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June 28, 2024 08:05 AM UTC

Friday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“You have to fail in order to practice being brave.”

–Mary Tyler Moore


23 thoughts on “Friday Open Thread

    1. One more power grab by the Supreme Court, insisting "judges know best".

      Creating one MORE argument for a variety of procedural and ethics policies to be reformed.

      1. Yes, as we know, Congress is at its best writing highly detailed instructions in every piece of legislation which is then easily and expeditiously passed into law.  Why just pass a handful of policy direction bills each year, when they have the luxury of time and the skills to pass thousands of bills to micromanage every detail of our lives?  

        Brings new meaning to the old complaint, "I didn't realize it would take an Act of Congress to …"

        1. Overruling the Chevron doctrine will mean far more litigation over agency rules and regulation. This will immediately create situations where the legislative branch has passed a general law on a given issue and empowered a specific agency to apply and enforce it. The agency will be in the unenviable position of administering a law and will have to "interpret" the law. It may not be crystal clear what Congress intends. And yet, the agency must act and in the process interpret the specific statute.  

          The decision ignores the fact agencies spend huge amounts of time holding administrative hearings and taking written comments before issuing a final rule. Agencies are required by law to do that under the federal Administrative Procedures Act. That process involves interpreting and zeroing in on the legislative intent. Could an agency be wrong. Of course, but with this decision all that work will be meaningless. This decision represents ideology over common sense.

    2. Yes, this is very consequential. From Kate Riga at TPM

      The Supreme Court overruled a key pillar of federal agency authority Friday, appropriating a massive amount of executive branch power to itself.

      In overruling Chevron, a 40-year-old precedent, the Court decided that federal agencies no longer get to fill in the gaps of Congress’ laws with their experts’ own reasonable interpretation of how to carry them out; that authority now resides in the judiciary. It’s a power grab that the right-wing legal world has been marching towards for years — and they finally got a Court activist enough to do it.

      Chief Justice John Roberts, often the tip of the spear for this movement, wrote the majority. Justice Elena Kagan, probably the Court’s best pro-agency voice, wrote the dissent, joined by her two liberal colleagues. Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas wrote solo concurrences.

      Roberts completed the takeover with very little humility. The thinking underlying Chevron deference is that agencies are staffed by experts who understand the technicalities of their subject matter, and are best equipped to mold often broad statutes into day-to-day regulations. Judges, on the other hand, have no special insight into, say, the Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations to find permissible amounts of air pollution, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s experience with how factories should be laid out.

      “Delegating ultimate interpretive authority to agencies is simply not necessary to ensure that the resolution of statutory ambiguities is well informed by subject matter expertise,” Roberts hand-waved.

      1. Kagan lists a series of Chevron questions to show how out of their depth judges will be in their new czarist role: From the Food and Drug Administration, “When does an alpha amino acid polymer qualify as such a ‘protein’?” From the Department of the Interior, “How much noise is consistent with ‘the natural quiet’? And how much of the park, for how many hours a day, must be that quiet for the ‘substantial restoration’ requirement to be met?” 

        “The majority disdains restraint,” she concluded, “and grasps for power.”

      2. Going to be interesting … as similar cases are brought to multiple federal district courts in multiple circuits, we will be finding out federal agency policies are going to be considered quite reasonable in some, very unreasonable in others.  And then there will be appeals — and Circuit courts and the Supreme Court are NOT supposed to be adjudicating the facts, but are to be calling "balls and strikes" on the administration of justice and the Constitutionality of the measure. 

        Good luck on trying to promulgate a national policy.

  1. From Heather Cox-Richardson:

    That’s not ideal, but as Monique Pressley put it, “The proof of Biden’s ability to run the country is the fact that he is running it. Successfully. Not a debate performance against a pathological lying sociopath.” 

