The AP should run a correction to this story that appeared in today’s morning newspaper and in countless other papers around the country. The assertion that Hemings gave birth to children fathered by Thomas Jefferson is almost certainly bogus. Fathered by “a” Jefferson? Perhaps.
According to an authoritative 2012 Wall Street Journal column by Robert F. Turner, a professor at the University of Virginia and editor of “The Jefferson-Hemings Controversy: Report of the Scholars Commission,” 1998 DNA tests did not use genetic material from Thomas Jefferson, but rather suggest that one of more than two dozen Jefferson males may have fathered Hemings’ youngest son, Eston. Turner wrote that there may have been at least seven Jefferson men, including Thomas Jefferson, at Monticello when Eston was conceived in 1807.
“Allegations that the ‘oral history’ of Sally’s descendants identified the president as the father of all of Sally’s children are also incorrect,” Turner wrote. “Eston’s descendants repeatedly acknowledged — before and after the DNA tests — that as children they were told they were not descendants of Thomas Jefferson but rather of an ‘uncle.'”
The most likely candidate, according to Turner, is Jefferson’s younger brother, known at Monticello as “Uncle Randolph.” Randolph, who it was said would “come out among black people, play the fiddle and dance half the night,” was invited to visit Monticello just weeks before Eston’s likely conception.
Turner points out that the first allegations of President Jefferson fathering a child with Hemings’ was published in the Richmond Recorder in September 1802, noting that Hemings’ eldest child was named “Tom.” After Jefferson’s death, a former slave named Thomas Woodson claimed he was that “Tom,” but DNA tests of descendants of Woodson’s disproved this.
That Richmond newspaper story was written by the notorious slanderer James Callender, who was imprisoned under the Sedition Act during John Adams’ term as second president. He admitted writing lies about Adams to get Jefferson elected. In fact he shouted as much in front of the White House when he demanded that Jefferson grant him the job of postmaster of Richmond, Va. The newspaper story apparently was his revenge.
Thomas Jefferson, third president of U.S. (WSJ pix via Getty Images)
Author Paulette Jiles has again plowed the red dirt of North Texas and turned up a tale of brutality and inhumanity and love and devotion. This time with the fictionalization of the historical account of freed slave Britt Johnson, who in the closing days of the Civil War rescued his wife and children after they had been captured in Young County by a Comanche and Kiowa raiding party — “The Color of Lightning.”
Jiles, who lives on a small spread Near Utopia, Texas, goes into vivid detail about the landscape’s trees — post oak, mesquite, Osage orange — and grasses — buffalo grass and buckwheat — about the people and how they survived the capricious environment of drought, wind, storms and vicious Indian raids from across the Red River. She described the dust billowing up from horse hooves as looking like little fires.
The book is populated with historic characters in addition to Johnson and family — the frustrated Quaker Indian agent is given a fictional name but others keep their real names, such as Comanche chief Peta Nocona and his son Quanah Parker with captive wife Cynthia Ann Parker.
Jiles’ detailed depictions of the violence can leave one a bit squeamish, but they ring true to the historical accounts of the day.
I highly recommend the book, especially to any who are familiar with the region and its history.
Other books by Jiles set in Texas history include “News of the World,” in which Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels from town to town reading the latest newspapers to audiences for a dime a head, but agrees to return a freed captive 10-year-old girl to her family near San Antonio. Then there is “Stormy Weather,” about life in the grease orchard of East Texas during the Depression, as well as “Simon the Fiddler,” about, what else?, an itinerant fiddler trying to find love and a living wage traveling from town to town in Texas. Kidd makes a cameo appearance in a couple of other of her books.
I listened to an audio version of “Lightning” and the reader was excellent at conveying the drama and sweeping narrative. I read the other three in print versions. All are worthy.
I wrote on the Sunday following that day of infamy:
“I sat down at my computer at about 6 a.m., unfolded the newspaper and switched on the television. There was smoke pouring from the top of one of the unmistakable landmarks of New York City, the World Trade Center. Well, I thought, there’s a story and photo for tomorrow’s front page, and started into the morning’s routine.
“Minutes later a fireball blossomed from the other tower, and it began to dawn on the commentators and me that this was no ordinary accident and Sept. 11 would be no ordinary day.”
