Tag: SCOTUS

Host Joe Selvaggi talks with legal scholar and George Mason University Law Professor Ilya Somin about the details, the merits, and the likely implications of the Supreme Court case, New Hampshire v. Massachusetts, on state taxation power, federalism, and the power to vote with one’s feet.

Interview Guest:

Should Political Speech be a “Civil Right?”

 

It is time to look at expanding anti-discrimination laws to protect political expression.

Conservative media these days are replete with examples of people on the right being intimated, shunned, deplatformed, fired and worse for expressions of support for former President Trump. “No, anyone who supported the president, voted for him or worked for his administration now has to be hunted down and purged,” New York Post columnist Miranda Devine opined recently.

“They’re losing their jobs, having their insurance canceled, their book contracts and recording deals torn up. They are being banned from flying or banking or speaking on social media.

More year-end awards today! Jim and Greg embark on the second half of their six-episode saga known as the 2020 Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, they offer up their selections for the best political idea, worst political idea, and boldest political tactics for the year.

We hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we’re glad to have you back as we return to our prestigious Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today, Jim and Greg discuss the worst scandals of 2020, which Jim choosing an international mess and Greg opting for a domestic one. Next, we sift through a ton of possibilities for the best and worst political theater of 2020.

Join Jim and Greg as they offer the second installment of their prestigious year-end awards. Today they remark on the people they’re most sorry to see pass away in 2020. They also share their choices for rising political stars and the political figures who appear to be fading into oblivion – rarely to be heard from again.

Fannie and Freddie Revisited

 

The US Supreme Court heard the oral argument this month in Collins v. Mnuchin, a high-stakes case worth roughly $29 billion. The case was argued on terms that ordinary people would rightfully find utterly unintelligible. At stake was the legitimacy of the key features of the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) that dominate the residential home mortgage market.

The bailout began in the frenzied days after the 2008 banking crisis. Initially, the federal government agreed to contribute more than $188 billion to the two companies in exchange for senior preferred stock that carried with it a 10 percent dividend, or $18.8 billion per year. That deal was not negotiated by the trustees of Fannie and Freddie, as they had been ousted from their positions by a conservator, Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which was given power to oversee the residential mortgage market. DeMarco had an obvious conflict of interest in making this deal because he was negotiating against the Department of Treasury, where he had been a senior official between 1993 and 2003.

The 2008 deal remained stable until August 2012, when DeMarco and Treasury renegotiated the transaction, such that the 10 percent dividend was eliminated in favor of a Net Worth Sweep (NWS) in the Third Amendment to the original deal. That NWS took all the dividends in perpetuity from both Fannie and Freddie and paid them into the federal treasury, leaving the companies with no cash, no liquidation preferences, and no voting rights, so that their only asset was a lawsuit against both FHFA and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as a stand-in for the United States government.

Member Post

 

So much of the left’s political argument is really just a massive case of projection. Nowhere is this more true than at the Supreme Court. Many liberal media types and political commentators, not to mention major Democrat politicians, made the case that Trump’s Supreme Court picks would simply act as rubber stamps for any contested […]

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Join Jim and Greg for a very lively Friday podcast! First, they cheer the Supreme Court for telling the 9th Circuit to reconsider a case where churches face tighter restrictions than non-religious gatherings. They also hammer Los Angeles and California as their COVID restrictions even forbid “unnecessary walking” and effectively make people prisoners in their own homes. And they react to Joe Biden’s confusing comments about what would happen if he and Kamala Harris ever have a major disagreement over principle.

Join Jim and Greg as they reveal what they’re politically thankful for in 2020. From the fight against COVID to domestic politics to major events on the world stage, they each find three things they’re thankful for from this difficult, unpredictable year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all 3 Martini Lunch listeners and your families! There will be no podcast on Thursday. Please join us Friday for our special Black Friday edition, as Jim and Greg pick out gifts for various political figures.

Member Post

 

We find ourselves in an impossible situation regarding the final results of the November 2020 election. And I can’t see how we will get ourselves out of it. The difficulty began when President Trump, in his usual hyperbolic way, immediately declared the election a massive fraud. I’m not saying he wasn’t correct, but it gave […]

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Religious Liberty Should Prevail

 

This past week in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, the Supreme Court re-entered the dangerous minefield at the junction of religious liberty and anti-discrimination. The current dispute arose when Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services announced that it would no longer refer children to Catholic Social Services (CSS) for placement in foster care because CSS refused to consider same-sex couples as potential foster parents. CSS was, however, prepared to accept into its foster care all children regardless of their sexual orientation. After prolonged negotiations with the city failed, CSS sued. It seeks, in the words of the Third Circuit, “an order requiring the city to renew their contractual relationship while permitting it to turn away same-sex couples who wish to be foster parents.” The Third Circuit upheld the position of the city.

Resolving this delicate confrontation requires a return to first principles. Let’s start with the First Amendment’s protection of the free exercise of religion, as elaborated in Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in Employment Division v. Smith. Alfred Leo Smith, a drug guidance counselor, was denied unemployment benefits after being terminated for consuming peyote, a controlled substance, as part of a religious rite. The court held that his religious beliefs do not “excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the state is free to regulate.” The First Amendment did not require Oregon to accommodate Smith’s religious practice. Any neutral law of general applicability was acceptable, notwithstanding its disparate impact.

