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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Federalism
Posted: August 4, 2021 at 2:24 pm
A wide range of federal statutes reach conduct overseas. When those statutes include private rights of action, Americans may find themselves with claims against defendants with fewif anyties to the U.S.
Since the U.S. Supreme Courts decision in Daimler v. Bauman cut back states authority to hale non-resident corporations into court for conduct unrelated to their activities in-state, many have assumed that these would-be plaintiffs are out of luck.
Now, in Douglass v. Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha, the Fifth Circuit has decided to take a second look at the question of whether and how that rule applies when federal courts hear federal-law claims against corporations based abroad.
Federal courts personal jurisdiction usually depends on the long-arm statutes of the states in which they sit. Those statutes are subject to the 14th Amendments Due Process Clause, which limits states jurisdiction over non-resident defendants to situations where the claims against them arise from, or relate to, their in-state conduct.
But federal law has its own long-arm provisions, governed by the Fifth Amendment, that are intended to fill in where state law leaves gaps.
Although the Fifth and 14th Amendments Due Process clauses are worded identically, the Supreme Court has gone out of its way, in cases like Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court, to leave open whether the clauses impose the same constraints. And the government has argued, most recently last term in Ford v. Montana Eighth Judicial Dist. Ct., that the U.S.s unique constitutional prerogatives and powers permit the exercise of federal judicial power in ways that have no analogue at the state level.
Yet most federal appellate courts, including the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Federal, and D.C. circuits, have assumed or held without much analysis that federal service-of-process provisions are subject to the same limits as their state-law counterparts. The only difference they have recognized is that litigants proceeding under federal service-of-process provisions can aggregate defendants contacts with the U.S. as a whole, instead of any single state.
Its worth asking why. After all, a central justification for the focus on forum contacts under the 14th Amendment is the need to protect interstate federalism. But federalism is beside the point when a federal court hears federal-law claims against, say, a foreign terrorist organization that injures Americans traveling abroad or a foreign company that traffics in overseas property confiscated from U.S. citizens. And its not clear how much the inconvenience that litigating here imposes on non-resident foreign defendants should weigh against the judgment of Congress that Americans should be able to bring claims based on foreign conduct.
These are among the questions the full Fifth Circuit will consider when it rehears Douglass.
The appeal arises from a collision in Japanese waters on June 17, 2017, between the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald and a cargo ship (MV ACX Crystal) chartered by a Japanese shipping company that left seven U.S. sailors dead and dozens injured. In consolidated cases, the victims and their survivors sued the company under the federal Death on the High Seas Act. They asserted personal jurisdiction under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(k)(2), which allows service of process in federal-law suits where the defendant is not subject to jurisdiction in any state.
Finding no connection between the accident and the shipping companys limited U.S. contacts, the district court dismissed the suits under Daimler. A panel of the Fifth Circuit grudgingly affirmed, devoting much of its per curiam opinion to casting doubt on circuit precedent that subjected Rule 4(k)(2) to the same 14th-Amendment standard as its state-law counterparts. The two active judges on the panel concurred, urging the full court to revisit the issue. It agreed to do so July 2.
With virtually no guidance from the Supreme Court, the case promises to take the predominantly conservative appeals court back to first principles. That could lead to interesting debates about federal power, sovereignty, and what it means to be faithful to the U.S. Constitutions text. And it could make the Fifth Circuit, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the go-to forum for federal claims against non-resident foreign corporations.
Although its impossible to predict the outcome, it seems unlikely that the court took the case en banc just to confirm its prior precedent. The question is how far it will go.
The now-vacated panel decision gives one hint: It endorsed a compromise position suggested by an amicus brief from civil-procedure scholars that would read the Fifth Amendment to allow jurisdiction over foreign corporations for claims based on foreign conduct that is related to their U.S. operations. But the court could go further still and hold, as the governments brief in Ford suggested, that the Constitution imposes no territorial constraints on federal authority.
Whatever the result, the Supreme Court is sure to face calls to weigh in before long.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. or its owners.
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Eugene Sokoloff is counsel at MoloLamken LLP where he focuses on critical motions and appeals.
Originally posted here:
The Trump Administration Feuded With State and Local Leaders over Pandemic Response Now the Biden Administr – Governing
Posted: at 2:23 pm
As the U.S. recovers from the pandemic, the Biden administration is working to rebuild relationships across levels of government, from the top to the bottom, that were strained during the presidency of Donald Trump.
