No Deal Still Better Than a Bad Deal on Iran Nukes

James Phillips /

Not surprisingly, the artificial June 30 deadline set for concluding the P5&1 nuclear talks won’t be met.

The deadline backfired against the United States in part because the Obama administration has made it clear it wants a nuclear agreement more than Tehran seems to, giving the Iranians bargaining leverage they have used shrewdly.

The administration’s downplaying of the military option and frontloading of sanctions relief early in the interim agreement has reduced Iranian incentives to make concessions and rapidly reach an agreement. Iran instead has backed off from some key concessions it made in the April 2 Lausanne framework agreement.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week proclaimed a set of red lines that would preclude any acceptable nuclear deal. Some analysts have interpreted Khamenei’s pronouncement as a bargaining tactic, but it also could be the death knell for the talks.

The supreme leader’s intervention goes beyond a good cop/bad cop routine conveniently orchestrated for bargaining purposes. His intervention poses a broader problem: Any agreement signed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani can be disregarded, undermined or rejected outright by the supreme leader, who holds veto power over every important decision made by the government.

This longstanding tension between Iran’s national interests and the ideological drive of its Islamist revolution, as interpreted by the supreme leader, is one reason Iran cannot be trusted to fulfill commitments made by the regime. President Rouhani guides the nuclear negotiations, but the nuclear weapons program actually is run by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which reports directly to Khamenei.

Khamenei may be too rigidly opposed to the United States to permit an acceptable deal. As final arbiter of Iran’s most important policy questions, he can block all progress.

Washington may have to wait for Khamenei to be replaced by a new supreme leader to negotiate a viable nuclear agreement. The 75-year-old Khamenei reportedly has suffered from bad health, including at least one operation for prostate cancer.

Khamenei issued his red lines to minimize Iranian concessions, restrict the scope and intrusiveness of any inspection regime and maximize Iran’s future options on nuclear weapons.

The Obama administration claims the Lausanne framework agreement provides for an unprecedentedly intrusive inspection regime. But Iran already has walked away from some of those commitments. Moreover, Saddam Hussein’s regime was subject to much more intrusive inspection arrangements after the 1991 Gulf War but frequently blocked and circumvented inspections for 12 years until he was ousted in 2003 by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Several U.S. allies are alarmed by the deep concessions already made by the administration. Israel, which is within range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, has warned that it reserves the right to take military action to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure if the agreement fails to provide adequate safeguards against Iran attaining a nuclear capability.

Saudi Arabia, whose king pointedly boycotted the White House’s summit at Camp David in May as a sign of unhappiness with U.S. Iran policy, also is unhappy with the trajectory of the nuclear negotiations. Riyadh has demanded it receive every nuclear concession Iran does, and it has entered into negotiations with France to build civilian nuclear reactors, a possible first step towards a full-fledged nuclear weapons program.

Congress also is increasingly critical of the administration’s handling of the Iran talks. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a letter to the president earlier this month urging him to walk away if Iran does not agree to “anytime anywhere” inspections.

Even some former senior officials who were involved in formulating the administration’s policy on the Iran nuclear issue last week warned, in an open letter organized by the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, that the emerging deal “may fall short of meeting the administration’s own standard of a ‘good’ agreement.”

President Obama should heed these widespread calls for caution and rule out a rush to failure by signing a flawed and risky nuclear agreement. If Iran continues to drag its feet in the negotiations, then the United States should adjourn the talks until Tehran is willing to make the necessary concessions to guard against possible nuclear proliferation.

At a minimum, this would require dismantling substantial portions of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, particularly the Fordo and Natanz uranium enrichment facilities and Arak heavy water reactor; robust inspections on an “anytime anywhere” basis and real-time monitoring of Iranian nuclear facilities; phased sanctions relief linked to Iranian compliance with its commitments; Iran coming clean on its weaponization efforts; and a clear and rapid process for re-imposing all sanctions if Iran is caught cheating.

>>> The Iran Nuclear Negotiations: Understanding Key Issues

A New Challenge to the Constitutionality of Capital Punishment - The Daily Signal

A New Challenge to the Constitutionality of Capital Punishment

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. /

Today, by a 5-4 vote, the court in Glossip v. Gross upheld a lower court’s ruling that a particular combination of drugs may be used to execute a condemned prisoner by rendering him unconscious and stopping his heart.

