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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Trump Can't Block People on Twitter

From Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald:
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER: granting in part and denying in part 34 Motion for Summary Judgment; granting in part and denying in part 42 Motion for Summary Judgment. We conclude that we have jurisdiction to entertain this dispute. Plaintiffs have established legal injuries that are traceable to the conduct of the President and Daniel Scavino and, despite defendants' suggestions to the contrary, their injuries are redressable by a favorable judicial declaration. Plaintiffs lack standing, however, to sue Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is dismissed as a defendant. Hope Hicks is also dismissed as a defendant, in light of her resignation as White House Communications Director. Turning to the merits of plaintiffs' First Amendment claim, we hold that the speech in which they seek to engage is protected by the First Amendment and that the President and Scavino exert governmental control over certain aspects of the @realDonaldTrump account, including the interactive space of the tweets sent from the account. That interactive space is susceptible to analysis under the Supreme Court's forum doctrines, and is properly characterized as a designated public forum. The viewpoint-based exclusion of the individual plaintiffs from that designated public forum is proscribed by the First Amendment and cannot be justified by the President's personal First Amendment interests. In sum, defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part, and plaintiffs' cross-motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. The Clerk of the Court is directed to terminate the motions pending at docket entries 34 and 42. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald on 5/23/2018) (ama) (Entered: 05/23/2018)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Voter Turnout: International Data

In 2015, Charles Lane wrote at WP:
One of political science’s better-established findings is that “the frequency of elections has a strongly negative influence on turnout,” as Arend Lijphart of the University of California at San Diego put it in a 1997 article.

Yet in the United States, we constantly hold elections: Every two years, we elect a new Congress and, in many states, a new legislature. Every four years, that’s combined with a presidential election. Some jurisdictions squeeze local balloting — for sheriff, school board, judge, coroner, you name it — into the years between midterm congressional and presidential elections. Of course, these are often twice-a-year exercises, since a primary precedes the general election. Sometimes primaries have runoffs!
In practice, it’s costly — in time, effort and, indeed, money — to stay politically informed and active.
Those costs must be weighed against the potential benefits of participating in an election whose results might last no more than a couple of years, to the extent they affect you personally at all. Frequent elections therefore bring on what Lijphart calls “voter fatigue.”
In a famous paper nearly 30 years ago, Richard W. Boyd of Wesleyan University found that the introduction of presidential primaries in northern states after 1968 accounted for a 10 percentage-point drop in those states’ ­general-election voter turnout by 1980.

Fro Pew:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Los Angeles and the Second Gilded Age

Rick Hampson at USA Today:
The city that epitomized the first Gilded Age was New York, site of the greatest houses, most glittering social events and the mightiest banks. It was home to the social elite — the so-called Four Hundred (the number that could fit into Mrs. Astor’s ballroom). Its slums, with names like Bandit’s Roost and Misery Row, were the subject of Jacob Riis’ book How the Other Half Lives.

But the capital of America’s second Gilded Age is Los Angeles, where hilltop homes worth tens of millions of dollars look out over a city in which even the middle class struggles to afford shelter and the number of homeless increases daily. The city’s famed sprawl cannot isolate Angelenos from disorienting contrasts many Americans assumed had disappeared after reforms of the Progressive Era, the New Deal and the Great Society.
The heart of Gilded Age Los Angeles is Bel Air, a community of curving lanes and hillside mansions where a Hollywood legend lurks behind every hedge and gate.
The homeless’ ranks have been swelled by military veterans, young people emerging from foster homes, refugees from domestic abuse and inmates released under an initiative that made it easier to parole non-violent offenders. About three in 10 homeless people are mentally ill, and two in 10 are addicts.
And housing is just too expensive. In California, eight in 10 homes for sale are not affordable on a public teacher’s salary.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Corporate Speech

Thomas Wheatley at The Hill writes of a 1978 SCOTUS case.
The case, known as First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, challenged the constitutionality of a Massachusetts law that censored speech by corporations on ballot measures. The law included criminal penalties.

In a 5-4 decision, the Court struck down the law, reversing the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. “We … find no support” the Court held, “for the proposition that speech that otherwise would be within the protection of the First Amendment loses that protection simply because its source is a corporation...”
For decades, the Supreme Court has recognized a corporation's right to free speech. The Citizens United opinion alone cites 25 cases supporting this point, the first cited case being Bellotti, though it was not the first such decision. Nor, as some have suggested, has the Court ever recognized a so-called “media exemption,” which would grant press outlets full First Amendment protection, but not other corporations. Indeed, the Court has explicitly rejected that argument.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The 9.9 Percent

Many posts have discussed rising economic inequality and declining social mobility.

At The Atlantic, Matthew Stewart writes about the 9.9 percent, not quite as rich as the top 0.1 percent, but much better off than the other 90 percent.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Low Fertility

From the National Center for Health Statistics:
The provisional number of births for the United States in 2017 was 3,853,472, down 2% from 2016 and the lowest number in 30 years. The general fertility rate was 60.2 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down 3% from 2016 and another record low for the United States. Birth rates declined for nearly all age groups of women under 40, but rose
for women in their early 40s.