I started making phone calls. Reporters and photographers were dispatched to Hoover Dam, McCarran International, City Hall, Nellis Air Force Base, the Strip and elsewhere. Editors huddled. The publisher called in and said we should add 24 pages to the Wednesday newspaper. All plans were scrapped and we started from scratch, hoping to help our readers make sense of a senseless act.
Every section of the paper kicked in its resources.
The press crew rolled the presses early and cranked out thousands of extra copies.
Then I wrote that Sunday:
“I was proud of what we all had accomplished, of the concerted effort and professionalism, as I drove home at 1 a.m. … until I heard the callers on the radio. People were saying they would gladly give up some freedoms for the sake of safety.”
I wanted to reach into the radio and slap some sense into the callers.
The column proceeded to tick off some of the rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights and I wondered aloud which people would willingly sacrifice. The First’s right of assembly, lest there be a bomb, and no freedom of speech and religion, especially that one? The Second’s right to bear arms? The Fourth’s prohibition against warrantless search and seizure? The Fifth’s right to due process? The Sixth’s right to a public trial?
“If this is the consensus of the nation, the bastards have already won, destroying our will and our principles as well as planes, buildings and lives.
“We will have surrendered without firing a shot in the first war of the 21st century.”
The column appeared sandwiched between a Jim Day cartoon and a Vin Suprynowicz column with the headline: “The passengers were all disarmed.”
In a comment to a local magazine on an anniversary of 9/11 I called it “our Pearl Harbor.”
A version of this was posted on this day in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
NV Energy is urging its customers across the state today to conserve energy between the hours of 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. due to the heat wave.
Similar pleas are being made in neighboring California, but according to a Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this week the blame lies not just with the heat but with the choices the state has made in how it generates its electricity. As of 2018 California was generating more than 32 percent of its electricity with renewable sources — 21 percent from just solar and wind.
The trouble with those is that they generate when the sun shines and the wind blows, which may not be when customers are still using loads of electricity. In fact, power use continues apace after the sun sets and people settle in for an evening in front of the A/C and power up their entertainment units, computers, stoves, lighting, etc.
A WSJ news story notes that California’s grid operator called twice for emergency outages over the past weekend due to inadequate power supplies, in part because demand peaked as solar production began its evening decline.”California has been relying far more heavily on natural-gas-fired power plants, which, unlike wind and solar farms, aren’t dependent on the weather to produce energy,” story notes.
Democrats in California have called by generating 60 percent of the state’s power with renewables by 2030.
Nevada currently generates 22 percent of its electricity via renewables. Could that be a contributing factor to the conservation warning?
Nevada Democrats, too, have ordered that 60 percent of power in the state come from renewables by 2030. In November 2018, Nevada voters approved by nearly 60 percent a constitutional amendment that would require 50 percent of the electricity consumed in the state to come from renewable energy sources by 2030.
In the 2019 legislative session lawmakers passed a law requiring the same thing and Gov. Steve Sisolak promptly signed it.
The constitutional amendment is back on the ballot in November. If passed it would take two votes of the people two years apart to change it. At least the law could be changed if electricity users begin to tire of rolling blackout caused but a lack of power when it is really needed. The voters might also wise up to the fact that renewables, once all the subsidies are included, actually cost four times as much as natural gas-generated power.
Let’s hope the cooler temperatures in November don’t cause voters to forget the threat that came in sultry August.
Just put more than 1.6 million ballots — and that was the number of active registered Nevada voters back in January, before the push to register voters prior to the November General Election — in largely unsecured mailboxes. No one would ever think to follow the mail carrier around and pluck said ballots from said boxes. Why that would be a crime.
But with the passage of Assembly Bill 4 on a party-line vote in a special session of the Nevada Legislature, already signed by Gov. Steve Sisolak, the governor can use the excuse of the coronavirus pandemic to order November ballots be mailed to all active registered voters. It’s not as if they are being dropped out of airplanes. And hopefully no county will do like Clark County did in the primary and demand that ballots be mailed to inactive voters who have mostly already moved from the addresses on file with the registrar of voters. That resulted in many blank ballots piling up in trash cans.
Surely there’ll be no problem with the part of AB4 that says that the validity of a ballot signature may only be challenged if “at least two employees in the office of the clerk believe there is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the signature used for the mail ballot matches the signature of the voter …” What is reasonable? “There is a reasonable question of fact as to whether the signature used for the mail ballot matches the signature of the voter if the signature used for the mail ballot differs in multiple, significant and obvious respects from the signatures of the voter available in the records of the clerk,” AB4 spells out.
