Judges Set Clock Ticking for IRS to Explain, Recover Missing Emails

Philip Wegmann /

The IRS has less than 30 days to detail under oath and in writing the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of former official Lois Lerner’s emails and to summarize options to recover the messages, a federal judge ruled.

Judicial Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group, has sought the documents from the Internal Revenue Service since last year as part of its ongoing lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act. The judge gave the IRS no more than 30 days, or until Sept. 10, to comply with the order.

Part of a greater compromise, the ruling handed down Thursday by Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court in Washington allows Judicial Watch to access the documents and limits the exposure to the scandal involving IRS targeting  of conservative groups. Originally, Judicial Watch requested that IRS officials testify under oath, The Hill newspaper reported.

In a separate decision Friday afternoon, another federal judge demanded that the IRS provide additional information on Lerner’s missing emails. Ruling in a lawsuit brought by True the Vote, one of the targeted groups, District Court Judge Reggie Walton ordered the tax agency to explain the disappearance, Fox News reported.

>>> Transcript: Issa Invokes Nixon in Obama’s ‘Slow Down’ Approach to IRS Probes

In the Judicial Watch case, Judge Sullivan ordered the IRS and the watchdog group to work cooperatively with another federal judge to recover Lerner’s emails, which IRS officials have said were destroyed when a computer hard drive crashed.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton called the decision  “a victory for public accountability.” Fitton expressed optimism about eventual recovery of emails, calling Judge John Facciola “an expert in e-discovery.”

The watchdog group previously had said the Lerner emails “could be critical to getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal where tea party and other conservative group applications were illegally delayed by the IRS.”

Amnesty Foe: Guard, Not Obama’s ‘Naked Political Maneuver,’ Will Secure Border - Daily Signal

Amnesty Foe: Guard, Not Obama’s ‘Naked Political Maneuver,’ Will Secure Border

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel /

President Obama’s response to the crisis on the southern border is “a naked political maneuver” because he “does not ever intend to secure the border,”  Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, charged in an interview with The Daily Signal.

King, a vocal critic of what he calls Democrats’ plans to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants who already were here, said he is relying on Texas Gov. Rick Perry, not Obama, to work to shore up the state’s border with Mexico to stem the surge of children and others from Central American nations.

The Iowa Republican told The Daily Signal:

It makes me so sad [to see young children making the journey to the border]. Of course, they are humans, but we can’t be a relief valve for all of the poverty in the world. We have to restore the rule of law. But the president does not ever intend to secure the border. Rick Perry is the only person with the authority and means to secure the border.

King, in an interview after his appearance Thursday afternoon at the Eagle Forum Collegians’ annual leadership summit at The Heritage Foundation, called Obama’s request for $3.7 billion in emergency funding would not secure the border — although it does contain more funds for Border Patrol agents, immigration judges, and aerial surveillance, among other things.

The National Guard is the only force that could stop the surge of Central American children illegally entering Texas, King said, and Perry should use it and press Obama to do the same.

In comments Thursday to Fox News, the Republican governor suggested the security problem could be quelled by adding 1,000 Guard troops to the border.

During his trip to Texas this week, in which he met with Perry but did not make stops along the border, Obama said he’d consider deploying the Guard as a short-term fix. But he said that option would do little to solve the problem in the long run.

>>> Heritage Analysis: Throwing Money at Border Crisis Isn’t Solution

King, whom many liberals regard as embodying uncompromising resistance to what they call a “path to citizenship” for illegal immigrants, said he would not support any of Obama’s spending plan if House Speaker John Boehner brought it to a vote:

Read the request and you can conclude the president has no intent to secure the border. He’s just taunting by saying in his interviews yesterday, ‘I’m interested in securing the border and appropriating 3.7 billion.’ He wants this border to be open. I know that. He is the most leftist president we’ve ever had.

Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint reflected the think tank’s analysis of Obama’s spending request while speaking to young people yesterday on the second day of the Eagle Forum Collegians gathering.

“He is asking for this irresponsible amount of money that’s not going to change things so he can make it a battle between him and Congress,” said DeMint, a former Republican senator from South Carolina.