    Trump also directly accused Biden of his own failings and claimed Biden’s own strengths, saying, for example, that Biden, who has enacted the most sweeping legislation of any president since at least Lyndon Johnson, couldn’t get anything done while he, who accomplished only tax cuts, was more effective. He responded to the calling out of his own criminal convictions by saying that Biden “could be a convicted felon,” and falsely stating: “This man is a criminal.” And, repeatedly, Trump called America a “failing nation” and described it as a hellscape.

    It went on and on, and that was the point. This was not a debate. It was Trump using a technique that actually has a formal name, the Gish gallop, although I suspect he comes by it naturally. It’s a rhetorical technique in which someone throws out a fast string of lies, non-sequiturs, and specious arguments, so many that it is impossible to fact-check or rebut them in the amount of time it took to say them. Trying to figure out how to respond makes the opponent look confused, because they don’t know where to start grappling with the flood that has just hit them.

    It is a form of gaslighting, and it is especially effective on someone with a stutter, as Biden has. It is similar to what Trump did to Biden during a debate in 2020. In that case, though, the lack of muting on the mics left Biden simply saying: “Will you shut up, man?” a comment that resonated with the audience. Giving Biden the enforced space to answer by killing the mic of the person not speaking tonight actually made the technique more effective.

    There are ways to combat the Gish gallop—by calling it out for what it is, among other ways—but Biden retreated to trying to give the three pieces of evidence that established his own credentials on the point at hand. His command of those points was notable, but the difference between how he sounded at the debate and how he sounded on stage at a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, just an hour afterward suggested that the technique worked on him. 

      1. You're quantifying something that was attributed to Adlai Stevenson in the 1950's.

        While campaigning against Ike, some woman came up to Stevenson, shook his hand, and told him that she and "every thinking person" would be voting for him.

        Stevenson's reply: "Oh that won't do. I need a majority."

  2. The SCOTUS also upheld the right of municipalities to ban homeless camps.

    In the "religious wacko" department, the conservative Oklahoma Attorney General recently won a case at the OK S.C. stopping state money from supporting the nation's first ever religious charter school.

    But, and maybe the next case up for the AG, is the recent announcement from the OK School Superintendent, Ryan Walters, requiring all public schools to post the 10 Commandments and requiring public schools to teach the Bible. Hasn't the US been down this road before?

  3. Biden is giving a speech in Raleigh, NC right now. I watched the first five minutes. It was the exact opposite of what he did last night.

    Sentences coherent and complete.

    Loud and animated.

    Getting off sound bites (e.g., "Donald Trump is a one-man crime wave").

    He even had the Greek chorus behind up chanting, “Lock him up!” whenever Biden mentioned Trump’s name.

    Unfortunately, more people watched last night than this morning.

    Biden has a difficult decision to make in the next two months – cancel or go forward with the September debate. Then again, Trump may cancel if his poll numbers are still good and he realizes that there's virtually no chance he can hold himself together and behave as well as he did last night.

    1. I think if Biden limits himself to scripted events, he'll lose. Last night put a giant question out there – was that a one off or is Biden not able to think & respond quickly and can only read a script. I'm not saying he can or can't as we don't know. But if that question is not unequivocably answered, then I think he loses.

      I wrote more about it here (takes this election to get me posting again).

      1. I'd agree — Biden should not campaign on scripted events alone.  I wonder what would happen if Biden's campaign offered media outlets 45-minute interviews on different broad topics. Same format as the debate, minus the distraction of Trump. Free choice of two or three to ask questions.  For example,

        • crimes and punishments (including immigration)
        • domestic economy (including taxes, tariffs, and program-driven economic development)
        • foreign policy (including diplomacy, economic relations, and military)
        • government social safety net (including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, ACA, SNAP, & TANF programs)


          1. During my school days. I competed in debate, but also in academic competitions. One of the guys on one of my teams was a guy named Bill. Bill was considered by practically everyone (including me) to be the smartest guy in school. He was not very useful, however, in contests that required rapid responses. His thinking, however brilliant, was just a little ponderous. He hated to be wrong so he overprocessed his answers and, though correct, they were too late. 

            To any who think Joe fumbled…OK, he did. But I'll bet he will be ready next time.

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