Under previous law, it was illegal to “harvest” ballots. Only a family member or certain other persons were allowed to return a mailed ballot for a voter. AB4 allows the voter to designate anyone, though the law prohibits that person from failing to return the ballot or altering, changing, defacing, damaging or destroying the mail ballot. Who would ever do such a thing.
No one would ever be intimidated by their union shop boss, for example, into just turning over their blank but signed mail ballot. Nor would anyone, say at a nursing home, dare to collect such ballots. Turn in your ballot in exchange for a free beer at the neighborhood bar?
The law firm of Campbell & Williams has already filed suit on behalf of the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and the Nevada Republican Party. The suit notes the new law authorizes ballot harvesting and that, along with other provisions, dilutes “Nevadans’ honest votes. Dilution of honest votes, to any degree, by the casting of fraudulent or illegitimate votes violates the right to vote.”
Let’s get this straight, according to a 5-4 one-sentence U.S. Supreme Court ruling Friday, if a Nevada church were to hold a bingo night in its 500-seat auditorium, under Gov. Steve Sisolak’s diktat, 250 people could attend, since the governor’s orders allow 50 percent capacity for casinos, but, if someone were to say a prayer, 200 would have to leave, since the governor says only 50 people may attend church services.
This is a simple case. Under the Governor’s edict, a 10-screen “multiplex” may host 500 moviegoers at any time. A casino, too, may cater to hundreds at once, with perhaps six people huddled at each craps table here and a similar number gathered around every roulette wheel there. Large numbers and close quarters are fine in such places. But churches, synagogues, and mosques are banned from admitting more than 50 worshippers — no matter how large the building, how distant the individuals, how many wear face masks, no matter the precautions at all. In Nevada, it seems, it is better to be in entertainment than religion. Maybe that is nothing new. But the First Amendment prohibits such obvious discrimination against the exercise of religion. The world we inhabit today, with a pandemic upon us, poses unusual challenges. But there is no world in which the Constitution permits Nevada to favor Caesars Palace over Calvary Chapel.
Justice Samuel Alito, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, was equally incensed at the disparate treatment, writing:
The Constitution guarantees the free exercise of religion. It says nothing about the freedom to play craps or blackjack, to feed tokens into a slot machine, or to engage in any other game of chance. But the Governor of Nevada apparently has different priorities. Claiming virtually unbounded power to restrict constitutional rights during the COVID–19 pandemic, he has issued a directive that severely limits attendance at religious services. A church, synagogue, or mosque, regardless of its size, may not admit more than 50 persons, but casinos and certain other favored facilities may admit 50% of their maximum occupancy — and in the case of gigantic Las Vegas casinos, this means that thousands of patrons are allowed.
That Nevada would discriminate in favor of the powerful gaming industry and its employees may not come as a surprise, but this Court’s willingness to allow such discrimination is disappointing. We have a duty to defend the Constitution, and even a public health emergency does not absolve us of that responsibility.
The suit was brought by Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, a church in Lyon County east of Reno. It wanted to conduct services for 90 congregants, about 50 percent of its fire-code capacity. According to Alito, it planned to ask attendees to adhere to proper social distancing of six feet separation, would cut the length of services in half, prohibit items being passed among the congregation, guide congregants to designated doorways along one-way paths, and to leave time between services so the church could be sanitized.
Do casinos require as much?
Justice Kavanaugh wrote in a separate dissent:
But COVID–19 is not a blank check for a State to discriminate against religious people, religious organizations, and religious services. There are certain constitutional red lines that a State may not cross even in a crisis. Those red lines include racial discrimination, religious discrimination, and content-based suppression of speech. This Court’s history is littered with unfortunate examples of overly broad judicial deference to the government when the government has invoked emergency powers and asserted crisis circumstances to override equal-treatment and free-speech principles. The court of history has rejected those jurisprudential mistakes and cautions us against an unduly deferential judicial approach, especially when questions of racial discrimination, religious discrimination, or free speech are at stake.
But Chief Justice John Roberts — joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — denied the church’s appeal without deigning to comment on such a significant constitutional matter.
Unlike The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal is not cowering to a cabal of its own staffers complaining about the content of its opinion section.
