Patterico's Pontifications

1/26/2022

Justice Stephen Breyer to Retire

Filed under: General — JVW @ 9:23 am



[guest post by JVW]

Pete Williams of NBC News appears to have broken the story, so we’ll give his network the link:

Justice Stephen Breyer will step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, according to people familiar with his thinking.

Breyer is one of the three remaining liberal justices, and his decision to retire after more than 27 years on the court allows President Joe Biden to appoint a successor who could serve for several decades and, in the short term, maintain the current 6-3 split between conservative and liberal justices.

At 83, Breyer is the court’s oldest member. Liberal activists have urged him for months to retire while Democrats hold both the White House and the Senate. They contended that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stayed too long despite her history of health problems and should have stepped down during the Obama administration.

President Biden, of course, has pledged to nominate a black woman for the seat, so it would appear that approximately five percent of the eligible jurists in this country will receive consideration. Mandatory set-asides and such, I suppose.

With the Senate deadlocked at 50-50, with an election year coming, and with Biden having failed miserably at the whole “restore dignity and cooperation to Washington” goal, it’s bound to be a really fun confirmation process. If I were Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer, I don’t think I would be antagonizing Joe Manchin for any reason whatsoever this coming spring.

– JVW

1/25/2022

With A Straight Face, GOP Rep. Asks If We’ve Ever Seen A President Attack The Free Press Like Joe Biden Has??

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:32 pm



[guest post by Dana]

I really didn’t have much interest in this non-story, but because it’s turning out to be one of those situations where, amusingly, both sides of the aisle are scrambling to claim the moral high ground, I’m compelled to post about it. Anyway, yesterday President Biden was caught on a hot mic calling a Fox News reporter a “stupid son of a bitch” after Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy shouted a question at the president about inflation (a subject, I think it’s safe to say, that the president would rather not talk about):

President Biden appeared to call Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b—h” after Doocy shouted a question the president found ridiculous.

“Do you think inflation is a political liability ahead of the midterms?” Doocey appeared to ask Monday at the end of a press event.

The president, seemingly not noticing he was still seated in front of a live microphone, looked off camera, repeated the question, then replied sarcastically.

President Biden later phoned Doocy to clear the air:

President Biden reached out to Peter Doocy on Monday night and “cleared the air” after calling the Fox News White House correspondent a “stupid son of a bitch” an hour earlier.

Doocy told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that the president called him on his cellphone and told the reporter, “It’s nothing personal, pal” after the hot mic blunder in the White House East Room.

Asked if Biden issued an apology, Doocy said he doesn’t need one and that the president simply “cleared the air.”

“I appreciated it. We had a nice call,” Doocy said of the communication.

“I don’t need anybody to apologize to me,” Doocy told Hannity. “He can call me whatever he wants as long as it gets him talking.”

I’m not going to post links, but suffice it to say that the right side of the aisle is in a tizzy because the alleged Great Uniter in Chief attacked a reporter who works for a conservative outlet and the left side of the aisle is in a tizzy because they want to know where the right’s outrage was when Trump repeatedly attacked members of the media.

I don’t see how calling a reporter a “son of a bitch” one time compares to Trump’s endless rants and rages against reporters that displeased him. And as far as I know, he never called the targets of his ire to clear the air. But maybe I missed it. So, while lofty pundits from both sides of the aisle are milking this for all it’s worth, I personally think Rep. Jim Banks takes the cake for the most brazen and opportunistic efforts by a politician to use the kerfuffle to increase his popularity with his base, and with Trump:

While it’s no longer startling that a Trump ally and member of Congress would actually say something like this out loud, this is a man who said that he would “never apologize” for objecting to the 2020 election results, so I’m pretty sure he’s not only comfortable tweeting what he did but did so with all the straight-faced seriousness of a true believer and crafty politician.

–Dana

Biden Administration Reads Tea Leaves, Drops Vaccine Requirements for Businesses

Filed under: General — JVW @ 2:24 pm



[guest post by JVW]

From National Review Online:

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it is scraping its vaccine-or-test mandate for large employers after the Supreme Court blocked the rule earlier this month.

