Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Unemployment “Truthers”

Via Mark Thoma’s Economists View comes Bruce Bartlett’s post at The Big Picture

by Bruce Bartlett:

Unemployment ”Truthers’

Donald Trump and Other Republicans Are Unemployment “Truthers”, The Big Picture: Among Donald Trump’s stump sound bites is that the national unemployment rate is far, far higher than the official rate of 4.9 percent. He is not alone in making such claims. Both former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who dropped out of the presidential race last year, and retired surgeon Ben Carson have repeated this claim during this election cycle. Its origin dates back to the 2012 election when many Republicans believed that Barack Obama had ordered the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report a much lower unemployment rate in October, just before the election, than seemed plausible. It also feeds into a growing distrust for government statistical data that parallels a denial of scientific facts such as climate change.

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A Question For Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee Members to Ask Sri Srinivasan If Obama Nominates Him to Fill Scalia’s Seat

In private practice, prior to his appointment to the appeals court, Srinivasan successfully represented former Enron Corp CEO Jeff Skilling in a Supreme Court case. The Supreme Court narrowed the reach of the so-called honest services fraud law, invalidating one theory used by prosecutors for Skilling’s conspiracy conviction and ordering further appeals court review. Despite the high court ruling, Skilling’s conviction was later upheld by an appeals court.

Srinivasan also represented Exxon Mobil Corp in a lawsuit alleging human rights abuses in Indonesia, and mining giant Rio Tinto in a similar case about its activities in Papua New Guinea. Both cases concerned in part whether a law called the Alien Tort Statute allows such cases to be heard in U.S. courts. The Exxon case is still ongoing. The Rio Tinto lawsuit was dismissed.

Judge who could replace Scalia worked on controversial cases for business, Jonathan Hurley, Reuters, today

There are, of course, some questions about the Exxon Mobil cases that he should and probably will be asked, by Democratic members of the Judiciary Committee if Obama does nominate him, as the betting folks in Washington expect.

Far less controversial, in my opinion, is his representation of Jeffrey Skilling.  The federal honest-services fraud statute, which the Court held, at Srinivasan’s urging as a partner in the Supreme Court Practice group at the Washington, DC office of mega-legal-powerhouse Los Angeles-based O’Melveny & Myers, was too vague to comport with constitutional dictates of due process of law.

But what is controversial, in my opinion, is how it happened that this particular criminal defendant managed to garner the attention and support of at least four justices (the minimum needed for the court to grant a petition to hear a case), in a case that challenged a criminal statute as unconstitutionally vague.

The Supreme Court has a preset number of cases it will hear each year (a fact that itself is ridiculous and inappropriate).  I believe the number is about 70.  Almost all of the cases that fill those spots—court term after court term after court term—are heard at the behest of lawyers who fall into one of three categories: attorneys representing law enforcement, usually the state’s attorney asking the Court to reverse a lower federal appellate court’s grant of a petition for writ of habeas corpus on behalf of a convicted state-court criminal defendant, but also “cert.” petitions asking the Court to reverse a monetary judgment against a law enforcement officer in a civil rights lawsuit; a lawyer from one of the rightwing self-styled legal foundations around the country serving as pro bono counsel in a culture-wars and Koch-brothers-wish-list cases (think: affirmative action, attempts to nullify the Voting Rights Act, attempts (currently, at the Court) to profoundly restructure legislative reapportionment; you get the picture); and a member of so-called Supreme Court specialist bar, whose actual specialty is putting the lawyer’s name, law firm and Washington, DC. Office address on the cert. petition, for a fee that only corporations, lobbying groups and individuals of the Jeffrey Skilling personal-wealth set, have access to.

Pretty much no one else need apply, although roughly 9,000 others each year do. Many of them to the tune of about $7,000, the de facto application fee, the typical cost for the 40+ copies of the cert. petition and appendices, printed by one of three printing companies that exist because they print these things with the (very) nonstandard sizing and binding-into-a-cute-little-booklet precision that the Court’s rules mandate.  A high cost for the privilege in participating in a charade.  A steep admission fee, deliberately so; there is no conceivable justification for it, given today’s modern technology for printing, electronically transmitting, and e-reading.

