Join Jim and Greg as they enjoying watching House Democrats point fingers at each other for doing much worse than expected in Tuesday’s elections. Jim tells Republicans to stop airing their arguments about election crimes or irregularities on social media and cable news and bring evidence to court if there are reasons to investigate the vote counting. And they unload on self-important New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for suggesting Al Gore “took a bullet for the country” by conceding to George W. Bush in 2000.
On Monday, Planned Parenthood withdrew its application to be a recipient of Title X federal health care funding, following a Trump administration rule change barring recipients from encouraging patients to pursue abortions.
Susan B. Anthony List Vice President of Communications Mallory Quigley says this is a big win for the pro-life cause.
“Planned Parenthood is choosing to not comply with the rule, which is really intended to draw a bright line of separation between the idea of family planning and separation versus abortion,” said Quigley.
She also says Planned Parenthood may not have spent previous Title X funds directly on abortion but did use it to buy pro-abortion advertising in addition to paying bills that helped keep the nation’s largest abortion provider open.
Planned Parenthood is losing about $60 million in taxpayer funds as a result, although it is still getting the bulk of the roughly $500 million in total federal funding it gets every year.
Acting Planned Parenthood President Alexis McGill Johnson says the lack of funding will make it harder for women to seek health care and some may forego it altogether.
Quigley wonders why an organization so flush with other money that it spends lavishly on political campaigns won’t make women’s health care a priority.
“Planned Parenthood has really shown its true colors by prioritizing abortion over family planning and refusing to comply with this rule,” said Quigley.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Quigley explain why the new rule does not constitute an infringement on the freedom of speech for Planned Parenthood personnel, where the abortion fight goes from here, and how this news shows just how big of a difference elections make.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Thursday that judges in the state can force parents to provide counseling, therapy, and other services or a child who identifies as a different gender than their biological sex.
The decision partially strikes down a 2018 Appeals Court ruling which gave more deference to parents. The case in question involved a divorced couple in a dispute over how to raise their biologically male child who “demonstrated a preference for female items,” according to a report in the Arizona Republic.
The Arizona Supreme Court ruling was unanimous, but does state that the parents cannot be required to provide services for their kids unless they are “at risk of physical danger or significantly impaired emotionally.”
LGBT activists are cheering the decision, asserting that children who are not “affirmed” in their preferred gender identity suffer far more depression and are more likely to harm themselves than those who do not meet parental resistance.
But Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver says the court got this one wrong.
“I think the Supreme Court of Arizona is wrong and I think that the Arizona Court of Appeals did get it right, when last year it ultimately ruled that courts could not take sides between parents over these kinds of issues,” said Staver.
He also contends this is pure activism from the justices.
“The Arizona Supreme Court simply gerrymandered this case. There is no law that would allow the courts to interfere between the parents in this kind of a situation,” said Staver.
He says the government has no business getting involved in these sorts of disputes.
“When a child is going through gender confusion, there is no reason to go down the road – especially at a child’s early age – for hormone-blocking treatment, hormones of a different gender, and even counseling to go through surgical intervention. Essentially, they’ve opened up the door to do just that, which is going to cause both short and long-term harm to the children.
“They should leave those decisions to the parents, even if the parents cannot agree,” said Staver.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Staver explain why he rejects the American Association of Pediatrics recommendations of “comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care” for children struggling with gender dysphoria and why such advice is contrary to the basics of most counseling.
The effort to strike down the Affordable Care Act just got a powerful new ally, as the Justice Department now says the courts should find the 2010 law unconstitutional, and one of the lawyers spearheading the case is thrilled with the news.
“The Trump Justice Department is doing its job to uphold the Constitution,” said Rob Henneke of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “I commend the Trump administration Department of Justice looking at the reasoning of the court and choosing to defend the rule of law and now seeking to uphold the correct opinion.”
Henneke joined Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year in arguing that a federal district judge should rule against Obamacare. Judge Reed O’Connor agreed, and his decision is now being challenged at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Also known as Obamacare, the ACA survived a 2012 Supreme Court battle, when Chief Justice John Roberts admitted the ACA violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution but allowed the law to stand because the penalties Americans paid to the government for failing to purchase health insurance fell under the power of Congress to levy taxes.
The 2017 tax reform enacted a zero dollar penalty for defying the individual mandate. So critics like Henneke say there’s no longer a tax and revenue reason to keep the law.
Supporters of the ACA suggest conservatives are hypocritical for two major reasons. First, they say critics of the Obama Justice Department were incensed when it refused to enforce laws it didn’t like, such as the Defense of Marriage Act, but are only too happy to fight against existing laws now.
Henneke rejects the accusation.
“This duty to defend is a made up doctrine from only the last couple of decades. It’s not the role of the Department of Justice to win at any cost. Their role is to seek justice and uphold the Constitution,” said Henneke.
Listen to the full podcast to hear Henneke explain why ACA defenders are also wrong to accuse Republicans of abandoning Americans with pre-existing conditions if the law were struck down. He also explains where the case stands at the appellate level.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a federal judge’s decision to strike down Obamacare now that Congress has repealed the individual mandate. They also cringe as President Trump’s digs his legal holes deeper and deeper with more impulsive, ranting tweets. And they react to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitting she’s not a person of color just weeks after trying to score political points with her DNA test.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America prepare for Thanksgiving by each discussing three things for which they’re politically thankful. They discuss the positive aspects of the midterm elections, the big confirmation fight, and important news this year from the courts and the Congress. Happy Thanksgiving and join us again on Friday for another special edition of the Three Martini Lunch.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America react to reports that former FBI Director James Comey is described as “insubordinate” in the forthcoming inspector general’s report and former deputy director Andrew McCabe is asking for immunity before testifying to Congress about the Hillary Clinton email investigation. They also push back against the outrage surrounding the arrest of an illegal immigrant delivering pizzas to a military base, pointing out the man told a judge he would leave the country eight years ago and never did. And they’re puzzled by Sen. Bernie Sanders refusing to endorse his own son’s congressional bid when he’s been very active backing other candidates around the country.
