Tuesday, April 25, 2023

End Ballot Initiatives: We Are Not a Direct Democracy

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

For most of our history, there was no process by which a private interest could initiate and enact a law by popular vote for its own benefit. Even today, this is not allowed for federal laws, and most states likewise ban this yet it was used to flip control of the Michigan legislature in the last election.

Our Founders were adamantly against direct democracy, the system in ancient Greece whereby citizens voted directly on new laws. Instead, our Constitution requires states to have legislatures to enact laws.

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,” declares Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution. Courts have indicated that they are unwilling to enforce this clause, so it is up to Congress and state legislatures to protect it.

Yet some 21 states allow new laws to be enacted without approval by the state legislature, thereby creating a loophole for corporations to spend tens of millions of dollars on elections while otherwise banned from doing so. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, by short-circuiting their legislatures this way.

Michigan was on the road to economic recovery under its Republican legislature which held a 63-47 House majority after the 2016 election. Then Big Weed put its thumbs on the scale by placing a marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2018, spending millions to enact that Democrat-favored legislation.

The predictable side effect was to knock out more than half of the Republican lead in the legislature, dropping its majority to 58-52 and electing Democrats to statewide offices. In the 2020 election, lacking a similar ballot measure, the balance of power remained unchanged even though Democrat Joe Biden reportedly won that state.

Then in 2022, big money returned to Michigan to push through a ballot initiative for abortion. The distortion of $47 million spent for this abortion initiative enabled Democrats to take control of the Michigan House for the first time in more than a decade while reelecting the Democrat governor, attorney general, and secretary of state.

This is the tail wagging the dog. Originally intended to be an occasional check-and-balance against corporate influence over a legislature, ballot measures have become a loophole allowing monied interests to capture legislative control of a state.

The above-quoted Guarantee Clause in the Constitution requires a legislative process for enacting laws. It should be unconstitutional for a private interest group to place legislation on the ballot for its own benefit, and then pour in corporate money to pass it.

Studies show the side that spends the most on a ballot measure is almost always the winner. In 2018, the bigger-spending side won all ten of the ten most expensive ballot measure contests.

In 2017 Missouri’s Republican legislature joined the majority of states by protecting the freedom of workers not to join a labor union. But Democrats later poured more than $18 million into a ballot measure to repeal that right-to-work law.

Gambling spread throughout our country largely due to the ballot initiative process, as the gambling industry has ample funds to ensure passage of ballot measures that favor them. For more than a decade Missouri had in place a beneficial “loss limit” restriction on how much casinos could take from an addicted gambler in a 2-hour period.

Gambling interests repealed that good law by a ballot measure in 2008, as casino interests spent more than $15 million to boost their wicked industry. Both the Republican and Democrat gubernatorial candidates that year opposed the pro-gambling ballot measure, but it passed anyway as heavily funded by casinos.

Phyllis Schlafly always opposed ballot initiatives as a way to enact legislation. Along with her successful opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment in state legislatures, she also defeated the ERA when it was offered as a ballot measure in seven states.

The Ohio legislature now seeks to raise the threshold for passage of ballot initiatives for its constitutional amendments from a simple majority to 60%, but that may not be high enough or the optimal remedy. In our republican style of government, corporate mega-spending should not be allowed to try to enact new laws by popular vote.

State legislatures should narrow the scope of issues to be placed on a ballot, as many state constitutions already have a single-issue limitation. They could also seek to limit the scope of future ballot initiatives to tax- or government school-related issues.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) is a rising star who should be easily reelected next year unless liberal businesses are allowed to spend millions on the side running against him. The abortion industry may be planning to put its issue on the same ballot, and then dump ungodly sums in an effort to repeat in Missouri the distortion seen in Michigan.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

End Promotion of Transgender Culture

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

With the zeal of a fanatic, the transgender culture is being imposed on Americans while most of the rest of the world opposes this. The latest salvo two weeks ago was the giant brewery, AB InBev, placing a transgender on the beer can for one of its popular brands.

The public backlash was substantial, but the company issued a statement on Friday implying it would stay its pro-transgender course. Another corporate icon, Nike, has already been promoting a transgender culture with its marketing.

These professional-sports dependent companies are symptoms rather than the root of the problem. The biggest promoters of a transgender culture are not the usual suspects, but a few sports league monopolies including the NFL, NCAA, and Major League Baseball, which are government-subsidized and generally protected against antitrust laws that apply to everyone else.

The taxpayer-subsidized NFL began promoting the transgender culture last year by featuring a transgender biological male on its cheerleading team. The Dallas Cowboys are known as “America’s Team” and last year made this strategic change to its famous cheerleaders as another NFL team also did.

The Biden Administration recently promulgated new regulations that nearly require all schools to allow biological males to invade the athletic activities of girls and women. Schools that try to protect the integrity of girls sports may be hit with multi-million-dollar lawsuits under Biden’s anti-girl rewriting of Title IX.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball browbeat Georgia Republicans into submission in 2021 by moving its All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest of a watered-down election bill that was ineffective anyway. The Georgia legislature got the message and failed to restore integrity for its elections in 2022, where Democrats again exploited early voting while obtaining a court order to change the law for their benefit.

That was brazen political intimidation by MLB while enjoying a special exemption from federal antitrust laws that limit normal businesses. Yet MLB’s political interference pales with how the NFL is promoting transgenderism while looting American taxpayers for many billions of dollars.