“Although OSHA is withdrawing the vaccination and testing ETS as an enforceable emergency temporary standard, the agency is not withdrawing the ETS as a proposed rule,” the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a statement. “The agency is prioritizing its resources to focus on finalizing a permanent COVID-19 Healthcare Standard.”

“OSHA continues to strongly encourage the vaccination of workers against the continuing dangers posed by Covid-19 in the workplace,” the agency added.

This decision, of course, comes on the heels of the Court’s 6-3 decision two weeks ago that the federal mandates exceeded the authority of the CDC, OHSA, and the executive branch to impose them, absent authorization from Congress.

This is all part and parcel of the curious and annoying tendency of the Biden Administration to push for policies which they know will either fail legislatively due to reluctance from their own nominal allies in Congress or because they know at heart that the policies are not a legitimate function of the federal government and that the judicial branch will eventually get around to nullifying them. President-elect Biden had ruled out a mandatory vaccinations and a national mask mandate back in December 2020, even though just months earlier (i.e. before he had been elected) he had looked favorably upon a federal masking requirement and claimed that his advisors suggested it would pass Constitutional muster. But even Team Biden should have had severe doubt that a Supreme Court majority would give their blessing to the nationwide vaccinate-or-test mandate that OSHA imposed upon private businesses with his tacit support. In the end, though, just like with the Biden flip-flop on the Constitutionality of rent moratoriums, it would seem that yet again the President was swayed by the more Warrenesque elements of the Democrat coalition or by the horrible political instincts of his utterly vacuous Vice-President, and he unsurprisingly charged straight into the cannon fire waving the banner of regulatory overreach.

The Administration now contends that they will focus their efforts on encouraging vaccination holdouts (advice: badgering them hasn’t worked; try something new) and focusing on small-bore efforts to combat the spread of the virus. Given their plunging poll numbers and the willingness of the science bureaucracy to promote the idea that the new omicron variant of COVID is starting to wane, it would appear more and more that the Biden Administration is looking for reasons and excuses for winding down the national hysteria and encouraging a return to normal — though naturally without giving up the expanded government powers that have been enacted in the name of public safety.

– JVW

Planned Parenthood Drops Challenge to Lubbock’s Ban on All Abortion

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:26 am



Ed Whelan has the details:

In May 2021, the voters of Lubbock—the 11th-largest city in Texas—overwhelmingly approved a measure (Proposition A) that outlaws abortion in Lubbock. The ordinance took effect on June 1, 2021. Like the Texas Heartbeat Act, the Lubbock ordinance provides that it may be enforced only by private civil lawsuits brought against individuals who perform or aid or abet abortions in Lubbock, and it prohibits the city of Lubbock and its officials from enforcing its ban. Unlike the Texas Heartbeat Act, the Lubbock abortion ban applies from conception, rather than when a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing and Planned Parenthood has abandoned the appeal. Ed’s conclusion:

In his concurring opinion in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), Justice Scalia lamented that it “appears that the mansion of constitutionalized abortion law, constructed overnight in Roe v. Wade, must be disassembled doorjamb by doorjamb, and never entirely brought down, no matter how wrong it may be.” But that ramshackle house of horrors finally appears to be collapsing.

I’m more concerned. There is no limiting principle here that says that this approach for avoiding court review applies only to phony and made-up constitutional rights. San Francisco could ban all private gun ownership tomorrow using this scheme. Portland could create a private cause of action against anyone who utters a statement that a specified minority group finds offensive. And under the Lubbock/Texas rubric, there’s not a damn thing you could do to stop it in federal court.

That should frighten everyone.

1/24/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Decisions on Biden’s Vaccine Mandates

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



The long-promised post is up. If you want to understand these decisions better, without wading through all the legalese, this is the way to do it.

I listened to the oral arguments and found the behavior of the lefty justices to fall short of the judicial ideal. Justice Sotomayor’s blatant misstatements of fact when it came to the effect of the pandemic on children seemed to exemplify a sort of tribalism that increasingly seems to characterize the left side of the Court, which is far more predictable than the right side in terms of outcome.

Second, regular readers know that I am a judicial conservative, and generally find myself in agreement with the likes of Scalia and Thomas — or, these days, Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch.

