Writing on The Corner, the Heritage Foundation's Hans von Spakovsky summarizes Friday's hearing in a Washington, D.C., courtroom at which a group of Kinston residents challenged the feds' use of Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 to overturn a referendum shifting local elections in Kinston from partisan to nonpartisan.
Spakovsky suggests the feds didn't do well.
[DOJ attorney Richard] Dellheim was put in the awkward position of claiming that no one had suffered a legal injury — neither Kinston’s voters, who approved the referendum that has been nullified, nor candidates who wanted to run for office under the system the referendum would have adopted. Bates asked Dellheim when, if ever, any voter would have standing to make such a claim under the government’s view. Dellheim’s answer was basically “Never.”
The DOJ’s claim that the candidates have no injuries, despite the fact that running as an independent candidate in a partisan election in North Carolina imposes extra burdens on candidates, was strained and hypocritical. The department was basically arguing that making ballot access more difficult doesn’t injure a candidate and, thus, doesn’t give him standing to sue. This position completely contradicts the position the Department has taken on numerous prior occasions when it has argued that ballot-qualification requirements violated Section 5.
Dellheim was left to argue that the Kinston plaintiffs should not even get their day in court, a very dubious proposition to make in reference to a law, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, whose entire purpose was to protect the voting rights of individual citizens.
Read the whole thing.
For more about the case, and links to Carolina Journal's earlier coverage of the story, click here.
My colleague Jason Jones here at the Pope Center, a master of public administration student at NC State, recently took a close look at crime statistics on university campuses in North Carolina and nationally. He found that crime on campus isn't the problem it is often made out to be, although crime rates in neighborhoods near universities are often significantly higher. Eve Carson, the former UNC student body president, Jason reminds us, was killed in a neighborhood near UNC and never showed up as a statistic on campus crime reports.
Raleigh, N.C. – Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) has named Sen. Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) as the Chairman-elect of the Senate Redistricting Committee.
During the transition, Senator Rucho has already begun the work of studying the issues related to redistricting and preparing for the process to begin when the 2011 session of the General Assembly convenes on January 26.
Senator Berger said, “Senator Rucho has previous experience with the redistricting process and is a good listener and evenhanded. These attributes make him the right person to guide the Senate in navigating the redistricting process in the next legislative session.”
Senator Rucho will begin his sixth full term in the Senate in January. He represents Mecklenburg County in Senate District 39. Senator Rucho said, “I look forward to leading the Senate efforts during the redistricting process. We will work prudently and deliberately to draw fair and legal lines for districts across the state that will uphold the right of the people of North Carolina to choose their representatives.”
Keep in mind that Obama campaigned as a politician who would not let lobbyists and special interest groups dictate federal policy any longer.
Editor, The Wall Street Journal
1211 6th Ave.
New York, NY 10036
To the Editor:
Reporting on the U.S.-Korea free-trade pact, you write that "South Korea agreed
to give the U.S. five years to phase out a 2.5% tariff it levies on Korean-built
cars, rather than cutting the tariff immediately" ("U.S., Korea Agree on
Free-Trade Pact," Dec. 3).
In other words, South Korea agreed to allow Uncle Sam to continue to impose
additional financial burdens on Americans who buy automobiles made in South
Korea, for no reason other than to make life easier for Detroit.
So much for the Obama administration's courageous refusal to allow
special-interest groups (in this case, U.S. automakers and the UAW) to dictate
policy - so much for our leader's eagerness to get the policy right even if
doing so means getting the politics wrong - and so much for all the ballyhoo,
out of Detroit and Washington, about U.S. automakers again being world-class
producers who can compete on the merits with foreign automakers.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
While the WikiLeaks controversy has generated plenty of heat, Fareed Zakaria’s latest TIMEcolumn declares “it’s not so bad.”
As an example, Zakaria cites the information leaked about Iran:
We now have official confirmation of something many of us have been saying for years: Arab regimes share Israel's concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran. In fact, since they do not have the massive nuclear deterrent that Israel possesses, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are probably even more nervous about an Iranian bomb. It's one thing to have diplomats expressing these sentiments in private, quite another to have the direct and explicit words of the King of Saudi Arabia.
