“Coy,” Is It?

The Biden-Harris administration, in its argument for the government’s appeal in the 8th Circuit of a trial court’s rulings in Religious Sisters of Mercy v Azar and Catholic Benefits Association v Azar, steadfastly refused to say whether, in fact, these entities would be subject to government suit were those entities, in fact, to refuse to provide and cover so-called “gender transition” procedures. The case and the government’s “enforcement” vagaries center on

how the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) interpret Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination by gender identity, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act in relation to RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act].

“Trial” Doesn’t Mean the Same to Progressive-Democrats…

…as it does to the rest of us. This is in the subtext of Aaron Kliegman’s Just the News piece regarding Progressive-Democrat Congressmen pushing for a revival of their Bivens Act proposal, which would

allow citizens to recover damages for constitutional violations committed against them by federal law enforcement officials.

Kliegman, though, also pointed out another effect of the Act’s simple proposal:

the legislation would incidentally offer a path to civil remedy for those imprisoned without trial for alleged involvement in the January 6 Capitol breach who say they’ve been mistreated by federal authorities to sue.

Two Mistakes

The Chevron Deference “rule,” which the Supreme Court coalesced out of the æther in its 37-year-old Chevron v Natural Resources Defense Council ruling, comes up again in this year’s American Hospital Association v Becerra case, which centers on Medicare’s drug reimbursement schedule for hospitals.

The Supremes invented a two-step evaluation of Executive Branch agency rules in that Chevron case:

First, courts are to give effect to the “unambiguously expressed intent of Congress.” Second, if a court finds that the statute is ambiguous…then it is bound to respect any plausible agency interpretation.

Loopholes

The usually solid editors over at The Wall Street Journal had a piece last Friday regarding, in their terms, a bizarre loophole for Oklahoma criminals.

It seems that Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote a majority opinion in McGirt v Oklahoma that held that since the Federal government—Congress—has never actually dissolved the nation’s treaty with the Creek Nation, Oklahoma’s

authority to prosecute crimes involving Native American perpetrators and victims has vanished in nearly half of Oklahoma.

Because that’s the expanse of the Creek Nation’s reservation under that treaty.

Some Key Moments

From the oral arguments regarding the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case currently before the Supreme Court. And my responses to them. Because you know I don’t lack for hubris.

Perhaps the most famous example of overturned precedent was the 1954 Brown v Board of Education ruling, which reversed Plessy v Ferguson….

Well, there was another, preceding case—the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dred Scott v Sandford, which needed a Civil War to overturn because the Justices on the Taney Court and later lacked the integrity, the morals, the courage to overturn the ruling on their own.

Court Deference

The Supreme Court has before it American Hospital Association v Becerra, which The Wall Street Journal suggests makes a sufficient vehicle for revisiting judicial deference to an Executive Branch agency’s claims about the legitimacy of this or that regulation promulgated by the agency. The specific item is HHS’ Medicare reimbursement rates for outpatient drugs.

The question is far broader than that, however.

Chevron deference and its still extant forebear, Skidmore, need to be overruled, rescinded, and done away with altogether, along with all other moves, even predispositions, to defer. A regulation (or a mandated drug reimbursement rate) is valid or it is not on its merit, not because a government expert says it is.

Biden-Harris Diktat

The 5th Circuit has affirmed its stay of OSHA’s mandate that employers must require—be deputiz[ed] their participation in OSHA’s regulatory scheme as the court acknowledged—employee vaccines, testing, or termination, or face deliberately destructive fines for not doing so.

An array of petitioners seeks a stay barring OSHA from enforcing the Mandate during the pendency of judicial review. On November 6, 2021, we agreed to stay the Mandate pending briefing and expedited judicial review. Having conducted that expedited review, we reaffirm our initial stay.

The appellate court went on:

A Second Amendment Case

The Wall Street Journal‘s editors opined on the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v Bruen, a gun rights vs gun control case currently before the Supreme Court. That case centers on whether New York State gets to allow or not allow a citizen of New York (and so a citizen of the United States) to carry a firearm outside his home based on a bureaucrat’s personal view of the “need” for the citizen to carry.

In the course of that piece, the Editors exposed their own misunderstanding.

A Risky Argument

Stephen Miller, late of the Trump administration and current member of the board of directors of America First Legal, in supporting Texas’ law prohibiting doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, is making this argument, among others:

In every other area of public life, people are able to, through the legislatures, pass laws against sex trafficking, sexual abuse, elder abuse, against every other social ill imaginable. And yet for about half a century now, there’s been no ability by citizens in any state to work through legislatures to ensure some measure of protection for our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

Breathtaking Ignorance

Attorney General Merrick Garland is suing Texas over its heartbeat abortion law, and he’s basing it on Constitutional grounds. Garland justified his suit with this:

This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans, whatever their politics or party, should fear[.]

And

The obvious and expressly acknowledged intention of this statutory scheme is to prevent women from exercising their constitutional rights by thwarting judicial review for as long as possible[.]

It’s a good thing Garland wasn’t approved for the Supreme Court; his ignorance of our Constitution is breathtaking (and it makes him unfit to sit as AG).