July 10, 2020

By David Flemming

Government sanctioned monopolies don’t often benefit consumers- but that never stopped our Legislature from attempting the impossible when they gave the responsibility for single-payer over to a new regulative entity- the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB). When single-payer failed, the Legislature tried again with OneCare. The signs for OneCare aren’t much more promising, but don’t tell regulator/cheerleader GMCB that.

State auditor Doug Hoffer tried not to completely castigate the concept, when he released a highly critical 70 page report regarding the future of OneCare: “I’m not saying that the model is bad in and of itself, I’m just not convinced that the monitoring and oversight is as rigorous as it needs to be.”

OneCare (an accountable care organization- ACO) was created in 2016 on the premise that changing the way Vermont hospitals and doctors were paid would reduce seemingly perpetual cost increases in healthcare. Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance companies give money to OneCare, which passes along the money to hospitals and doctors in monthly payments, with a non-unsubstantial cut off the top.

OneCare is slowly absorbing Vermont’s entire healthcare infrastructure- 13 of the state’s 14 hospitals now participate in the program. Since OneCare is the only sanctioned ACO in Vermont, it has monopoly power granted by the state. By shutting out any form of potential competition, Vermonters are at the mercy of those regulating OneCare, namely, the Green Mountain Care Board, which verifies OneCare’s certification eligibility each year. Only problem is, the GMCB is hardly an impartial regulator. It has a stake in helping OneCare succeed. Failure on the part of OneCare would mean failure of the GMCB (and the legislature). Perhaps this is why GMCB is dragging its feet on actually performing even the most basic of regulatory functions.

Hoffer questioned why the GMCB hasn’t analyzed the skyrocketing costs of OneCare. In 2020, OneCare had administrative costs of $19 million out of a total budget of $1.43 billion. Kevin Mullin, chair of the GMCB, has insisted the GMCB will get around to considering the administrative costs of OneCare, but only in 2022, when OneCare’s five-year contract with Medicare and Medicaid Services expires. In the meantime, Vermonters are asked to suspend judgement on OneCare.

Hoffer expressed further criticism: “6 of the 22 quality measures in the All-Payer Agreement have baselines… that are either the same or higher than their corresponding 2022 targets. That means quality of care could decline and yet the targets achieved…the public could be misled if the GMCB emphasizes that a target was met without also acknowledging that quality had declined.”

The GMCB’s reluctance to critically examine OneCare suggests that they may already know OneCare is not delivering the savings the legislature and the GMCB promised Vermonters. Perhaps the GMCB is hoping that by 2022, abandoning OneCare will be appear expensive than sticking with a faulty OneCare. Vermonters must insist on what Hoffer has proposed- a more in depth look at OneCare, that examines both cost and quality measures. Before the GMCB can claim “it’s too late to go back now.” To do otherwise is to stubbornly ignore signs that the OneCare/GMCB monopoly will continue to burden Vermonters with low-quality, high-cost healthcare.

David Flemming is a policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute.

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July 9, 2020

By John McClaughry

A woman in Barre Town, excited by the epidemic of statue demolishing, is calling for removing the statue of Col. Ethan Allen from the front portico of the Vermont State House. Why? Because Ethan and his brothers led and defended the white settlement movement into the New Hampshire Grants in the 1770s, and the land once roamed by the Abenaki ended up in Anglo ownership.

It’s true that in the 17th century, white settlers pushed northwest into what is now Vermont. The Abenaki living here resisted, and gladly cooperated with the French in Canada, who wanted to stem British expansion. There were three bloody Abenaki Wars, the last one ending well before Ethan was born. Most of the Western Abenaki nation had departed north to friendly Quebec by Ethan’s arrival in 1770. Ethan battled the Albany Junto in defense of land patents granted by New Hampshire.

There is no record of Ethan ever engaging in hostilities with the Abenaki. He was reported to have claimed that there were no Indians left in the Grants, which may not have been entirely true.

Doubtless he was a racist, like all white settlers of Vermont who, mindful of the French-sponsored Abenaki massacre of whites at Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1704, regarded the Abenaki as primitive, ignorant, and frequently bloodthirsty savages.