In November 2020, Biden offered urban leaders a seat at the table in coronavirus recovery efforts, promising to avoid partisanship. Addressing the National League of Cities in March 2021, Harris praised urban leadership on COVID-19 cities like Seattle and New York were among the first to respond to the pandemic, developing testing protocols, tracking new infections and supplying equipment for hospitals and highlighted the administrations plans to help pay for improvements to local infrastructure.
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of government leaders working together.
But with the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, tensions in this shared system boiled over. Instead of collaborating, the federal government rebuffed state and local governments desperate for critical information and lifesaving supplies.
States and cities competed over medical equipment, testing capacity and supplies and other needs. Densely populated cities, many feuding with the federal government, were hardest hit.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called successfully in 2016 for raising the districts minimum wage to $15, stepping in where the federal government had failed to act. AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
It has taken steps to give local policymakers more control over the allocation and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, while setting national policies to hasten the availability of vaccines.
Reasserting closer relationships between the federal government and state and local partners may signal a shift toward more collaboration in general.
The federal government can use its power and position to drive change at the local level. A more collaborative relationship can help the federal government understand communities needs, leading to new policies and priorities. Close partnership may also increase awareness of federal resources that are available, helping state and local governments identify programs to better support their residents.
But as our research shows, federal dominance can also be counterproductive.
But local governments deliver the most-used public services, including schools, transportation, parks and public health. As a result, local governments are perhaps the most important in peoples daily lives.
Local governments both make and implement policy. In areas where the federal and state governments are silent or inactive, local governments often innovate to address community needs. That freedom to innovate helps local governments generate policies that can work their way up and across the federal system.
For example, despite backlash from state and national leaders, various cities like Austin, Los Angeles, Virginia Beach and Washington, D.C. have led the way on social and environmental policies, adopting and advocating for higher minimum wages, fracking limitations, sanctuaries for Second Amendment rights and reducing law enforcement violence.
Scholars have noted changes in the dynamics of these relationships throughout history. During some eras, the federal government has more power over policymaking. At other times, state and local governments exert greater influence.
For example, President Lyndon B. Johnsons Great Society welfare programs Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps increased the federal governments influence on state and local governments. New federal requirements mandated spending on social programs, often requiring matching funds from state and local governments. And new state and local agencies had to be established to implement federal priorities.
Federal dollars shared with local governments to fight poverty came with strings attached. Examples include requirements to meet environmental standards and adopt nondiscrimination policies.
With the advent of welfare reform in the mid-1990s, the federal government relaxed some of these requirements. As a result, state and local governments were given more flexibility over policy and spending decisions.
Our recent research indicates the balance of power in the federal system affects government performance and the safety of Americans. During the COVID-19 response, the federal government failed to partner with state and local governments. As a result, there were problems finding and delivering crucial supplies like masks and ventilators, leading to needless deaths.
President Lyndon Johnson, shown here, expanded the authority of the federal government with his Great Society programs.AP Photo
Johnsons Great Society programs expanded the authority of the federal government. Federal agencies gained the power to create and manage the details of the effort to eradicate poverty, hunger and discrimination.
President Richard Nixons new federalism sent money in so-called block grants to state and local governments to carry out different federal initiatives. This allowed local governments some power over policy design and implementation.
President Ronald Reagans pragmatic federalism emphasized privatization using private-sector organizations to deliver services and decentralization. Reagan used markets to deliver government services through competitive contracts and grants.
In more recent years, scholars have accused Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama of returning to the more coercive federalism of Johnsons Great Society. To encourage state and local governments to adopt federal priorities, federal funds under these presidents again included strings, increasing tensions between these levels of government.
Under President Trump, these tensions reached an apex. Cities clashed with the federal government over immigration policy, law enforcement violence and health care and, ultimately, over how to handle the pandemic.
With the understanding that coordination among all levels of government helps address problems more effectively, one step Biden might take is to revive the U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. This commission operated from 1959 to 1996, offering presidents and federal agencies guidance on issues that spanned the federal systems layers. The commission helped address abuses of power in the federal system and strengthened partnerships between governments.
As scholars, we know that policy issues are rarely independent. Global climate change affects local transportation policies, while health care issues are often closely linked to education and agriculture.
Local governments are important players in the federal system. Over the next year, they will be critical in continued efforts to vaccinate the American public and prepare for disasters like hurricanes and wildfires.
