a service of NPRI

July 6, 2005 
Vol. 1, No. 20


The Courts
‘Wizards’ behind the curtain

How the American judiciary squandered its moral inheritance

By Steven Miller

Randy E. Barnett makes an excellent point.

The Austin B. Fletcher Professor at Boston University School of Law has spotted an interesting paradox: While statist judges and their academic enablers are, and have long been, confident the U.S. Constitution is defective in important ways, needing their “fixes,” they nevertheless always go to great pains to hide behind the document and pretend they are merely “interpreting” it.

“Since the adoption of the Constitution, courts have eliminated clause after clause that interfered with the exercise of government power,” notes Barnett. “This started early with the Necessary and Proper Clause [that constrained the power of Congress], continued through Reconstruction with the destruction of the Privileges or Immunities Clause [that required states to observe their own citizens’ full human rights], and culminated in the post New Deal Court that gutted the Commerce Clause [making it a near-unlimited grant of power to Congress] and the scheme of enumerated powers affirmed in the Tenth Amendment, while greatly expanding the unwritten “police power” of the states.” At the same time, he points out, “With sporadic exceptions, judges have ignored the Ninth Amendment.”

“Without these missing clauses,” observes Barnett, “the general scheme of the Constitution has been radically altered.” While the framers’ Constitution had created “islands of government powers in a sea of liberty,” the “judicially redacted constitution” that has emerged from the hands of officious jurists “creates islands of liberty rights in a sea of governmental powers.” This, he notes, resembles not at all the constitution “written on parchment that resides under glass in Washington.”


The Courts
The Nine Make Their Own Laws

By Thomas Bray
The Journal

SO NOW the battle is joined. Even before the announcement of Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court had flashed to the nation on Friday, conservative and liberal campaigns to influence the selection of her successor had kicked into high gear.

Sad, you might say. But what would you expect in a political system that has devolved so much power to the least accountable branch of government?

Even John Marshall, the second chief justice, who cleverly established the Supreme Court’s role as arbiter of what’s constitutional, would have been appalled. Today the Supreme Court doesn’t just judge what’s constitutional, it makes its own laws.


The Courts
Make or break time for Bush

By Cal Thomas
Tribune Mediat

When Ronald Reagan nominated Arizona’s Sandra Day O’Connor to the Supreme Court in 1981, conservatives were nervous because little was known about her. Reagan assured religious conservatives they had nothing to fear.

Reagan told Reverend Jerry Falwell he had spoken to her about abortion, which was the main concern of religious conservatives, and found her to be “OK” on that issue. Reagan assured Falwell and company they would not be disappointed.

I was vice president of Falwell’s Moral Majority at the time and went on ABC’s “Nightline” to express my reservations that conservatives might not like what they were getting.

What I had seen of O’Connor’s record did not persuade me she would favor restricting abortion. I was right and Reagan was wrong. Conservatives were disappointed. O’Connor has been the key vote upholding the extra-constitutional ruling known as Roe vs. Wade.

There would be other justices named by Republican presidents who also were disappointments.


The Moolah Rail
Nevada Journal, 2000

How a scheme to shift costs of the Las Vegas monorail away from sponsoring hotels and onto taxpayers led to a hugely inflated project price tag and fishy ridership numbers

WHY BusinessNevada

Unionizing tactic
could face shake-up

Congressional reform would limit intentional disruptions in Nevada

By Alana Roberts

Business interests are trying to keep salts out of their companies.

Not table salt or Epsom salts, but union salts—union organizers who get hired by companies with the purpose of organizing the businesses.

Proposed legislation that employer groups are pushing in Congress seeks more employer control over their job sites by relaxing a federal labor law to allow business leaders more leeway in deciding to hire or fire a union salt. Business advocates say union salts are disruptive to job sites.


Do Your Kids or Employees Need Help With Math?

