Archive of Articles in the "Domestic Policy" Category

The Comstock Act Needs To Go

[ Posted Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024 – 16:18 UTC ]

Up until the advent of Donald Trump in American politics, there had been a pervasive attitude among many politicians that there were certain norms and traditions that had been established and long-followed, so there was no need to codify any of them into actual laws. One of these was the belief among Democrats that Roe v. Wade was settled law and that as time went on it had become increasingly impossible to even consider that it would ever be overturned. The judiciary had staked out certain rights, so there was no need for Congress to enact the same rights -- doing so would actually be redundant.

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Abortion Will Need A Supermajority In Florida

[ Posted Monday, April 1st, 2024 – 15:18 UTC ]

The Florida supreme court just sent a very mixed message on abortion rights. In two decisions released today, the high court will allow a very strict abortion ban to take effect, but they also decided to allow an abortion-rights ballot initiative (which would enshrine the right to an abortion in the state's constitution) to appear on this November's ballot. Conservatives in the state government had been hoping that the ballot measure would just get tossed out, but the court allowed it to go forward. As I said, this was a very mixed message from the court.

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Friday Talking Points -- Old Man Misinformates

[ Posted Friday, March 29th, 2024 – 17:58 UTC ]

From the "stop me if you've heard this one" file, we suppose: An old man is running for president who is saying increasingly bizarre things... except that you might not know about it because the mainstream media only goes into a frenzy of breathless reporting when his opponent misspeaks.

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Friday Talking Points -- M.T.G. Threatens An M.T.V.

[ Posted Friday, March 22nd, 2024 – 18:18 UTC ]

For once, big things are actually happening in Congress. No, really!

As we write this, the House has passed the final budget bill for this fiscal year (by a vote of 286-134) and sent it over to the Senate. The Senate may pass it tonight, if senators like Rand Paul can restrain their natural urge to be total [insert favorite plural derogatory expletive here]. If they do throw a monkey wrench into the works, we could have a very short-lived partial government shutdown, but if it gets resolved before the weekend is over then it won't do much damage at all. Either way, the bill's got the votes to pass the Senate, so it's now only a matter of time until President Joe Biden can sign it and the budget that was supposed to be in place on the first of October last year will finally be finished.

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Slouching Towards A Budget

[ Posted Thursday, March 21st, 2024 – 16:20 UTC ]

Congress is -- finally -- about to finish the most basic of their constitutional duties: funding the federal government by passing a budget for the current fiscal year. This comes almost six months from when they were supposed to have achieved this feat (the federal fiscal year starts at the beginning of October). And what is happening on Capitol Hill right now should be familiar to anyone who knows how the process has worked in recent years -- a huge bill that wraps multiple individual spending bills together is released at the last possible minute, with no time for any floor debate or even for many people to dig through the enormous length of the bill, and with a deadline in sight tomorrow night at midnight that may or may not be met (although any partial government shutdown will likely be brief and happen over the weekend when its impacts would be minimal, at least). This is all pretty much par for the budgetary course, these days. Six months late is an outlier -- usually the budget is wrapped up (at the latest) by December or January -- but budgets nowadays are never passed on time.

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Wildly Unprofessional? Really?

[ Posted Monday, March 18th, 2024 – 16:59 UTC ]

But instead I am going to write a different very lazy column on a subject that has always peeved me no end: the insanely-generous vacation schedules for members of Congress. Here is the quote that set me off today, from a blurb of an article about the ongoing discussions in Congress to prevent a government shutdown this Friday night:

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Friday Talking Points -- R.N.C. Purge

[ Posted Friday, March 15th, 2024 – 17:29 UTC ]

This week President Joe Biden and Donald Trump both secured their respective parties' 2024 presidential nominations. Most Americans, if the pollsters can be believed (and they do all seem to be telling the same story), are not exactly thrilled with this rematch and would have preferred different choices. But we are where we are, so that's not going to happen for another four years.

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Judge-Shopping Could Get Harder Soon

[ Posted Thursday, March 14th, 2024 – 16:15 UTC ]

There is an effort underway to reform the federal judiciary in one particular aspect -- but it will not completely end the practice which spurred the reform, and already Republicans in Congress are pushing back by declaring that new laws must be passed instead of just a new rule from the judiciary. This isn't too surprising, since conservatives have had much better luck using the tactic to achieve the outcomes they desire in federal courts.

The practice is known as: "forum-shopping," or even more colloquially: "judge-shopping." If an organization wants to attack a law or policy in an attempt to get it declared unconstitutional and overturned, they seek out a plaintiff who happens to live in a judicial division that all but guarantees they'll get a very friendly federal judge to hear their case. This can lead to injunctions being handed down that affect not only the people in that district, but in the entire state or even the entire country. Rather than taking their chances with some random judge, one is pre-selected before filing the suit -- a judge who can be counted on to rule for their side.

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Biden Releases Budget Wish List

[ Posted Monday, March 11th, 2024 – 15:23 UTC ]

President Joe Biden's White House released their budget proposal document today, which only serves as a nagging reminder that Congress still hasn't finished last year's budget process and still needs to pass roughly 70 percent of the current year's budget -- a task they were supposed to accomplish last September. They've let it slip so long that the process is now lapping itself, in other words. Biden's new proposal is for the budget that is theoretically supposed to be in place by this October (but will almost certainly be delayed at least until after the election).

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Biden Knocks It Out Of The Park

[ Posted Friday, March 8th, 2024 – 17:48 UTC ]

President Joe Biden gave his third "State Of The Union" speech last night to a joint session of Congress, and he more than exceeded expectations, in multiple ways. Ol' Joe had a very good night, to put it another way.

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