Riochet.com Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel is in for Jim today. Join Jon and Greg as they are pleased to see Dr. Oz and the GOP exposing John Fetterman’s radical record of coddling violent criminals. They also shudder as the government confirms a recession as the negative economic growth in the second quarter of this year becomes official, and they nod glumly as former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers ties the inflation mess back to a spending binge that started 18 months ago. And they sigh as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says it is not at all odd that President Biden would ask if a deceased congresswoman was in the audience because she was “top of mind.”

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Fellow Alison Somin about the Biden Administration’s proposed modifications to Title IX fair treatment guidelines, challenging principles of free speech and due process, and potentially chilling the culture of free debate in American universities.

Guest:

Religious Liberty in the Dock

 

This past weekend, Yeshiva University took a dramatic step that many observers thought would never happen: it decided to suspend the operation of all undergraduate on-campus clubs indefinitely, rather than to accede to a June 2022 order from New York State Judge Lynn R. Kotler “to immediately grant plaintiff Pride Alliance the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.” Judge Kotler issued the order after determining that Yeshiva was not a religious corporation under applicable New York law, and was thus subject to New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), which makes it unlawful for a business in “all places of public accommodation” to discriminate against any person because of his or her “sexual orientation.”

For its part, Yeshiva had claimed the protected status as “a religious corporation incorporated under the education law,” given that it had always organized its undergraduate institution to that end. It did so even though one of its other divisions, namely Cardozo Law School, had, as its irate faculty had noted in a recent letter to Yeshiva President Rabbi Ari Berman, long given full recognition to LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations. But for Judge Kotler the key point was not what Yeshiva does today, but what it wrote about itself in 1967 when it expanded its charter from the study of Talmud to a wide range of Jewish and secular studies. This expansion, Judge Kotler explained, qualified Yeshiva as an “educational corporation under the Education Law of the State of New York.” In effect, Yeshiva was barred by its own fifty-five-year-old declaration from claiming a protected religious status today.

But why? By any functional account, the reasons New York City (like so many other government entities) created this religious exemption was to ease the nasty conflict between forced association under antidiscrimination laws and the exercise of religious liberty, as protected by the First Amendment. That conflict remains in place no matter what the state charter says. The underlying theory is that it is appropriate to impose a nondiscrimination rule when the various suspect attributes of a given person are irrelevant to any rational decision about the performance of the protected parties under statutes like NYCHRL, but that this logic does not cover activities that fall outside the public realm—such as the practice of religious education. That theory was given voice by Justice William Brennan in Roberts v. United States Jaycees (1984), when he ordered the Jaycees, a large men’s civic organization with many branches, to admit women. But, at the same time, Justice Brennan noted that the antidiscrimination laws were displaced by the principle of free association that covered “certain intimate human relations . . . in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious and cultural ends.”

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome evidence that Americans are very focused on the border crisis and crime after widespread coverage of GOP governors sending migrants from our overwhelmed border to self-proclaimed sanctuary cities. They also call out the immense media hypocrisy as the national outlets largely ignore a man fatally running over a teenager in North Dakota because he was allegedly part of an “extremist” group. And they rip Stacey Abrams for insisting that there is no fetal heartbeat after six weeks of pregnancy and that ultrasounds are tools used by men for control women’s bodies.

Member Post

 

Your “Rule of Law, pro-Democracy” Party, Ladies and Gentlemen. Democratic leaders like Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, want (David Ferriero – Archivist of the United States) to simply publish the ERA in the Federal Register as a ratified amendment. It isn’t, of course. However, these Democrats insist that a […]

Join Ricochet!

This is a members-only post on Ricochet's Member Feed. Want to read it? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

NTSB Recommendation: Unreasonable Search and Seizure

 

Ostensibly as a result of a horrible fatal head-on car crash in California, the National Traffic Safety Board is recommending a new “feature” to be installed in all new cars.  That would be an “alcohol detector,” so every car would have the kind of ignition interlock system now required by some states for convicted drunk drivers. Every driver, in every vehicle, would essentially have to take some kind of test, either by touch or breath, to make sure he or she has not been drinking.  So, without your consent, the Government would essentially live in your car, collecting data on you every time you turn on the ignition.

