Kagan Confirmed

August 5, 2010

It’s official. Elena Kagan has been confirmed by the Senate as the newest Supreme Court Justice.

Here’s a previously-posted clip as a reminder of one of her views in case you mistakenly find yourself caught up in the euphoria of it all:

So much for that whole freedom of speech thing.


Reasons Not to Praise Financial ‘Reform’

July 17, 2010

In light of the Senate’s recent passage of financial ‘reform,’ here’s a video from Reason.tv noting 3 reasons new regulations won’t fix anything:

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Kagan Asked About Twilight?

July 1, 2010

I hate to keep posting clips from these hearings, but taxpayers are paying for this waste of time:

We are wasting valuable time joking with Supreme Court nominees about Twilight?

Kagan Grilled on the Food Police

June 30, 2010

It’s moments like this that make me love Supreme Court nominee hearings:

She, honestly, can’t answer the question? What’s the point in these hearings if she can’t even answer this?

The Civil Rights Act and Freedom of Association

May 29, 2010

Lost perhaps in the uproar over Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul’s views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act (CRA) is a little-discussed freedom: the freedom of association.

Paul has recently come under fire for his philosophical position that the government should not be able to force private business owners to serve as customers individuals it chooses not to. Though the 1964 CRA largely, and rightly, prevents government discrimination based on race, the controversy comes because part of the Act was passed in order to prevent racist business owners, particularly in the South, from denying service to blacks. Paul has been maligned as severely out-of-touch with reality, and, in some instances, it has been insinuated that he is catering to racists.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=rand+paul&iid=8841602″ src=”9/0/c/7/Rand_Paul_talks_9ea6.jpg?adImageId=12984123&imageId=8841602″ width=”190″ height=”285″ /]Many of the arguments of those supporting Paul’s position have revolved around property rights, the fact that Jim Crow was actually government-imposed segregation and the idea that racist businesses in today’s environment would quickly be forced to integrate or go out of business from public pressure and lack of customers. However, one less discussed argument might come from the generally accepted right to freedom of association.

The idea that individuals have a right to freely associate or chose not to associate with other individuals for whatever reason, good or bad, is referenced in both the U.S. Constitution and the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The First Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law … abridging … the right of the people peaceably to assemble,” and the U.N. Declaration notes in Art. 20: “Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.”

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Regulating Something They Don’t Understand

May 22, 2010

Want more proof that those creating the regulations whereby the rest of us must live often are guilty of having no idea about the areas in which they are regulating? Note the following from this report from the Washington Post:

Quite a few of the Senate’s aging members appear to have little if any contact with the decades-old technology of cash machines.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D), for example, told the Omaha World-Herald this week that he has never once used an ATM card, relying on human bank tellers instead. His Nebraska colleague, Sen. Mike Johanns (R), has used his ATM card less than five times. And Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member on the Senate banking committee, said he has a credit card but doesn’t use it for cash.

And then there is this revelation from Sen. Nelson:

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Debit Price Controls

May 17, 2010

Further exercising its tendency to impose arbitrary price controls, the U.S. Senate voted last week to give the Federal Reserve more power to regulate the fees banks charge businesses for debt-card swipes. To the shock of some lawmakers, “the fees imposed on debits are higher than the actual cost of processing those transactions.”

Photo by Dave Einsel/Getty ImagesIn business, charging more for a service than it actually costs is called making a profit — which, at least up until recently, was the whole idea behind businesses. But that’s not OK with pandering politicians all-to-eager to stick it to those “evil” banks.

The economic reality of this decision to control the price of debit-card fees will invariably lead to where most price controls lead: to less availability of the service. This decreased availability would come from the diminished financial incentive for banks to provide the service to businesses.

In addition, the intention of the bill is also reportedly to incentivize businesses to require certain amounts to be spent by customers before allowing them to pay via debit card. The inconvenience to customers of such an idea is obvious. If only the realities of economics were more obvious to politicians.