April 22, 2024

The New Gatekeepers

How the major institutions of American society all came to sing in the woke chorus, and what can be done about it

On or around December 1910, human character changed,” wrote Virginia Woolf. Between 2010 and 2012, American culture changed. Within a few years, what had been obscure concepts in politicized university departments like gender studies and ethnic studies became orthodoxy not only in the academy, media, and the nonprofit sector, but also in the boardrooms of national and global corporations, banks, and in professional associations like the American Bar and Medical associations.

In 2010, if you had said that unisex bathrooms in public schools were necessary to accommodate nonbinary students, hardly anyone, even among progressives, would have known what you were talking about. Then in 2016 the Obama Education Department suddenly threatened to cut off federal funding to K-12 schools that did not allow students suffering from gender dysphoria to use bathrooms reserved for the opposite sex. The Obama Justice Department threatened to sue North Carolina for passing a law requiring people to use bathrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. By the time it rescinded the law, HB 2, in 2017, the state of North Carolina had lost billions of dollars thanks to simultaneous boycotts by the National Basketball Association, the National College Athletic Association, Deutsche Bank, PayPal, and other corporations and financial institutions.

In isolation, the transgender controversy might have been viewed as a strange aftershock of the gay rights movement, which achieved its much more moderate goals of civil and marriage equality for gay men and lesbian women by the first decade of the 21st century. But the imposition of transgender ideology through economic compulsion by the federal government and major private sector institutions was only the beginning. It was followed by the march through the institutions of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI) based on “critical race theory” (CRT), a sectarian ideology that holds that all whites and “white-adjacent” Asian Americans, no matter how poor and powerless, are “privileged,” while all Black and Hispanic Americans, no matter how rich and powerful, are “marginalized” members of “underserved communities.”

By the 2020s, at one university after another, applicants for faculty positions were required to submit “DEI statements,” listing the ways that they would personally advance this particular ideology through their work as teachers and researchers. Campus commissars were appointed to ensure that faculty reading lists and guest speaker panels had the appropriate race and gender makeup. In corporations, banks, universities, and government agencies, the relatively anodyne “diversity training” of the late 20th century, designed to minimize the possibility of racial or sexual discrimination lawsuits, gave way to DEI trainings. The goal of such exercises was not to promulgate knowledge of specific anti-discrimination rules and procedures, but to engage staff in Maoist-style struggle sessions designed to break down the personalities and identities of non-Hispanic white Americans and Asian Americans through confession of “microaggressions” and “racial privilege.”

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Biden’s Boast: Blocking Judicial Review of a Half-Trillion Tuition Giveaway is Nothing to Celebrate

Biden’s Boast: Blocking Judicial Review of a Half-Trillion Tuition Giveaway is Nothing to Celebrate

Below is my column in The Hill on the challenges to President Joe Biden’s massive loan forgiveness program. President Biden boasted that the courts declared that they are “on Biden’s side.” It is not clear if Biden’s counsel explained the actual holdings in these cases or whether Biden simply forgot or ignored that explanation.

In a speech at Delaware State University on Friday, President Biden was positively exuberant as he announced that he had prevailed in asserting unilateral authority to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in tuition loans. He declared that “just yesterday, a state court and the Supreme Court said, ‘No, we’re on Biden’s side.’”

Some of us immediately noted that these were actually federal judges and they did not rule that he has this authority but that the other parties in two cases did not have legal standing to challenge his authority.

Indeed, one of those Biden “supporters” was Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who simply denied an emergency application to the court. If it seems unlikely that Barrett is now “on Biden’s side,” it is because the claim is perfectly delusional.

No one could possibly read these decisions as even remotely supporting Biden’s claim to have virtually absolute authority to give away roughly $500 billion owed to the American people shortly before a critical midterm election.

Within a few hours of Biden’s boast, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit enjoined the lower court. However, even the Eighth Circuit will not decide whether to be “on Biden’s side” but only whether six states have the constitutional right to bring any challenge as a matter of legal standing.

Even the trial judge said the merits of the challenge raised “important and significant” concerns about Biden exceeding his authority.

Overwhelming constitutional concerns are raised by this massive election-year giveaway. Biden simply announced that he would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 annually; those who received Pell grants could receive up to $20,000 in relief; couples can qualify despite a joint annual income of $250,000. No vote of Congress — just hundreds of billions of dollars written off by Biden, as if he is an American tsar.

The legal claim behind the law is transparently opportunistic. It is based on the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (HEROES) Act of 2003. As the acronym indicates, this short bill was designed for military personnel who often found themselves in arrears while serving abroad. It allows the Education Secretary to grant student loan relief during a war, military operation or national emergency. But nothing in the barely five-page act supports a sweeping and unprecedented waiver of billions of dollars in loans owed to the government.