But to take down Ethan’s statue from the State House is totally unmerited, and I would hate to see anybody try it.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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July 7, 2020

By John McClaughry

A week ago came the startling news that a weather station in Siberia recorded a 100-degree F temperature. One breathless report told us that Siberia is “literally on fire”. Middlebury College activist Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist organization, 350.orgtweeted on the 100-degree temperature recorded in Verkhoyansk :“Siberian town tops 100 degrees F, the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle. This scares me.”

Meteorologist Anthony Watts innocently asks “what about the other times when it got that hot above the Arctic circle, before “climate change” became a social justice cause?

Watts says Associated Press reported that “it was 100 degrees on June 27, 1915, in Fort Yukon, [Alaska] according to official records of the National Weather Service..”

Watts says “That pretty much cools down McKibben’s claim of “the hottest temperature ever recorded north of the Arctic Circle”.  Both Verkhoyansk, Siberia and Fort Yukon, Alaska are well above the Arctic Circle. How is it that 105 years of global warming ago, when “climate change” wasn’t even a factor, it got that hot?

According to the Moscow Times“Verkhoyansk holds the Guinness World Record for the highest recorded temperature range of 105 C, fluctuating from minus 68 C to a high of 37 C. The previous temperature record for the isolated town of around 1,300 residents stood at 99.1 F in July 1988.” 

In other words, such extremes are normal for this place. This story is more climate hogwash.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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July 2, 2020

By John McClaughry

The news media was overflowing last month with the story that some unknown racist had left a noose hanging in the Talladega track garage assigned to NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace.

Wallace himself didn’t raise the issue, but when it hit the front pages he lamented – not surprisingly – that such people were still on the loose inflaming racial animosities, but he wasn’t going to let it stop his career. Wallace’s fellow NASCAR drivers engaged in an on-track procession of support for Bubba. That would have been a commendable show of support for a black man threatened by sinister racists.

But meanwhile, fifteen federal agents – fifteen – descended on Talladega and with the aid of track technicians discovered in only two intense days of investigating that far from being a hate crime, the menacing noose was merely a pull rope used to pull down the overhead door, and it had been there at least since last October, long before that garage was assigned to black driver Wallace.

In short, there was nothing to this wild story, but the national news media and politicians grabbed it to illustrate their narrative that America is under assault by racism, and no desperate measure to combat it, like banishing Teddy Roosevelt’s statue from the New York Public Library, is beyond the pale.

Yes, there is unfortunately a lot of racism still in evidence, but sensationalizing false accounts doesn’t help to stamp it out.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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Rob Roper

By Rob Roper

Slavery was and is a horrible, dehumanizing institution, but to call it the United States’ “original sin” and to tear down statues and deface memorials to our founders (not to be confused with Confederate generals) is historically ignorant and dangerous. Slavery was hardly an original concept in the late 18th and 19th Century. In fact, pretty much every society since the modern version of humans evolved had slavery up until that time.

The Greeks had slaves. The Romans had slaves. The Egyptians had slaves to build the pyramids, and the Chinese had slaves to build the Wall. Vikings enslaved Saxons. Muslims enslaved Vikings. The English enslaved Irish and Scots. The Russians had serfs (potAYto, potAHto). The Incas, Mayans and Aztecs all had slavery, as did the North American native tribes. African nations had slaves themselves and sold them to European slave traders. Slavery was the norm for all 5500 or so years of recorded human history — until those crusty, old, dead, European white guys abolished it.

Western Europeans and early Americans were not unique in having slavery; they were unique in declaring the practice immoral and putting laws into effect to stamp it out. For this, despite any or even many other faults, they deserve to be celebrated. 

Ending five millennia of slavery and the healing process to follow was never going to be an immediate process, nor a smooth one. There was staunch resistance in some quarters such as the Southern United States. Europe was quicker than the US to abolish slavery, but the U.S. beat Europe to the punch in declaring innate human equality and eliminating legal class distinctions, which was also remarkable step forward in societal evolution and deserving of celebration.  

Today’s critics like to point out Thomas Jefferson and others who signed their names beneath the words in our Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” owned slaves. Hypocritical? Yeah. But the more important point is they chose and adopted the principles equality and liberty as the cornerstone upon which we built our nation. In doing so they doomed slavery to the ashbin on history. Immediately? No. But inevitably.

The principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were the vaccine injected into the national bloodstream that killed the virus of slavery and are still at the heart of all battles for civil rights – equal treatment under the law, freedom to make a living, to worship as you choose, the right to fair trial. Without the Declaration and the Bill of Rights set down by our founders, there would be no Civil Rights movement for the simple reason that these are the civil rights marginalized groups want and deserve access to. Invalidate them, wipe them from our body politic, and then what exactly is left that we are we fighting for?

Before and during the Civil War, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln did not argue the that the concept “all men are created equal” was invalid because the people who wrote it down didn’t fully live up to the promise. The opposite. They insisted on the validity of these principles and the moral necessity of applying them to all. As did Martin Luther King. As did the suffragettes in the battle for women’s civil rights. These are the principles we both stand on and reach toward in order to do better. To be, as the preamble to the Constitution intones, “a more perfect nation.”

We’re not perfect. The legacy of slavery in the United States is real, and its impact on the lives and opportunities of Black Americans persists. But the improvements we have made over the past hundred and fifty years were because of, not despite, the principles laid out in our founding documents by the likes of Jefferson and Washington. If we want to continue to make progress into the future, we had better not toss these tools into the trash.

The United States is unique and special in history: a multi-ethnic society built upon the shared ideals of its citizens and bonded together by a common history. These ideals and history are what inspire millions of people of all races from all other parts of the globe, sometimes at great personal risk, to come here every year. If we invalidate these ideals and eradicate the history behind them, we will have destroyed our country. And replaced it with… what exactly? A collection of angry tribes that do not respect each others’ rights to liberty, equality, property rights, and fair treatment under the law?

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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by John McClaughry

The pressure is on, in Washington and Montpelier, to take far-reaching (and long overdue) action to insofar as possible prevent future police-citizen interactions of the sort that led to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. 

Last Wednesday in Washington, Senate Democrats mustered 45 votes to prevent even consideration of a reform bill. That produced the familiar partisan gridlock that will likely   prevent any reform action until after the November election.

In Vermont, legislators are agreed on mandating police use of body cameras, banning potentially lethal suspect control techniques like chokeholds, and creating a better guide to use of force by police. 

Two large issues, however, remain hotly controversial: qualified immunity and police unionization. A third related issue is aggressive police enforcement of illegal possession of small amounts of controlled drugs. George Floyd had previously been found guilty and did jail time for four low level drug offenses, three of them involving a gram or less of cocaine.

As part of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the Republican Reconstruction Congress allowed individuals (notably freedmen) to sue state and local officials, including police officers, who violated their rights. In 1967 the Supreme Court invented the doctrine of qualified immunity. Under this doctrine, police are held immune from liability unless the person whose rights they violated can show that there is a previous case in the same jurisdiction, involving the exact same facts, in which a court “clearly established” that the actions violated the constitution. That condition drastically reduced the chances of police officers being found liable for any violation of rights. 

In 2009, reports Reason’s Jacob Sullum, the Supreme Court held that federal courts can dismiss lawsuits against cops without even deciding whether they violated the plaintiff’s rights. Today, overcoming the qualified immunity roadblock has become increasingly difficult. 

This term the Supreme Courts received a bunch of petitions that provided an opportunity to revisit that doctrine. Sullum reports that “The defendants in those cases include police officers who shot a 10-year-old boy while trying to kill his dog; wrecked a woman’s home by bombarding it with tear gas grenades after she agreed to let the cops inside so they could arrest her former boyfriend; knocked out a woman and broke her collarbone by lifting her up and throwing her to the ground while responding to an erroneous report that she had been the victim of a domestic assault; and sicced a police dog on a burglary suspect who said he had already surrendered and was sitting on the ground with his hands up.”

Unfortunately, the Court, over Justice Thomas’s protest, declined to hear any of the cases seeking modification of the qualified immunity doctrine.

On a more hopeful note, on June 9 the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the trial of five West Virginia police officers could go forward. In 2013 the officers shot a schizophrenic homeless man 22 times after stopping him for walking in the street instead of on the sidewalk.  