When NYT staffers complained that its own opinion section ran an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton that they felt needed “editing,” an opinion editor was forced to resign.
When 280 non-opinion page staffers of the WSJ and owner Dow Jones penned a letter to the publisher complaining about alleged inaccuracies in recent opinion pieces, the WSJ insisted penned a note to readers saying, “These pages won’t wilt under cancel-culture pressure.”
One graf of the letter stated:
So inform the readers of the differences. Also several of the alleged inaccuracies were matters of interpretation.
One of the complaints involved the failure to “fact-check” an op-ed by Vice President Mike Pence that was headlined, “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave.’” The paper later ran a story correcting an overstatement of the amount of medical equipment distributed by the Trump administration.
The letter also faulted a column by Heather Mac Donald challenging the assumption of systemic police bias against minorities, saying the article drew an erroneous conclusion.
The WSJ note to readers declares:
As long as our proprietors allow us the privilege to do so, the opinion pages will continue to publish contributors who speak their minds within the tradition of vigorous, reasoned discourse. And these columns will continue to promote the principles of free people and free markets, which are more important than ever in what is a culture of growing progressive conformity and intolerance.
Good. Let loose the opinions and let the debate continue unabated, not gagged by the timid hand-wringers.
A month ago The Associated Press edited its Stylebook to declare that the word black, “when referring to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural context,” should be capitalized in news stories. The Stylebook is almost universally followed in newsrooms. It is gospel.
John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, said at the time that this change conveys “an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa. The lowercase black is a color, not a person.”
The AP said it would decide within a month whether to also capitalize white when referring to people.
On Monday, the AP announced it would not capitalize white when referring to people.
Daniszewski’s rationale was contorted.
“We agree that white people’s skin color plays into systemic inequalities and injustices, and we want our journalism to robustly explore these problems,” he wrote in a memo to staff Monday. “But capitalizing the term white, as is done by white supremacists, risks subtly conveying legitimacy to such beliefs.”
Legitimacy to white supremacists? What about consistency? What about equal treatment?
The dithering and navel gazing began shortly after the death of George Floyd, a Black man, while being arrested by police. This resulted in protests and riots and the tearing down of statues and the near universal presumption of systemic racism, though evidence of this was entirely lacking.
What’s fair is fair. This decision by AP is kowtowing to the blindly stampeding herd and distorting the language in an Orwellian manner, conveying editorialization instead of fair and objective reporting.
The definition of racism is: “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.”
This is tantamount to capitalizing Woman to recognize the gender’s significant contributions and hurdles, but lower casing man lest one propagates systemic and malignant masculinity.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken to placing a little sticky note over the camera atop by desktop computer. If former FBI Director James Comey and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg do it, so will I. Big and Little Brothers may be watching.
Happy birthday, Eric Blair.
On this day in 1903, Eric Blair was born in India.
But the year for which he is most noted is 1984, even though he died in 1950.
Under the pen name George Orwell, Blair penned the novels “Nineteen Eighty-four” and “Animal Farm,” as well as several other semi-autobiographical books and numerous essays.
Eric Blair as six weeks old
When Orwell wrote “Nineteen Eighty-four” he wasn’t forecasting a particular date, he simply transposed the last two digits in 1948, when he wrote much of the book. Though a life-long socialist he despised the totalitarian and despotic nature of communism, fascism and Nazism.
He added to the lexicon: Big Brother, thoughtcrime, newspeak, doublethink, Room 101, as well as the painted slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.
In “Nineteen Eighty-four” the warring nations kept changing enemies, sort of like today.
If you don’t think freedom is slavery, consider the “Life of Julia” — the Obama campaign video that showed a woman relying on government handouts from cradle to retirement. Julia, by the way, was Winston Smith’s girlfriend.
As for newspeak and doublethink, consider the language of both Obama and Trump. Obama said we were not fighting a war against terrorists but trying to prevent man-caused disasters. His Defense Department (They don’t call it the War Department anymore.) sent out a memo saying: “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’” And a man standing on a table, firing a gun, shouting Allahu Akbar is merely workplace violence.
Trump was going to attack Iran for downing our drone, then the called it off. He was going to have ICE round-up immigrants who had been ordered deported, then he delayed it. He was going to impose tariffs, then he did not. During the election campaign he took 141 policy positions on 23 issues over the course of 510 days. He changed stances on immigration, ObamaCare, entitlement programs, gay rights, the Middle East and so much more.