I mean, y’know, no legitimate justification for it.

In recent years, the Court has, in my opinion appropriately, agreed to hear a number of cases that challenge on vagueness grounds the constitutionality of criminal statutes.  But they are always federal statutes rather than state ones, and almost always are heard at the behest of someone whose cause correlates with a Republican interest, of the culture-wars variety or of the corporate-folks variety.

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A Slippery Slope Indeed

Mark Jamison has been a guest columnist of the Smoky Mountain News on several occasions now arguing against the addition of the Koch sponsored Center for Free Enterprise. This is another well written expose of why this addition should not be allowed at Western Carolina University. I would point out the flip-flopping going on as Chancellor Belcher glosses over in his explanation of mistakes being made. In earlier statements by Dr. Robert Lopez, the Provost, and the Trustees, the procedure was followed.

To give this the coverage needed both Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism and Angry Bear have been covering this issue. “UnKoch My Campus” has also picked up on Western Carolina University.

invisible hand In “Sons of Wichita”, his detailed and heavily sourced biography of the Koch family, Daniel Schulman relates a story about Charles Koch’s attempt to apply his libertarian management theory known as Market-Based Management to Wichita Collegiate, the private school located across the street from the Koch compound. The school originally cofounded by Bob Love an associate of Charles’s father Fred Koch from the John Birch Society became embroiled in an “acrimonious uprising” after Charles Koch in his role as chairman of the school’s executive council applied techniques from his Market-Based Management system, a system designed to force everyone in an institution or business into an entrepreneurial role.

Schulman relates how Koch and other trustees meddled in hiring decisions and caused the abrupt resignation of a well-liked headmaster. “Incensed parents threatened to pull their children from the school; faculty members quit; students wore black in protest. Charles stepped down from the board of trustees citing, among other reasons, the school’s refusal to integrate his management style. But in a sign of just how much influence he exerted over the school; Richard Fink, one of Charles’s key advisors and an architect of Market-Based Management was installed as Collegiate’s interim head. The outrage ran so deep that, as Fink tried to tamp down the uproar, he was hung in effigy around campus.”

Fink, who received his PHD in economics from Rutgers later moved to George Mason, a public university in Virginia, to start the Koch sponsored Mercatus Institute. Fink figures prominently in Koch efforts to control and dictate to charities and educational facilities receiving Koch support. Another Koch sponsored enterprise, the Institute for Humane Studies, caused similar disruptions when it was relocated to George Mason. Schulman reports,

“The mission of IHS is to groom libertarian intellectuals by doling out scholarships, sponsoring seminars, and placing students in like-minded organizations.”

Simply providing funding for the promotion of his libertarian ideology was not enough for Charles Koch though. Roderick Long, a philosophy professor from Auburn and an affiliate of IHS is quoted as saying, “Massive micromanagement ensued.” Long went on to say, “the management began to do things like increasing the size of student seminars, packing them in, and then giving the students a political questionnaire at the beginning of the week and another one at the end, to measure how much their political beliefs shifted over the course of the week. (Woe betide any student who needs more than a week to mull new ideas prior to conversion.) They also started running scholarship application essays through a computer to measure how many times the ‘right names’ (Mises, Hayek, Friedman, Rand, Bastiat, etc.) were mentioned – regardless of what was said about them!” (The preceding quotes come from pages 250-251 Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty).

It should be noted that Professor Long is no liberal. He edits “The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies” and is a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an organization that promotes the theories of the dean of Austrian economics.

Both Professor Lopez and Professor Gochenour are products of the George Mason program and Mercatus. In his memo to Andrew Gillen of the Charles Koch Foundation Professor Lopez characterizes the other members of the WCU economics department indicating Professor Gochenour was a student of “Boettke and Caplan”. In a YouTube video seminar, Professor Boettke characterizes himself as “a doctrinaire free-marketer.” In the same memo, Professor Lopez lists his association with IHS. Presumably then both professors are familiar with the sort of metrics and deliverables that are integral to Koch’s Market-Based Management system.