I can think, off the top of my head, of dozens of reasons that this would be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Starting with “guilty until proven innocent” by your having to prove that you are not drunk before having use of your own property (violates due process as well as search and seizure).  The government mandating installation of any monitoring equipment in your car could lead to their being able to disable it at will (if your car is an extension of your home, might this be modern-day “quartering of troops” in your home?).  Also, the article mentions that current systems require a monthly subscription fee, so not only would you not have control of your own vehicle, you’d have to pay for the privilege of not having control!

Join Jim and Greg as they welcome the House GOP decision to put an agenda before the voters this year on the biggest issues where the Democrats have failed. They also discuss a former vice president from the EcoHealth Alliance stating under oath that COVID was a result of gain of function research in Wuhan funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. And they wince as Vladimir Putin orders 300,000 reservists to fight against Ukraine, while noting that these new soldiers are probably far less competent than the ones that have already failed.

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up three bad martinis they impact the midterm elections and our energy bills. First, they fume over voters being told to lower their expectations for knowing a lot of Senate results on election night due to the large number of mail-in ballots. They also cringe as more projections suggest Americans are going to be seeing substantially higher gas and electric bills this winter. Finally, they discuss Iowa Democratic Senate hopeful Mike Franken being accused of sexual assault by his former campaign manager.

This week on Hubwonk, host Joe Selvaggi talks with Dominic Pino, Thomas L. Rhodes Fellow at the National Review Institute, about his research and writing on the recently averted rail strike, including how the rail industry is organized, what labor’s demands were, and how the prospect of a nationwide rail strike exposed vulnerabilities within the American economy.

Guest:

Who Needs a KGB When We Have Facebook?

 

Quick virtue signal: I quit Facebook over their brutal lack of integrity long before the Trumpian Age, but wow. I am amazed at the churches and whatnot that still maintain a presence there, luring their flocks into the Big Tech abattoir. But I digress even prior to making any progress.

From the New York Post:

Dems Gone ‘Rogue’ on SCOTUS

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, with the concurrence of much of the Left, believes our democracy is once again under attack, this time from our own “rogue” Supreme Court. MSNBC agreed that “the Supreme Court has gone rogue.” The Congressional Progressive Caucus insists “we must hold these rogue justices to account.”

It goes beyond coordinated hysterical rhetoric. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded that Democratic Party leaders share their plans for “solving the problem of the rogue court.” The New York Times advised “the Constitution provides a number of paths by which Congress can restrain and discipline a rogue court.” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the Supreme Court Review Act to “check the court’s rogue decisions.”

Not only is the court rogue, but so are the six justices who normally form the majority. According to protesters at a recent anti-court rally, Roberts is an “impotent fool,” Kavanaugh a “drunken rapist” and Thomas a “traitor and perv.”

Join Jim and Greg as they breathe a sigh of relief that a rail workers strike is averted, although they’re curious to see the terms of the agreement. They also sigh as Biden again claims costs are going down as he hails the announcement. They’re also pleasantly surprised to see New York Times columnist Tom Friedman scolding the left to get serious about fossil fuel production as a way both to help Europeans in the face of Putin cutting off natural gas and for the U.S. to produce energy at levels that renewables cannot possibly match. Then they roll their eyes as the left freaks out over red state governors sending a few migrants to blue parts of the country but as no interest in dealing with the thousands of people crossing our southern border illegally every day. Finally, they remember former Independent Counsel Ken Starr and how the Democrats and the media turned him into a villain for investigating the unconscionable conduct of President Clinton.

Summary

On this week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy, Todd Rokita, the 44th Attorney General of the state of Indiana, discusses legal actions his state has taken to combat illegal immigration. Attorney General Rokita has taken on a leadership role in challenging the Biden administration’s lack of immigration enforcement.