Even for the military personnel intended to benefit from this program, the law only allowed waivers or modifications to guarantee that they were not “placed in a worse position financially in relation to that financial assistance because of their status as affected individuals.”

In other words, neither the act’s language nor these courts are necessarily on “Biden’s side.”

Yet, legal realities rarely seem to be a deterrent for this president. The Biden administration has racked up an impressive litany of losses in court, including many decisions finding that the administration has engaged in racial discrimination or simply exceeded Biden’s constitutional authority.

Biden has been remarkably open in the past about treating unconstitutionality as a mere technicality when trying to spend federal funds. When Biden called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to impose a nationwide moratorium on the eviction of renters, he admitted that his White House counsel and their chosen legal advisers told him that the move was likely unconstitutional.

Despite the overwhelming opinion of experts to the contrary, Biden suggested he could get as much money out the door as possible before being barred by the courts. But the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the order was unconstitutional.

The tuition forgiveness program is based on the same cynical tactic. Indeed, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel previously rejected his legal interpretation under the HEROES Act. So the Biden Office of Legal Counsel issued a new opinion concluding the opposite based on the COVID-19 pandemic — which was curious, since the Biden administration was just in court arguing that the pandemic was effectively over, in order to allow undocumented individuals to enter the country.

While the president’s legal arguments are weak, his administration is betting that arguments about legal standing will protect it from any substantive review; in the meantime, the administration will rush to forgive billions before any court can stop it.

As someone who has long argued for broader legal-standing rules, this calculation is particularly maddening. This is arguably one of the most costly unconstitutional acts in history, but the administration apparently believes no one will be able to establish legal standing to enable a court to rule in the case.

The president can then go public and declare — falsely — that federal courts “said, ‘No, we’re on Biden’s side’” on forgiving a half-trillion dollars in loans.

The Eighth Circuit could well lift the injunction, and legal standing could shield an arguably unconstitutional program from judicial review — precisely the objection of those of us who are called “standing doves” in seeking broader standing rules. While based on the constitutional requirement in Article III that courts only consider “cases and controversies,” the current standing rules are the creation of the federal courts in narrowly construing what constitutes an injury for the purposes of legal standing. The Constitution’s Framers never intended for unconstitutional acts to be insulated from judicial review, in my opinion. Indeed, I previously represented the U.S. House of Representatives and have long argued for “member standing” to allow, at a minimum, for members of Congress to challenge unconstitutional acts.

There may be other challenges to Biden’s giveaway that can establish standing, or the states may be able to prevail on the issue. However, once again, we need to address the artificially narrow standing rules that prevent review in such cases.

The Framers would have been appalled by a president’s claim to be empowered to write off such a massive amount of money owed to the government. It is precisely the type of unilateral action they sought to avoid through the system of checks and balances, including giving Congress the “power of the purse.”

We now see the literal cost of narrow standing rules. It is not the false claim of these judges being on “Biden’s side” — rather, the question becomes who is on the Constitution’s side if no court can rule on its alleged violation, even with hundreds of billions of dollars at stake?

More at: jonathanturley.org

Top Republican demands FBI hand over information on Hunter’s ‘flirty’ Chinese secretary, 29, who worked for him when he partnered with the ‘spy chief of China’ – amid concern SHE had access to ‘Uncle Joe’s’ financial information

Comer demands FBI give info on CCP-linked JiaQi Bao and Hunter BIden

James Comer, top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to the FBI demanding the agency give Congress information on CCP-linked Hunter Biden associate JiaQi Bao.

  • Bao ‘provided Hunter insight into purchasing US LNG reserves to sell to China, had access to Biden family’s financials, and liaised with CCP on Bidens’ behalf’
  • Comer cited concerns that Bao’s alleged liaising between the CCP and the Biden family threatened national security  
  • He said the committee was worried the FBI ‘ignored information’ about Bao’s role in the Biden family business
  • Comer pointed to DailyMail.com’s May 2021 report demonstrating Bao and Biden’s relationship went ‘beyond professional obligations’
  • As the committee letter notes, Bao received a degree from Tsinghua University – a recruiting hub for China’s intel service and then worked for a PRC organization

James Comer, top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, wrote a letter to the FBI demanding the agency give Congress information on CCP-linked Hunter Biden associate JiaQi Bao and her deals with the Biden family.

In the letter obtained by DailyMail.com, Comer noted that ‘Bao provided Hunter insight into purchasing liquified natural gas reserves in the United States to sell to China,  had access to the Biden family’s financial information, and liaised with CCP-affiliated agents on the Bidens’ behalf.’ 

Comer is requesting by Nov. 9 the FBI hand over all documents and communications relating to Bao, all documents and correspondence provided to or by Thibault regarding the Hunter Biden investigation and everything regarding CEFC’s efforts to purchase American energy and infiltrate the Biden family.

More at: DailyMail.uk.co

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