Both Schulman’s book and Jane Mayer’s new book “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right” go into great detail about the various organizations sponsored and funded by Charles and David Koch. From Americans for Prosperity to academic institutions similar to Mercatus, the Kochs have been active in funding organizations that promote specific ideologies. For better or worse that is something endemic in both our politics and apparently our public universities. Lately Charles Koch has been quite vocal in bemoaning the fact that his political contributions have not yielded an appropriate return on investment as demonstrated in a recent interview in the Financial Times where he said,

“You’d think we could have more influence.”

What is perhaps more troubling is in academic settings the Kochs have sought to exercise an extraordinary degree of control. Between 2007 and 2011 Charles Koch has pumped $31 million into universities for scholarships and programs (within that number the $2 million to WCU seems significant). At Florida State the contract with the university provide $1.5 million to hire two professors included a clause giving the Koch Foundation over the candidates.

The plan Charles Koch with the aid of Richard Fink has enacted is called a “Structure of Social Change” – a sort of business plan for the marketing of ideas. Fink has said about the plan:

“When we apply this model to the realm of ideas and social change, at the higher stages we have the investment in the intellectual raw materials, that is, the exploration and production of abstract concepts and theories. In the public policy arena, these still come primarily (though not exclusively) from the research done by scholars at our universities.” (my emphasis)

As Schulman reports,

“ . . . Cato Institute, Mercatus, and the dozens of other free-market, antiregulatory policy shops that Charles, David, and their foundations have supported over the years . . . churned out reports position papers, and op-eds arguing for the privatization of Social Security; fingering public employee unions for causing state budget crises; attempting to debunk climate science; and making the case for slashing the welfare system and Medicaid.”

The book that Professor Lopez published for the broad market, “Madmen, Intellectuals and Academic Scribblers: The Economic Engine of Political Change” follows closely to the program Fink articulates.

Over the years the gifts from the Koch Foundation to various universities have faced increased scrutiny. The contract with Florida State clearly went against basic academic ethics. There is nothing however to indicate that Charles Koch has retreated in his desire to instill his radical brand of libertarianism into the institutions that create public policy and the universities that provide the research that helps support policy decisions. What has perhaps changed is that Mr. Koch, his foundation, and those he supports have become ever more sophisticated in capturing an outsized amount of influence.

Chancellor Belcher assures us there were mistakes made in the presentation of the current proposal but that the proposal itself meets all the basic criteria for acceptance. The fact that Professor Lopez advertised positions before official acceptance and outside normal channels raises significant questions. The contract may not allow veto power but if the structure of the program and the hiring are filtered through products of Koch programs, we may have a distinction without a difference. Charles Koch and his assistants like Richard Fink have been very clear about their intent and goals. It does not take a great deal of research to uncover statements that clearly speak to intent to indoctrinate. Ad hoc denials aside there is no reason not to take Mr. Koch’s word.

Chancellor Belcher suggests the bringing of a stronger level of scrutiny to the Koch proposal pushes us down a slippery slope. The chancellor is no naïf and surely he knows that in a complicated world we are often presented with slippery slopes – that is why judgment, ethics, and scrutiny exist. Dogmatic and doctrinaire disciplines give a skewed and distorted picture of the world as an either or, or black or white scenario. Hayek, Mises, and other doctrinaire believers in the creed of the free-market tell us the choice is either markets or Stalinism, an inexorable “Road to Serfdom.” Tennyson tells us,

“There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.”

There is a certain irony bordering on outright cognitive dissonance when the economics department of a publicly funded university embraces a set of theories that denies the need for public education and treats such public funding as an affront to the market. If scrutinizing this proposal puts us onto a slippery slope then accepting it simply sends us to the bottom of the slope.

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What exactly is Clinton proposing that would end racism, sexism, and discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community? Seriously. What proposals of hers is she claiming would DO THAT?

“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow,” Mrs. Clinton asked the audience of black, white and Hispanic union members, “would that end racism? Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?,” she said, using an abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. “Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”

Hillary Clinton, Shifting Line of Attack, Paints Bernie Sanders as a One-Issue Candidate, Nicholas Confessore and Yamiche Alcindor, yesterday

Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?  Probably not.  But neither would it make people feel less welcoming to immigrants.  Nor would it make immigrants themselves feel less welcome.

