Editorial: Laxalt proven correct in joining lawsuit challenging Obama executive order

When Nevada’s new Republican attorney general, Adam Laxalt, joined in the lawsuit with 25 other states challenging President Obama’s executive fiat granting amnesty from deportation and granting green cards and Social Security cards to millions of illegal immigrants, Democrats like Sen. Harry Reid were critical of his action and even Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval said the matter should be handled legislatively rather than in the courts.

A ruling by a Texas federal judge granting an injunction blocking the administration from carrying out its intentions appears to vindicate Laxalt and his reasons for joining the suit. At the time he joined the other states, Laxalt stated his rationale for doing so was because the president’s action disregarded the U.S. Constitution, undermined the rule of law and was injurious to millions of Americans, including Nevadans.

In his ruling, Judge Andrew Hanen states that “ the states cannot protect themselves from the costs inflicted by the Government when 4.3 million individuals are granted legal presence with the resulting ability to compel state action. The irony of this position cannot be fully appreciated unless it is contrasted with the DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) Directive. The DAPA Directive unilaterally allows individuals removable by law to legally remain in the United States based upon a classification that is not established by any federal law. It is this very lack of law about which the States complain. The Government claims that it can act without a supporting law, but the States cannot.”

Hanen’s ruling also halts the expansion of Obama’s executive order allowing children brought into the country illegally to remain.

The judge said if the government were allowed to start issuing benefits but the executive is later overturned or legislatively countermanded there would be irreparable harm to both the states and the immigrants. “This genie would be impossible to put back in the bottle,” he said.

As for the argument that Obama and his Department of Homeland Security are merely exercising prosecutorial discretion in determining who will be deported, the judge noted, “The DHS was not given any ‘discretion by law’ to give 4.3 million removable aliens what the DHS itself labels as ‘legal presence.’ In fact, the law mandates that these illegally-present individuals be removed. The DHS has adopted a new rule that substantially changes both the status and employability of millions. These changes go beyond mere enforcement or even non-enforcement of this nation’s immigration scheme.”

The day after the Texas judge’s injunction was issued, Laxalt commented, “Yesterday’s carefully considered, 123-page decision represents a great initial victory for the rule of law and our constitutional system. I am encouraged by the federal court’s thorough analysis of this executive action. This injunction will halt the executive action and allow for the judiciary to carefully evaluate the legality of President Obama’s unilateral act. As I’ve always insisted, this lawsuit is ultimately about the rule of law, not immigration, and the need for all branches of our government, including the president, to faithfully follow the law.”

The ruling does not mean that anyone will be deported anytime soon, given the administration’s lax enforcement.

The case is likely going to be heard by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal and possibly by the U.S. Supreme Court.

We applaud the attorney general for standing up for the rule of law.

A version of this editorial appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record.

Wisconsin governor explains difference between us and them

While addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference this week,Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker explained the differences between Democrats and Republicans, between liberals and conservatives: 

“We have a president who measures success in government by how many people are dependent on the government. We should measure success by just the opposite. By how many people are no longer dependent on the government. …
“You see, here in America, there’s a reason we celebrate the 4th of July, and not April 15. Because in America we celebrate our independence from the government, not our dependence on it.”

That is why ObamaCare, ObamaNet, executive orders and other controlling efforts from Washington are opposed by principled Americans.

Newspaper column: State Constitution does not allow laws regulating political speech

The Nevada Supreme Court made the right decision but for the wrong reason.

In the case of Citizen Outreach vs. State, the court ruled 5-2 a couple of weeks ago that the organization did not violate a 1997 law requiring those who engage in express advocacy to file paperwork with the secretary of state’s office revealing donors and expenditures.

The majority said the fliers mailed out by Citizen Outreach during the 2010 election season criticizing Assembly member John Oceguera for being a double-dipper — drawing pay as a North Las Vegas firefighter while serving in Carson City — did not contain the “magic words of express advocacy,” such as “vote for” or “vote against,” which would trigger the need to comply with the law.

The ruling overturned a summary judgment by Carson City District Judge James Todd Russell, who fined the group $10,000 plus $7,600 in costs in 2013.

Nevada Supreme Court (R-J photo)

The ruling states, “Because it is undisputed that Citizen Outreach’s flyers do not contain magic words of express advocacy, the flyers were not subject to regulation under Nevada’s campaign practices statutes that were effective in 2010.”