Justice Samuel Alito wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote the principal dissent. They disagreed over, among other things, the effectiveness of the sedative used to render a condemned prisoner unconscious. Yet, the more provocative and troubling aspect of the case is what Justice Stephen Breyer said in his separate dissenting opinion.

Breyer questioned whether the death penalty can be used as a lawful punishment in any case, regardless of how painlessly the sentence is carried out. The result is that, once again, a member of the Supreme Court has raised the fundamental issue whether capital punishment is ever a permissible penalty under the Constitution.

Traditionally, the states used hanging, firing squads, or electrocution to execute a condemned prisoner. In the 1970s, states turned to a three-drug combination as a more human execution method: 1) sodium thiopental to induce unconsciousness, 2) a paralytic agent to inhibit muscular-skeletal movements, and 3) potassium chloride to induce cardiac arrest.

In 2008, the Supreme Court upheld that execution method in Baze v. Rees. Recently, however, states have had difficulty obtaining sodium thiopental because anti-death-penalty advocates have pressured pharmaceutical companies to prevent it from being used in executions, and the European Union has not allowed foreign pharmaceutical companies to ship it to states that would use it for executions.

Oklahoma, therefore, decided to use midazolam as the new first drug. Inmates sued, claiming that midazolam would not render them incapable of feeling pain. The district court denied the prisoners’ request for a preliminary injunction, and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. After granting review, the Supreme Court also affirmed.

Writing for the majority, Alito concluded that capital punishment is a permissible sanction for certain crimes, so the states must be able to carry out those sentences. To prevail on their Eighth Amendment claim, a condemned prisoner would need to identify a method of execution that entails a lesser risk of pain than midazolam, and the prisoners in Glossip had failed to do so. The prisoners also failed to establish that the district court had committed a clear error when it found that use of a massive dose of midazolam in its execution protocol would not create a substantial risk of severe pain.

Sotomayor, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, disagreed in both respects.

The majority’s decision is an important one because it rejected, at least for now, an oft-raised objection to the new execution drug protocol. But that ruling is actually the less important aspect of Monday’s decision. More important is that, once again, two Justices have doubted whether the death penalty can ever be used.

Breyer, joined by Ginsburg, dissented on the ground that capital punishment is “highly likely” to be per se unconstitutional for three reasons: 1) the guilt-innocence determination in capital cases is often seriously unreliable, 2) capital punishment is arbitrarily imposed; and 3) the delay between the imposition and execution of a capital sentence is unconscionably long, undermining the death penalty’s penological value.

In reaching that conclusion, Breyer relied heavily, not on the text of history of the Constitution, but on social science studies and law review articles. He would have called for full briefing and argument on the constitutionality of capital punishment.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas refused to take that suggestion lying down. They filed separate—very spirited—concurring opinions criticizing the suggestion that capital punishment is invariably unconstitutional, and each one joined in the other’s opinion.

Scalia found Breyer’s opinion “full of internal contradictions and (it must be said) gobbledy-gook.” Thomas also concluded that Breyer’s argument was not only legally unpersuasive, but also morally offensive. In his words, “We owe victims more than this sort of pseudoscientific assessment of their lives. It is bad enough to tell a mother that her child’s murder is not ‘worthy’ of society’s ultimate expression of moral condemnation. But to do so based on cardboard stereotypes or cold mathematical calculations is beyond my comprehension.”

Capital punishment abolitionists are nothing if not tenacious. Some people have opposed the death penalty on moral grounds as long as it has been used, but the modern-day efforts have tried to take advantage of the law rather than ethics or public opinion to put an end to it.

Abolitionists almost succeeded in 1972 when the Supreme Court held in Furman v. Georgia that the capital sentencing procedures then used in every state were flawed. The abolitionists suffered a loss four years later when the court held in Gregg v. Georgia that the death penalty is not invariably unconstitutional and another loss in 1987 when the court in McCleskey v. Kemp rejected the argument that the death penalty is inevitably infected with racism. But the abolitionists never abandoned hope, and they will not do so after today’s loss.

The Supreme Court’s Glossip decision is just another way station in a campaign against capital punishment that more closely resembles the Hundred Years’ War than the Invasion of Grenada.

