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Daily Digest

Jun. 30, 2015
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THE FOUNDATION

“Constitutions of civil government are not to be framed upon a calculation of existing exigencies, but upon a combination of these with the probable exigencies of ages, according to the natural and tried course of human affairs.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 34, 1788

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Some Liberties Are More Equal Than Others

One day before the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage, ACLU deputy legal director Louise Melling wrote of the organization’s newly announced hostility to Christians and religious liberty, specifically regarding its withdrawal of support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “The ACLU supported the RFRA’s passage at the time because it didn’t believe the Constitution, as newly interpreted by the Supreme Court, would protect people … whose religious expression does not harm anyone else. But we can no longer support the law in its current form. For more than 15 years, we have been concerned about how the RFRA could be used to discriminate against others. As the events of the past couple of years amply illustrate, our fears were well-founded. While the RFRA may serve as a shield to protect [some], it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others. … Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others.” It’s not exactly surprising that the ACLU would find a way to oppose such laws once Christians found refuge in them. But this is an organization that has gone to bat for the KKK and the American Nazi Party. And the irony is too much: Melling decries the imposition of views while having no problem with homosexuals forcing bakers, photographers and florists to provide their services against their consciences. Now that the Supreme Court has found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, more imposition and discrimination will occur. And the ACLU will be leading the charge. Because “love wins,” right?

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Puerto Rico Wants a Pass on $72 Billion Debt

“Death spiral” — that’s how Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla describes the commonwealth’s debt. Over the last few years, the island racked up a debt of $72 billion, or 3.5 times the amount that bankrupted Detroit. Padilla, who once vowed to repay the loans accrued by his and past administrations, now says it’s impossible and creditors should “share the sacrifices.” Problem is, Puerto Rico has been a popular place for retirees to invest because the commonwealth’s bonds are tax-free. The problem becomes stickier, as Puerto Rico cannot file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The island used to be an economic powerhouse, filled with manufacturing and a vibrant port. But Deepak Lamba-Nieves, research director for the think tank Center for a New Economy, said in 2013, “You cannot pay daily expenses with your credit card, and that’s what Puerto Rico has been doing for years. We borrowed just to keep the lights on.” Padilla doesn’t appear ready to make the difficult cuts, firing government workers, tightening its belt and getting serious about the debt. Like Detroit, Puerto Rico was destroyed by liberal politicians and their failed economic theories. Now, some will say the only way to save the commonwealth is with a bailout. Barack Obama says he won’t do so, but don’t be surprised if he proposes to “fix” the problem by floating Puerto Rico statehood again — in order to firm up some Latino support. While the offer is hollow, a narcissist like Obama would certainly be pleased with a legacy of altering the American flag.

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Brady Center’s Frivolous Suit Against Ammo Company Backfires

After the massacre at the Aurora movie theater, The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence went after the company from which the murderer bought his ammunition. The center filed suit against Lucky Gunner because it sold its ammunition online, arguing that’s “unreasonably dangerous and create[s] a public nuisance.” But not only did the judge disagree, he reprimanded the Brady Center because he said it was filing suit simply to make a high-profile political point. Judge Richard Matsch wrote in his ruling, “It is apparent that this case was filed to pursue the political purposes of the Brady Center and, given the failure to present any cognizable legal claim, bringing these defendants into the Colorado court where the prosecution of James Holmes was proceeding appears to be more of an opportunity to propagandize the public and stigmatize the defendants than to obtain a court order.” Furthermore, Matsch said the Brady Center had to pay Lucky Gunner’s legal fees. Lucky Gunner said those funds would be donated to pro-Second Amendment groups. For groups with deep pockets and a bitterness toward Liberty, an effective strategy is to silence the lovers of Liberty through suits, frivolous or no. Judge Matsch put a damper on that strategy.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

All Isn’t Lost, as SCOTUS Rebukes EPA

By Lewis Morris

2015-06-30-4f148f63_large.jpgEPA chief Gina McCarthy isn't pleased

The Supreme Court proved it still has a little bit of respect left for Rule of Law in its decision yesterday in Michigan v. EPA. In a 5-4 ruling that predictably followed partisan lines with Justice Anthony Kennedy swinging to the right, the High Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency did not properly consider the high costs of regulation of emissions from coal-fired power plants.

That this Court — the one content to rewrite ObamaCare in order to save it, twice — found the EPA went too far in rewriting the law is saying something.

The EPA, which has been pursuing the ecofascist dream of completely wiping the coal industry off the face of the earth, released a series of regulations in 2012 that would force energy producers to comply with limits on mercury and air toxins released in coal energy production. The National Federation of Independent Business said the regulations, known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), are among the costliest ever issued.