Given the complexity of modern policy problems, renewed consideration of how all levels of government can approach such big issues could help solve them.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
EPA, Army announce next steps for crafting definition of waters of the united states – Water Technology Online
Posted: at 2:23 pm
Mohammed Mohammed Ali | Dreamstime.com
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of the Army recently announced plans for upcoming community engagements to inform their efforts to revise the definition of waters of the United States (WOTUS) to better ensure clean and safe water for all. EPA and Army are committed to developing a reasonable, effective and durable definition of WOTUS that protects public health, the environment and downstream communities while supporting economic opportunity, agriculture, and other industries.
We are committed to crafting an enduring definition of WOTUS by listening to all sides so that we can build on an inclusive foundation, said EPA administrator Michael S. Regan. Uncertainty over the definition of WOTUS has harmed our waters and the stakeholders and communities that rely on them. I look forward to engaging all parties as we move forward to provide the certainty thats needed to protect our precious natural water resources.
Our nations water resources are critical to support all of our communities, said acting assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works Jaime A. Pinkham. Like the EPA, the Department of the Army recognizes the importance of this effort and we are committed to meaningful engagement with Tribes, states, local governments, and stakeholders to ensure that a revised definition of WOTUS reflects the experiences of, and input received, from all communities.
The agencies intend to revise the definition of WOTUS following a process that includes two rulemakings. A forthcoming foundational rule would restore the regulations defining WOTUS that were in place for decades until 2015, with updates to be consistent with relevant Supreme Court decisions. A separate, second rulemaking process would refine this regulatory foundation and establish an updated and durable definition of waters of the United States.
A durable definition of WOTUS is essential to ensuring clean and safe water in all communitiessupporting human health, animal habitat, agriculture, watersheds, flood management, local economies, and industry. Todays announcement marks an important step in the agencies efforts to restore protections and write a rule to define WOTUS that is grounded in science and the law, emphasizes effective implementation, and prioritizes collaborative partnerships with states, Tribes, local governments, and stakeholders. To help ensure that EPA and Army hear from diverse perspectives, future engagement activities will be developed in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The EPA and Army announced a series of engagement opportunities, including an opportunity for stakeholders and the public to provide written recommendations and a series of public meetings in August to hear perspectives on both rules. In addition, the agencies will initiate Federalism and Tribal consultations for the foundational rule. The agencies also intend to host a series of dialogues with state and Tribal co-regulators this fall to discuss both rulemakings.
Additionally, the previous rulemaking efforts have highlighted the regional variability of water resources and the importance of close engagement with stakeholders to understand the specifics of how they experience regulation under varying definitions of waters of the United States. To honor our commitment to listening and learning from diverse perspectives, the agencies plan to convene ten regionally focused and inclusive roundtables during the upcoming fall and winter. These roundtables will allow a full range of stakeholders to engage and discuss their experience with definitions of WOTUSincluding what has worked and what has not within their geographic areas. The roundtables will provide opportunities to discuss geographic similarities and differences, particular water resources that are characteristic of or unique to each region, and site-specific feedback about implementation.
For more information on submitting written recommendations or to register for the public meetings, see http://www.epa.gov/wotus.
Congress enacted the Clean Water Act in 1972 with the statutory objective to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the Nations waters. One of the Acts principal tools in achieving that objective is a prohibition on the discharge of pollutants from a point source to navigable waters unless otherwise authorized under the Act. Navigable waters are defined in the Act as the waters of the United States, including the territorial seas. Thus, waters of the United States is a threshold term establishing the geographic scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. The term waters of the United States is not defined by the Act but has been defined by EPA and the Army in regulations since the 1970s and jointly implemented in the agencies respective programmatic activities.
On June 9, 2021, EPA and the Department of the Army announced their intent to revise the definition of WOTUS to better protect our nations vital water resources that support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth. Upon review of the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, the agencies determined that the rule is significantly reducing clean water protections.
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Posted: at 2:23 pm
The Biden administration laid out plans today for scrapping and replacing a contentious Trump-era Clean Water Act rule that pulled back federal protections for millions of streams and wetlands.
EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers said they will follow a two-pronged approach to revoke the Trump administrations Navigable Waters Protection Rule while revising the definition of "Waters of the United States," or WOTUS, which defines which waters fall under federal protection.