The court will be eager to see if Breyer and Ginsburg will follow the lead of their predecessors Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall. The latter decided in the Furman case in 1972 that the death penalty was per se unconstitutional, and they held those views as long as they remained on the bench. In fact, they continued to dissent in every subsequent Supreme Court action that upheld a death sentence or refused to strike one down for the remainder of their careers on the Supreme Court.

Now, we will wait to see if Breyer and Ginsburg will do the same. Perhaps they will. The people who tried to defend the actions of Justices Brennan and Marshall argued that their position was justifiable—indeed, laudable—because “death is different” (a factor that the same parties and their allies seemed to overlook when the issue was whether Roe v. Wade should be overruled, but hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue). Or perhaps Justices Breyer and Ginsburg won’t follow their predecessors.

No one likes to be called a politician or a hypocrite, even when you hold your job for life. We will have to wait and see what they will do, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Breyer and Ginsburg will never vote to uphold another death penalty—while trying to justify their votes on the ground that “No one in good conscience could vote to uphold a capital sentence as long as the validity of the death penalty remain in question.” Keep your eyes open.

Supreme Court Rules Against Obama’s Energy Regulation - The Daily Signal

Supreme Court Rules Against Obama’s Energy Regulation

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson /

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday delivered a significant setback to the Obama administration and its environmental plan to curb emissions from power plants.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must consider the financial costs of regulations to power plants.

>>> Commentary: Ruling Against EPA a ‘Victory for Common Sense’

The court’s majority opinion argued that the EPA “unreasonably” deemed the cost of compliance “irrelevant.”

“One would not say that it is even rational, never mind ‘appropriate,’ to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the court’s majority opinion.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is allowed to regulate power plant emissions if regulations are “appropriate and necessary.”

In 2012, the agency finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, the first national standard to reduce air pollutants from coal and oil-fired power plants.

However, 23 states challenged the EPA’s regulations arguing that the agency failed to take into account the financial burden of the standards.

Initially, the EPA neglected to consider the compliance costs for the proposed standards, arguing that the regulations were “appropriate” because the emissions posed a risk to the environment and human health.

As the rule approached finalization, the EPA estimated it would cost the industry $9.6 billion annually.

In a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Elena Kagan defended the EPA’s action and regulatory process.

“The agency acted well within the authority in declining to consider costs at the opening bell of the regulatory process given that it would do so in every round thereafter.”

Nick Loris, an energy expert at The Heritage Foundation, argues that the lack of cost-benefit analyses in the EPA’s regulatory process is troublesome.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is a clear demonstration that unelected regulators have gone too far and serves as an important reminder that the agency’s regulation is all cost and no benefit.”

The case will now return back to the lower courts, offering the EPA an opportunity to consider costs of the rule.

Supreme Court Decision Against EPA a ‘Victory for Common Sense’ - The Daily Signal

Supreme Court Decision Against EPA a ‘Victory for Common Sense’

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst /

Today, the Supreme Court in Michigan v. EPA held that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly ignored costs when it decided to regulate hazardous air pollutants from power plants. The court, in this 5-4 opinion, struck down this extremely costly rule, known as Utility MACT or Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS).

Under Section 112 of the Clean Air Act, which applies to power plants, the EPA administrator shall regulate if the regulation is found to be “appropriate and necessary.” According to the EPA, they didn’t have to consider cost when deciding to regulate, even though the statute specifically says that the regulation has to be “appropriate.”

Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, explained, “[a]gainst the backdrop of this established administrative practice [consideration of cost], it is unreasonable to read an instruction to an administrative agency to determine whether ‘regulation is appropriate and necessary’ as an invitation to ignore costs.”

The EPA was going to ignore an astonishing amount of costs. The EPA estimated the costs to be $9.6 billion annually. This compared to benefits of $4 million to $6 million annually. As pointed out by Scalia, “[t]he costs to power plants were thus between 1,600 and 2,400 times as great as the quantifiable benefits from reduced emissions of hazardous air pollutants.” As the court succinctly explained, “[n]o regulation is ‘appropriate’ if it does significantly more harm than good.”