Boehner is among Republican lawmakers who say Obama’s plan should be amended to change a 2008 law, designed to fight human trafficking, that makes it easier to deport children from Mexico or Canada than from non-contiguous countries such as those in Central America.

At least two pending bills — one bipartisan and the other sponsored by Arizona Republicans — would amend the law and expedite the Central American children’s repatriation.

The William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act requires unaccompanied children from Central America to be provided housing, united with relatives, and scheduled for a hearing in immigration court.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday that immigration agencies will begin to run out of money in mid-August without some infusion of funds from Congress.

But Johnson cautioned lawmakers against significantly changing the 2008 statute that President George W. Bush signed into law to protect children.

“[The law] reflects fundamental values and commitments of this country that we should continue to adhere to,” Johnson said.

The Obama administration increased its estimates of the child migrant crisis at the southwest border Thursday, predicting as many as 90,000 unaccompanied minors could be apprehended before the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 — the highest such figure mentioned so far.

The Ten Supreme Court Decisions This Year That Will Change America - Daily Signal

The Ten Supreme Court Decisions This Year That Will Change America

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster /

With the Supreme Court on summer recess, it’s time to review the biggest cases of the October 2013 docket. SCOTUSblog’s “Stat Pack” notes that the Court this term had a high degree of unanimity and a relative lack of 5-4 decisions. But by margins both large and small, the court issued a number of important cases.

Reasonable people can, of course, disagree about the importance of any case. In compiling my own list, I generally ranked them with two criteria in mind. First, does the case affect constitutional doctrine, either by clarifying a murky area of law or by raising or lowering a legal bar? Second, will the case have practical consequences, either by shifting billions of dollars in legal rights, or by changing standard operating procedure for government agencies or law enforcement? If a case does either or both of these things, it appears higher on the list.

Here, in reverse order, are my top ten:

10. Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA

This complicated set of cases dealt with the EPA’s attempt to regulate greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide as “air pollutants” under the Clean Air Act. In a 9-0 decision (at least with respect to the result), the Court held that part of what the EPA was trying to do was not permissible under the Clean Air Act, and part of it was. The Court ruled that the EPA went too far in terms of asserting statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gases and in attempting to “tailor” the statute to regulate only “major emitters” of greenhouse gases. However, the Court said that the EPA could impose carbon limits on facilities that already fall under permitting programs pursuant to other parts of the Clean Air Act. Even though the case didn’t deal with any constitutional rights, it is hugely important, because it involves billions of dollars of regulated activity and the fight over global warming (or global climate change, as it is now called). The decision ensures that industry and the EPA will continue to fight in federal court for years to come. At least the lawyers will be happy.

9. Bond v. US

When Carol Bond smeared dangerous chemicals on the mailbox of her former best friend (who, in the spirit of a Maury episode, was pregnant by Bond’s husband), the feds got involved. Assault is a state-law crime, but a law enacted under the Treaty Power gave the federal government an opening. Many observers expected the Court would take the case as an opportunity to opine on the scope of the Treaty Power. Instead, the Court ducked the issue. Writing for a majority of six (although the judgment on the result was 9-0), Chief Justice Roberts held that the federal law, as a matter of statutory interpretation, simply didn’t cover Bond’s conduct. Still, it’s an important case, because, in sussing out the meaning of the law’s text, the Court made clear that it will interpret treaties — and legislation implementing treaties — with an eye toward preserving “traditional state authority.”

8. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

In one of the most anticipated decisions of the term, the Court ruled that closely held corporations that have sincerely held religious objections cannot be required to provide contraception coverage. While the 5-4 opinion was littered with constitutional language, it’s important to remember that this case involved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a federal law that can be repealed or modified at any time (and which Congress can override in a subsequent statute). Indeed, Senate Democrats immediately proposed amending the law in various ways. In other words, it’s an open question whether this case will have big consequences going forward. There is no doubt, however, that it will change the public discourse about the proper role of religious freedom in our society and about the rights of corporations. Lower-court litigation over which corporations are covered under Hobby Lobby is quite likely. But the Court made two things clear. First, whether a corporation is “for-profit” or “non-profit” doesn’t matter for RFRA purposes. Second, corporations are “persons” for RFRA purposes.

7. Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

Justice Thomas penned the unanimous decision in this First Amendment case coming out of Ohio. Ohio has a convoluted scheme that criminalizes “false” statements made during a political campaign. A pro-life organization, Susan B. Anthony List (SBA), put up billboards stating that a former congressman had voted for “taxpayer funded abortion” when he voted for Obamacare. He filed a complaint with the Ohio agency responsible for investigating “false” statements. The agency voted to move forward with the investigation, but put it on hold until after the election. Driehaus lost the election, and dropped the complaint, but not before SBA sued in federal court to have the law declared unconstitutional. The Supreme Court held that the SBA could maintain its suit, because even though the complaint had been dropped, it still faced a substantial threat of enforcement of a law that burdened electoral speech. This merely sent the case back to a lower court, butthe holding could make it easier to stop the actions of administrative agencies, perhaps beyond simply those that threaten to sanction controversial speech. Particularly amusing was the friend-of-the-court brief by humorist P.J. O’Rourke and the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, arguing that “truthiness” is “a key part of political discourse.”

6. Town of Greece v. Galloway

Like many towns across America, the Town of Greece, N.Y., opens its city meetings with a prayer given by local clergy. The prayer is open to all comers, but while Jewish and Baha’i invocations were given (and a Wiccan was invited to offer the prayer), most of the invocations were Christian in nature. When two citizens sued, claiming that this practice violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, many thought it would be a slam dunk, because the Supreme Court had held in 1983 that “legislative prayer” did not violate the First Amendment. But some questioned the specific, sectarian nature of the prayers — many of which invoked Jesus. In upholding the practice by a 5-4 margin, the Court limited the so-called “endorsement” test and held that prayers which endorse “values that count as universal and that are embodied not only in religious traditions, but in our founding documents and laws” cannot possibly be unconstitutional. In other words, rather than applying one legal test or another, the Court simply stated that the traditional practice of legislative prayer is beyond constitutional debate. This case will almost certainly be used in a wide variety of Establishment Clause cases going forward, to uphold traditional intersections of religion and government.

5. Daimler AG v. Bauman

When Argentine residents sued a German car maker for allegedly collaborating with the Argentine government to kidnap, torture, and kill certain workers back in the 1970s, the question was this: Why was the suit filed in an American court? In a 9-0 decision written by Justice Ginsburg, the Court tossed out the case as violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It looks like a technical case, but Daimler AG is another nail in the coffin for creative lawyers seeking to bring international human-rights claims (and other international tort claims) in U.S. courts.

4. McCullen v. Coakley

The judges — liberal and conservative alike — all agreed that the Massachusetts law creating a 35-foot “no speech zone” around abortion clinics violated the First Amendment. The Court reiterated that state governments can pass laws to protect the health and safety of abortion-clinic staff and patrons, but ruled that there are many less restrictive ways to protect these people than placing a 35-foot no-go zone around a clinic. While four conservative justices on the Court would have gone further and held that the buffer zone was created to target pro-life speech and was therefore not “content neutral,” the entire Court agreed that the law was an “extreme step” that was unnecessary to protect the safety of those entering and exiting clinics. While the narrow issue itself is of limited importance, the case represents broad agreement among the justices both that the First Amendment is alive and well and that the Court will take the purported policy justifications for such laws with a grain of salt absent a strong evidentiary showing to back them up.

3. Harris v. Quinn

Many states provide reimbursements to Medicaid home-care providers. Often it is a family member who will take care of a sick relative and apply for money from the state. After the State of Illinois authorized unionization, a majority of home-care providers designated the Service Employees International Union to be the exclusive representative of these “employees.” Illinois subsequently entered into a contract with the union that would require all home-care providers to pay the union a fee, even if they didn’t want to join. In a ruling that could have sweeping implications for public-sector unions across the country, the Court held that this scheme violated the First Amendment rights of the home-care providers, because it required them to pay money out of their own pockets to fund speech, including political speech,that they might not support. Other “forced unionization” schemes are now suspect, including unionization of day care providers and full-fledged public employees.