The problem now is that in 2011 the Legislature rewrote the law so that it now states that express advocacy “means that a communication, taken as a whole, is susceptible to no other reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote for or against a clearly identified candidate.”

The court majority noted that the secretary of state testified that the change would “make it clear that Nevada does not require” magic words for a communication to be express advocacy.

That makes the revised law highly subjective and subject to as many interpretations as there are people. It erases any bright line test.

The problem is that both the 1997 and the 2011 law blatantly violate both the First Amendment and the Nevada Constitution because they are not “content neutral” and address no “compelling government interest.”

In a similar case involving a Virginia-based organization that failed to file the proper paperwork with the state, Judge James E. Wilson Jr. stopped televised ads from being broadcast and said, “Nevadans have a right to know who is behind election advertising.”

There is no such right to know. The voters get to decide what communication is persuasive, whether the source of funding is revealed or not. The voters tell the government what to do, not the other way around.

Article 1, Section 9 of the Nevada Constitution states: “Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.”

This law clearly restrains and abridges.

The words are clear and unambiguous — “no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press” — and thus any state law that does so violates the state Constitution and is null and void from inception. A $10,000 fine in any dictionary is a restraint.

In this day and age, donating to certain causes, such as the anti-gay marriage campaign in California, have resulted in threats, intimidation, boycotts and ruined careers.

Justice Clarence Thomas said in a dissent in Citizens United v. FEC, “I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment that subjects citizens of this Nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the price for engaging in ‘core political speech, the “primary object of First Amendment protection.”’

Just this past week a federal judge in California temporarily enjoined the state attorney general from enforcing a law similar to Nevada’s.

“Donors who have witnessed harassment of those perceived to be connected with plaintiff’s co-founders have experienced their unwillingness to continue to participate if such limited disclosure is made,” Judge Manuel Real wrote, adding that there is “sufficient evidence establishing that public disclosure would have a chilling effect on free speech.”

There is no constitutional authority for government to drag more information out of a speaker than the speaker wishes to convey, under the excuse that voters are just too darned stupid to evaluate anonymous speech for themselves. Compelled speech is not free speech.

The Legislature should repeal this law or someone should challenge the 2011 version of the law in the courts and make the right argument.

Free speech must be free of government restrictions, especially political speech.

A version of this column appears this week in the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

FCC votes to impose net neutrality

From those wonderful folks who brought us the IRS, the VA and Healthcare.net comes Obamanet, the new and improved Internet that will fair and save everyone $2,500 a year in cable fees, which, if you like, you can keep.

The 3-2 vote was along party lines, the Democrats from central planning prevailing over the Republican free marketers.

It is bound to turnout badly.

If it is for the sake of going green all is forgiven

When you’ve engaged in a lengthy writerly career you all too often find yourself saying: Darn I wish I had written that.

That was precisely the feeling when I read this in an Investor’s Business Daily editorial today:

“If as many birds being burned by solar power farms built in the U.S. were to wash up on our beaches soaked in crude oil from a leaking offshore well, the outrage would be deafening.

“But as with the wind turbines that now cover acre upon acre of former ‘pristine’ countryside, what amount to avian Cuisinarts slicing and dicing everything that flies, including endangered species, only the crickets are chirping.”

The news was reported about a week ago in a couple of online places, but not widely reported.

During a four-hour test on January 14 of the sun reflecting mirrors at the Crescent Dunes solar thermal power plant near Tonopah, 130 birds were incinerated in a solar flux, the focal point of the mirrors which eventually will be used to melt salt and drive a turbine to generate electricity. This is similar to the plant in Ivanpah, which uses water to drive turbines and also has been incinerating birds at an alarming rate — at least alarming to some.

According to Basin and Range Watch, “several biologists on the project site during surveys reported seeing the birds fly into the solar flux, ‘turn white, and vaporize.’ No remains were found.”

This happened a month before another golden eagle was found dead at the Spring Valley wind farm near Ely. A golden eagle was killed there two years ago. The so-called allowable “take” for eagles at the wind farm is one. With this second death a Technical Advisory Committee is supposed to meet and recommend what mitigation to take, which could curtail operation of turbines or even shut down turbines.