But if you know me well, you also know that I call them as I see them. I’m not much of a “team player” when it comes to expressing my opinions on politics or the law, because being a member of a team would require me sometimes to shy away from speaking the full truth on an issue, as I see it. I prefer to say what I think even if it upsets members of my “team.” I do this enough that it no longer really feels like I even have a team. (Other than you subscribers, of course!)

And here, speaking the full truth requires me to reveal something that surprised me: when I read the vaccine mandate decisions, I found that as a matter of pure logic, the folks in dissent on the case involving the OSHA mandate seem to have the better of the argument.

I wrote this one for the paid subscribers, an elite group you can easily join by clicking here.

1/23/2022

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 143

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:13 pm



It is the third Sunday after Epiphany. Today’s Bach cantata is “Lobe den Herrn, meine Seele” (Praise the Lord, my soul):

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 4:14-21:

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.

He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

We don’t get to the punchline until next Sunday, when the crowd drives Jesus out of Nazareth.

Speaking of punchlines, this morning our pastor told us that he once heard a good sermon has a good beginning, a good ending, and not much in between. But Jesus had more to say — and as we will see, it did not go over well.

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Think, Lord, at this time on Your office,
that You are a Prince of peace,
and graciously help us all together
now and at this moment;
let us henceforth
speak Your divine word
yet longer in peace.

We have previously listened to a cantata (BWV 69) with the same title, but this is a different piece. Both concentrate on the theme of Jesus as the Prince of Peace.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

1/21/2022

Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:25 pm



[guest post by Dana]

Let’s do it!

First news item

In a follow-up to my post about NPR’s Nina Totenberg claiming that Justice Robert’s asked his fellow colleagues to mask up (on behalf of the diabetic Sotomayor), NPR has responded to the controversy, and we now have a case of a noted media outlet telling readers that what you read and heard isn’t really what you read and heard In other words, it’s fake but accurate news… And to make it even more ridiculous, it doesn’t even matter that the main character in this fiction has denied doing what he was accused by Totenberg of doing.

What she claimed in her NPR piece:

Now, though, the situation had changed with the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, *in some form asked the other justices to mask up.

At the writing of that post, I noted that the bolded part was strangely worded and likely to give Totenberg wiggle room if the whole of the statement was proven untrue. Boy, was I right. After Chief Justice Roberts released a statement denying that he had asked anyone to mask up, Totenberg and NPR doubled down:

On Tuesday, NPR reported that Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a longtime diabetic, had indicated to Chief Justice John Roberts that because of the omicron surge, she did not feel safe being in a room with people who are unmasked, and that the chief justice “in some form asked the other justices to mask up.”

On Wednesday, Sotomayor and Gorsuch issued a statement saying that she did not ask him to wear a mask. NPR’s report did not say that she did. Then, the chief justice issued a statement saying he “did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other justice to wear a mask on the bench.” The NPR report said the chief justice’s ask to the justices had come “in some form.”

NPR stands by its reporting.

Now NPR’s public editor, employing some weaselly word gymnastics, is trying to defend Totenberg while appearing to simultaneously hold her (and the outlet) accountable for the writer’s “inaccurate verb”. Said public editor summed it up this way:

Totenberg and other Supreme Court watchers know that executive messages are conveyed with subtlety and diplomacy, not by clear edict. Adding that small detail, along with more information about her sourcing and a more accurate verb, would have provided a fuller picture. As she acknowledged the justices’ statements on Wednesday, the veteran reporter further explained her wording choice at the end of her segment on ATC.

In the absence of a clarification, NPR risks losing credibility with audience members who see the plainly worded statement from Roberts and are forced to go back to NPR’s story and reconcile the nuances of the verb “asked” when in fact, it’s not a nuanced word.

The way NPR’s story was originally worded, news consumers must choose between believing the chief justice or believing Totenberg. A clarification improving on the verb choice that describes the inner workings of the court would solve that dilemma.

So why not reveal the sources and have them go on the record with what they said? Wouldn’t that clear things ups?