2. McCutcheon v. FEC

Campaign finance was an esoteric subject until the 2010 Citizens United case, which overturned certain statutory constraints on corporate campaign contributions. This term, some were touting McCutcheon as “the next Citizens United.” In this case, the Court struck down aggregate contribution limits to campaigns. In a bizarre scheme, federal law limited not only how much someone could contribute to individual campaigns, but also how much someone could contribute overall. While the individual limits are still in place (for now anyway), the Court held that the government’s justification for the law — preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption — wasn’t served by the aggregate limits, and that the law affected a lot of innocent speech. Going forward, this case will be of significant practical impact: Wealthy donors will be able to contribute to more campaigns. But it also demonstrates that the Supreme Court is taking First Amendment concerns very seriously, and will continue to scrutinize sham justifications for laws.

1. Riley v. California

This hugely important case establishes a blanket rule for cell-phone searches by police: Get a warrant. Previously, police had argued (and some courts had agreed) that the Fourth Amendment allowed cell-phone searches without a warrant when the cell phone was seized “incident to arrest.” In other words, during a standard pat-down after arresting someone, if an officer came across a cell phone, he could search it then and there. No longer. In a 9-0 opinion by the chief justice, the Court held that, as a general matter, police need a warrant to search a cell phone seized during an arrest. This case should immediately have huge implications across the country as police are forced to change their standard procedures. Furthermore, the case indicates that the Supreme Court is capable of grappling with the legal implications of rapidly changing technology. As a practical matter, if an officer has evidence that a cell phone has been used as a part of a business selling illegal narcotics, it shouldn’t be too difficult to quickly get a warrant.
Honorable Mentions:

Schuette v. BAMN: Activists sued the State of Michigan to invalidate a ban on affirmative action that had been enacted via a statewide referendum, arguing that banning racial preferences through this process violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In a complicated ruling (3-2-1-2 or 6-2, depending on how you count the concurrences), the Court upheld the referendum and the citizens’ right to enact statewide affirmative-action bans if they so choose.

NLRB v. Noel Canning: President Obama decided to “go it alone” in January 2012 and appoint various officials to positions without the advice and consent of the Senate, asserting his authority to do so under the Recess Appointments Clause in Article II of the Constitution. The problem was that the Senate had not declared itself to be in recess and was holding pro forma sessions every three days. The Supreme Court unanimously threw out the appointments, holding that if the Senate says it’s in session, it’s in session, even if the president doesn’t get his way. The ruling assures that recess appointments will proceed more or less the way they did for all of the 20th century.

The Patent Docket: In a variety of cases, the Supreme Court continued to clarify patent law doctrine and litigation practices. Though Congress failed to pass “patent troll” legislation this summer, it might not need to if the Court continues to scrutinize this area of the law.

Originally posted on Real Clear Policy.

States That Adopt This Policy Have Much Better Economies - Daily Signal

States That Adopt This Policy Have Much Better Economies

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore /

Right-to-work is back in the spotlight, thanks to the recent Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn.

The court ruled that Illinois home care workers cannot be compelled to pay union dues to the Service Employees International Union if those workers are not union members.

This was a limited victory for worker rights against coercive unionization and forced payment of union dues of all employees. Most Americans would probably be surprised to learn that in 2014 this is not already a protected right in most states.

In 26 states, workers can be compelled to join a union and pay dues at a union shop whether they wish to or not. Under the 1935 National Labor Relations Act, workers can even be forced to pay union dues for partisan political activities with which they don’t agree.

The one exception is that under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, states may pass right-to-work laws that protect workers from being required to join the union as a condition of employment. With the recent passage of right-to-work laws in Michigan and Indiana, there are now 24 states with this workplace freedom, while the other 26 states still allow forced unionization.

In our new book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States, (with Arthur Laffer, Travis Brown, and Rex Sinquefield), we find that these right-to-work states are performing much better economically than the non-right-to-work states.