The outcry has largely been deafening silence.

A company representative for SolarReserve, the operator of Crescent Dunes, said that apparently the bird deaths occurred during something called “standby” where the mirrors were focused and formed a visible bright spot in the sky above the tower during testing. The company says that once the mirrors are focused on the tower, it appears that the brightness and solid structure is enough to scare away the birds.

The solution they came up with for standby, which during normal operation will be for a few minutes each day during the early morning, is to spread out the mirror pointing in more of a distributed shape covering hundreds of meters just above the tower so that no single point in the sky has too high of a concentration.

The representative said this change appears to have corrected the problem as the company reports zero bird fatalities since they implemented this solution approximately 30 days ago, despite being in the standby position as well as focused on the tower for most days over the past few weeks. They said this is being monitored by an independent environmental consultant, who is carefully watching the area around the tower with high powered binoculars at all times during testing.

The Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project in February 2014 | Photo: Matt Hiontsa/Flickr/Creative Commons License

 

Jobs for jihadists but not for American workers

Obama today vetoed the Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline, sending it back to Congress where it is unlikely enough Democrats can be persuaded to override.

“The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously. But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto,” Obama said in his veto message to Congress.

The veto came even though the State Department has found no significant environmental impact and estimated the project would create 42,100 jobs during two years of construction and 35 full-time jobs there after.

This rejection comes on the heels of Obama’s administration saying the root cause of Islamic (actually, they did not use the word Islamic) terrorism is the lack of jobs.

I guess we now know his priorities.

Route of Keystone XL oil pipeline

The electronic road to serfdom?

On Thursday the FCC commissioners are to vote on what is generally being called net neutrality, but rightly should be called Obamanet, as L. Gordon Crovitz explains in The Wall Street Journal.

If socializing a sixth of the economy can be called Obamacare, socializing the Internet should be given the moniker of its chief author.

The plan is to cover the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, which states in part:

“All charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is hereby declared to be unlawful …”

Goodbye innovation and disruptive changes to the status quo. Everything will be equal, equally slow and costly and mired in regulation and government paperwork.

WSJ illustration

“Utility regulation was designed to maintain the status quo, and it succeeds,” writes Crovitz. “This is why the railroads, Ma Bell and the local water monopoly were never known for innovation. The Internet was different because its technologies, business models and creativity were permissionless.”

Writing in Politico, Ajit Pai, an FCC commissioner, and Lee Goodman, an FEC commissioner, explain, “Unfortunately, some see any realm of freedom as a vacuum in need of government control.”

They argue the purpose of the whole thing is control and control’s sake and nowhere in the 332-page plan — which is secret until after the FCC vote — is there any explanation of what needs to be fixed.

“While the FCC is inserting government bureaucracy into all aspects of Internet access, the FEC is debating whether to regulate Internet content, specifically political speech posted for free online,” they write.

Democrat FEC commissioners have proposed regulating political  “express advocacy” online. Just as some states do with political advertising.

This reminds one of the warnings from Friedrich Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom,” written shortly after World War II:

“It is revealing that few planners today are content to say that central planning is desirable. Most of them affirm that we now are compelled to it by circumstances beyond our control.

“One argument frequently heard is that the complexity of modern civilization creates new problems with which we cannot hope to deal effectively except by central planning. This argument is based upon a complete misapprehension of the working of competition. The very complexity of modern conditions makes competition the only method by which a coordination of affairs can be adequately achieved.

“There would be no difficulty about efficient control or planning were conditions so simple that a single person or board could effectively survey all the facts. But as the factors which have to be taken into account become numerous and complex, no one centre can keep track of them. The constantly changing conditions of demand and supply of different commodities can never be fully known or quickly enough disseminated by any one centre.

“Under competition – and under no other economic order – the price system automatically records all the relevant data. Entrepreneurs, by watching the movement of comparatively few prices, as an engineer watches a few dials, can adjust their activities to those of their fellows.

“Compared with this method of solving the economic problem – by decentralization plus automatic coordination through the price system – the method of central direction is incredibly clumsy, primitive, and limited in scope. It is no exaggeration to say that if we had had to rely on central planning for the growth of our industrial system, it would never have reached the degree of differentiation and flexibility it has attained. Modern civilization has been possible precisely because it did not have to be consciously created.”