The EPA claimed that there were ancillary benefits, anywhere from $37 billion to $90 billion per year. These alleged ancillary benefits included reductions in particulate matter and sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants, both regulated under a different section of the Clean Air Act (not Section 112). The agency didn’t take these benefits into account when deciding to regulate. In fact, the EPA’s regulatory impact analysis didn’t play a role in determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate.

Courts often give significant deference to agencies and their interpretation of statutes. Instead of performing the proper judicial role of analyzing whether an agency in fact has authority to regulate under a statute, courts merely review the agency’s interpretation of a statute and determine if it is reasonable. This type of inappropriate deference is a critical reason why agencies have so much power. Justice Clarence Thomas does an excellent job of discussing the constitutional limitations of such deference in his concurring opinion.

Even applying deference, the court still struck down the regulation, arguing that the EPA went beyond the bounds of a reasonable interpretation when it interpreted Section 112 “to mean that it could ignore cost when deciding whether to regulate power plants.”

This opinion is certainly an important victory for common sense. However, unless Congress takes action to address EPA’s abuses and to rein in the excessive power that Congress itself delegated to the EPA, there will be many more lawsuits in the foreseeable future, and the results may be far less favorable.

Avian Flu Could Be the ‘Worst Animal Disease Outbreak’ in Iowa’s History. Why That Matters. - The Daily Signal

Avian Flu Could Be the ‘Worst Animal Disease Outbreak’ in Iowa’s History. Why That Matters.

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen /

Almost 50 million bird flocks in more than 20 states, not to mention the biosecurity of the nation, seem to be under the weather with the current Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza outbreak.

Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Poultry Association, called it the “worst animal disease outbreak in the history of Iowa and potentially the history of the U.S.” He said the last 2 ½ months have “been in some state of a new normal … trying to manage through this disease outbreak.”

The Avian Flu has been felt by farmers, employees and communities in Iowa and throughout the nation. In Iowa, 33.7 million chickens and turkeys have died of the disease or been euthanized to prevent its spread, and more than 1,500 workers are expected to lose their jobs. Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has requested that four counties be declared federal disaster areas.

April 9, 2015 - Melrose, MN, U.S. - A turkey farm effected by the bird flu Thursday, April 9, 2010, in Melrose, MN.](DAVID JOLES/STARTRIBINE)djoles@startribune.com DNR officials scour the banks of the Sauk River for waterfowl droppings, hoping to find a link to a bird flu that is sweeping through turkey-producing country. Nine Minnesota turkey farms have been hit by the bird flu in recent days. (Credit Image: © David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMA Wire) (Newscom TagID: zumaamericastwelve753206.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

A turkey farm affected by the bird flu in Melrose, Minn. (Photo: David Joles/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

Iowa—the nation’s largest egg producing state—has lost 25 million of the nation’s leading flock of 60 million egg laying hens.

And for consumers? There has been an uptick in the price of eggs. Julie Bolhuis, owner of Heavenly’s A Creative Bakery in Iowa Falls, Iowa, told The Daily Signal, “We have to buy eggs no matter what. We’re a bakery. Everything has eggs in it.”

Bolhuis says Heavenly’s goes through at least 3-4 cases of eggs per week. The bakery gets as many eggs as possible from a local farmer—who has not significantly raised egg prices—but Bolhuis must go through a food vendor to get the rest.

“We have to suck it up and pay triple the price,” Bolhuis said.

The family-owned bakery now pays $45 per case of 15 dozen eggs compared to the previous $15 per case. A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Iowa egg production dropped 21 percent in May alone.

Bolhuis says the bakery sticks to its formulas for its famous sugar cookies and other recipes but makes fewer of each item to allay the costs.

A shopper checks for broken eggs in a supermarket in New York on Wednesday, June 3, 2015. The worst outbreak of bird flu in the U.S. has caused the death of almost 45 million chickens and turkeys  causing wholesale prices to double in the last month. Over 10 percent of all the hens have died.  (© Richard B. Levine)  (Newscom TagID: lrphotos091535.jpg) [Photo via Newscom]

A shopper checks for broken eggs at a supermarket in New York. (Photo: Richard B. Levine/Newscom)

And it’s not just eggs. Bolhuis said Heavenly’s, which also serves breakfast and lunch, was unable to order the turkey it normally uses for its sandwiches because of the problem and had to substitute another kind.