Many businesses refuse to locate a new plant in a state that doesn’t offer this worker and employer protection against coercive powers of unions. It was no geographical accident that Boeing built its new assembly plant in South Carolina and not in its home state of Washington and why the unions and the Obama administration tried to block the move. South Carolina is a right-to-work state, Washington isn’t.

The nearby charts show what a difference a right-to-work law can make for jobs and economic development. Population growth over the last decade was 13 percent in right-to-work states versus only 6.5 percent in the others.

Nearly five million Americans left forced-union states for right-to-work states, no doubt because right-to-work states are where the jobs are. Total income growth was about 10 percent higher in right-to-work states.

This refutes the argument by the Left that union power makes a state richer. If union power is such a positive force for the middle class and blue-collar workers, why are workers voting with their feet against these policies?

The answer is that Americans go to where the jobs are. And job creation is happening at twice the pace over the last decade in right-to-work states. This is a lesson that Indiana and Michigan have learned.

Both states have seen healthy job growth above the national average (even with the bankruptcy of Detroit) since workplace freedom was extended to workers.

In researching our book, we discovered that the two most important policy variables influencing the prosperity of particular states are whether a state has a right-to-work law and its income tax rate (the lower the better). These two factors help explain the flow of jobs and people from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and Southeast.

In our interviews with CEOs of major companies over the years, many told me they wouldn’t even consider moving a new plant or facility to a state unless the state has a right-to-work law. Forced-union states like Maryland aren’t even in the game.

If every state had such a law, the competitiveness of the entire nation would improve and fewer jobs would go overseas. In the spirit of 1776, I would love to see Congress amend the NLRA defining a nationally protected right to work and extend to all Americans a First Amendment right not to associate with a union.

Given the union power hold in Washington, however, that isn’t likely to happen any time soon. Until it does, every state should improve its competitive climate domestically and internationally by enacting a right-to-work law. This is one of those wonderful rare instances where states can do good and do well at the same time.

Originally posted on the Washington Examiner.

EPA Regs Likely to Kill 68-Year-Old Louisiana Peach Orchard - Daily Signal

EPA Regs Likely to Kill 68-Year-Old Louisiana Peach Orchard

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler /

RUSTON, La. — Peach orchards at Mitcham Farms, near the north Louisiana city of Ruston, have survived winter freezes, droughts and dangerous hail storms. But they evidently will not survive the Environmental Protection Agency and its regulations.

The family-owned business, established in 1946 and featured in tourism magazines, is Louisiana’s largest peach orchard,according to its website, but owner Joe Mitcham expects he’ll close up shop in only a few years.

In 2005, the federal government completed its phase out of a chemical known as methyl bromide, used to control pests in peach trees and other plants. This has given Mitcham no choice but to close, as most of his trees won’t survive without it. In fact, many already have.

The EPA claims using this chemical threatens the earth’s ozone layer and that the U.S. had to discontinue its use because of the Montreal Protocol On Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer and because of the Clean Air Act.

Mitcham told Watchdog the federal regulations also have forced him to downsize his business from 60 employees to 20 and he now struggles to cover business expenses. He took over the business from his father, he said. But he is ready to retire, and his children–and other potential buyers–have little interest in a peach tree farm in which the peach trees are dying.

“We had the potential to be a million-dollar business,” he said. “But definitely not now.”

EPA spokeswoman Enesta Jones told Watchdog on Wednesday that many of the agency’s experts on the subject of methyl bromide are “out of the office this week.”

The peach orchards remain a huge tourism draw, Mitcham said. People come from all over to see them, and they are the star of the annual Peach Festival in Ruston.

“It’s such a symbol of our area, and it’s such a part of our history and it’s such a shame that it would go away,” said Laura Jones of Ruston, who has taken her children to visit the farm. “I don’t know what that would mean for our Peach Festival.”

Agricultural experts are currently pondering the benefits of an alternative to methyl bromide, but, if approved, no one will sell it until long after Mitcham’s farm is gone, he said.

Read More on Watchdog.org.