But here’s another problem with the public editor’s piece: She asserts that there is dissension among the justices, which would appear to fly in the face of the statement released yesterday by Justices Gorsuch and Sotomayor:

No one has challenged the broader focus of Totenberg’s original story, which asserts that the justices in general are not getting along well. The controversy over the anecdotal lead, which was intended to be illustrative, has overwhelmed the uncontested premise of the story.

Shame on Totenberg, and shame on NPR. You may think us dumb, but it’s not us who assumed readers everywhere would buy your inaccurate verb nonsense.

Second news item

Asking evangelicals:

Some people in her own party want Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) to lose her membership on committees and even her place within her party’s conference in the United States House of Representatives, all because she won’t “move on” from her beliefs that the attempts to overturn the last election—leading up to last January’s attack on the Capitol—are a clear and present danger to democracy.

Whatever you think of Cheney (as you can imagine, I am a fan), there’s a larger point here—one that applies to many evangelical Christians in a thousand different situations in their churches and communities: At what point will you stop conserving your influence?

Third news item

A progressive case against abortion:

First, the pro-life movement gives increasing weight to science. In 1973, the Supreme Court told us that there has “always been strong support for the view that life does not begin until live birth.” Today, 95 percent of biologists affirm the view that human life begins at fertilization. Modern advances in ultrasound technology and discoveries in prenatal development have laid the Roe Court’s view to rest, rendering the decision obsolete.

Second, the pro-life movement is increasingly calling out the anti-feminist assumptions of the abortion-industrial complex. It is anti-feminist to suggest that women need abortions to succeed in a world that still hasn’t upended patriarchal assumptions in families and the workplace. Moreover, it is inconsistent with the non-violent instincts of feminism to tie the liberation of women to the elimination of any group of human beings. Girls, furthermore, are disproportionately the targets of abortion—especially in places like China, India and parts of Eastern Europe.

Third, the pro-life movement increasingly points out the economic interests of the abortion-rights movement. We respect the personal sincerity of abortion rights proponents. Sadly, however, this social movement is inextricably tied to the interests of Big Abortion, a $3 billion industry.

Fourth news item

Looking at Biden’s and Trump’s polling numbers:

Democratic voters are looking for someone other than Biden to carry their standard in 2024: 41 percent want “someone else,” while only 32 percent want Biden and 27 percent aren’t sure. But for the 68 percent of Democrats who’ve either gone off Biden or are at least starting to look around, there is not much to pick from. Gaffe-prone Kamala Harris is polling as badly as Biden with a FiveThirtyEight approval average of just 36 percent. When the University of Massachusetts at Amherst asked Democratic voters their preferences for 2024, 40 percent remained loyal to Biden — with 80-year-old Bernie Sanders the most popular choice after Biden at 18 percent, and Harris tied with Elizabeth Warren in third at just 10 percent. In a Harvard/Harris poll, Biden retained just 36 percent loyalty and Harris came in second at 16 percent. If Biden were not to run in 2024, Harris led Sanders in that poll 31 percent to 15 percent as Democrats’ first choice — with no one else in double-digits.

Trump has generally pulled ahead of Biden in the 2024 ballot test. The RealClearPolitics average has Trump leading Biden by nearly 5 points at 46 percent to 41 percent, with Insider Advantage giving Trump a lead of 8 points. Polling from YouGov and Redfield and Wilton has vacillated, but show Trump — on average — with a small lead.

And Trump does not appear to have a problem within his own party. Most Republicans want Trump to run (53 percent, according to YouGov). Trump leads significantly in all putative GOP primary polls with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis taking second across the board. The Dec. 13 YouGov poll is closest with Trump leading DeSantis 44 percent to 23 percent, but other YouGov polls have Trump in the mid 50s, leading DeSantis by over 35 points. TIPP gives Trump a 60 percent to 11 percent advantage.

But then there is this:

When you dig into the numbers, he has significant problems. For one thing, his approval rating is just as bad as Biden’s. The latest FiveThirtyEight average has Trump at 43 percent approval. In addition, most Americans don’t want to see Trump run again — even more than oppose a Biden candidacy. According to YouGov, 59 percent do not want Trump to run, while 57 percent are against Biden running.

