Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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Supreme Court Confronts Anti-Democratic Administrative State Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, January 18 2024
Whatever logic 'Chevron Deference' possessed in 1984, the ensuing four decades have demonstrated that our federal bureaucracies are populated more by arrogant activists than benevolent technocrats.

Increasingly alarmed by Joe Biden’s record-low presidential approval ratings that somehow continue to deteriorate – this week brought more bad news with an ABC News poll showing him at just 33% – his electoral salvage team possesses few viable strategies beyond slurring former president Donald Trump as some sort of existential threat to democracy itself.  

That’s a rich Orwellian accusation coming from a party that ruthlessly works to prevent third-party No Labels candidates from appearing on presidential ballots this November, and to quash the primary challenge of fellow Democrat Congressman Dean Phillips.  

The strategy acquires additional irony on a week when federal prosecutors sought a five-year prison sentence against anti-Trump activist Charles Littlejohn, who joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in 2017 for the sole purpose of accessing and leaking the private tax records of Trump himself.  

Deepening the irony, a United States Supreme Court shaped significantly by Trump heard two cases this week that may actually restore a more democratic balance to our system of governance by reclaiming powers from the unaccountable regulatory state.  

At issue this term in the companion cases of Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce and Loper Bright Enterprises, Inc. v. Raimondo is a judicial creation known as “Chevron Deference.” 

Arising from its namesake 1984 Supreme Court decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, “Chevron Deference” refers to the wide deference granted to administrative agencies in cases where the text of a law in question is silent or arguably ambiguous.  As an initial matter, that violates citizens’ due process rights by automatically tipping the judicial scales in favor of the government and against the citizen challenging the agency, when our system of justice demands that cases be resolved in a neutral forum by impartial judges.  

More broadly, “Chevron Deference” undermines democratic principles by allowing unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats at federal agencies to effectively create and interpret laws, as opposed to executing laws as our constitutional system requires.  Granting such wide latitude shifts lawmaking authority from Congress, and it shifts interpretive powers away from courts.  

“Chevron Deference” thus violates the Constitution’s separation of powers, which grants “judicial power” to courts and envisions a judiciary that serves as a check on potentially abusive executive branch actions instead of simply deferring to them.  As settled by Marbury v. Madison in 1803, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”  “Chevron Deference” undermines that core judicial responsibility.  

It also violates the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 itself, which demands that, “the reviewing court shall decide all relevant questions of law, interpret constitutional and statutory provisions, and determine the meaning and applicability of the terms of an agency action.”  

Moreover, “Chevron Deference” created a democratic accountability problem, since murky agencies became more free to expand statutes to create new rules and regulations without the type of scrutiny, debate and oversight that the legislative process allows.  Whom can the American electorate expel from office when agencies abuse their authority and get things wrong?  

Whatever logic “Chevron Deference” possessed in 1984, the ensuing four decades have demonstrated that our federal bureaucracies are populated more by arrogant activists than benevolent technocrats.  As Chief Justice John Roberts has observed, the “Framers could hardly have envisioned today’s ‘vast and varied federal bureaucracy’ and the authority administrative agencies now hold over our economic, social, and political activities.”  

In that vein, it’s no coincidence that according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the two wealthiest counties in America, and six of the top ten, surround the Washington, D.C. area.  We are increasingly a nation run top-down by arrogant bureaucrats rewarded by stratospherically high-paying jobs immune from layoff or termination for poor performance.  They govern our lives from on high, immune from democratic checks and balances.  

That is the epitome of anti-democratic.  

“Chevron Deference” concentrates power in increasingly powerful and expansive administrative agencies, bypassing elected representatives and eroding the Constitution’s system of checks and balances and separation of powers.  By correcting its 1984 error, the Supreme Court can help restore the democratic principles that Biden and so many other critics claim to value. 

Notable Quote   
"Significantly more Americans name immigration as the most important problem facing the U.S. (28%) than did a month ago (20%). Immigration has now passed the government as the most often cited problem, after the two issues tied for the top position the past two months. The government ranked first each month from January through November 2023.In the latest poll, 20% of Americans name the government…[more]
— Jeffrey Jones, Gallup Senior Editor
Liberty Poll   

Would you feel safer riding in a self-driving car or one driven by Vin Diesel?