Democrats in multiple states are planning to sue the Trump administration to stop the 2020 U.S. census from asking whether people living in the U.S. are citizens, a move that may find initial success in the courts but may also be based on false assumptions.
The citizenship question appeared on every census form from 1820 through 1950. From 1960 through 2000, it appeared on the long form sent to about one-sixth of U.S. residences. 2010 is the only census in the past 200 years not to include the question to anyone.
Nonetheless, left-leaning states like California and New York are headed to court to prevent the question from appearing on the census.
“Having an accurate Census count should be of the utmost importance for every Californian,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The Census numbers provide the backbone for planning how our communities can grow and thrive in the coming decade. California simply has too much to lose for us to allow the Trump administration to botch this important decennial obligation.”
“This move directly targets states like New York that have large, thriving immigrant populations — threatening billions of dollars in federal funding for New York as well as fair representation in Congress and the electoral college,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The concern from Becerra, Schneiderman and others is that people living in the U.S. who are either not citizens or not in the country legally will be far more reluctant to fill out the census, thus skewing the data received and depriving certain states the congressional representation they ought to have and the government spending it needs.
And while the U.S. census is under the control of the executive branch through the Commerce Department, don’t be surprised if the courts back the challengers.
“We’ll get a court to enjoin this. There’s no question. The reason for that is that if the Trump administration were to say the sky is blue, you could find a federal court at this point to enjoin that and say it’s not correct,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.
“There’s just so many judges out there who have a deep suspicion of every motive and every action of the administration, that’s they’ll find a reason,” said Camarota, who says the likely verdict of the Supreme Court on this is less clear.
But while plenty of attention has been paid to the blowback from Democrats, why is the Commerce Department adding this question back into the census?
“It came at the request of the Justice Department, which said that we’d really like to have this question because it would be helpful in enforcing voting rights law,” said Camarota.
At issue is greater scrutiny of racial and ethnic gerrymandering and whether the drawing of legislative districts is putting certain people under a greater burden to get to the polls.
“You’re allowed to gerrymander for political reasons but you’re not allowed to explicitly try to dilute political power among different racial minorities. Or another example is the placement of a polling place. You can have a situation where minorities are all in one part of the area but the polling place is very far away and very inconvenient,” said Camarota.
“The same kind of thing could apply to naturalized citizens. Does the placement of polling places or does the gerrymandering tend to dilute or make difficult the voting of naturalized citizens. That’s why you would ask the question they’re planning on asking,” added Camarota.
While the reaction to the citizenship question is falling largely along party lines, Camarota says on the surface it is reasonable to wonder it will lead to fewer responses and less accurate data..
“The question is does the benefit you get by asking this question offset the risk that you might reduce the quality of Census Bureau data,” said Camarota. “I think it’s not an unreasonable concern. I think it’s an open question.”
That being said, Camarota says the best evidence suggests there probably would not be much of a drop off, if any, if the question is added to the census based on what we see with other surveys.
“Every year we do what’s called the American Community Survey. It shoots for about one and a half to two percent of the population and they ask all these detailed questions, several related to citizenship. The second survey we have is the Current Population Survey. It’s done every month. It’s where we get the unemployment numbers. It has also been asking about citizenship for many years now,” said Camarota.
He says Trump’s campaign and presidency seem to have little or no impact on the response rate.
“The argument is that there’s a kind of Trump effect, that in the new context of increased immigration enforcement, now we’re really going to see people respond (at different rates). You don’t really see it.
“With the American Community Survey, Trump ran for office and won office in 2016, but the share of people who refused to take the survey didn’t change between ’15 and ’16, which is what you’d expect if people were reluctant to answer these questions,” said Camarota.
He says the rate of response is trending down but that development began long before Trump’s political rise. In addition, the same pattern can be seen on the monthly surveys.
“You’d think they’d be really reluctant to answer the question and you can do an analysis to see if in fact people are not answering that question, leaving it blank or what have you. There’s been no rise.
“Even if you try to put on a graph the months in which Trump did well – he announced his candidacy, or won the nomination, or won the presidency – and then look at several months after, there’s just no change in the continuity of the data,” said Camarota.
According to Camarota, the evidence just isn’t there to suggest returning the question to the census will skew the results.
“That would tend to undermine the idea that putting this question on is going to make much difference one way or the other. I think it is harder and harder to gather data. I think that has to do with the decline in trust for government. It has to do with the decline in civic mindedness. People don’t see it so much as their civic responsibility anymore.
“I think those things are true, but I don’t think it has much to do with the citizenship question,” said Camarota.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America focus squarely on the media in this episode of the Three Martini Lunch awards. They begin by discussing two massive stories that media either ignore or are severely downplaying – one overseas and one here in the U.S. Then they switch gears to reveal which stories received far too much coverage in 2017. Finally, they choose what they see as the best stories of the past year.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud President Trump’s nomination of Don Willett and James Ho for spots on the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They also are cautiously optimistic that this NFL weekend might actually focus on football as three teams announce they will be standing for the national anthem. And they throw up their hands as a anti-Trump elementary school librarian publicly rejects the donation of Dr. Seuss books from First Lady Melania Trump, while also slamming Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and falsely accusing Dr. Seuss of racism.