But here’s the dilemma. Cops regularly put their lives on the line to protect and serve, in a rough world of criminals committing antisocial, violent and destructive acts. It’s a risky and demanding profession, and society owes its law enforcers some benefit of the doubt in dealing with situations that threaten the lives and property of citizens, as well of the officers themselves.

Further, it’s not possible to imagine and make detailed rules for handling an infinite variety of dangerous confrontations. Nonetheless, a code specifying what sorts of behaviors are out of bounds, intense and continuing training of  officers to stay within that boundary, and instilling an awareness of where going too far will deprive an officer of the qualified immunity shield, are important ingredients of a solution. Merely making officers and departments liable for unspecified “egregious violations” is not enough.

The other huge problem centers upon the political dynamics of a police union.  Unions are created to negotiate for salaries, benefits, and working conditions.  But an important concern of the union is to defend its members against charges of misbehavior, and minimizing troublesome outside review of a department’s practices, which laymen cannot be expected to fully understand. If there are going to be police unions – that’s another question – they must come to be alert  to what their members do, work to straighten them out where they cross the line, and ultimately discipline irresponsible officers in the union itself. 

This will be a bitter pill for many police unions to swallow; but on the other hand, purging bad cops ought to ease the consciences of the responsible union members who cherish the respect the citizens owe them for good service. It would also preserve the reputation of law enforcement in the society that relies upon that profession for public order and safety.

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John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute (www.ethanallen.org).

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Vermont is learning that starting and stopping the economy is anything but easy. The most glaring issue is that when the economy does come back, many organizations (most specifically smaller healthcare providers) will have gone extinct. Vermont’s grant writing process will salvage what it can, but far more institutional change is needed.

On June 17, the House discussed H.965, a bill for “determining whether and how much to award an applicant from the Health Care Provider Stabilization Grant Program.” Rep. Heidi Scheuermann (R-Stowe) questioned Rep. Anne Donahue (R-Northfield), who helped draft the legislation.

SCHEUERMANN: “It seems as though the large portion of this money is going to public hospitals, public health care systems, entities and organizations. I’m asking now about the independent providers: the dentist’s office, the independent doctors’ offices…. I really want to understand how much is available specifically for those independent providers of our healthcare services.”

DONAHUE: “You might have a very tiny budget compared to a hospital, but if 90% of your budget is gone, you are in worse situation for survival… than a large organization that’s 50% down on its revenue. (…) We think it needs to be based on the specific needs of each of the specific providers, to ensure that the ones who are in the greatest need stay open and keep delivering their essential services.”

SCHEUERMANN: “I want to make sure we manage people’s expectations, because that’s critical right now. I don’t want people to believe that we have enough grant money going around, that they’re going to be saved because that’s just not the case.”

DONAHUE: “It’s by listing out that criteria that we tried to put the parameters in place. The specific details will be the grant process that the agency (of Human Services) has to work out.”

The five criteria the Agency would use allocating grant funds are…

  1. To sustain or improve the quality of health care services that can be used during the Covid-19 emergency
  2. Responding to anticipated surges in Covid-19 cases or to prepare to meet increased needs for specific types of services (ie mental health services)
  3. To provide support services that would otherwise have been limited as a result of business disruptions caused by Covid-19 (and/or) to enable the applicant to withstand and recover from business disruptions caused by Covid-19
  4. To assist patients hurt financially by Covid-19, especially patients on Medicaid
  5. Finally, “the applicant appears capable of making appropriate and efficient use of the grant funds.”

These criteria make as much sense as can be expected. But time and time again, we’ve seen how emergency funds tend to get spent on politically favored organizations. VPR is “in good financial shape” with a $9.5 million budget “almost $2 million in reserves available.” And yet, they received $100,000 from our legislature. ‘Free money’ as they say, money that small health care providers can only dream of getting.

While Rep. Donahue and other legislators have done their best to create an even playing field for which Vermont healthcare organizations of all sizes can compete for the right to survive on state grants, independent organizations are at a significant disadvantage.

As a large organization (healthcare nonprofit or a business) grows, it must keep asking itself if that next $100 is better spent attracting new customers or buying preferential treatment at the state or federal level. Larger organizations like the UVM health network know the ins and outs of lobbying and grant writing that the smaller Vermont healthcare providers can only dream of.