In that same YouGov poll, 30 percent of Republicans want someone other than Trump to seek the GOP nomination — which points to a worrying trend among Republican voters. Simply put, Trump’s support is not as strong as it seems. Trump routinely polls approval in the 80s among Republicans. The most recent January YouGov poll has Trump at 81 percent favorable among Republicans. Morning Consult has Trump at 83 percent favorable. Yet in both polls, Biden’s overall approval numbers are better than Trump’s — although both are negative.

Fifth news item

Accepting arrest warrants as ID:

Sixth news item

Oh:

Among the records that Donald Trump’s lawyers tried to shield from Jan. 6 investigators are a draft executive order that would have directed the defense secretary to seize voting machines and a document titled “Remarks on National Healing.”

The draft executive order shows that the weeks between Election Day and the Capitol attack could have been even more chaotic than they were. It credulously cites conspiracy theories about election fraud in Georgia and Michigan, as well as debunked notions about Dominion voting machines.

The order empowers the defense secretary to “seize, collect, retain and analyze all machines, equipment, electronically stored information, and material records required for retention under” a U.S. law that relates to preservation of election records. It also cites a lawsuit filed in 2017 against Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Additionally, the draft order would have given the defense secretary 60 days to write an assessment of the 2020 election. That suggests it could have been a gambit to keep Trump in power until at least mid-February of 2021.

Seventh news item

It’s 2022, this fool doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt from me. There’s a reason why he deleted this tweet:

Untitled

Sort of related:

New York Democratic congressman Mondaire Jones said on Thursday that “we are living through the worst assault on the right to vote since Jim Crow. And yesterday, on the Senate floor, white nationalists used the Jim Crow filibuster to block voting-rights legislation.”

Last week, a different New York House Democrat, Jamaal Bowman, called Arizona senator Kyrsten Sinema a “traitor” to “our democracy.”

Nice inclusive party the Dems have there…

Eighth news item

Postively, I’d be waaaaaayy more upset that a parent at my kid’s school felt okay about making this threat rather than my kid having to mask up:

The Luray Police Department charged a woman who made a perceived threat at Thursday night’s Page County School Board meeting.

According to police, Amelia King, 42, was charged with a violation of the Code of Virginia 18.2-60 Oral Threat While on School Property.

The Page County School Board met Thursday night to vote in favor of Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive order, making masks a choice for students.

During the public comment period, King said, “No mask mandates. My child, my children will not come to school on Monday with a mask on. Alright? That’s not happening. And I will bring every single gun loaded and ready.”

Video below:

MISCELLANEOUS

Simply the best:

Have a great weekend!

–Dana

Yes, DeSantis Did Indeed Falsely Suggest That Vaccines Harm Fertility

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



This is the conclusion of the Washington Post from DeSantis’s remarks yesterday, and I think they’re right:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a foe of vaccine mandates, appeared to suggest Thursday that getting a shot to protect against the coronavirus could cause infertility.

“Think about how ridiculous it is what they’re doing by trying to force the nurses” to get immunized, he said in a speech announcing funding for nursing certification programs. “A lot of these nurses have had covid. A lot of them are younger. Some of them are trying to have families.”

But there is no evidence that getting vaccinated against the coronavirus makes it harder to conceive, according to a study released Thursday of heterosexual couples trying for pregnancy. DeSantis could not be immediately reached for a comment on his remarks.

Some of my conservative friends think that the Post is engaged in a bit of mind-reading here, and that he was talking about the fact that job loss due to a vaccine mandate is difficult for a family contemplating having kids. My friend Joe Cunningham has a post at RedState where he supports this interpretation with the full DeSantis quote, which he believes exculpates DeSantis. Joe’s post is titled The Washington Post Invents a Vaccine Claim Ron DeSantis Didn’t Make. Here is his central argument (visit his post for the full argument and the links):

Nowhere in this quote does DeSantis suggest that getting the COVID-19 vaccine can affect fertility.

The speech, which was given at an event where DeSantis announced $2.3 million for nursing and vocational programs, focused on the critical medical worker shortage seen not just in Florida but around the country. The Post, as well as MSNBC and other outlets, are cutting off a key sentence from the DeSantis quote. A local outlet in Florida gives you the context you need.

