AT-SAT), and graduation from FAA-accredited CTI Schools).