2:01 PM, Nov 4, 2014 • By TERRY EASTLAND
Last winter President Obama’s Department of Housing and Urban Development published a regulation pursuant to the Fair Housing Act that defines discrimination as actions or policies that while neutral and nondiscriminatory in their intent have a disparate impact, shown through statistics, on a group of persons defined in terms of race (and other protected groups).
The legality of the new rule was challenged almost a year ago by two of the largest among the trade associations representing homeowner’s insurers, the pith of their argument being that in passing the Fair Housing Act Congress defined discrimination as disparate treatment—the different treatment of individuals on account of race—and not as disparate impact. The agency thus lacked the authority to make the new rule. As the Supreme Court has said, in a passage we quoted in our editorial on the case, “An agency literally has no power to act . . . unless and until Congress confers power upon it.”
Now the district judge in the case, Richard Leon, has issued his opinion, an unequivocal rejection of the new rule: “another example of an Administrative Agency trying desperately to write into law that which Congress never intended to sanction.” The bottom line: “The FHA prohibits disparate treatment only, and the defendants, therefore, exceeded their [legal] authority.”
Disparate impact is a theory of discrimination at the heart of the administration’s civil rights enforcement efforts. The administration has indeed been desperately trying--to borrow the judge’s apt words--to keep the Supreme Court from deciding whether the FHA recognizes disparate impact liability. Cases the Court has actually taken for review of this question have been withdrawn, as Judge Leon observes. The Court has just accepted a new case raising the question, and Leon is optimistic: “The Supreme Court is now perfectly positioned in Texas Department of Housing to finally address this issue in the not-too-distant future.” Meaning by the end of the current term, in late June.
"I suspect that on my flight back, this will be part of my reading, taking a look at some of the specifics that we've looked at."12:26 PM, Sep 5, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
President Obama was asked whether he'll be delaying executive action on immigration until after the mid-term election. He told reporters he was still reviewing options but that he's going to act "within the legal constraints of my office."
4:51 PM, Jun 13, 2014 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
If there is any realm of policy that the American Founders were most firmly committed to having be decided by the most representative branch — the Congress — it was presumably the realm of taxation. Those who wrote the Constitution were not content even to let the Senate initiate tax policy. Instead, Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution specifies, “All Bills for raising R
30 members support the House Resolution calling for civil action.1:49 PM, Dec 12, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Congressman Tom Rice of South Carolina, a Republican, is sponsoring a resolution in the House of Representatives that would, if adopted, direct the legislative body "to bring a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief to challenge certain policies and actions taken by the executive branch." In other words, Rep. Rice wants to take President Obama to court for not faithfully executing the laws.
11:31 AM, Nov 18, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Democratic congressman Nick Rahall says he voted for the Keep Your Health Plan Act because President Obama's Obamacare fix lacked the "legal underpinning" he believes is necessary:
"Did you vote yes because you think that the president didn't go far enough?" a CBS reporter asked the congressman.
"I voted yes, perhaps that was part of the reason," said Rahall. "But the main reason was, I'm not sure he had the legal underpinning to do what he did."
1:11 PM, Nov 14, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean questioned whether President Obama has the "legal authority" to carry out the Obamacare fix the White House outlined today:
“I wonder if he has the legal authority to do this, since this was a congressional bill that set this up,” said Dean of Obama's proposed fix.
The former Vermont governor suggested that since the Obamacare website isn't working, the president's signature legislation might fail
7:05 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Asiana Airlines released a statement this morning saying it in fact will not sue TV station KTVU for falling for a prank and announcing the wrong names of captains of plane that crashed in San Francisco. The airline had previously said it intended to sue.
"We decided not to proceed with the suit to concentrate all our efforts on dealing with the aftermath of the accident," says Asiana in a statement.
House bill would leave in place among the most liberal abortion laws in Western world.11:36 AM, Jul 10, 2013 • By JON A. SHIELDS
The American left loves Western European democracies for their cultural sensibilities and for their policies on everything from crime to health care. One policy area where you won’t hear American liberals cite the European example, though, is abortion.
8:21 AM, Jun 28, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
In a mid-year report to Congress, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson weighed in on the controversy surrounding the IRS's review of exempt organization (EO) applications.
8:22 AM, Apr 10, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Mother Jones, the liberal magazine that somehow obtained audio of a private Mitch McConnell campaign meeting, now wonders whether the top Republican in the Senate is breaking the law. The direct accusation is that Senate staffers did work to help McConnell's reelection, which if done on official time, could be a violation of the law.
1:30 PM, Mar 6, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
President Obama has grown fond of saying that he’s “not a dictator,” “not a king,” and “not the emperor,” but is instead “the president.” Whether his tendency to clarify a seemingly obvious point reveals his inner desires or not, his actions in a variety of ways suggest that he doesn’t think the president shares his fellow citizens’ ongoing obligation to obey the law. To the contrary, he seems to view the president as being somewhat above the law.
8:35 AM, Feb 6, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It’s an old basketball adage that teams that apply a full-court press don’t like to be pressed themselves. They like to force the action, not have it forced on them. In a similar vein, those who seek to centralized power by spearheading the passage of new federal laws generally don’t like to obey those laws themselves. Laws are something for other people to dutifully obey — less important people.