“Think about how ridiculous it is what they’re doing by trying to force the nurses with these vaxes you know a lot of these nurses have had COVID, a lot of them are younger, some of them, they’re trying to have families, there’s a whole bunch of things that they have going on and so they don’t want to be forced to do it,” DeSantis said. “You see the shortages in there anyways, and now that is adding to it.”

In one sentence, it’s clear that DeSantis is talking about how vaccine mandates will only make a shortage of nurses worse. Young nurses who are wanting to get married and start families are getting let go because they aren’t getting vaccinated. It’s a controversial policy because on one hand, potentially spreading the virus from staff to patients is a medical and legal nightmare, but on the other hand, you’re looking at a shortage of nurses because of the virus and other circumstances already and letting more go only hurts the quality of care you can give.

DeSantis is looking at the mathematical equation here and deciding that it’s silly to look at a health care worker shortage and think “We need more barriers to work,” which is not an unreasonable conclusion to draw.

Interesting defense, but I think ultimately it does not hold water. Go back to the original DeSantis quote that the Washington Post cited as its evidence, and ask yourself: does he appear to be listing reasons it’s bad for nurses to lose their jobs — or he is listing reasons that people might not want to get vaccinated?

Think about how ridiculous it is what they’re doing by trying to force the nurses with these vaxes. You know, a lot of these nurses have had COVID, a lot of them are younger, some of them, they’re trying to have families, there’s a whole bunch of things that they have going on and so they don’t want to be forced to do it

DeSantis lists three factors he thinks are significant: 1) many of the nurses have had COVID already; 2) many of them are younger; and 3) some of them are trying to have families. The last phrase — “so they don’t want to be forced to do it” — to me is the key context showing why DeSantis is listing reasons people might want to forego vaccines. But even leaving that contextual phrase out of the mix, look at each of the factors.

The mention of their having had COVID is more consistent with him giving a list of reasons they do not want to be vaccinated than it is with him giving a list of reasons that being laid off will be tough on them. Why would having had COVID make it tougher for them to leave their job than someone who has not had COVID? He is citing COVID because he thinks natural immunity is a reason not to get the vaccine.

So is his mention of their being young. It’s easier to get another job as a young person than as an older person. Youth is not factor that aggravates the loss of a job. He cites youth not because he is listing reasons it sucks to lose your job; he is listing reasons people might legitimately (in his view) not want or need a vaccine. “So they don’t want to be forced to do it.” And one of those is that they want to have a family.

It is a suggestion that vaccination harms fertility. And this conclusion is only bolstered by his persistent refusal to say whether he is boosted.

This is a “gutless” (thank you, Donald Trump) pander to anti-vaxxers because of DeSantis’s presidential aspirations. That, too, is consistent with his citing a well-known conspiracy theory about vaccines and fertility.

Nice try at a defense, fellas, but I don’t buy it.

So far DeSantis has refused to comment on this. He may end up denying pushing the conspiracy theory — but if he does, I will see it as a walkback. Inevitably, if a clarifying comment is issued, is will be couched in a complaint about the awful liberal media. It will not be a convincing clarification. He will not explain why he cited COVID or youth as relevant factors. That will be the tell.

1/20/2022

Constitutional Vanguard: An After-Action Report on the Newsletter About Justice Gorsuch’s Mistake in the Vaccine/Testing Mandate Case

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:46 pm



Today’s newsletter is free to all and follows up on Tuesday’s newsletter about Justice Gorsuch’s error in the vaccine/testing mandate case. As I did in a recent post, I did a roundup of some coverage of the error, with some analysis of where that coverage was either faulty, as well as where the coverage shed more light.

I also took on some arguments that had been sent to me by a law professor who shall go unnamed.

Teaser:

After all, if OSHA issues regulations that make it less likely for a worker to lose his fingers at work, those regulations will “affect” the worker at home as well . . . by giving him, inside his home, the use of fingers that he might not otherwise continue to possess but for the OSHA workplace regulation. Ah, but if the agency itself had already disclaimed any authority to issue regulations that will “affect workers’ lives outside the workplace” . . . .then that could be seen as a major concession. And Justice Gorsuch portrayed it as such — but it is a concession that OSHA had not actually made in its 2020 brief.

Coming soon: an analysis of the vaccine/testing mandate cases themselves. That one will be for paid subscribers. You may subscribe for free (or sign up to be a paid subscriber) here.

President Biden Channels His Inner Trump

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:45 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Well, I think a lot of us saw this coming. One of the things that I thought was most interesting about the 2020 election is that Democrats and their media allies absolutely hated Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, and insisted (correctly) that his personality was toxic and (questionably) that his agenda was the road to ruin. Yet the grand Democrat axis then coalesced around the candidate who is the most similar to the guy whom they purported to hate.

Worried that the President is too old and too white to lead a nation in which youth and diversity are fetishized? Yep.

Worried that the President is a lazy ignoramus blowhard with a penchant for making up things that sound assuring but simply aren’t true? Roger that.

Worried that the President is too flippant and off-the-cuff when discussing important international affairs and thus might frighten our allies and embolden our enemies? You betcha.

Worried that the President is lecherous and of low character, treating women with far too much familiarity? Uh-huh.

Worried that the President is a petulant bully who is too thin-skinned to take criticism and expects to receive a level of respect that he hasn’t done anything to deserve? Check.

Worried that the President treats the White House media — the “gatekeepers of our democracy” — with snide contempt and disdain? Surely.

Worried that the President has used his position to further the business interests of himself and his sleazy family? Can’t really argue and it’s nothing new.

Worried that the President is at heart an authoritarian who if given the chance would be glad to bypass democratic norms and rule by fiat? Right there with you.

Worried that the President plays to the most ignorant parts of his base by making grandiose promises which he almost certainly has no ability (or even willingness) to keep? Ten-four, good buddy.

Yesterday President Biden doubled down and demonstrated yet again that we traded the rightish version of Donald Trump for his leftish doppelgänger. At his press conference earlier today, when asked if his inability to pass the Democrats’ hyper-partisan election bill might render this November’s election illegitimate, the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue borrowed a page from the playbook of his predecessor:

Following the president’s big speech in Georgia, I asked if the press was ready to put this question to Joe Biden about his hyperbolic claims in support of the Democrats’ voting and elections bills: Does Biden truly believe that, if these bills do not pass, America will not have democratic elections in 2022? Will he reject their outcomes as illegitimate?

Well, today he was asked that question, and his answer was, basically, that it depends if Democrats win:

It all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election. . . . I think it would easily be illegitimate. The prospect of it being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reformed passed.

This does not seem accidental. It comes on the heels of Chuck Schumer’s saying about passing Electoral Count Act reforms, “That makes no sense. If you’re going to rig the game and say, ‘Oh, we’ll count the rigged game accurately,’ what good is that?” When the Senate majority leader says our elections are a “rigged game” and the president says “it depends” when asked if he’ll accept the outcome of the upcoming elections, that is a dire sign for the party in power’s respect for democracy.

Of course it was just fourteen short months ago that everybody who was Virtuous & True was huffing and puffing about how irresponsible it is for an elected official — let alone the friggin’ President of the United States — to suggest that an election loss which comes in a contest held under rules that you don’t like is therefore corrupt and illegitimate.

Yet the guy who was elected not because he was particularly bright or wise or perspicacious or competent but because he was allegedly far less of a total train wreck than Donald J. Trump turns out to be a great deal like President 45 indeed. The Biden Administration thus far has been one failure after another — no, I don’t count simply passing legislation as being indicative of success, especially when that legislation has failed to accomplish its objectives — and his approval rating is today at the levels of his predecessor at the same point in the Trump Presidency, perhaps even lower.

Joe Biden has responded to his obvious organizational sputtering with his usual mixture of blarney, ignorance, obliviousness, wish-casting, bad faith arguments, bullying, and divisiveness. Despite his press team doing their usual bit to walk back or otherwise blatantly lie about the dumbest things the boss recently said, and with most establishment Democrats practically begging him to change directions and tack back to the center, President Biden gives every indication that he is too dense and foolhardy to execute a policy pivot and will continue to court the approbation of the insurgents, at least until Ron Klain has a change of heart. It promises to be a long and ugly year ahead in the nation’s capital.

– JVW

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