According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, at least 30 countries have put restrictions on accepting U.S. poultry exports, including a ban on all U.S poultry products by China, South Korea, South Africa and Thailand.

Bolhuis said she wants to hold off on price increases in hopes the situation will return to normal soon. But it’s not easy.

“All food businesses get hit in one way or another at some point,” Bolhuis said. “It’s whether you can weather the storm and make adjustments. It’s part of playing the game in the food business. You’re not in control.”

Farm owners are learning the same lesson as Bolhuis and her bakery.

The infected barns need to go through an extensive cleaning and disinfecting process before repopulating bird flocks can begin. When asked about the projected length of the rebuilding process for farm owners, Olson said, “It’s too early to tell. In some cases we anticipate farms to be repopulated yet this year. Some estimates have been in order to be fully repopulated it might take up to 12, 18 or even 24 months.”

Lastly, Olson emphasized, “I want to remind everybody that the food is safe to eat and that there is no human health consequence to this disease. It’s very serious for the birds that are infected, but it is only an avian disease not a human disease.”

Supreme Court Decides ‘Legislature’ Doesn’t Really Mean ‘Legislature’ - The Daily Signal

Supreme Court Decides ‘Legislature’ Doesn’t Really Mean ‘Legislature’

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen / Hans von Spakovsky /

Today, in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the four liberal justices joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy (again) refused to follow the Constitution (again) by throwing out a claim that had been filed by the Arizona state legislature challenging a ballot proposition that stripped the legislature of its redistricting authority.

In 2000, a ballot initiative approved by voters in Arizona transferred all redistricting authority from the state legislature to an “independent” redistricting commission, although as Chief Justice John Roberts said in his dissent, the supposedly independent commission “does not seem so ‘independent’ in practice.”

The legislature claimed this initiative violated the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which provides that “the times, places and manner” of congressional elections “shall be prescribed in each state by the Legislature thereof” unless Congress alters such laws or regulations.

That language couldn’t be clearer, since it very directly and very specifically gives authority over redistricting—which falls within the scope of determining the “times, places and manner” of an election—to state legislatures like that of Arizona.

Yet in an astonishing opinion that denied the legislature’s claim, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent 35-pages in essence denying that the term “legislature” really means “legislature” and talking about the “policy” implications of having legislative issues and redistricting done by “the people” through the initiative process and redistricting commissions. The majority claims that while redistricting is a legislative function, there is no constitutional barrier to a state’s empowerment of its people by embracing the referendum as a form of lawmaking.

The dominant purpose of the Elections Clause was to empower Congress to override state election rules, not to restrict the way states enact legislation. Supposedly, the Election Clause, by specifying “the Legislature thereof,” does not require assignment of congressional redistricting authority to the state’s representative body.

Roberts correctly calls this “disconnected observations about direct democracy” and “naked appeals to public policy.” While the majority begins “by discussing policy,” Roberts (in a dissent joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito) starts “with the Constitution.”

The majority’s entire opinion is spent trying to obscure what they are obviously doing, which is to implement the public policy they like—redistricting commissions—despite the clear constitutional barrier. This, as Justice Scalia says in a separate dissenting opinion, is the “willful product of [their] hostility to districting by state legislatures.”

Roberts points out the total absurdity of the majority’s arguments in the very first two paragraphs of his dissent when he talks about the history of the 17th Amendment and its relationship to Arizona. The 17th Amendment transferred the power to choose U.S. senators from state legislatures to the people. Arizona was the second state to ratify the amendment over a century ago. That amendment was the result of “an arduous, decades-long campaign in which reformers across the country worked hard to garner approval from Congress and three-quarters of the States” as required for the approval of a constitutional amendment:

“What chumps! Didn’t they realize that all they had to do was interpret the constitutional term ‘the Legislature’ to mean ‘the people?’ The court today performs just such a magic trick with the Elections Clause.”

As Roberts says, and as is clear to anyone who reads the majority’s opinion, that opinion “has no basis in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution, and it contradicts precedents from both Congress and this court. The Constitution contains 17 provisions referring to the ‘Legislature’ of a state, many of which cannot possibly be read to mean ‘the people.’” The majority “has no power to gerrymander the Constitution,” although that is exactly what they have done.