I understand that these revelations embarrass the Arab regimes, which publicly speak only of the Palestinian cause but privately plot against Iran. But why is that bad for the U.S.? The WikiLeaks data powerfully confirms the central American argument against Iran's programs: that they are a threat to regional stability and order, not merely to Washington's narrow interests. (Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu quickly pointed this out.) In fact, the simplest confirmation of the fallout can be found in Tehran's reaction to WikiLeaks. Alone among world leaders, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claims that the documents were actually leaked by Washington. After all, they expose as an utter lie Ahmadinejad's constant claim that he has befriended all Arab states and that, if not for Washington, Iran would be beloved by all in the region.
When you categorize people’s political views as either conservative or liberal, you might ignore important distinctions — the types of distinction brought out more effectively in the “Nolan Chart” that appears below.
(For instance, the chart helps astute observers recognize that the terms “conservative,” “libertarian,” and “Republican” are not synonymous.)
The latest TIME offers a short obituary of the chart’s namesake, 66-year-old David Nolan, a co-founder of the Libertarian Party.
In the past, a passive public might have ignored goobledygook about “quantitative easing.” No more.
The latest Bloomberg Businessweekdocuments the political battle over Keynesian efforts to boost the economy by creating money out of thin air:
With the impact of Obama's $814 billion stimulus program fading and Republicans unwilling to spend more, the President was depending on the Fed to prod the recovery. And Fed officials say they felt obliged to act—to try to reduce unemployment they think is dangerously high and increase inflation they fear is dangerously low. With short-term interest rates already near zero, they sought to bring down long-term rates by taking the unorthodox approach of buying Treasury bonds. The move had already elicited protests from German and Brazilian officials, who worried it would drive down the value of the dollar, making their exports costlier in the U.S. Bernanke and Geithner expected further complaints at the Group of 20 summit in South Korea the following week. They didn't anticipate the size of the battle that erupted at home.
The political attacks on the Fed—once the most sacrosanct of government institutions—started slowly, with Tea Party-backed candidates such as Republican Rand Paul, running for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky, campaigning against the central bank. When Bernanke announced round two of quantitative easing (or QE2, as it became known) on the day after the election, the response was swift. Indiana Representative Mike Pence, a conservative bellwether and possible 2012 Presidential candidate, released a statement accusing the Fed of "masking our fundamental problems by artificially creating inflation." A few days later, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the unofficial leader of the GOP's Tea Party wing, posted on her Twitter account that the Fed was planning to "print $ out of thin air."
The latest Bloomberg Businessweeknotes the concern among some Republican power brokers and business interests that Texas Rep. Ron Paul could soon land the chairmanship of the U.S. House Financial Services Committee panel that oversees monetary policy.
If he gets the subcommittee gavel, Paul says he plans a thorough review of Fed policy. Fear of inflation is what motivates him the most. Next to the doorway in his Washington office are six framed German bank notes dating from the 1920s hyperinflation era. The notes are sequentially dated "to show how quickly the zeroes were added onto the bills" as inflation skyrocketed, Paul says. The notes are arranged around a quote by one of Paul's favorite Austrian School economists, the late Hans F. Sennholz, who Paul once met and calls "a tremendous influence on me." Paul is a devotee of the Austrian School, which teaches that manipulating money supply and interest rates are responsible for history's boom-and-bust cycles. "The Fed creates all of the bubbles and they create the inevitable bursting of all of the bubbles," says Paul.
He believes his oversight role is long overdue. "There has been a politically cozy relationship between Congress and the Federal Reserve," he says. That includes past efforts to keep him from heading the subcommittee. "Republican leadership, with the Fed's influence, has been working to keep me away from this for a long time. That's not going to happen this time."
Earlier this year, Thomas Woods gave Carolina Journal Radio listeners an Austrian School perspective on the Fed’s role in the recent financial crisis: