This morning brought yet another disappointing monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.  While…
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Image of the Day: Another Disappointing Jobs Report Under Biden, and an Increasingly Likely Explanation

This morning brought yet another disappointing monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.  While the Biden Administration continues to blindly insist that potential employees sitting on the sidelines because of cushy government unemployment payouts aren't the problem, the people who actually hire people in order to continue their operations seem to recognize a different story.  Over 9 in 10 say that worker shortages are weighing them down - far and away their biggest problem.  We know the workers are out there, but they're not taking the available jobs.


June 04, 2021 • 10:17 AM

Liberty Update

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Supreme Court Balance Could Pivot on 2012 Election Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 14 2011
Each passing year makes the [U.S. Supreme Court's] ideological current balance more and more vulnerable. Unfortunately, however, this is an issue that receives too little attention as the critical 2012 election approaches.

The United States Supreme Court just finished another term, and conservatives can again take comfort in its overall performance. 

How long that remains the case, however, may depend upon the 2012 presidential election. 

Among the most consequential rulings of the recent term, the Court held by a 5-4 margin in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Free Enterprise PAC v. Bennett that free speech protections within the First Amendment prohibit states from wasting taxpayer dollars to match private expenditures by candidates or even independent groups engaging in political speech.  In addition to violating the terms of the First Amendment, how can such public campaign finance laws be justified in this era of unsustainable government spending at the federal, state and local levels? 

In American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, a divided Court held that environmental activists cannot exploit common law nuisance causes of action to circumvent federal statutes and haul power plants across the country into court simply for emitting everyday carbon dioxide.  Again, what does it say about our contemporary political atmosphere that such a common-sense result could only prevail by a 5-4 margin? 

In another 5-4 decision, the Court held in Janus Capital Group, Inc. v. First Derivative Traders that a mutual fund investment adviser cannot be held liable for false statements that he did not actually make.  That is not a misprint.  Yet four liberal Justices would have held otherwise. 

The same can be said about the important case of Wal-Mart v. Dukes.  Lawyers claiming to represent a mind-boggling agglomeration of 1.5 million plaintiffs, who shared nothing in common other than their sex and their employer, attempted to form a class action sex discrimination case based upon alleged “common questions of law and fact.”  As stated by Justice Scalia writing for the 5-4 majority, those 1.5 million plaintiffs “held a multitude of different jobs, at different levels of Wal-Mart’s hierarchy, for variable lengths of time, in 3,400 stores, sprinkled across 50 states, with a kaleidoscope of supervisors (male and female), subject to a variety of regional policies that all differed.”  Plaintiffs even admitted that Wal-Mart corporate policy strictly prohibited illegal discrimination of any sort.  Yet four liberal justices considered that sufficient “commonality” to allow that farcical class action to go forward. 

These narrow rulings serve once again to highlight the precarious balance of this generally conservative Court. 

Specifically, conservatives maintain a narrow 5-4 margin, but Justice Antonin Scalia is now 75 years old.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, who constituted the pivotal swing vote in 14 of 16 cases decided by a 5-4 margin, turns 75 on July 23.  Justice Clarence Thomas is only 63, but would be approaching 70 by the end of the next four-year presidential term in January 2017.  Chief Justice John Roberts is only 56, but suffered a frightening seizure and fell several feet on a dock near his home in 2007. 

Take away any one of those Justices, and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is no longer an individual right, but a collective one.  Recall that in the 2008 case of District of Columbia v. Heller, and again in the 2010 case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Court ruled by a bare 5-4 majority that the Second Amendment constitutes an individual right against both federal and state infringement. 

Also recall last year’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, in which a mere 5-4 majority invalidated McCain/Feingold provisions and ruled that the First Amendment means what it says in protecting individual Americans’ right to collectively engage in free political speech.  Only one vote prevented the Court from rendering the explicit terms of the First Amendment a dead letter. 

Each passing year makes the ideological current balance more and more vulnerable.  Unfortunately, however, this is an issue that receives too little attention as the critical 2012 election approaches. 

Just imagine a re-elected Barack Obama replacing a Justice Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Roberts or Alito. 

Moreover, according to recent opinion surveys, the American public approves of the Supreme Court by a two-to-one margin despite Obama’s best efforts to demonize it.  In fact, more Americans consider the Court too liberal than too conservative.  In contrast, Obama’s approval rating continues its gradual decline since taking office.  That should tell him something. 

Regardless, the prospect of Obama achieving a Supreme Court majority and shaping American life for decades beyond his own disastrous presidency should be at the forefront of Americans’ concerns as the 2012 election approaches. 

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