Tutors are coaching U.S.
students online—from India

By Cris Prystay
The Wall Street Journal

NEW DELHI—Tanu Basu lives in Boston, but when she wants extra coaching in math, the 16-year-old American gets online and spends an hour reviewing calculus with an Indian teacher who is based in a suburb of this teeming metropolis.

“It’s great. I can log in on my free time, whenever I want,” says Ms. Basu. “Sometimes my tutor has to explain something four times, and I just feel I’m this dumb person on the other side of the world, and he’s all ‘No, that’s OK.’ “

Enter the next phase of outsourcing: online math education. Not only does the U.S. increasingly lag behind other countries on international math scores, it’s also short of qualified math teachers. This could make it tough for America to improve its grade and retain the competitive edge that keeps good jobs at home.

Continued at WSJ.com - Need Help With Calculus? Tutors Coach U.S. Students Online -- From India* This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days after it is e-mailed.

NBER: More School Accountability Means More Student Achievement

NBER Digest

A National Bureau of Economic Research study of various school accountability programs over 20 years has found that accountability has great potential to improve student achievement.

The authors analyzed various states – some with accountability programs, some without – using the National Assessment of Educational Progress. They found that:

Accountability standards lead to higher achievement growth than would have occurred without accountability.

However, simply reporting results of tests has a minimal impact on performance – the systems are much more effective if poor educational results have adverse consequences for the schools.

The white paper -- NBER Working Paper No. 10591-- is titled, "Does School Accountability Lead to Improved Student Performance?" Its authors are Eric Hanushek and Margaret Raymond.

Click here for:
[David Francis' summary]

The Costs 0f Growth

Growth controls do more harm than good

By Randal O'Toole
A Better Earth

Gallatin County, Montana doubled its population in the past thirty years, making it the fastest-growing region in the state. While the county's 2.6 percent annual growth rate falls far short of the 8.3 percent rate of Loudoun County, Virginia, or the 4.3 percent rate of Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada, it is still enough to cause stresses and strains.

A common response to such stress is to ask city or county officials to pass "growth-management" ordinances. But more than three decades' experience with such laws in cities from Boulder, Colorado, to San Jose has shown that they do more harm than good.


Health Savings Accounts Mushrooming

Instead of an employer or insurer paying medical bills, over a million people are now managing some of their own health care dollars

by John C. Goodman
President, National Center for Policy Analysis

The number of Americans enrolled in Health Savings Accounts has more than doubled just since September, and a new NCPA brief analysis shows that they could be made much better, especially if allowed to wrap-around third party insurance.

HSAs Hobbled by Out-of Date States

Congress created health savings accounts to help people cover medical costs. But state laws are getting in the way.

WSJ.com - Legal Conflict* This article will be available to non-subscribers of the Online Journal for up to seven days.

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are having an enormously beneficial effect on the design of health insurance in this country. Instead of an employer or insurer paying medical bills, more than one million people are managing some of their own health care dollars. Instead of relying solely on third-party insurance, people can now partly self-insure through these accounts. Yet despite their many advantages, HSAs can be made even better.


Nevada growth
Vegas still building on economic momentum

Housing affordability becoming big worry

By Kevin Rademacher 

Nevada’s economy continues to impress the experts. In two separate reports this week, Nevada’s stellar job growth was touted as pacing the nation. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Tuesday issued its Summer 2005 Nevada State Profile. In the report, the state was singled out for its nation-leading 6.7 percent job growth rate in the first quarter. Las Vegas also was singled out for creating jobs at a rate of 7.6 percent in the quarter.


Pitchman for the
Gray Revolution

Retirement as we know it is over, says Ken Dychtwald. Nearly 80% of baby-boomers want to continue working when they reach retirement age

By Nicholas Varchaver

On the surface the mission couldn’t be more pedestrian: coaching a few hundred Merrill Lynch financial advisors gathered at a swank Bermuda hotel on how to exploit the aging baby-boomer market. But as Ken Dychtwald paces the stage of an amphitheater at the Fairmont Southampton on this early June day, it’s not hard to see that what he’s really talking about is something much, much bigger than a business opportunity.


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