Comments from my Cato Institute colleagues Roger Pilon and Ilya Shapiro, as well as CEI’s Hans Bader. A “totally risk-free strategy for Democrats, as long as they are never again in the minority.” [Lowering the Bar] Patterico on the elegant consistency of the New York Times editorial page over the years (it is consistent, once you know to look for the pattern) and an unheeded 2005 prayer (YouTube, auto-plays) from then-Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.). And some further observations from Jonathan Adler.
The dioceses of Erie and Pittsburgh secured a preliminary injunction from a federal court against the so-called contraception-coverage mandate. The story is here. What is particularly important about this case, it seems to me, is that -- unlike the rulings that have been the subject of a lot of news coverage lately, and that the Supreme Court is likely to take up soon -- it does not involve the protections afforded by RFRA to for-profit entities or individuals operating businesses. It involved, instead, not only the dioceses themselves but various Catholic non-profit entities (Catholic Charities, Erie Catholic Preparatory School, St. Martin Center, etc.). And, the case -- unlike Hobby Lobby, etc. -- involves a challenge to the "accommodation," not the mandate as it applies to businesses.
Here is a bit from the news story:
The judge wrote in his 65-page opinion that he was ruling on whether "the Government will be permitted to sever the Catholic Church into two parts (i.e., worship and faith, and 'good works') -- in other words, whether the Government will be successful in restricting the Right to the Free Exercise of Religion as set forth in the First Amendment to a Right to Worship only."
The judge wrote that he "is constrained to understand why religious employers such as Catholic Charities and Prince of Peace Center -- which were born from the same religious faith, and premised upon the same religious tenets and principles, and operate as extensions and embodiments of the Church, but are not subsidiaries of a parent corporation -- would not be treated the same as the Church itself with respect to the free exercise of that religion."
If you live in one of 30 cities, you may find yourself pulled over soon at roadblocks where police and federal contractors ask to swab your cheeks, take your blood or give a breath sample to see if you're on drugs without any probable cause that you've committed a crime. Such an exciting time for your civil liberties! P
NBC DFWhas the scoop on a Fort Worth woman who was pulled over last week at a police roadblock, directed to a parking lot, and then asked for a couple of her bodily fluids in exchange for cash.P
She wasn't under arrest, nor was she suspected of a crime — she was merely being asked to participate in a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that supposedly aims to analyze how many drivers on the road are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Senate Democrats took the dramatic step Thursday of eliminating filibusters for most nominations by presidents, a power play they said was necessary to fix a broken system but one that Republicans said will only rupture it further.
Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard for nearly four decades.
It's a sad day for democracy. I explained why the judicial filibuster was a good idea in a TCS column back when the Gang of 14 saved it during the Bush administration. It seems to me the argument still apply.
I don't see it myself, but YMMV. In any case, at least it's not an actor this year. But, OTOH, why is it always an entertainer? Why not, say, a football player? How about Tom Brady, for example, who is sexy enough to have snared Gisele Bundchen? Or Cam Newton? Or Tony Gonzalez? Or David Beckham (to switch sports)?
Conservative-libertarians mope about Dodd-Frank’s subsidies to big financial institutions. They also mope about the feds’ civil and criminal prosecutions of financial institutions—like, J.P. Morgan. My view is that these things are of a piece. As David Skeel (who also spoke at the Hillsdale gig) has explained in a very fine book, Dodd-Frank cements a symbiotic, “corporatist” partnership between the government and the big banks. Wall Street lives with de facto bailout guarantees and other embedded subsidies. That’s the quid; what’s the pro quo?
Answer, the government gets to siphon off a big chunk of the profits (in the case of Fannie and Freddie, all of the profits), chiefly by means of “law enforcement” (see, e.g., the $13 billion settlement in the works between JPM and DoJ). The SEC, the CFTC, the Fed, the FHA—they’ve all become profit centers for a cash-starved Congress. That’s the essence of adversarial corporatism: the bankers get to make a boatload of money, and the government gets to treat them like a criminal class. Whether these people have actually done something wrong is secondary, if not wholly irrelevant. With Wall Street’s capable assistance, government has managed to institutionalize and monetize the perp walk.
Pay is going up for top in-house lawyers, as corporate profits rise and general counsel play an increasingly key role helping companies navigate a host of new regulations and other legal challenges.
In 2013, median total compensation for general counsel at FortuneFT.T-3.23% 1000 companies jumped 4.9% — to $1.6 million — compared to the previous year, according to a new survey to be released Tuesday by pay researcher Equilar Inc. The report is based on data from nearly half the companies in the Fortune 1000 across a range of industries. Total compensation includes base salary, annual cash bonus, and option, stock and performance-based awards.
Alsion Frankel has the dirt on Dish Network controlling shareholder Charles Ergen's remarkably shoddy corporate governance attitudes and practices, summarizing:
So to recap, this large public company appropriately appointed an independent committee to evaluate a transaction in which its controlling shareholder had a substantial personal interest. The board then declined to protect the committee through indemnification while the majority shareholder made it clear that he regarded the committee as nothing more than expensive window-dressing for a deal he would actually control. When committee members dared to condition their recommendation on a continuing evaluation of the majority shareholder’s conflict, the board effectively fired them.
There's litigation pending in Las vegas, but wouldn't you love to see what Leo Strine would do to this guy?