The rules fate and how quickly it can be rewritten are politically explosive for President Biden. It has pitted environmental groups against developers and farmers for decades and sparked partisan fights on Capitol Hill.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan in a release said his agency is committed to crafting an "enduring" definition of WOTUS by listening to all sides, while Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said farmers and rural Americans must have a "seat at the table and a voice in this process so that the rule responds to concerns and realities on the ground."
The Trump administrations rule significantly narrowed the laws reach, pulling back what wetlands and streams were jurisdictional by about 51% and 18%, respectively (Greenwire, Jan. 23, 2020).
Conservationists have challenged the Trump rule in multiple courts across the country.
The Biden administration last month convinced judges to remand the Trump rule to EPA while it writes a new one, but not to throw it out in the interim (E&E News PM, July 15).
Sources expect EPA to issue a draft rule pulling back the Trump regulation by years end. At that time, the agency would revert to the 1986 definition of WOTUS and rely on 2008 guidance from the George W. Bush administration about how to apply that definition.
Although its not clear when EPA will issue a rule to redefine WOTUS, the agency today laid out a series of more than a half-dozen meetings for consultation and engagement from Aug. 5 to Sept. 2, including discussions about federalism and tribal consultation.
EPA and the Army Corps said the meetings would allow stakeholders and the public to provide written recommendations and weigh in on how to establish a regulatory foundation and build on that foundation to craft a "durable" definition of WOTUS.
The agencies said they also intend to host a series of talks with state and tribal co-regulators this fall to discuss both rulemakings.
Posted: August 2, 2021 at 1:29 am
By Alex Enumah
A legal practitioner, Chidi Amamgbo has called on the National Assembly to take the advantage of the ongoing constitution review to make Nigeria a true federal system.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Amamgbo said states must be empowered to be independent economically.
Amamgbo, who is also admitted to California State Bar, said that the way the country is being run presently negates all principles of federalism.
According to him, the idea of the centre taking resources from the states and sharing it out to states is antithetical to federalism.
He said: Why do we call it a federation when oil producing states cannot control their resources? The states should be allowed to control their resource level and then pay taxes to the federal government for defence and foreign affairs.
He warned that any amendment that did not address this fundamental issue is a mockery and will not bring about the change Nigerians are yawning for.
He said: Every state must be a mini nation able to thrive on its own without depending on the federal government. If this is done, there are states that have no business being a state.
If we are truly serious about changing the constitution then we should address that. Why will you go to Rivers State, collect their oil, bring it to the centre and distribute it to all the states and tell them that their derivation is 13 percent?
He also suggested that the review should also aim at strengthening the independence of the judiciary saying that the judiciary as presently constituted is not independent.
We must make the judiciary a co-equal arm of government to the executive and the executive. Until the judiciary can call the shots, impunity will remain pervasive, he added.
Amamgbo, who said he returned to Nigeria from the US to seek election into the National Assembly, called on well meaning Nigerians to participate in politics saying that politics should not be left for those who do not have the interest of the people at heart.
He stated that many of those in political offices today had no business being there because they had nothing to offer other than to go and steal public funds.
He also advised political parties to stop giving tickets to the highest bidder but should, in the interest of the country, ensure that only those who have something to offer are allowed to lead the people.
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Federalism is the answer, after all – Part 40 Opinion The Guardian Nigeria News Nigeria and World News – Guardian
Posted: at 1:29 am
In the last week, there has been some convergence of words of caution about the dangers ahead if we refuse to make hay while the sun is still shinning.
In other words, the time for restructuring and redirecting the ship of state is now.Even as these calls are being made, self-interested state actors are plotting and repositioning themselves for the next electoral circle, disappointingly. It is in this context that concerned Nigerians and organisations are calling for the right step to be taken to re-focus the ship of state and avoid a shipwreck.
The National Consultative Front (NCF) through its National Secretary, Mr. Olawale Okunniyi condemned successive governments for subverting the constitutional desire of Nigerians in preference for circles of elections while neglecting constitutionalism for embedding justice and equity in the polity. He noted that unity and stability would be elusive if the National Assembly failed to invoke its powers under Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution as amended to enact a law for the good governance of the country to pave the way for concrete political dialogue and negotiations for a better Nigeria.