How can there be any thoughtcrime if we are not allowed to use certain words. People aren’t in the country illegally, they are merely undocumented. And this too changes over time. Once the word negro was the preferred and the politically correct term, but now it is a slur.
“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?” Orwell wrote in “Nineteen Eighty-four.” “In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.”
Today’s cancel culture is Big Brother incarnate.
Statues are being torn down. Books are banned. Social media posts are censored. Speech is deemed the same violence. Silence is also violence. But violence is free speech. Any thought outside the strictly proscribed is a crime. Thoughtcrime literally.
The editorial page editor of the New York Times was ousted after fellow staffers demanded his scalp having the audacity of publishing an op-ed by a U.S. senator calling for sending troops to quell rioting. (It now has a lengthy editors’ note atop it online disavowing much of the op-ed’s content.) The editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer was forced to resign for daring to publish an opinion piece under the headline”Buildings Matter, Too.”
When President Trump tweeted, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts …” Twitter hid it behind warning label because it “glorifies violence.”
Movies and television shows are being canceled lest they offend the snowflakes.
Bowing to racial sensitivity, the Associated Press changed its stylebook to call for the capitalization of the “b” in the term Black when referring to people in a racial, ethnic or cultural context. It was reasoned that lowercase black is a color, not a person. But the AP still uses a lowercase “w” for white, whether a color or a person. Affirmative action run amok?
Back in 1975, David Goodman wrote in The Futurist magazine that 100 of 137 Orwell predictions in “Nineteen Eighty-four” had come true. With the advance of computer surveillance and drones, how many more have come true?
In 1983, while working as the city editor of the Shreveport Journal, I penned a soft feature tied to the 35th anniversary of the original publication of Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four.”
I observed in that piece that Orwell’s book was about a totalitarian dystopia in which BIG BROTHER WAS WATCHING YOU, suggesting this was like the infrared camera equipped drones or huge network of cybersnooping computers, long before the NSA revelations.
“George Orwell respected language and railed against its abuse,” I wrote in 1983. “He was particularly offended by the propaganda — some of which he helped to write for the BBC in World War II. He saw firsthand the way the press was tricked and subverted for political purposes in the Spanish Civil War. Battles that never happened. Heroes who became traitors.”
Walter Cronkite in a foreword to the 1983 paperback edition of “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” claimed the book has failed as prophecy only because it has served so well as a warning — a warning against manipulation and power grabbing and the loss of privacy in the name of state security.
And Cronkite couldn’t resist adding: “1984 may not arrive on time, but there’s always 1985.”
Orwell himself called his book a satire and took pains to correct those who saw it merely as a denunciation of socialism.
In a letter written shortly after the publication of the book, Orwell wrote, “My novel ‘Nineteen Eighty-four’ is not intended as an attack on socialism, or on the British Labour party, but as a show-up of the perversions to which a centralized economy is liable, and which have already been partly realized in Communism and fascism.
“I do not believe that the kind of society I describe will arrive, but I believe (allowing, of course, for the fact that the book is a satire) that something resembling it could arrive. I believe also that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences. The scene of the book is laid in Britain in order to emphasize that the English speaking races are not innately better than anyone else and that totalitarianism, if not fought against, could triumph anywhere.”
A Newsweek article in 2018 asked the question: “Is Trump nudging America toward corrupt authoritarianism?” Isn’t corrupt authoritarianism redundant?
Back in 2008, when the Las Vegas Review-Journal launched its blogging section online, I engaged in a bit of self-indulgent navel gazing in a column trying to explain why. I leaned on Orwell like a crutch.
I explained that I and other newspaper scriveners were joining the lowing herds browsing the ether — otherwise known as bloggers, those free-range creatures who mostly chew up the intellectual property of others and spit out their cuds online.
In an effort to find a rationale for this otherwise irrational exercise I grabbed Orwell’s “Why I Write” essay from 1946, in which he lists various reasons for writing.
First is sheer egoism: “Desire to seem clever, to be talked about, to be remembered after death, to get your own back on the grown-ups who snubbed you in childhood, etc., etc.,” Orwell explains. “It is humbug to pretend this is not a motive, and a strong one. Writers share this characteristic with scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, successful businessmen — in short, with the whole top crust of humanity. … Serious writers, I should say, are on the whole more vain and self-centered than journalists, though less interested in money.”