But this surely would, as a Feb. 12 New York Times editorial makes clear:

In Thursday night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton defended her past statements that Central American migrant children needed to be sent home from the border to “send a message” to other families: Don’t come.

“Wrong answer — which Bernie Sanders immediately pointed out,” the editorial continued.

“Who are you sending a message to?” he said, reminding her that mothers and children were fleeing Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to avoid being murdered. “I don’t think we use them to send a message. I think we welcome them into this country and do the best we can to help them get their lives together.”

The editorial explained:

It was after the number of Central American migrant children at the border spiked in 2014 that she said they should be sent back to send a message. “Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay,” she said. Now she says children should have access to lawyers and not be held in family prisons, but she was tripped up again by her “send a message” line.

As it happens, I remember that interview comment of Clinton’s from June or July 2014, during her book tour.  I remember her emphasizing “just because” and dragging out the “doesn’t mean”.  “Duuuuuuhsn’t mean ….”

I also remember that she said this at about the same time that Sam Brownback—Sam Brownback—spoke on the issue, in a soft, empathetic tone, albeit while saying that he thought the children would have to be sent back.

Sam Brownback sounded empathetic. Clinton, let’s just say, did not.  There was nothing in Clinton’s tone that suggested empathy.  Nothing.  It was said in a schoolmarmish voice, a seriously-off-kilter tone.  It sent chills down my spine.

But that was in 2014.  And this is Clinton’s Sanders-is-a-single-issue-candidate-whose-single-issue-won’t-make-Americans’-lives-better week.  Or two.  And in keeping with the current theme, someone should inquire of the candidate what exactly she is proposing that would make lives better than what Sanders is proposing.

Such as, how does she plan to improve Obamacare?  She never says.  And since she’s now raised the issue, how does she plan to end racism? End sexism? End discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?  Make people more welcoming to immigrants?

Make immigrants feel more welcomed?

How?  How?

On that last one, she might be planning to ask Sam Brownback for suggestions.  And sexism will end, I guess, because we will now have a woman president.  So that takes care of two of the promises.  But what about racism?  How does she plan to end racism?  And discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community?

She assures us that she is not making promises that she can’t keep.  So let’s elect her and hold her to these.

Clinton’s campaign for months now has been an ever-churning series of canned talking-point-of-the-two-or-three-weeks attacks on Sanders.  They’re mindless.  And usually they raise questions about her own proposals, or (as this week’s does) lack thereof. As well as about her own veracity about Sanders’ proposals or something Sanders has said.  This is a really unappealing campaign. I’m holding my breath waiting for the next canned tack-of-the-week-or-two-or-three.

Meanwhile, I’d like to see Sanders use that NYT editorial. And also ask some questions about how Clinton plans to end racism, sexism, discrimination against the L.G.B.T. community.

And ask a question or two about that welcoming-of-immigrants thing.  Because if Clinton wins the nomination, Hispanic voters might write in Brownback’s name on their ballots in November.

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Okay, let’s have a show of hands here: How many of you progressives want Obama to nominate a moderate to take Scalia’s seat? Because the Supreme Court should always be comprised only of arch-conservatives and a few moderates. How many want a former prosecutor, on the theory that the federal bench does not already have enough former prosecutors, and because the Supreme Court is just toooo pro-non-white-collar criminal defendant and tooo favorable to civil rights plaintiffs involved in the criminal-justice system?

Or how about another former Washington corporate mega-law-firm partner?  Like John Roberts?! Only moderate.  I mean, but what if he or she is an Asian?  And would be the first Asian on the Court?!  Or a woman?  Or, and a woman?

Or what if she’s a woman whose husband is a military reservist?!  Or is a black former prosecutor, no gender preferred?  Or has political experience?!  (These are all actual shortlisters.)

Oh, stop.  Just stop.  Please.  Really.

The list of shortlists published since Scalia’s death was announced about 24 hours ago is long, as are some of the lists.  And two or three of those on the lists are actual progressives.  But the overwhelming majority are not.  These assembly line lists do reflect what are considered the political realities, and Obama is widely viewed by non-Republicans as a political-realities type of guy.

Including by me.  And by Hillary Clinton.  And by Bernie Sanders.