Similarly, Chief Afe Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has added his big voice to the groundswell of popular opinion that a new constitution is imperative at this time to avoid the circulation of failed leaders in the forthcoming general elections. The eminent legal practitioner made this remark at the fifth Ife Institute of Advanced Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He pointed up a new federal constitution underpinned by a parliamentary system of government as the remedy. With a great deal of optimism, the new constitution would expand the coast of governance, underlined ethical values of patriotism, selflessness, and commitment in ways that the people can enjoy the dividends of democracy.
In his words,Those who wish this country to remain an indivisible entity, and I am one, must unite to ensure that we replace the present 1999 Constitution with a truly federal constitution and a parliamentary system of government, which is more involving and less expensiveIt is my considered view that a new constitution must be in place before the next election, otherwise, we will be recycling the same failed leaders that have brought Nigeria to where it is today.
From offshore came the strident voices of Nigerians in the diaspora who besieged No. 10 Downing Street to urge the British to assist in the dissolution of the contraption called Nigeria. The mammoth crowd noted that the amalgamation of 1914 had expired with the reversion of sovereignty to the peoples of Nigeria. This reality for them is the basis of the clamour for a referendum to reconstitute the country.
These increasing echoes of dissent and rejection of the lie of the Nigerian state signify a bottom line, that is, all is not well with the federation as it is.In the definitional wilderness of federalism, there is the place for bargain or negotiation. In dealing with Pierre-Joseph Proudhons dialectic of antinomies that abound in the Nigerian state crisis, namely,the quest for libertyand therejection of domination, in other words, liberty versus authoritarianism, it is important for the leaders to listen to the voices of reason to save the nation.Nigerias federalism mediated by the British in what may be called holding-together for administrative convenience was ab initio path-dependent because the exit of the colonialists would necessarily provoke a new deal or bargain to balance the interest of the parties in the colonial marriage. This is what is at stake: it is what the clamour for a restructured polity is all about.
Indeed, experts have underlined the logic and utility of bargain in federations. They indicate the fact that boundaries between state and federal power can be negotiated on scales, large and small, and on an ongoing basis.The soft underbelly of the Nigerian reality is in those elite, actors, and promoters of the backward status quo, who are recalcitrant to change.
Much of the clamour indicates a continuity of the union called Nigeria but not on the basis of the prevailing contradictions of the system manifest in negative sovereignty by virtue of the fact that jihadists and terrorists lay claim to the territorial sovereignty of the state; killings by Fulani terrorists who are laying claim to the land of the indigenous people of Nigeria and undermining the local agro-based economy; skewed federal structures; mismanagement of the national economy; impunity and absolute disdain for the rule of law among other ills. It is obvious that there is wisdom in the call for restructuring in order to re-birth a modern nation with the creed of justice and equity. In the main, the times are auspicious for a choice. This is the 40thissue in our weekly message to the authorities to listen to a clarion call anchor on Federalism is the answer, after all,mantra for a nation talking to itself.
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Posted: at 1:29 am
Puntland turns 23 as it demonstrates a shining example of Somalia's federalism
GAROWE, Puntland -Puntland, the oldest Federal-State in Somalia is celebrating its 23rd-anniversary of establishment, which comes at the time the Horn of Africa is in the electioneering period.
In 1998, the Puntland State of Somalia was born, paving way for federalism, after years of turmoil which was triggered by the ouster of a military regime in 1991 by clan warlords. Successive governments failed to cure Somalia's problems, paving way for federalism.
Puntland has notable founding fathers - Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who served as the fledgling state's founding president between 1998-2004, and Abdirahman Farole praised for leading by example from 2009 to 2014.
The Federal State had undergone major changes coupled with development progress and strong federalism under Farole's leadership, including getting a constitution, a flag, and establishing functioning security agencies just like PMPF.
In addition, the Farole administration had played a role in the preparation of the current provisional constitution of Somalia by hosting in Garowe two Constitutional Consultative Conferences in 2012 that led to the ending of the transition.
For all these years, Puntland has been pushing for strong federalism in Somalia, often triggering tough differences between Mogadishu and Garowe. Federalism was picked as the only model that could end cut-throat competition for state power in Somalia.
With six regional presidents so far, Puntland has showcased high-profile self-reliance in terms of resource mobilization and distribution, thus setting a strong foundation that can be used as a typical model.
For 23 years, Puntland has recorded major achievements including but not limited to completing key development projects, announcing new ones, and the efforts it made for Somalia's rebuilding. It had a role in Somalia's current constitution draft.
The state has strong institutions which are key in the democratization process. This October, the state is set to hold universal suffrage elections, the first of its kind in Somalia. Already, several areas have registered voters, who are set to contest in this process.
