Today in Liberty

Today in Liberty: Americans say Obama is the worst president in 70 years, Senate Dems push for vote on crony Ex-Im Bank

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

— Obama is the worst president since World War II: But George W. Bush isn’t far behind, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University. “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today,” Quinnipiac notes. “Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.” Richard Nixon was a distant third, with 13 percent. Ronald Reagan was the top-choice for best president over the same timeframe, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. It’s worth noting that Obama finished fourth on that list, while Bush 43 was tied for last place. Also worth noting is that Americans believe that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.

Today in Liberty: Intel agencies conducted warrantless searches for Americans’ communications, Halbig case could gut Obamacare

“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?” — Bruce Willis

Today in Liberty: Hobby Lobby decision coming this morning, Obama taps ex-Procter & Gamble CEO to lead the VA

“The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries but between authoritarians and libertarians.” — George Orwell

— Obamacare contraceptive ruling expected this morning: The Supreme Court will release its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores) at 10 a.m. this morning. At issue in the case is whether Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate infringes upon religious beliefs of Hobby Lobby’s owner, David Green, who founded the business on Christian values. The Obama administration has exempted some religious organizations, including churches and schools, from the mandate. But businesses are still being forced to offer plans that cover birth control, even if it violates the beliefs on which they were founded. Though the Green family is opposed to abortion and considers certain contraceptives to be morally reprehensible, the case and others like it are about religious liberty. If the mandate stands, Hobby Lobby faces penalties totaling $26 million per year. Most observers, however, expect Hobby Lobby to succeed, though how far the Court will be willing to go remains to be seen, given the implications. We’ll have a story about the Hobby Lobby decision later this morning.

Today in Liberty: Obama gives a middle finger to Congress on Iraq, GOP establishment may lose by winning in Mississippi

“I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.” — Abraham Lincoln

— What dystopian country does Obama think he runs?: President Barack Obama says he has constitutional authority to send American troops to Iraq without congressional approval. “This action is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Iraq and has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.” As a reminder, the War Powers Resolution doesn’t give a president carte blanche to bomb a country or deploy troops whenever he pleases. It lays out very specific conditions in 50 USC § 1541(c) under which the White House can utilize its powers: a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States. The 2002 Iraq war resolution is, basically, irrelevant in the current situation, meaning that President Obama should seek authorization before sending advisers or troops to Iraq or approving military strikes against ISIL.

Today in Liberty: IRS scandal is worse than we imagined; SCOTUS issues big win for cell phone privacy

“Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.” — Chief Justice John Roberts

— Oh, wow, the IRS scandal just got a lot worse: Emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee reveal that disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner targeted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), referring him to the agency for examination. “We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) said in a press release. “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights.  We may never know the full extent of the abuse since the IRS conveniently lost two years of Lerner emails, not to mention those of other key figures in this scandal. The fact that DOJ refuses to investigate the IRS’s abuses or appoint a special counsel demonstrates, yet again, this Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.” Basically, Lerner received an invitation to an event that was intended for Grassley, and it looks like Grassley received hers. The group sponsoring the event, the name of which was redacted, offered to pay for his wife to come along. Lerner suggested that it was inappropriate and wrote: “Perhaps we should refer to Exam?”

Today in Liberty: Battle over Ex-Im Bank builds; MSNBC host thanks David Koch… really?!

“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.” — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

— Lots of Ex-Im Bank news from Capitol Hill: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) demurred when asked about the future of the Export-Import Bank. “My job is to work with our members to get to a place where the members are comfortable,” Boehner told reporters. “Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all. Others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms, and we’re going to work our way through this.” He’s not saying that the Bank is doomed, but he isn’t throwing his weight behind it either, which is significant. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), however, said that the upper chamber should vote on reauthorization. “I think we ought to take it up,” McConnell said. “That’s the whole point of what we’ve been talking about here. The fact that there are dissent and disagreement is not unusual. It’s a country of 315 million people, lot of different points of view. They expect us to debate these issues and vote on them here in the Senate.” House Democrats are making a push for reauthorization, introducing legislation that would extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter for seven years. Because cronyism.

Today in Liberty: Obama secretly argued against your Constitutional rights; Republicans will decide Cochran vs. McDaniel today

“Political success over time is determined by the number and effectiveness of activists on either side.” — Morton Blackwell, founder and president of the Leadership Institute

— You have no constitutional rights: Because they can be revoked by the federal government whenever we’re at war. At least that’s what the Obama administration argued in the July 2010 legal memo it used to justify the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. “We do not believe that [al-Awlaki’s] U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action under the facts represented to us by DoD, the CIA and the Intelligence Community,” the memo says (begins on p. 67). “Based upon the facts represented to us, moreover, the target of the contemplated operation has engaged in conduct as part of that organization that brings him within the scope of the AUMF.” More here. Two things about the memo. Once we begin sacrificing constitutional protections, for whatever reason, we begin going down a very dangerous road. But let’s remember that this isn’t the first step down that road, just the most recent. The other point is that David Barron, the author of this memo, was recently confirmed by Senate Democrats to serve on the First District Court of Appeals.

Today in Liberty: Big decisions expected this week at the Supreme Court, Hillary Clinton is still completely tone deaf

If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.” — Winston Churchill

— Big week at the Supreme Court: The nation’s High Court is expected to rule on two cases, as early as this morning. National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning deals with the limitations on executive power as it relates to executive appointments. President Obama and his administration insist that the January 2012 appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are valid because the Senate was in recess. That argument, however, is specious, at best. The Senate was in pro forma session — meaning that it had not formally adjourned — when President Obama made the appointments. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores deals with Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate and the religious freedom of business owners. David Green, the owner and founder of Hobby Lobby, argues that the contraception mandate violates his religious liberty under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) because it would force his businesses to offer plans that cover the morning after pill, which, he believes, is tantamount to abortion. The question is whether the RFRA, which protects an individual’s right to freely exercise their religion, applies to businesses and corporations because of the objections of the owners. The Supreme Court will issue opinions today, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Today in Liberty: Email privacy reform bill hits the magic number, Senate Conservatives Funds goes on the air for Chris McDaniel

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?” — Thomas Sowell

— Email Privacy Act hits majority support: We mentioned in Tuesday’s Today in Liberty that the Email Privacy Act was very close to 218 cosponsors, a majority of the House of Representatives. Well, it happened. “The Email Privacy Act from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) gained its 218th cosponsor late on Tuesday, giving the sponsors hope that the bill could move this year,” The Hill reports. “The sponsors have been talking with House leadership and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) about moving the bill forward, according to Yoder.” The Email Privacy Act would close a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows law enforcement agencies to access emails and other electronic communications older than 180 days without a warrant.

Today in Liberty: Labrador says coronating McCarthy sends the “wrong response,” Army begins Bowe Bergdahl investigation

“The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” — H. L. Mencken


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