AG Rokita says, “The foundational part of our ‘American Exceptionalism’ is the rule of law and we’re nothing if we’re not going to follow the law… and we’re not all under it.” Due to a lack of enforcement of immigration laws, there are over 124,000 illegal immigrants in the state of Indiana, putting a strain on Indiana’s social services and driving up crime and fentanyl overdose numbers in the state.

California’s Fast-Food Fumble

 

On September 5, California Governor Gavin Newsom lent his hearty endorsement to California’s FAST Recovery Act (short for Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery Act), which has been widely praised—and chastised—for its intention to raise minimum wages for the industry from $15 to as much as $22 per hour, the highest in the nation, with further increases in the offing. The major discussion over this new law has been directed to the perennial question of whether the loss in employment from its adoption will more than offset the salary gains to the workers able to maintain their positions within the industry. That is not likely, in my view, given the huge jump in mandated wages, which will make for a difficult transition period.

In dealing with this peculiar calculus, moreover, the inevitable losses in industry profits are given little or no weight in the economic evaluation of the law, on the implicit assumption that while the wage increases may put a dent in firm earnings, they will not drive all fast-food providers into bankruptcy—high-end operations are likely to be better able to weather the storm. It is also assumed that any increase in prices passed on to consumers will be borne with good grace, though many customers of the fast-food industry have marginal wage and income profiles not all that different from the workers (or at least those who retain their jobs) inside the industry.

The common assumption is that the only recourse available to deal with this new threat to the industry is a referendum to overturn the law, which would require the collection and validation of 623,000 signatures by December 4, 2022, for the referendum to appear on the ballot. Such an effort would attempt to replicate the successful 2020 initiative Proposition 22, which was designed to exempt companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash from a California law that reclassified their drivers as employees entitled to all sorts of protections not made available to independent contractors.

Join Jim and Greg as they serve up one bad martini and two crazy ones. First, Jim lays out the details of the looming freight rail strike or lockout that could do serious damage to our economy and why there are several indicators that there won’t be a deal by Friday. They also hammer Never Trump Utah “independent” Senate candidate Evan McMullin who ran for president in 2016 vowing to end Roe v. Wade and is now decrying the Supreme Court ruling and vowing to restore abortion if elected. And they roll their eyes as White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre says it is Republicans’ fault that the border is a mess.

Student Debt Cancellation Is Constitutionally Infirm

 

In one of the most audacious acts of his presidency, President Biden recently issued a fact sheet offering “Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most.” To Biden, that group consists of all individuals who have received student loans but have not yet paid them off, with an exception for loan payments made during the pandemic. The president wants to give this group “breathing room as they prepare to start repaying loans after the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic.” The terms of the proposed loan forgiveness program are clear: the Department of Education will allow for $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients—undergraduates with exceptional financial needs—and $10,000 for other students, so long as their individual income is under $125,000 per year (or $250,000 for a married couple). The plan also makes a number of technical adjustments that cut repayment rates for future loans.

The equity of this program has been under fierce attack for forcing the impending financial shortfall on the shoulders of individuals who have already repaid their loans, blue-collar workers who never took out loans, and the general taxpayer who already faces heavy rates. And the burden is no small thing: the Wharton financial model projects that the cancellation program will cost over $500 billion, and could jump to over a trillion dollars depending on future regulations and practices on both existing and new loans.

One might expect that a program of this magnitude would receive extensive congressional discussion followed by legislative approval. One would be disappointed. Here, the president is proceeding by executive order, which he claims is authorized under the HEROES Act of 2003 (an acronym for The Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act). Biden relied on an extensive memo by Christopher Schroeder, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel, an office within the Department of Justice that provides legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies. The memo does not hold water. The key provision of the HEROES Act on which it relies reads:

Leaker, What Leaker?

 

It was a hot, typically muggy August day in Washington DC.  I sat alone at my desk pondering a trip to Morton’s when my Personal Assistant, Velma, buzzed from the outer office.  Velma was well compensated, a tribute to her efficiency, intelligence, and the Lululemon exercise attire that she favored at work.

“There’s a Mr. Roberts here to see you,” said Velma. “He’d rather not give his full name.” Deciding to postpone Morton’s until dinner, I asked that he be shown in.