Across Somalia, key political leadership positions have always been defined through the clan-based model, which is a source of conflict. Besides Somaliland, it's only Puntland that has kickstarted this important exercise of voter registration.
In April, Puntland came out in full force opposing outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo's term. The outgoing president had mobilized parliament for unconstitutional term extension, leading to crisis talks that paved way for a clear election calendar.
Deni and his Jubaland counterpart Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe were on record for opposing term extension, arguing that it would create a recipe for chaos and anarchy in the country. They called for international partners' intervention.
Further, Puntland has minimized the infiltration of Al-Shabaab and IS-Somalia militants, through the use of Puntland Security Forces [PSF]. The regional government does not rely on the national army and AMISOM for crushing the militants.
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Gyrgy Schpflin: ‘EU Stumbled Up On Its Own Belief System, That More Europe Is The Answer To Everything’ Interview – Eurasia Review
Posted: at 1:29 am
We talked with Professor Gyrgy Schpflin about, among other things, the problems of migration, juridocracy, federalism, cultural Marxism and the future of the Union.
If we immediately grab the bull by the horns, dont you think that the European Union has strayed far from the values and ideals advocated by the founding fathers?
Yes, agreed, but would add that the problems that the founding fathers sought to solve were very different from what the EU faces today. What has been the central principle and justification for integration was conflict resolution by consent. The EU has largely given up on this principle and is now driven by the accumulation of power. I see this as dangerous, not least, because it reduces integration to a single factor that is pursued whether the consent is there or not.
Consent has emerged as a key issue in EU politics and we may well be at a turning point when it comes to defining democracy. The divide is between those who state that central to democracy is the consent of the governed, i.e. the sovereign people, as against those who insist that the heart of democracy is values, as defined by liberal politicians and the courts. The rise of political decision-making by otherwise unaccountable judges like the European Court of Justice transforms democracy into juristocracy. The Brexit vote is evidence that when a society feels deprived of political power, it will strike back (I write as someone who supported Remain, but fully accept the Brexit vote).
Marxism is in complete contradiction with European values, so how could the EU leadership celebrate the unveiling of the monument to Karl Marx on the bicentennial of his birth?
If you look at the recent transformation of European values ever more power to the EU they are not that far from Marxs idea of concentrating power to transform the world, structurally at any rate. And the EU, the symbolic Brussels, has come to believe that it has this transformative role legitimated by history. Salvationism has a long history in Europe. What is worrying is that the EU is subordinating what it can to this political monoculture. Let me add that in practice the process is nothing like as far-reaching as Marxism-Leninism (or Titoism for that matter). And, of course, communist parties are there in the European Parliament.
Would you agree with the claim that cultural Marxism is destroying the foundations of our European civilization?
Whether we like it or not, Marxism and other forms of both left and right radicalism are a part of the European tradition. But I wouldnt call it cultural Marxism, because there is a lot of Foucault in the mix, plus some thoughts taken from Rawls and Gramsci. Im enough of an optimist to think that European civilisation is resilient enough for its foundations to live on, maybe in an altered state. The signs of resistance are visible. There is an interesting revival of Roman Catholic thought in France, there is growing evidence that in Italy, France again and in Spain the younger generation sympathises with centre-right ideas. And, maybe most importantly, there is nationhood, whether civic or ethnic. The divide between Central Europe, where nationhood is seen as the necessary condition of freedom, and the West is growing.
Why is the Brussels Eurocracy so opposed to Hungary and Poland, which want to reform the judicial system and clean it of the debris that dates back to the times of communist totalitarianism?
Because the EU has been captured by the liberal left and these liberals understand that their best chance of imposing their values on Central Europe lies through juristocracy. Hungary and Poland are in the cross-hairs because they are quite explicit in the pursuit of their national conservative project.
Why does Brussels insist on supporting mass migration from the Third World, even though experience shows that it brings ghettoisation, increased crime and violence, cultural and religious conflicts, and the financial burden?
There is a labour market answer, that Western countries need cheap labour to do jobs that no one else will do. But more importantly, there is post-colonial guilt, which is absent in Central Europe. The West finds this inexplicable and refuses to accept the relevance of both the communist and the imperial past (Prussia, Russia, Ottomans, Austria-Hungary) as a central feature of the Central European memory. Somehow these imperial subjugations dont count.