I think that was both a salute and a sully to the profession of journalism.
The second rationale, according to Orwell, is aesthetic enthusiasm: “Perception of beauty in the external world, or, on the other hand, in words and their right arrangement. Pleasure in the impact of one sound on another, in the firmness of good prose or the rhythm of a good story. …” Orwell explains. “Above the level of a railway guide, no book is quite free from aesthetic considerations.”
Third is historical impulse: “Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.”
Finally, and probably most importantly, political purpose: “Using the word ‘political’ in the widest possible sense. Desire to push the world in a certain direction, to alter other peoples’ idea of the kind of society that they should strive after. Once again, no book is genuinely free from political bias. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.”
Orwell wrote this shortly after he penned “Animal Farm,” but two years before “1984.” He said “Animal Farm” was his first conscious effort “to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole.”
Orwell wrote against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism.
Ayn Rand wrote for free-market capitalism.
Robert A. Heinlein wrote for libertarianism.
Others espouse various “isms” and objective journalism attempts to eschew them, not always successfully.
So, what moves one to write?
As our master Orwell said, “All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery.”
Everybody loves to unravel a good mystery, right?
Happy birthday, Eric Blair.
A version of this blog has been posted annually for several years.
Twice this week the allegedly conservative U.S. Supreme Court chose to legislate rather than litigate.
First, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County the court found that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 barring workplace job discrimination on the basis of sex also covers homosexuals and transgendered, not just males and females, even though in 1964 no one knew what transgender was.
Now, in the Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California the court has decided Trump must state valid reasoning for withdrawing Obama’s executive orders that created DACA and DAPA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Both orders basically rewrote immigration law by allowing certain illegal immigrants to be immune from deportation as the law allowed.
In the first case Congress has had ample time to pass the so-called Equality Act that would do just what the court ruled, but it has not. Neither has Congress acted on proposals that would actually do what DACA and DAPA have done.
In the first case Justice Brett Kavanaugh succinctly wrote in dissent:
In the face of the unsuccessful legislative efforts (so far)to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination, judges may not rewrite the law simply because of their own policy views. Judges may not update the law merely because they think that Congress does not have the votes or the fortitude. Judges may not predictively amend the law just because they believe that Congress is likely to do it soon anyway.
On the immigration ruling Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent:
Between 2001 and 2011, Congress considered over two dozen bills that would have granted lawful status to millions of aliens who were illegally brought to this country as children. Each of those legislative efforts failed. In the wake of this impasse, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under President Barack Obama took matters into its own hands. Without any purported delegation of authority from Congress and without undertaking a rule-making, DHS unilaterally created a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The three-page DACA memorandum made it possible for approximately 1.7 million illegal aliens to qualify for temporary lawful presence and certain federal and state benefits. When President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through yet another memorandum, rescinded the DACA memorandum. To state it plainly, the Trump administration rescinded DACA the same way that the Obama administration created it: unilaterally, and through a mere memorandum.
Today the majority makes the mystifying determination that this rescission of DACA was unlawful. In reaching that conclusion, the majority acts as though it is engaging in the routine application of standard principles of administrative law. On the contrary, this is anything but a standard administrative law case.
Back in 2015, when the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an injunction issued by a Texas judge in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states, Nevada was one of the states seeking the injunction due to the costs the executive orders imposed on the states.
At the time, then-Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt issued a statement saying:
“After careful consideration and extensive briefing, another federal court has once again upheld the states’ injunction, illustrating that the president, like everyone else, must follow the rule of law. Our Constitution establishes a process that must be followed when changing or creating new laws, and no one, regardless of title or position, is above the Constitution. It is encouraging to see the principles of the Constitution affirmed by a third federal court ruling in this case.”
In his original injunction, Texas federal Judge Andrew Hanen stated 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 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.”
According to Pew Research data from 2016, Nevada bears the highest cost in the nation to educate the children of illegal aliens, because fully 20.2 percent of all K-12 students are the children of illegals. According to Pew data from 2014, Nevada has the highest ratio of illegal immigrants in its workforce — 10.4 percent.
Nevada is bearing the costs without the aid or authorization of Congress. This not how laws are supposed to be made.
DACA recipients celebrate in from of Supreme Court. (AP pix)