But one of us three believes that there is a special place in hell for Democratic politicians who criticize President Obama as insufficiently progressive.  A place assigned by African-American voters, at least in the South, and especially in South Carolina.  The other two of us beg to differ.

Had Justice Scalia’s death occurred a few weeks before the South Carolina primary rather than eight days before, these opposing views might have been put to the test.  Obama might by now have nominated a Black or Asian-immigrant or female moderate whose name appeared first on his long shortlist and then on his short shortlist by dint of the algorithms that produce such shortlists.  Clinton would shout her support from the hilltops of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sanders would criticize her for shouting, and Clinton would shout: sexism.

But Sanders also would criticize the choice, further securing that special place in hell.  Or maybe not securing it, since this is 2016, not 1996 and not even 2006.

Actually, although the shortlist list-makers mostly haven’t noticed, this is the age of Ferguson, of Eric Garner, of Sandra Bland, of Walter Scott, etc., etc.  It is the age of (as Ferguson is a poster town for) extraordinarily inappropriate bail requirements.  It is the age of the funding of local government via exorbitant traffic fines, petty (trumped-up) ordinance-violation fines, metastasizing court fees, and prison fees.  It is the age of extremely belated (but extremely welcome nonetheless) broad public recognition that prosecutor misconduct is commonplace (and is tacitly invited by opinions issued by the Supreme Court in a variety of cases).

And it would be deeply offensive for Obama, or for that matter a second President Clinton, to nominate another Elena Kagan—or anyone who has no background in representing non-white-collar criminal defendants, especially in state courts or in federal habeas corpus cases that challenge state-court convictions, or related types of civil rights litigation.

It’s now permissible to mention the interests of the people whose lives are most profoundly and most directly affected by Supreme Court appointments.  Really.


My suggestions for Sanders’ (preferably very, very) shortlist, each of them with impeccable credentials and awesome accomplishments, are Jeffrey Fisher, the head of Stanford Law School’s Supreme Court Clinic, and Robert L. Wilkins, an Obama appointee on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Fisher is not on anyone’s shortlist but mine, to my knowledge, but should be.  Among the shortlists that I’ve read, Wilkins appears only on one: Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick’s.  She writes about him:

Robert L. Wilkins (D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals): Age: 53. Wilkins, a black American who was raised by a single mom, has a law degree from Harvard Law School and served as special litigation chief for the D.C. Public Defender Service. Wilkins gained attention for civil rights battles he has waged, including a precedent-setting fight against police racial profiling in Maryland, and for his work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Wilkins was not on my radar screen until I read Lithwick’s article today.  He now ties for first place on my list.  I’d love to see them both on the Court.

Another name on Lithwick’s list, Goodwin Liu, has been on my radar screen for a long time. Lithwick writes about him:

Goodwin Liu (California Supreme Court): Age: 45. The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Liu was an Obama pick for a seat on the 9th Circuit in 2010 but was blocked by Republicans. He has distinguished himself as a left-leaning moderate on California’s high court. Given his prior confirmation battles, this would be an especially heavy lift.

His 2010 nomination to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was filibustered by Senate Republicans because as a law professor at UC Berkeley in 2005 he gave strong testimony against Samuel Alito during Alito’s confirmation hearing.  He predicted that Alito would be exactly the kind of justice that he is.

Lui as a high-profile liberal law professor at UC Berkeley was outstanding.  But I read not long ago (I can’t remember where) what Lithwick says in her article: that he’s more moderate than expected as a state Supreme Court justice.  I don’t know what the specifics are.  But he’s brilliant and presumably is navigating a course geared toward another nomination to a federal appellate court or to the Supreme Court.

A bonus if Lui’s nominated: the highlighting of exactly how spot-on he was about Alito. And an education for the public about the specifics of Alito’s tenure as a justice.  As well as the fun of imagining the childishly thin-skinned Alito suddenly faced with the prospect of possibly having Lui as a colleague.  (That’s three bonuses, not just one.  But he’s still only my third choice.)

If Sanders is willing to soon have a tentative shortlist, I dearly hope he will borrow mine.  It’s not copyrighted.  And I have no pride of authorship.

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Welfare Reform Killed People

A 20th anniversary reminder that an authentic randomized control trial proved beyond all conventional statistical significance levels and all reasonable doubt that welfare reform killed people.