Crucially, whereas the West was able (broadly speaking) to exit the trauma of the Second World War, this was and is not true of the communist ruled countries. And, thirdly, it is explained by universalism, that there is a single humanity and that it is Europes historic task to bring it together. This universalism has its roots in Christianity (equally in Islam), in Marxism and in the Enlightenment. Now that the Enlightenment legacy that science solves everything is in trouble, given that complexity theory undermines the Newtonian view of the world, the universalists prefer to ignore the evidence.
Brussels is working hard to impose a radical LGBT (and the rest of the alphabet) agenda on all members of the Union. What do you think is the cause and goal of this imposition?
Essentially because LGBT can be presented as a universal vulnerable minority. Note that the saliency of the issue is quite recent, its an easy issue to bring into politics and it means that other, equally vulnerable minorities, like the disabled, can be ignored. The protection of minorities is there in Article 2 of the Treaty, but the EU simply rejects national minorities as having anything to do with it look what happened to the Minority SafePack, a Citizens Initiative that received well over a million signatures, but was swept to one side by the Commission.
Do you not find it hypocritical that the EU, on the one hand, declares its commitment to human rights and cooperates with China, where people are tortured in camps on the basis of their ethnic, religious or political affiliation and even used as slave labour?
You can call it hypocritical, but it can equally be called pragmatism. Note that ignoring the fate of the Uighurs has a universalist logic. If the West were to adopt the Uighur cause, then why not other ethno-religious minorities that are badly treated?
You do not find it interesting that Brussels imposes centralization on the members, but at the first major test, ie. pandemic of the Chinese virus, the bureaucratic mastodon completely gave up, and each country had to deal with the pandemic on its own?
To be fair, the EU had no experience in health issues these are member state competence and when it came face to face with the Covid crisis, it made an almighty mess of it. The Commission had neither the human resources nor the infrastructure to deal with the pandemic. The EU tripped up on its own belief system, that more Europe is the answer to everything. The same is true of the 2008 financial crisis and migration (2015).
The leadership of the Union reacts sharply against any member that does not want to fully submit to their agenda; Poland, Hungary, and recently also Slovenia. They threaten with suspensions, blockade of financial resources, exclusion. Did Brexit not taught these people anything, they want the disintegration of the Union?
In truth, Brexit was a great relief to Brussels, because or so many people thought the absence of the UK would make it easier to pursue the federalist agenda. Poland, Hungary, actually Central Europe as a whole, are an unwelcome obstacle to that agenda. But note that there are anti-federalist member states in West, like Sweden, not to mention the approximately one-third or more of Western voters who are anti-federalist. I find the rise of Vox (Spain) or Chega (Portugal) fascinating in this context.
You have been a Member of the European Parliament for a long time. Can you tell us how strong the influence of lobby groups is on the functioning of this body?
Im the wrong person to ask because I mostly worked in non-legislative committees (Constitution, Foreign Affairs), so I was not worth lobbying. But anecdotally, yes, there is endless lobbying, just as there is in the Commission. And these lobbies are accountable to no one. The same is true of the Brussels NGO-think tank ecosystem.
Finally, can you tell us your view on the future of the European Union?
Starting with my first answer democracy at the crossroads and the decline of conflict resolution I see major disagreements ahead. The Single Market is beneficial, though much less for the economically weaker Central Europeans, but political clashes will not be easy to resolve as long as the liberal-federalist current holds sway. Can Europe be further integrated without the consent of a sizeable minority? I would say no, unless it is pursued coercively the signs of this coercion exist and are hard to ignore. The countries of Central Europe have a very recent experience of coercion and reject it.
In this connection, the Declaration of 16 parties of the 2 July on the future of the EU is of considerable significance, because it offers a clear, alternative basis for the integration of Europe, one where the member states play an active role and supervisory institutions can check the Brussels federalists. Crucially, the centre-right insists that democracy is about consent and consent cannot be overridden by values. A system ruled by values undermines its own pluralism and is well on the way to becoming an oligarchy. The left may well dismiss this as populism, but the commitment to the superiority of democratic voting to elite rule (through juristocracy) is the heart of democracy as it has emerged in Europe in the last two-three centuries.
To quote the Declaration, the use of political structures and the law to create a European superstate and new social structures is a manifestation of the dangerous and invasive social engineering known from the past, which must provoke legitimate resistance.
