At this point in U.S. history, there is no justification whatsoever for not having daylight savings time year-round. The failure of Congress to kill Ben Franklin’s anachronistic brainstorm is pure cowardice and incompetence.
1. So? The NRA Foundation has twice paid attorney David Kopel, a Second Amendment activist, to write pro-gun rights amicus briefs in Supreme Court cases, according to a hacked document released last week. Since 2019, Kopel has submitted two briefs backing an NRA affiliate in cases before the court, including one involving New York’s ban on carrying licensed guns in public. The briefs did not disclose the source of funding, which is being condemned as unethical by the news media and the usual NRA bashers. “Attorneys who author these briefs must disclose whether they’ve taken money from either side to deliver a filing,” one source says.
Well, first of all, an amicus brief succeeds or fails based on its arguments, and who writes it or funds it should be irrelevant. This would be, at worst, a technical violation. However, the applicable rule in the SCOTUS amicus brief memo does not support the description above. “Rule 37.6 Disclosures” states,
“The first footnote on the first page of text of an amicus brief must include certain disclosures concerning contributions to the brief….It should indicate whether counsel for a party authored the brief in whole or in part and whether such counsel or a party made a monetary contribution intended to fund the preparation or submission of the brief. It should also identify every person other than the amicus, its members or counsel, who made such a monetary contribution; the Clerk’s Office views it as better practice to state explicitly that no such contributions were made if this is in fact true.”
This is astoundingly sloppy drafting, especially for the Supreme Court. “Must” and “should” are terms of art. “Must,” like “shall,” means some action is mandatory; “should” means that something is best practice, but not absolutely required. When two “shoulds” follow a “must,” it is impossible to determine what’s mandatory and what isn’t.
2. The show must go on! Kudos for Tucker Carlson, who underwent emergency back surgery on the morning of November 3, and still made his Fox News show that evening. That’s the kind of job dedication over and above the call of duty that marks the diligent and the trustworthy.
Maybe he should be Secretary of Transportation. At least we know Tucker would show up for work…
3. In “Let’s go, Brandon!” news…NASCAR president Steve Phelps announced that his racing organization didn’t want to be associated with political nastiness. The chant, as you should know by now, originated during an incident in October where NASCAR fans shouted “Fuck Joe Biden!” over an interview of race driver Brandon Brown by NBC Sports reporter Kelli Stavast. Absurdly and dishonestly, she told the driver that fans were chanting, “Let’s go, Brandon!” when it was obvious that they were not. The episode was reminiscent of the “mostly peaceful protest” claim by a reporter surrounded by fires and chaos during a Black Lives Matter riot last summer.
“It’s an unfortunate situation and I feel for Brandon, I feel for Kelli,” Phelps said. He feels for Kelli? Kelli, whose obvious effort to cover for President Biden epitomizes the degree to which the news media has sunk into partisan bias? If there is any excuse for the chant, it that it mocks journalists, who deserve to be mocked. Compounding the fiasco, reports on “Let’s go, Brandon” outbreaks routinely claim that it’s “unclear” whether Stavast heard the obscene chant clearly. Sure it is…
4. Good. The infrastructure bill passed the House. It’s about time. Naturally there is all sorts of pork in it; yes, the Democrats used budget trickery to pretend it won’t cost more. Nevertheless, this at least begins to address a genuine need. Congratulations to the Democrats, and on behalf of America’s commerce and safety, thanks.
5. Also good: In St. Michael’s Media, Inc. v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling that there cannot be a “heckler’s veto” where government authorities are involved:
“The Supreme Court has long held that the government violates the First Amendment when it gives a public official unbounded discretion to decide which speakers may access a traditional public forum.” “[T]he danger of censorship and of abridgment of our precious First Amendment freedoms is too great where officials have unbridled discretion over a forum’s use.” …
“First, [unbridled discretion’s] existence, ‘coupled with the power of prior restraint, intimidates parties into censoring their own speech, even if the discretion and power are never actually abused.'” “Second, ‘the absence of express standards’ renders it difficult to differentiate between a legitimate denial of access and an ‘illegitimate abuse of censorial power.'”
6. And in more legal news: “OOPS! “ Chief U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas confessed that he may have violated the law by failing to recuse himself in… 138 cases. Even though he or his wife had a financial interest in corporate litigants, the Wall Street Journal reported that the judge handled the cases anyway. Gilstrap had stock that would have required recusal in four cases, while his wife had an interest in a trust that would have required Gilstrap’s recusal in 134 other cases.