California Mayor Says There’s No End in Sight to Border Crisis, Concerned for ‘Safety of All’ - Daily Signal

California Mayor Says There’s No End in Sight to Border Crisis, Concerned for ‘Safety of All’

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler / Monica Sanchez /

As busloads of illegal immigrants arrive in the Southern California city of Murrieta, Mayor Alan Long spoke to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about the brewing border crisis. Long expressed his concern for the “safety of all”—locals and migrants alike—and the “inhumane” conditions for the illegal immigrants.

Our Politicians Keep Surrendering U.S. Independence to Other Nations - Daily Signal

Our Politicians Keep Surrendering U.S. Independence to Other Nations

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler / Monica Sanchez / James Carafano /

Four weeks after D-Day, having fought fiercely for 28 consecutive days, American troops were still within eyeshot of the Normandy coast.

They were already short of artillery rounds, but Gen. Omar Bradley didn’t care. The commander of U.S. ground forces was determined to send the enemy a message.

And so, to mark U.S. independence on July 4, 1944, Bradley ordered every artillery piece in the American sector to fire one round at noon — in the enemy’s direction. The 1,600-gun salute sent German defenders ducking for cover along the front.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of that campaign. For many, the “great crusade” still stands in modern memory as the greatest testimony that Americans stand willing to shed their blood to protect their liberty.

Fighting to secure and preserve our sovereignty is a defining characteristic of the American people. Unfortunately, in recent years, Washington elites have become increasingly disposed to sign away that blood-bought sovereignty with a pen.

We’re talking international treaties. Under the U.S. Constitution, notes the Heritage Guide to the Constitution, Article VI treaties are, “like statutes, part of the supreme Law of the Land.’ ”

The Founding Fathers divvied up treaty powers between the president (charged with negotiating pacts) and the Congress (charged with review and approval) because international pacts are so important. Tackling issues of war, peace and commerce, treaties are vital instruments in conducting foreign relations.

In ruling on the case of Geofroy v. Riggs (1890), the Supreme Court affirmed that the government’s treaty powers extended only to topics that are “properly the subject of negotiation with a foreign country.” In modern times, however, treaties have “evolved” from instruments negotiated primarily to manage bilateral relations between countries into multinational covenants aspiring to establish “norms” in international behavior.

Signing such treaties doesn’t necessarily compromise U.S. sovereignty. But as these covenants expand in number and scope, they increasingly require Americans to conform their will to an international consensus.

The problem is Washington has become less, not more, circumspect in its willingness to sign and ratify treaties that dictate how Americans should live their lives. The Obama administration has been cheerleading for a disturbingly long list of treaties.

Recently, for example, Obama signaled that he might sign the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel land mines. The U.S. is a role model for dealing responsibly with mines and has taken a lead role in helping de-mine some of the world’s most dangerous places. At the same time, the U.S. needs to employ mines for critical military missions — like ensuring the continued stability of the Demilitarized Zone in Korea. With all the troubles the U.S. faces in the world from Ukraine to Iraq to Afghanistan, bothering about a military issue that isn’t really an issue ought to not even be on the president’s plate, let alone a White House initiative.

It doesn’t end there.

The administration has trumpeted a global arms trade treaty, even though Congress has passed resolutions stating it has major concerns with the measure and would refuse to authorize spending any U.S. funds to implement the pact. The likelihood of the Senate even considering ratification is nil.

Obama also pushed for ratification of a global treaty purporting to protect the rights of the disabled. The administration even proffered a false claim that the treaty would benefit disabled combat veterans. The measure, however, offers no new benefits to any disabled American.

For more than two centuries, Americans have fought to preserve our national sovereignty. But increasingly, those battles must be fought not just on military front lines, but in the rear where politicians seem all too willing to surrender sovereignty bit by bit.

Originally posted on the Washington Examiner.

In This State, Gun Groups Won’t Protest Target’s New Gun Ban - Daily Signal

In This State, Gun Groups Won’t Protest Target’s New Gun Ban

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler / Monica Sanchez / James Carafano / Johnny Kampis /

CULLMAN, Ala. — Alabama gun groups don’t plan any demonstrations inside Target stores like those seen in Texas, and some even argue those protests were “counterproductive” to the open carry cause.

Target last week asked its customers not to carry firearms into its stores, including in communities where open carry—when the gun is visible, instead of concealed—is permitted.

