Convenience and the FBI

Stewart Whitson, late of the FBI and currently Foundation for Government Accountability Legal Director, decried in his Tuesday Wall Street Journal op-ed, a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau effort to completely eliminate the ability of credit-reporting companies to sell credit-header data to law enforcement agencies, including to the FBI. Those header data include a variety of identifying material but, as Whitson was careful to emphasize, no financial information.

This, actually, is one of the few things the CFPB would get right were it to follow through.

Customer Choice

New Mexico’s Progressive-Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has gotten to be enacted rules mandating battery cars and trucks in New Mexico.

Starting in calendar year 2026, 43% of all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks shipped to New Mexico auto dealerships by national auto manufacturers must be zero emission vehicles. Similarly, beginning in calendar year 2026, 15% of all new commercial heavy-duty trucks shipped to New Mexico auto dealerships by national auto manufacturers must be zero emission vehicles. These percentages gradually increase over time.

A Voting Rights Discrimination Case

The 8th Circuit has ruled that private parties cannot bring suit over voting rights discrimination under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act; only the US Attorney General can. The 8th Circuit stands alone among courts and against long-standing precedent here. It’s still correct on the matter.

The court’s decision, in summary, said the

Arkansas branch of the NAACP and another organization couldn’t challenge the district lines drawn for the Arkansas House of Representatives after the 2020 census.

Circuit Judge David Stras, for the majority:

Religious Persecution

Finland Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola stood (still stand?) accused by Finnish prosecutor Anu Mantila of the heinous hate speech crime of quoting from the Bible.

Finnish district courts said, no, and acquitted the two. The prosecutor objected and took the cases to a Finnish appellate court—where the two were once again acquitted. Räsänen:

It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse, or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective. The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech.

Dangerous Settlement

Bob Updegrove, a Virginia-based photographer, has settled his case against the State of Virginia and its Virginia Values Act, which barred “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, public and private employment, public accommodations, and access to credit. The Act includes denying folks their right to demur on the basis of their religious beliefs.

Citing the recent 303 Creative LLC v Elenis Supreme Court case, Updegrove’s case was ultimately dismissed by both parties in appeals court on the agreement that he would not be forced to take part in same-sex weddings.

FISA and Search Warrants

The House Judiciary Committee is moving to seriously revamp FISA, the Act that was set up to deal with    widespread privacy violations by the Federal government during the Nixon administration.  It was intended to enable the government to surveil foreign persons and to limit the government’s surveillance to those foreign persons, and it includes a secretive and secret court to enable issuance of search warrants supporting that surveillance. The Act was promptly abused by the FBI and the Feds’ intelligence agencies to spy on us ordinary Americans, also, most recently during the runup to the Trump administration and continuing throughout that term, and since.

Federalism and State Taxes

A Wall Street Journal editorial opens with this:

One great benefit of America’s federalist Constitution is policy competition among the states. Voters in Florida don’t have to live under New York’s laws, and Americans and businesses can vote with their feet by moving across state lines.

The editors proceeded to a description of State-level tax laws and the mobility of us Americans and our businesses in leaving States with high taxes in favor of States with, often markedly, lower taxes. But that lede overstates the case.

The 9th Circuit Got This One Right

A recent Wall Street Journal opinion concerned the question of when, or whether, a political figure who creates a personal social media account(s) can bar members of the public from interacting with those accounts. In

Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff and TJ Zane, elected school board members in California, used personal Facebook and Twitter accounts they created while running for office to campaign and inform constituents about education news. The officials blocked two parents for making “repetitious and non-responsive comments” on their pages.

In O‘Connor-Ratcliff v Garnier, the 9th Circuit said the two board members could not do that.

Private Citizens and Firearms Licensing in Israel

Israel has some firearms licensing requirements that would greatly please the Leftists in our nation. The particular requirement of interest to me is this one:

Firearm licenses for private citizens in Israel are typically only granted to individuals who can prove a need for extra security in their line of work or daily life.

And those who do succeed in getting licenses are limited to 100 rounds of ammunition at any one time.

Israeli citizens live in a small nation surrounded by terrorists that routinely and frequently attack that nation, particularly targeting civilians and civilian gathering spots. That’s their need for extra security.

Bad Mistake

Federal DC District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over former President and current Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s (R) trial on “election charges,” has issued a gag order limiting what Trump is allowed to say on matters associated with that trial. Her gag order should be found, on appeal, to be strongly unconstitutional—based on Chutkan’s own characterization of her order.

His presidential candidacy does not give him carte blanche to vilify public servants who are simply doing their jobs[.]

Trump’s status as a Presidential candidate is wholly irrelevant to this. Trump’s status as an American citizen is.