And while Vermont’s Agency of Human Services will do their due diligence, there are very real limits to what the Agency’s 57 people can do with $250 million before the deadline for spending the federal funds of January 1, 2021. As both Rep. Donahue and Rep. Scheuermann stated, there isn’t enough grant money to save every healthcare provider. The best small healthcare providers can hope for is that they will get a shot at funding to save their businesses. But of the 5 criteria, only the third and fifth criteria are tangentially related to preventing a small healthcare provider from going under.

It appears that each provider will have to justify its survival by an impersonal grant writing process. In such an increasingly centralized healthcare sector, the casualties will be those who know how to provide personalized care to patients but don’t know the first thing about how to compete in the bureaucratic arena of grant writing. The victors of this political game gain more the freedom to dictate healthcare, unimpeded by competition.

Unfortunately, alternatives to such grants are few and far between- the House voted unanimously to pass the legislation. As soon as the Covid-19 emergency order hit, too many small providers (already weakened by the state’s preferential treatment to those in the UVM health network) stood ready to fall. Even a perfect grant process would not save them. When the crisis abates, the only way to ensure that the next crisis does not kill more Vermont small providers is to reduce the unnecessary regulations that cocoon Big Healthcare from innovative competitors, such as Certificate of Need (CON) laws. It is far easier for the government to destroy than to protect.

To watch the discussion in the House, click here

David Flemming is a policy analyst at the Ethan Allen Institute.

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June 24, 2020

by Rob Roper

This week we learned that two stalwart Vermont companies are cutting jobs due to the Covid-19 economic shutdown, and an iconic Vermont business is leaving the state.

Darn Tough socks announced that they are laying off 50 of their 330 workers, a 15% cut. It’s hard to conjure a more resilient, successful Vermont company than Darn Tough. They are a poster child for businesses “making it in Vermont.” Back in December, before Covid they were announcing a major expansion. Due to their military contracts Darn Tough is considered an essential business. Even this wasn’t enough to prevent this hit. If Darn Tough isn’t tough enough to handle this, who is?

Are Physicians the Canary in the Coal Mine of Medicine

National Life is one of Vermont’s largest private employers and one of our most successful. They are laying off 53 of their 800 person Vermont workforce, as well as making cuts in offices in other states. These are some of the best paying jobs in our state.

Magic Hat Brewery is hailed as a pioneer of the craft brewing industry that has become such a strong pillar of the Vermont Brand. But now the company (owned by FIFCO USA since 2014) is pulling out of Vermont and consolidating its operations in Rochester, NY. While this may have occurred without the Covid impact, why is it that when an out of state company purchases a Vermont company and decides to consolidate operations, they never do so in Vermont?

These companies aren’t the canaries in the coal mine, they’re the coal miners. If they’re struggling, imagine what’s happening throughout the rest of our economy.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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By John McClaughry

It’s crunch time for the Climate Action Network’s most urgently sought legislation: The Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The House passed this bill (H.688) – that I earlier described as the “worst democracy-shredding bill of the past 50 years” – back in January. The Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee has been considering it remotely for a month. If it doesn’t get a Senate vote this month, the bill is dead until next year, when the climate change juggernaut will bring it in again and pull all the stops to get it passed.

Here’s what the GWSA would do. First, it recites a lot of grim United Nations pronouncements about our mounting climate emergency, if we don’t take drastic measures to rein in the alleged culprit, human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. Then it declares how much state government must force Vermonters to reduce such emissions by 2025, 2030, and 2050.

To prevent any foot-dragging by the governor that would slow Vermont’s  rush to enforced climate virtue, the GWSA bill sets up what amounts to an alternative government called the Climate Action Council and directs it to create an all-inclusive Climate Action Plan. The Council will have eight members from the Executive Branch, and 14 picked by the legislative leadership to make sure that the Governor’s eight can’t sidetrack any proposal urged by the climate action coalition that has been working hard to get the bill passed. 

The grand Climate Action Plan will instruct the Governor’s appointees, mainly the Secretary of Natural Resources, to write and enforce countless rules to control or prohibit anything and everything that contributes to CO2 emissions. Unlike legislation, where you can find out how your legislator voted and hold them accountable, the GWSA-mandated rules will never be voted on by your elected representatives. The rules will just be proclaimed, complete with fines and penalties if you don’t obey.