Notably, the word exercise is broad enough to cover not only Smith’s use of peyote but also CSS’s adoption policies. Accordingly, under no circumstances should Philadelphia be allowed to pass an ordinance that requires the Catholic Church to ordain women as priests, or to offer family aid services paid from its own funds to same-sex couples. The question in Fulton is whether CSS’s free exercise rights are forfeited when the city supplies public funds and matching services to CSS and the children it puts up for foster care.

Member Post

 

I am not an attorney. I don’t play one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night. But I do pay some attention to election law. Experience in 35 congressional campaigns (House and Senate) over 25 years will focus the mind. I was even nominated by President Clinton to a GOP […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they cheer much lower death rates from COVID-19 compared to the early days of the pandemic. They also sound the alarm that Democrats plan to kill right to work laws nationwide and crush the gig economy if they take full control in Washington. And they marvel at how activist Democrats have decided that Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn’t far left enough to lead the party on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

On today’s episode of American Wonk, FREOPP’s Avik Roy talks with Ilya Shapiro, author of “Supreme Disorder,” a new book on the politics of the Supreme Court. They talk about Amy Coney Barrett and ask: what have conservatives gotten right and wrong in their quest to change how the Supreme Court thinks about the Constitution?

Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court

Ep. 262 – Senator Ted Cruz joins Whiskey Politics with Dave Sussman for a special in-depth, long-form discussion on the critical issues heading into Election 2020; SCOTUS, Spygate, did the Senator say the Election may be a ‘Bloodbath’ for Republicans? Senator Cruz also discusses his incredible new book One Vote Away detailing the most pivotal Supreme Court cases of our time, and will Ted Cruz accept a SCOTUS nomination from President Donald Trump?

Ep. 260 – David Bossie, Trump-Pence 2020 Senior Advisor, President of Citizens United and New York Times Bestselling Author (latest book – Trump: America First – The President Succeeds Against All Odds with co-author Corey Lewandowski.) David debates why he thinks Trump’s first debate was a win, discusses voter fraud, SCOTUS and Amy Coney Barrett, Spygate and ‘the Soft Coup’, and whether any Durham Report would impact the election.

Doing Justice to the Barrett Nomination

 

To the glee of his conservative base and to the consternation of his progressive opponents, President Trump has nominated Amy Coney Barrett for a seat on the United States Supreme Court. My own preference, which was shared by others, such as Peggy Noonan, was to delay a vote on the nominee until after the election. But the course of events has moved rapidly in the other direction, and a no-holds-barred nomination fight is now upon us.

In earlier times, Judge Barrett’s consistent level of high performance would have led to confirmation by acclamation under the now-disregarded practice of evaluating a judge’s legal understanding and technical competence, independent of her political orientation. But these are not normal times. Indeed, the current fight resembles the appointment of John Marshall, our greatest chief justice, to the Supreme Court by President John Adams on March 3, 1801, the day before Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as president.

Senator Mitch McConnell’s prompt announcement that the president would move forward with the nomination rests on the fact that McConnell had sufficient votes in his pocket. McConnell and Trump may think that they will gain a powerful political advantage by forcing the Democrats into a two-pronged strategy of massive resistance. The first is an all-out attack on Barrett for her religious associations, most notably her membership in People of Praise, a predominantly Roman Catholic faith community formed in 1971. The second is an institutional challenge, represented by Senator Elizabeth Warren’s adamant refusal to confirm a new Supreme Court justice until after inauguration on January 20, 2021. The Democratic playbook threatens to pack the Supreme Court if Barrett is confirmed, or to limit the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court so that it could not review Biden administration proposals, like implementing the Green New Deal or increasing the rights and power of unions. Progressives by and large are fearful of judicial intervention by a conservative court that would challenge their culture war victories, upset their efforts to reshape the economy from top to bottom, and remake the regulatory world to be friendlier to business.

Hubwonk Host Joe Selvaggi talks with Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro about his new book, Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court. The episode equips listeners with historical context to better understand the makeup of the Court, the nomination process, and the impact of a new justice on the Court.

COGIC Defends Judge Barrett

 

The Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination whose membership is predominantly Black, released a statement (PDF) in support of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Here is a key passage:

We must defend the rights of our fellow Christians, of people of other faiths and of
those who hold no faith. Today we stand with, and speak in defense of, Judge Amy Coney Barrett. As black Christians we will not stand by in silence as our sister in the faith is persecuted for the “political crime” of her beliefs.

Trump Nominates Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court

 

At a Saturday Rose Garden ceremony, President Donald Trump officially nominated Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the US Supreme Court. Barrett, 48, currently serves as a judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and as a law professor at Notre Dame University. From 1998 to 1999, she clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia.

“She is a woman of unparalleled achievement, towering intellect, sterling credentials, and unyielding loyalty to the Constitution,” Trump said in his introductory remarks.