Scalia and Thomas also both argue that the Supreme Court did not have jurisdiction over this issue because the state legislature does not have standing to assert a claim against another entity of state government. However, Scalia added that while he would normally add no opinion on the merits, the majority’s opinion is “so outrageously wrong, so utterly devoid of textual or historic support, so flatly in contradiction of prior Supreme Court cases,” that he could not avoid adding his vote “to the devastating dissent of the Chief Justice.”

So Justices Ginsburg, Kennedy, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, have now adopted the strange and strained view of constitutional interpretation, where the meaning of the word “legislature” depends on how you define it; or in this case, how five justices of the Supreme Court decided to define it. And why not? After all, as Chief Justice John Roberts says, “Why go through the hassle of writing a new provision into the Constitution when it is so much easier to write an old one out?”

Ohio Moves to Ban Late-Term Abortions - The Daily Signal

Ohio Moves to Ban Late-Term Abortions

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen / Hans von Spakovsky / Kate Scanlon /

The Ohio Senate has passed legislation that would prohibit late-term abortions in the state.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would ban abortion after 20 weeks—roughly halfway through a pregnancy.

The Republican-controlled Senate approved the legislation last week in a 23-9 vote along party lines. The bill will be considered by the House, which is also dominated by Republicans.

The legislation contains a narrow exception for medical emergencies, but not for rape or incest.

If imposed, the ban would affect a small number of pregnancies. According to Planned Parenthood, almost 99 percent of abortions in the U.S. occur before 21 weeks.

In an interview with The Daily Signal, bill sponsor Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, said that there is “mounting evidence” that the unborn feel pain by 20 weeks.

“We’re learning more and more from science and medicine, we’re seeing more and more evidence that the unborn feel pain at 20 weeks,” Hottinger said.

Hottinger said that many people who identify themselves as pro-choice support restrictions on late-term abortions.

Hottinger added that the U.S. is one of only seven countries—which also include North Korea and China—that permit abortion beyond 20 weeks.

State Sen. Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the legislation would enact “one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country.”

“I trust women,” Tavares said. “I trust that we have the capabilities to make the decisions about what is best for us and our families.”

Ohio Right to Life has identified the bill as their “premier legislation for 2015.”

Stephanie Ranade Krider, the executive director of Ohio Right to Life, praised the “momentous” vote in a statement.

“With the Ohio Senate, we are leading Ohio down a historic path that is redefining the abortion debate in America,” Krider said.

“Ohio is poised to make a real difference in how we promote and protect the dignity of every human life in our state,” she added.

If passed by the House, Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Kasich is reportedly preparing to launch a presidential campaign.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 60 percent of Americans and 59 percent of women support legislation banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In May, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Earlier this month, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced the legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Fatherhood and Marriage Bring Out the Best in Men - The Daily Signal

Fatherhood and Marriage Bring Out the Best in Men

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen / Hans von Spakovsky / Kate Scanlon / Vanessa Calder /

Is fatherhood becoming a relic of the past?

The sad absence of fathers in American families is pervasive and has been growing for decades. In the 1960s, less than 10 percent of American children were born to single women, but as of 2013, the number had increased to 41 percent. Among Hispanic children, 54 percent are born to unwed mothers, and the figure is 72 percent for African-American children.

The institution of fatherhood is not merely a passé throwback to the mid-20th century. Active and engaged fatherhood is an integral part of nature’s design. As Rutgers University’s David Popenoe states, “The contribution of fathers to child-rearing is unique and irreplaceable.”

Research shows the absence of fathers in the home is associated with poorer outcomes for children. Children with involved fathers are more likely to graduate from college, and children raised by both their married mothers and fathers are far less likely to be poor and less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors or become teen parents.

But children are not the only ones who benefit; fatherhood and marriage bring out the best in men, too. Recent studies show fatherhood facilitates biological changes that are linked to reductions in risky behavior for men and reduced anger and increased empathy.

Married men also are more likely to be healthy, practice self-control and remain engaged in the workforce. Marriage is lucrative as well. A 2014 American Enterprise Institute study found married men ages 28-30 are likely to earn $15,929 more a year than their single peers, and married men ages 44-46 earn $18,824 more than their single peers.