Interim CEO John Mulligan wrote on the official Target blog that “this is a complicated issue, but it boils down to a simple belief: Bringing firearms to Target creates an environment that is at odds with the family-friendly shopping and work experience we strive to create.”

Target’s message came in response to members of Open Carry Texas walking through the aisles carrying purchases such as cookies with high-powered rifles hung from their shoulders. The group was calling attention to the fact that although the Lone Star State will allow them to carry such long-barreled guns on their backs it is one of only six states that won’t permit open carry of small handguns.

The Minneapolis-based chain also likely felt pressure from the Michael Bloomberg-backedMoms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which gathered 400,000 signatures on a petition calling for Target to dissuade customers from bringing guns into its more than 1,700 stores.

Mike Godwin, owner of Mike’s Gun Shop in Pinckard, Ala., told Alabama Watchdog the Target demonstrations crossed the line and were “counterproductive to the cause.”

“There’s some common sense involved,” said Godwin, who has helped organize meetings of Alabama Open Carry. “Walking around Target with an AR-15 is a little much. You’re disturbing the peace. You’re alarming people.”

Eddie Fulmer of Northport, Ala., co-founder and president of Bama Carry, said he “can see both sides of the coin.” On one hand, Target is trying to provide a comfortable shopping environment. On the other hand, members of Texas Open Carry are fighting for their Second Amendment rights.

Neither Godwin nor Fulmer has heard of any planned demonstrations in Alabama, which allows the open carry of long firearms, despite heated Internet rhetoric on the issue.

Although he said he’s “disappointed” in Target and that he’d “rather them say nothing,” Fulmer said Bama Carry isn’t “planning on taking any action.”

The Texas demonstrations were evidently the work of a loosely formed group of Open Texas Carry members rather than the organization as a whole. Open Texas Carry released a statement saying it would continue “to honor our months-long policy of not taking long arms into Target stories or any other business … Interfering with or making a scene at private corporations is something to which Open Carry Texas has never lowered itself, a practice we will maintain.”

Read More on Watchdog.org.

Richard Scaife: The Man of Great Accomplishment - Daily Signal

Richard Scaife: The Man of Great Accomplishment

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler / Monica Sanchez / James Carafano / Johnny Kampis / Ed Feulner /

Much has been written about Richard M. Scaife since his death on July 4. It isn’t surprising. Dick was a man of high ideals and great accomplishment.

You’ll find his name prominently displayed when you walk in the front door of The Heritage Foundation, and with good reason. Dick was an early supporter of Heritage, yes. But he was also a man of ideas — personal liberty and opportunity, and freedom for all.

Dick enjoyed the give and take of policy discussions. He was a publisher and a philanthropist, but those were means to his objective: advancing the ideas he believed in.

Dick believed deeply in the superiority of the West — of our ideas, our values, our institutions and our way of life. He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to stop the decline of the West.

Over the next 40 years as we worked side by side, I was awestruck about the difference Dick made for America, for freedom and for individual citizens everywhere.

A little-remembered role of Dick, the idea man and the implementer, was his service for eight years as a member of President Reagan’s Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. I know the commitment that Dick made to these efforts, because I served alongside him as a fellow volunteer on this governmental policy board.

We traveled extensively, working with the U.S. Information Agency to promote American ideas and ideals worldwide. We advocated editorials for the Voice of America because we believed that the message of America, whether led by a Republican or a Democrat, deserved to be told in a straightforward manner.

Those who claim that Dick was somehow “out of the political mainstream” should note that his membership on the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy included two Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings and two unanimous favorable Senate votes to confirm his membership on this elite advisory body.

Dick’s experience with the print media and with broadcasting made his expertise particularly helpful as we encouraged the launching of Radio Marti, to broadcast news and views to the people of Cuba. He wanted us to reach audiences deprived of alternative sources of news and information worldwide.

On another front back home in Washington, in 1972, my now late friend and colleague Paul Weyrich and I met with Dick in his Pittsburgh office to tell him of our plans to start a new kind of think tank — one that would be located on Capitol Hill, near the “action” of policymakers in Washington, D.C. Dick gave us his enthusiastic support.