I will just note a very crude calculation. The experimental point estimate is that Florida’s welfare reform caused death rates to increase by 16%. This is a huge gigantic immense estimated effect. A silly assumption is that the increase was proportionally the same at all ages. If that were true, welfare reform would reduce life expectacy by a factor of 1.16 or about 11 years.

The available evidence suggests that welfare reform is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day or like morbid obesity.

A crude estimate of the number of US deaths caused by welfare reform dwarfs US deaths caused by al Qaeda, plus the decision to invade Iraq, plus murder.

Defenders of welfare reform must critique the study to which I link or argue that human lives don’t matter. There is no third choice.

update: well that was quick. Warren notes in comments that my very crude calculation differs from a calculation in the paper by a factor of 14.67 or 0.917 Posners. I will try to figure out why.

I note that my calculation is very simple and based on a clearly stated assumption which I didn’t claim was reasonable.

Obviously a very different result holds if it is assumed that welfare reform has no effect on people of ages other than those in the study. The point is that a 16% increase in mortality is huge.

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The immediate impact of the death of Justice Scalia [correction appended]

Dan Crawford emailed me shortly after the news broke about Justice Scalia’s death, asking whether I have any random thoughts about it.  Here’s what I wrote back:

I posted a comment to Bill’s post on the announcement, saying that I think everyone should take a deep breath before saying much of anything.  It’s absolutely huge, but I think those of us on the polar opposite of the ideological spectrum should cool it for a day, as a small courtesy.

But it will have a huge immediate effect: There are several cases on the court’s docket this term–cases that would have profound impact, on unions, on affirmative action, on environmental law regulation and the Paris climate-change accord, on the extent to which the executive branch can regulate anything, on the permissible reach of executive orders, including of course on immigration issues–that would have been decided 5-4, some of them altering really broad areas of law and politics.

By “on the docket,” I mean cases already argued this term, cases scheduled for argument by the end of April, and cases that the court is currently considering whether or not to hear but that very likely the court would have agreed to hear in order to upend some major area of law. Expect a slew of dismissals of cases in the first and second of those categories, and a very few cert. grants the rest of this term (cases granted going forward will be heard next term, not this term).

I think I’ll repost this email as a post.



CORRECTION: Scotusblog’s Tom Goldstein has a thorough account of what will happen in the closely divided cases: If 4-4, the court will issue an order saying that the lower court’s decision is “affirmed by an equally divided Court.”  It’s tantamount to a dismissal, but technically it is not a dismissal. Goldstein says “we should expect to see a number of such cases.”

Also, I knew there was one case of existential (for the Democratic Party) importance, but I couldn’t think of what that case is.  It’s Evenwel v. Abbott, on the meaning of the “one person, one vote” guarantee.  (Thanks, Tom Goldstein!)  And Goldstein notes something I forgot about the big affirmative action case, Fisher v. University of Texas, Austin: Elena Kagan has recused herself in the case, because when the case was heard at the court on its first go-around there (this is its second one) Kagan was involved in it as U.S. Solicitor General, representing the federal government as an amicus.  So Fisher will be decided 4-3.*

Added 2/13 at 8:51 p.m.


*Ooops. Reader C0Rev wrote in the Comments thread: “I think this: ‘So Fisher will be decided 5-3’ was meant to mean ‘So Fisher will be decided by 7 Justices.’”

Yup; that sentence really did originally say “So Fisher will be decided 5-3.”  Well, no one has ever accused me of being a mathematician.

Seriously, thanks, CoRev.

Added 2/14 at 10:00 a.m.

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Reported Today, Associate Justice Scalia Passed Away . . .

The significance and impact on the nation and SCOTUS of his passing goes without saying. If President Obama can appoint a more liberal Justice on the Court, the balance could shift and perhaps some of the nonsense of the court’s previous rulings could be overturned. Thinking of United Citizen, etc. Of course this happening with a Republican controlled legislature will be extremely difficult. Not sure what happens when there are only 8 until a new Justice is appointed.

Here is the article: Senior SCOTUS Associate Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead at West Texas Ranch. David Atkins at Washington Monthly reported this just moments ago.

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