Unfortunately, government welfare policy penalizes marriage and therefore committed fatherhood. If a father marries the mother of his children, household income will increase provided the father works, which means the family can abruptly lose some or all welfare assistance.

Marriage is one of the best antidotes to child poverty and keeps fathers connected to their children. At the very least, policymakers must look for ways to reduce marriage penalties. In order to provide men and their children with the best opportunities for growth and development, leaders must look for ways to restore a culture of marriage.

Policies that do not undermine marriage can help encourage fathers’ relationships with their children and restore the prominence of married fathers in their children’s lives.

After Supreme Court Rulings, Martin O’Malley Celebrates ‘Tremendous Week’ With Iowans - The Daily Signal

After Supreme Court Rulings, Martin O’Malley Celebrates ‘Tremendous Week’ With Iowans

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen / Hans von Spakovsky / Kate Scanlon / Vanessa Calder / Leah Jessen /

AMES, Iowa—Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley spoke at a casual backyard house party here Sunday evening, celebrating with Iowans a “tremendous week” that saw Democrats win big in the Supreme Court.

“What a tremendous week we had,” said O’Malley, who is a democratic candidate for president in 2016. “If you ever doubt whether or not our country’s headed to a more compassionate, more generous, and more loving place, this was a good week to see that in the United States of America.”

Last week, the Supreme Court decided to legalize gay marriage and allow nationwide health care subsidies under Obamacare.

O’Malley, speaking to a crowd of about 120 people, jokingly said that in one week the Supreme Court became “more progressive than every single candidate running for the Republican nomination for president.”

“There’s hope for our country,” O’Malley said, before prompting the crowd to turn to a neighbor and tell them the same message.

O’Malley also commended the American people for their compassionate response to the recent tragedy in Charleston, S.C., where nine African-Americans were murdered inside a church.

“It was one of the most inspiring things just to see the transcendent goodness of all of the people that rose out of that horrible racist massacre,” O’Malley said. “And just to see the love and the generosity and the coming together of people in South Carolina.”

He continued, “We are a good people. And President Obama certainly tapped into that in his eulogy there.”

While crediting President Obama for making the country better, O’Malley said he feels America’s better days are ahead.

He wishes to “invest in a more creative and productive economy.”

“Our economy is not money,” O’Malley said. “Our economy is people.”

O’Malley, who is also the former mayor of Baltimore, said that in Maryland, “We believe in doing things that work.”

Under his watch, the state passed a comprehensive gun safety law, repealed the death penalty and raised the minimum wage.

The state also achieved in education.

“We partnered with our teachers to deliver better results for our kids,” O’Malley said of Maryland’s highly ranked public schools.

Other policies on O’Malley’s radar include wanting comprehensive immigration reform, making college more affordable—including pursuing free community college—and expanding Social Security.

He emphasized the importance of becoming a more connected and compassionate country.

O’Malley, declaring himself “totally unknown” to Iowans, made a point to connect with locals.

He praised Iowa for investing in wind and renewable energy.

He promised to campaign the old fashioned way and meet with Iowans in every county.

After the event, Carolyn and John Klaus, who hosted the O’Malley speech at their home, told The Daily Signal that they chose to host the event to give Democratic voters more options than front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The Export-Import Bank Expires Tomorrow. Here’s What You Need to Know. - The Daily Signal

The Export-Import Bank Expires Tomorrow. Here’s What You Need to Know.

James Phillips / Paul J. Larkin Jr. / Alex Anderson / Alden Abbott / Daren Bakst / Leah Jessen / Hans von Spakovsky / Kate Scanlon / Vanessa Calder / Leah Jessen / Melissa Quinn /

The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires tomorrow, and members of Congress—who are home for a week-long recess—have run out of time to reauthorize the bank.

Now, for the first time in the agency’s 81-year history, Ex-Im will likely close its doors, at least for a little while.

“This is a small step toward renewing a competitive free-market economy and arresting the rise of the progressive welfare state and the cronyism attached to it,” House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling said in a statement. “Ex-Im is not only corporate welfare, it is corporate welfare for foreign companies and countries.”

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Though the bank’s charter will expire tomorrow, Ex-Im officials will still report to work, as financing awarded before June 30 continues through the life of the loans, loan guarantees and insurance policies.