What if the elected head of our government, the governor, does not wish his appointees to gin up some particularly expensive, invasive, useless, or noxious rule, that would operate against the goal of affordability, especially in light of the urgent need to somehow pay down the estimated $430 million all-funds deficit projected for the approaching fiscal year? He would have to tell his appointee to forget about it. The Council’s climate warrior majority would howl that the Governor was obstructing the law. How that comes out no one knows, because in the past 243 years no legislature has every tried such a stunt.

What if the emissions reduction rules emerging from the bureaucracy appear to be too feeble to force Vermonters to give up the required amount of CO2 emissions to save the planet? The backers of the GWSA have provided for that. A key section of the bill invites ”any person” – meaning the Conservation Law Foundation – to sue the State of Vermont to get a judge to order the bureaucracy to speed  up the regulating and prohibiting.

That’s just what CLF did in Massachusetts in 2015. They used that State’s GWSA to persuade the state supreme court to instruct the Department of Environmental Protection to get cracking with sufficiently oppressive emissions regulations. And oh yes, if CLF or whoever brings the lawsuit “substantially prevails”, it gets to send to the taxpayers its bill for the legal costs for doing this service. 

No self-respecting Governor would stand for an alternative climate government accountable to his political opponents telling his or her appointees that they must move faster and harder, or face a judge’s order to wreck the state’s economy more quickly.

If this misbegotten bill makes it to the Senate floor, responsible Senators should offer amendments to require that the Climate Council make recommendations to the governor, not instruct the bureaucracy. They should move to strike out the “anybody can sue the state” provision, that includes the “make the taxpayers pay the plaintiff’s legal expenses (along with the State’s)” clause.  

They should also move to add language to specifically bar rules to regulate methane from cattle, force homeowners to switch to electric heat, further subsidize electric cars, reduce fossil fuel used in manufacturing, hospitals, schools, and municipal governments, prohibit snow machines, motor boats and ATVs, and regulate trucks that bring vital food, fuel and supplies into Vermont and haul Vermont products out to markets. 

Above all, they should require that no rule originating with this counterfeit climate government can take effect without an affirmative vote of the General Assembly. 

It’s hard to see how, four months before an election, even the most ardent climate warriors of the Senate would welcome casting roll call votes on a long list of such amendments. A far simpler and better solution: consign the democracy-shredding GWSA to a place of eternal rest, and focus on rescuing Vermont’s precarious economy from the depredations of COVID-19.

Addendum: On July 25-26 the Senate voted to pass GWSA 22-6, but stripped out the $972,000 funding needed to put the Climate Council into operation. Not one of the six Senators opposing GWSA offered a single amendment, other than two of them cosponsoring one to make sure that CLF gets its legal costs reimbursed for suing the state and “substantially prevailing”. The bill now goes back to the House for concurrence, or negotiation, when both bodies resume in August.

 – John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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June 23, 2020

by John McClaughry

The media has excitedly announced that the Trump administration took a beating at the Supreme Court, in its effort to undo  2012  Obama executive order giving  benefits to children who were brought here by their illegal immigrant parents. This is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. 

Justice Clarence Thomas

The Court held that the Trump administration didn’t correctly follow the Administrative Procedures Act when it revoked the executive order that Obama issued without complying with the Administrative Procedures Act.

Actually a majority of both parties in Congress would be happy to legalize DACA children, who have lived here almost all of their lives. But the Democrats want to open the immigration gates and legalize DACA, while the Republicans want to tighten immigration and legalize DACA. So they can’t legalize DACA.   This is pathetic.

Personally, I’m all for legalizing the DACA children. But what Obama did was clearly illegal. In dissent, Justice Thomas wrote  “Today the majority makes the mystifying determination that this rescission of DACA was unlawful from its inception. …. So long as the agency’s determination of illegality is sound, our review should be at an end. … The majority erroneously holds that the agency is not only permitted, but required, to continue administering unlawful programs that it inherited from a previous administration.”

I couldn’t agree more. Five  Justices are telling Trump that he can’t reverse his predecessor’s illegal act. This is utterly ridiculous.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute

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