The elections to the European Parliament in 2024 could well turn out to be a watershed in the history of Europe, giving consent a qualitatively stronger role.
*Bogdan Sajovic is a journalist at Demokracija Magazine
**Gyrgy Schpflin (b. Budapest 1939) was formerly professor of politics at the university of London, a Fidesz member of the European Parliament (2004-2019) and is currently Senior Research Fellow at iASK (Kszeg) and at the Public Service University Budapest. His most recent book is The European Polis (Ludovika, 2021)
This interview appeared for the first time in Demokracija Magazine in Slovenia and can be accessed here:https://demokracija.eu/world/gyorgy-schopflin-the-eu-tripped-up-on-its-own-belief-system-that-more-europe-is-the-answer-to-everything/
Gov. Little signs on to pro-life, states’ rights amicus brief seeking SCOTUS overrule of Roe v. Wade – Office of the Governor – Governor Brad Little
Posted: at 1:29 am
Boise, Idaho Governor Brad Little signed on to an amicus brief today related to a case before the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS), seeking to protect the lives of preborn babies and restore state sovereignty.
Protecting the lives of preborn babies has always been and will continue to be a priority of mine. I am also a defender of state sovereignty. My decision to join this lawsuit to protect lives and states rights reflects my conservative approach to constitutional interpretation. The right to an abortion is a judicial creation. It is not a right expressed in the U.S. Constitution. I am asking the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify there is no constitutional right to an abortion and restore state sovereignty by allowing states to regulate all abortions consistent with the principles of democratic self-governance, Governor Little said.
As of today, the governors of Idaho, Montana, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Iowa, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, and Oklahoma have joined a Governors amicus brief in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization. The case centers around a 2018 Mississippi law prohibiting abortions after 15 weeks except in medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormality. Lower courts held that Mississippis law violated the holdings in Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), in which non-elected justices recognized a right to abortion exists contrary to the text and original meaning of the Constitution.
The Governors amicus brief supports the State of Mississippis cert petition, which SCOTUS accepted, to determine whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.
The Governors amicus brief requests SCOTUS overrule Roe and Casey because there is no constitutional right to an abortion and, according to the principle of federalism, rights not granted in the U.S. Constitution should be entrusted to states to control.
SCOTUS is expected to hear the case in the fall.
The Governors amicus brief can be found here.
Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden joined 17 other attorneys general in a similar amicus brief earlier this year.
Governor Little also signed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill into law in April to protect the lives of preborn babies.
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Posted: at 1:29 am
//= do_shortcode('[in-content-square]')?> Andrew RT Davies picture by Senedd Cymru (CC BY 2.0).
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies says the Welsh media is in hock to the nationalist agenda.
He accuses BBC Wales and nationalist news sites of trying to push a narrative that he says will lead to the demise of Britain.
Andrew RT Davies also questions the Unionist credentials of First Minister Mark Drakeford and criticises Welsh Labour for promoting politically extreme ideas on federalism.
He makes the claims in an article for Mail+ saying: Who needs nationalist opponents like Plaid Cymru when you have so-called Unionist friends like Welsh Labour?
But we shouldnt be surprised that the media here are in hock to the nationalist agenda that amplifies the so-called inevitable end of the Union: not only do many of them harbour the same opinions, but they rely on that agenda for their own existence.
Without the constant reporting by BBC Wales and taxpayer-funded nationalist news sites about Wales being so different, it would leave them rudderless and without purpose.
His comments are published by a Daily Mail media group which was last week found to be the most read news outlet in Wales, with print and online stories viewed by 18% of the population. The Daily Mail was followed by the Guardian (17%), The Sun (13%) and the Western Mail (9%).
Andrew RT Davies also blasts Welsh Labour for publishing the Reforming our Union report on federalism just three months after the Senedd election.
He writes: This is whats in store for us in the Senedd over the next five years: listening to Labour ministers regurgitate historically ignorant, politically extreme ideas and a demonstrably poor understanding of sovereignty in Britain as they call for a federalist system that will only serve to worsen, not solve, the issues present in Wales.
He describes Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford as being troublingly close to SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and questions the Welsh Labour leaders claims of being a Unionist.
He says that nationalists in Wales and Scotland are trying to centrally hoard powers, in a way the Conservative Government in Westminster has been keen to avoid.
The Institute of Economic Affairs, a right-wing think tank, described Britain in 2019 as being one of the most centralised countries in the world.
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