The EPA estimated the new rules would cost close to $10 billion annually, while bringing direct annual benefits of no more than $6 million. Bureaucrats also made the un-provable assertion that the rules would prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and 130,000 asthma cases each year. In developing its regulations, the EPA was expected to adhere to the Clean Air Act’s “appropriate and necessary” standard. But the agency arbitrarily determined that cost had no bearing in the development of the regulations, essentially flouting the decades-old law and choosing to make up its own rules. The EPA determined that its work protecting the environment justified whatever actions it saw fit.

Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion stated, “EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants.” Scalia also noted, “The costs to power plants were … between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” He added, “No regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California weighed in on the decision in a statement, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision today vindicates the House’s legislative actions to rein in bureaucratic overreach and institute some common sense in rule making.” That said, Congress has more work to do to rein in an out-of-control EPA, especially given that the Court left open a substantial loophole of sorts: Regulations are fine as long as the EPA “counts the cost.”

Indeed, the EPA seemed nonplussed by the decision, with spokeswoman Melissa Harrison saying, “EPA is disappointed … but this rule was issued more than three years ago … and most plants are already well on their way to compliance.” In other words, she gloated that the damage was already done and blew a raspberry at opponents.

The EPA and the White House will certainly try to play down this loss, but the Court’s decision lays groundwork for a number of other cases in which multiple states are seeking to challenge the imperial overreach of the EPA. As noted by National Mining Association President Hal Quinn, “The decision effectively puts EPA on notice: reckless rulemaking that ignores the cost to consumers is unreasonable and won’t be tolerated.”

But Justice Clarence Thomas warned in his concurring majority opinion, “[W]e seem to be straying further and further from the Constitution without so much as pausing to ask why. We should stop to consider that document before blithely giving the force of law to any other agency ‘interpretations’ of federal statutes.” We can think of a few other cases in which that logic applies, and we hope this victory isn’t merely symbolic.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Dennis Prager: “Beginning with the Supreme Court’s ban on nondenominational school prayer in 1962, the same-sex marriage decision has essentially completed the state’s secularization of American society. This is one thing about which both right and left, religious and secular, can agree. One side may rejoice over the fact, and the other may weep, but it is a fact. And what has replaced Judaism, Christianity, Judeo-Christian values and the Bible? The answer is: feelings. More and more Americans rely on feelings to make moral decisions. The heart has taken the place of the Bible. … Same-sex marriage is, above all else, the statement that male and female mean nothing, are completely interchangeable, and, yes, don’t even objectively exist, because you are only the gender you feel you are. That explains the ’T' in ‘LGBT.’ The case for same-sex marriage is dependent on the denial of sexual differences. It is the heart, not the mind, that has concluded that all a child needs is love, not a father and mother. And therein lies one of the reasons that the notion of obedience to religion is so loathed by the cultural left. Biblical Judaism and Christianity repeatedly dismiss the heart as a moral guide.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Love your country, but never trust its government.” —American writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)

Upright: “When any branch of government can exercise powers not authorized by either statutes or the Constitution, ‘we the people’ are no longer free citizens but subjects, and our ‘public servants’ are really our public masters. And America is no longer America. The freedom for which whole generations of Americans have fought and died is gradually but increasingly being taken away from us with smooth and slippery words. This decision makes next year’s choice of the next President of the United States more crucial than ever, because with that office goes the power to nominate justices of the Supreme Court.” —Thomas Sowell

Braying Jenny: “[O]ne thing you also said was that you would support a Texas state clerk who refused to issue a license to a gay couple on religious grounds. Let me ask you this: If a state clerk refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, would you agree with that, too?” —NBC’s Savannah Guthrie to Ted Cruz

Dezinformatsia: “Now’s the Time To End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions” —Time magazine

Eco-alarmism: “This December, the world must unite behind a common goal. Because look, this is it. This is our only planet, our only life source. This may be our last chance.” —Robert Redford

Demo-gogues: “We need to join the rest of the industrialized world. We are the only major country on earth that doesn’t guarantee health care to all people as a right, and yet we end up spending much more than they do. So I do believe that we have to move toward a Medicare for all, single-payer system.” —Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (Because itworked so well in Vermont?)

And last… “Obama hailed the Supreme Court decision … to uphold federal subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. He cited anecdotal evidence to claim the program is working. In a recent survey, seventy-two percent of doctors say they think Obamacare is terrific as long as you don’t get sick.” —Argus Hamilton

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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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