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.

No More Bank Bailouts?

May 9, 2010

A bit of good news coming out of the financial reform efforts in the U.S. Senate: An amendment preventing any future bailouts of financial institutions was adopted 96-1. In addition, the so-called “bailout” slush fund of $50 billion to wind down failed banks was dropped 93-5.

The process is certainly not over, so these changes may not stick. But, as a break from the cynical points often made on this blog, I thought I’d share some evidence of hope. Time will tell.

Reasserting Political Power

April 13, 2010

A recent Politico report starts off by claiming that liberal Democrats in the Senate will be pushing to tighten regulation of Wall Street as a way to “reassert their power.” If that doesn’t sum up the problem with politics, what does?

The following is the lede for the report:

It’s not that they genuinely see stricter regulation as the right thing to do. No, they view it as a way to strut their political power.
The type of power that politicians have is the power to tell other people what to do. For better or for worse, that is the unfortunate result of politics: One group of people forcibly telling another group how to live their lives, without regard for any notion of rights or limited government.

Obamacare: Bring on the Lawyers!

March 23, 2010
* The following was originally posted on the Young Americans for Liberty blog:

The newly passed health-care “reform” bill and the amendments to be made to it through the reconciliation process should be great fodder for lawyers around the country. ProPublica has posted a side-by-side comparison of the passed Senate bill and the proposed changes.

The most important form of litigation, of course, should be challenging the constitutionality of the bill. Besides its uncomfortable level of paternalism, “Obamacare” is in truth unconstitutional in several aspects — particularly the individual mandate.

Proponents will no doubt try to justify the bill using the two clauses in the Constitution often used by those seeking dubious justification for their expansions of government power: the commerce and general welfare clauses (both found in Art. 1, Sec. 8). Expansive interpretations of those two pieces of the document have been used countless times in the past to bolster the scope of the federal government’s authority to regulate and tax.

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