Ex-Im, however, will no longer be able to extend new financing to foreign countries and companies.

“Six months ago, no one in this town would have thought the Export-Import Bank would actually expire. But by raising the issues at the bank and showing how it’s the ‘bridge to nowhere’ of corporate welfare, we are now on the brink of ending the bank’s charter,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said in a statement to The Daily Signal.

“Once it expires, the question changes. Then it’s not ‘Do we keep this program running’ but instead ‘Do we re-start a program plagued by scandal and that’s unpopular with Republican presidential candidates and members of House and Senate leadership?’ That’s a very different question, and it bodes well for Americans who are fed up with the status quo.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill spent many of the last few months debating Ex-Im’s future. House and Senate panels with jurisdiction over the bank held several hearings examining its merits. Additionally, policymakers in both chambers introduced legislation reauthorizing Ex-Im with reforms.

The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires June 30, and members of Congress—who are home for a week-long recess—have run out of time to reauthorize the bank. (Photo: Melissa Quinn/The Daily Signal)

The Export-Import Bank’s charter expires June 30, and members of Congress—who are home for a week-long recess—have run out of time to reauthorize the bank. (Photo: Melissa Quinn/The Daily Signal)

Bank opponents believe Ex-Im—which they say functions as an engine of corporate welfare and cronyism—benefits a small handful of politically connected, large corporations.  Alongside Jordan, Hensarling led a group of Republican lawmakers in opposing the bank and moved not to advance legislation reauthorizing Ex-Im through his committee.

Also among the bank’s opponents were House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who advocated for Ex-Im’s life to end.

Those supporting the bank, meanwhile, believe it supports jobs in the U.S. and helps small businesses compete in the global market. Ex-Im’s backers included Obama and Elizabeth Warren, though support for reauthorization extended across party lines.

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“Republicans are closing the doors of a corrupt corporate welfare agency,” Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action for America, told The Daily Signal. “No one on the left—not Barack Obama, not Hillary Clinton and not Elizabeth Warren—can claim to have taken a similar stand against well-connected special interests and won.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom)

Though Ex-Im’s charter will likely expire, Congress could move to revive the bank next month by attaching reauthorization to must-pass legislation, such as a Highway Trust Fund bill.

“The highway bill, of course, will be open for amendment, and it’s pretty obvious that that would be a place for this vote to occur,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said last week.

In the weeks leading up to Ex-Im’s expiration, the bank’s biggest beneficiaries warned of the consequences a lack of reauthorization would cause.

Officials at Boeing, which accounted for 30 percent of Ex-Im’s financing in 2013, have threatened to outsource jobs should the bank’s charter expire. Additionally, the company said Ex-Im’s expiration could put the United States at a competitive disadvantage, because other foreign countries operate their own export credit agencies.

“A suspension of the bank’s ability to do new business after June 30 is a boon to overseas competitors at the expense of thousands of U.S. exporters and the jobs they support,” said Gayla Keller, spokeswoman for Boeing, in a statement. “In the case of Boeing, inaction by Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im makes it harder for Boeing to compete with Airbus and other emerging competitors with access to multiple export credit agencies.”

Jeff Immelt, chief executive officer of General Electric, also threatened to move jobs overseas if Congress failed to reauthorize Ex-Im. General Electric benefited from nearly 10 percent of the bank’s financing in 2013.

General Electric chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt. (Photo: Bozonsebastien/AFP/Newscom)

General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt. (Photo: Bozonsebastien/AFP/Newscom)

Both companies operate their own independent credit arms, and Boeing offered to provide aircraft financing as a “lender of last resort.”

Still, Keller noted that there are “real limits” to how much support Boeing can provide.

Ex-Im supports just 2 percent of U.S. exports, and small businesses benefit from less than 20 percent of the bank’s financing in dollars.

Despite the few businesses that benefit from Ex-Im, those that do are urging members to reauthorize the bank when Congress returns after the July 4 holiday.

Don Nelson, chief executive officer of California-based ProGauge Technologies, said Ex-Im’s end will be “devastating” for the company, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company is currently vying for a bid for a project in the Middle East, and if ProGauge’s bid is selected, it would need financing from the bank.

ProGauge benefited from more than $15.6 million from Ex-Im from 2007 to 2012.

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