A Better Answer

The Supreme Court might take up a case involving cy pres, the policy of handing class action suit settlement fund “leftover” money to third parties.  It’s especially used where the number of plaintiffs in the class is huge.

In privacy or data-breach cases, where the number of potential plaintiffs reaches into the millions, the majority of a settlement can go to cy pres recipients.

A 2015 class-action settlement involving Alphabet that centered on its Google subsidiary would have led, after the lawyers’ cut, to four-cent checks being sent to each of nearly 130 million plaintiffs, for instance.

Free Speech

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (Nifla) v Becerra, whose proximate subject centers on abortion rights but whose real subject is freedom of  speech.

California’s Reproductive FACT Act, the law in question in NIFLA, requires pro-life centers to advise their clients of the availability of abortion centers.  This is forced speech, and it destroys the 1st Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech, since speech cannot be freely spoken if it cannot also be freely not spoken.  This is as true for factual speech as it is for opinion speech.

Violent Illegal Aliens

Recall Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s warning to illegal aliens in the city for which she’s responsible that ICE officers were coming.  Recall further the litany of violent crimes for which many of those warned were previously convicted or accused, and that many of those violent illegals escaped ICE as a result of Schaaf’s warning.

Now we see an outcome of Schaaf’s concern for violent non-citizen criminals.

Three illegal immigrants, who avoided capture after Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf blew the whistle on a raid by federal immigration authorities last month, have since been re-arrested for new crimes including robbery and spousal abuse, ICE officials said.

School Shootings and Gun Control

At a Parkland high school, a thug went in and killed 17 while injuring several more; he was captured elsewhere and after several hours.  At a Maryland school, a thug went in, wounded two, and was killed.

There are some critical differences in the two situations.

The Parkland thug had a semi-automatic rifle, while the Maryland thug had a hand gun.

The Parkland thug obtained his rifle legally, if with some trouble (one potential seller refused the sale, having developed his own suspicions while interacting with the thug).  The Maryland thug obtained his pistol illegally.

Teachers Pensions and Misapprehensions

State-funded teachers pensions are in peril around the nation from a combination of State governments over-promising, union demands and refusals to recognize economic realities, and those economic realities.  Kentucky provides an example of that, without going into the relative impacts of those three factors to the overall outcome, and of a critical misapprehension.

Kentucky has more than 175,000 active and inactive or retired teachers in the State’s teacher retirement program, and it has a $14.5 billion funding deficit—more than $85,000 per teacher.  The State was able to cover 88% of its agreed contribution to its program in 2007 and now can only cover 56%.  In response, Governor Matt Bevin (R) has proposed

A Fiduciary Rule

The Obama Labor Department, under the suzerainty of Tom Perez who is now the Progressive-Democratic National Committee Chairman, enacted a rule that allowed individuals to hale into court principals of employer or union retirement plans for the crime of charging commissions for their actions.  The rule also redefined “investment advice fiduciaries” to include broker-dealers and financial-insurance agents whose activities are limited to selling financial products.

The 5th Circuit struck the rule as illegal.  That’s good news for all of us.

However.

The Trump Labor Department has said it won’t enforce the rule and is working with the SEC on a new one….

Banking Reform

The Senate has passed a bill that greatly diminishes Dodd-Frank’s interference with our banking industry by easing the regulatory burden on financial institutions lesser than the half-dozen or so that have been (mistakenly, IMNSHO) designated systemically important.

There’s concern about the willingness of the Progressive-Democrats who voted for it (including voting to get it past cloture) to vote for it again were it to come back from the House changed in any way.  Republican Senators, as a result, want the House to pass the bill as it is, without alteration or delay.

An Unintended Consequence

The health coverage plan providers, companies like Humana, Aetna, Anthem, et al., are gaming the Medicare system to keep their Medicare bonuses coming in.  Surprise.

It seems that when Obamacare was passed, it included a system of paying bonuses from Medicare to those plan providers that got sufficiently high ratings on the quality of their plans.

But wait….

Medicare ranks privately managed plans…on a five-star quality scale and provides financial bonuses to providers of top-ranked plans. [A plan-holder’s] plan was set to be downgraded, which would have cost Humana its bonus. So the company merged plans covering [the plan-holder] and more than a million others into different contracts with higher scores. That preserved the bonuses.

Biofuel Mandates

The Wall Street Journal had a piece titled Biofuel Mandates Are a Bad Idea Whose Time May Be Up that centered on the possibility that these might get watered down, or even eliminated, sometime “soon.”

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which forces oil refiners to mix corn-based fuel into gasoline, is one of history’s great policy boondoggles.

Well, NSS.  The only things it’s done of practical consequence have been to serve as a backdoor subsidy for farmers and to drive up the cost of corn, corn substitutes, and food that eats corn.  And to drive up the cost of gasoline and to create ethanol fuel-related automobile engine maintenance costs.