In early December 1994, I invited Dick to introduce Speaker-elect Newt Gingrich to the Heritage Foundation’s President’s Club. We expected more than 1,200 members from all over the nation at this great celebration. Dick had made many public appearances before this one, but I remember him confiding to me: “The pressure is really on. Ed, do you realize that this will be Newt’s first speech since the Republicans took control of the House?”

Needless to say, he did a fine job making his introduction that afternoon, and Newt gave a spirited presentation on his plans for the new Congress, through the “Contract with America.”

Dick joined Heritage’s Board of Trustees on April 2, 1985, and served as the vice chairman of Heritage’s board for more than 20 years. About this time, he invited me to join the board of trustees of the Sarah Scaife Foundation, which he chaired.

It was a highlight of my tenure as the president of The Heritage Foundation to join Tom Saunders, the chairman of our board, in presenting Heritage’s highest award — the Clare Boothe Luce Medal — to Dick at a special ceremony at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne Club on May 19, 2011.

Yes, Dick will be remembered as a pioneering publisher and generous philanthropist. But I will always think of Dick as the man of ideas — a leader who knew his own mind and who was eager to express his heartfelt beliefs to others. We will all miss him greatly.

Originally posted on Washington Times.

EPA Regulators Gone Wild - Daily Signal

EPA Regulators Gone Wild

Philip Wegmann / Josh Siegel / Andrew Kloster / Stephen Moore / Chris Butler / Monica Sanchez / James Carafano / Johnny Kampis / Ed Feulner / Robert Gordon /

Following the revelation that the Environmental Protection Agency plans to garnish wages without a court order to collect non-tax debts (i.e. misused grant funds, unrepaid loans or “fines, penalties or fees assessed by federal agencies”), the EPA has sought to defend its proposed rules.

The agency cites The Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996 (DCIA) as its authority for these rules and called it proposed rule “noncontroversial.” It is curious that the agency tucked these rules into the Federal Register as everyone was headed out for the July 4th vacation.

In a Politico story, part of defense offered by EPA was that it had to put these rules forward as “the same Treasury guidelines apply to all federal agencies that refer delinquent non-tax debts to Treasury for Collection.” This is not reassuring. If correct, this means we can soon expect similar rules to garnish wages without a court order from other agencies that have the power to fine citizens. Are such rules in the pipeline for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the Bureau of Land Management?

No matter what the EPA says, it is just wrong for an agency to allege violations, impose fines and then garnish wages without a court order. The whole process is stacked against citizens and ripe for abuse. There are, however, a variety of simple fixes:

 o It could do so by adding due process requirements to the DCIA, crafting procedures that would not be so stilted in favor of the agency.

o More directly, it could simply require that, in the case of fines or penalties, an agency obtain a court order for wage garnishment.

o It could even amend the DCIA to limit garnishment to non-regulatory debts.

There are other possible fixes, but the point is this: This is a problem that Congress should be easily able to analyze and fix in a bipartisan manner.

An EPA spokesperson tried to assuage fears stating that, before wages could be garnished for fines, alleged violators are given prior notice and the opportunity to “review, contest or enter into a payment agreement.”

When one reads regulations’ fine print that opportunity is not so encouraging. Under EPA’s proposed system, the agency gets to unilaterally decide whether there is an oral hearing or whether it will decide the case based on the paper record. If there is an oral hearing, EPA has unbridled discretion to choose where. So, if you are from Alaska for example, the EPA could decide the oral hearing for your alleged violations will be in Washington DC. Tough luck.

Also, according to EPA’s proposed system, when you arrive your hearing official will be someone picked by the very agency that has sought to impose the fine. EPA gets to designate any individual the agency considers “qualified” for that job. Could EPA’s view of “qualified” include the official who imposed the fines in the first place? Who knows? Finally the standards basically put the burden of proving one’s self innocent on the citizen. While most see this as ridiculously stacked, this is the EPA’s notion of“adopting hearing procedures that … provide due process.”

There is no reason to tolerate this behavior. It is regulators gone wild and should be nipped in the bud.