Next February, when more than 100 million Americans behold the half-time performance at the annual Super Bowl, the NFL could advance transgender culture further. New laws in 21 states seek to protect girls’ sports against an unfair invasion by boys, but if Republican legislators fail to stand up then the NFL, NCAA, and other sports monopolies will ram a transgender culture down our throats.

The Republican-controlled U.S. House and state legislatures should immediately act to uproot the cause, by sending subpoenas and holding hearings on sports leagues that promote a transgender culture. Ironically, the dependence of the NBA on China may keep it on the transgender sidelines, as neither China nor most nations side with liberals on this.

Congress should repeal the antitrust exemption for MLB, where teams are owned by billionaires who hardly need any protection from competition. Congress should also take steps to end the practice of television networks locking rival sports leagues out of lucrative television contracts given to the NFL.

Three of the top five golfers at the recent Masters’ tournament are part of the LIV tour, but it is locked out of good television contracts because it held a few events at Trump-owned golf courses. LIV will not be promoting a transgender culture either, while the television-controlled PGA or LPGA Tour might.

The Trump-hating media is in control of the money in professional sports, and from there Leftists are trying to impose a transgender culture on 330 million Americans. Professional sports leagues and the NCAA have grown to a nearly trillion-dollar industry, and impact culture far greater than the Rockefeller oil monopoly of more than a century ago ever did.

Defending our culture and the integrity of girls’ sports requires uprooting the source of the push for a transgender culture. A handful of pro sports monopolies and their exclusivity on billion-dollar television contracts are what Congress and the states need to eradicate.

LIV golf, as reportedly funded by Saudi Arabian billionaires, is not going along with the demand for a transgender culture. Neither is China, Russia, Japan, Africa, and most other countries, no matter what the liberal media wants.

Ironically, Trump himself was locked out by television exclusivity with the NFL when he led an upstart rival football league, the USFL, nearly 40 years ago. Trump’s lawsuit against the NFL in Manhattan ended with a jury verdict partially in his favor but without an award of sufficient damages.

Today the freight train coming down the tracks is pro sports promoting transgenderism, which they are able to do only if Congress and state legislatures continue to look the other way. It is time to overturn the favoritism given to sports league monopolies while they harm our culture.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Court Rejects FDA’s Abortion Scheme

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the abortion industry pushed the FDA to approve the import and sale of the abortion pill dubbed RU-486 by its French manufacturer. The slang term “86” means to eject or throw something or someone away, so the pill’s trade name truthfully conveyed its demonic effect of throwing away a human life.

In the waning months of Bill Clinton’s presidency, the FDA responded to pro-abortion pressure by rushing its approval of this abortion drug, but only by falsely treating pregnancy as an illness, instead of a natural and healthy part of a woman’s life. Studies confirm that carrying a pregnancy to term, especially before age 30, is beneficial to a woman’s long-term health.

The FDA’s improper approval was promptly challenged more than a decade ago. But the FDA “postponed and procrastinated for nearly 6,000 days,” observed a federal court ruling in Texas on Good Friday.

Two days later, Biden’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, lashed out against the judge’s ruling, ominously declaring that “everything is on the table.” That kind of strong rhetoric is what liberals frequently criticize Trump for.

The court’s decision cited studies showing how physically and mentally harmful the abortion pill can be to pregnant women and girls. The pill was approved by the FDA for the benefit of the abortion industry, not to help women.

Compelling evidence suggests the statistics provided by FDA on the adverse effects of chemical abortion understate the negative impact the chemical abortion regimen has on women and girls,” ruled Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. He added, “the abortionist that prescribed the drugs is usually not the provider to manage the mother’s complications.”

So chemical abortion is just another type of hit-and-run abortion that enriches the abortion industry, with much of that money plowed back into electing liberal politicians and judges. Tens of millions of dollars from out of state recently poured into Wisconsin to elect a supporter of the abortion industry to its state supreme court, tilting that court to 4-3 Democrat.

In states that permit ballot initiatives, such as Missouri and Ohio, the abortion industry will put initiatives to expand abortion on the ballot, and will spend many millions to pass them. That’s what the abortion industry did in Michigan last year, and as a result both houses of the state legislature flipped to Democrat control.

The author of the Good Friday decision against the abortion pill was appointed by Trump. Biden’s appeal goes to the Fifth Circuit, which boasts more superb Trump-appointed judges, and from there to the Supreme Court, which last year consigned Roe v. Wade to the proverbial ash heap of history.

More than half the abortions in the U.S. today are chemical rather than surgical. To hide the harm caused by this chemical warfare against the unborn, more than 60% of emergency room visits after taking the abortion pill are miscoded as “miscarriages” rather than as adverse effects of abortion.

Democrats view abortion as a politically winning issue for them, but that requires concealing its harmful consequences. Judge Kacsmaryk did a tremendous public service by explaining the adverse effects that Biden and the Democrats conceal.

Some of the harm is emotional, as the abortion pill typically causes the mother to see the living being she just aborted. Such video images have been posted on TikTok, to the dismay of censorship-prone liberals.

Eighty-three percent of women report that chemical abortion ‘changed’ them – and seventy-seven percent of those women reported a negative change,” wrote Judge Kacsmaryk, citing a scientific study. “Thirty-eight percent of women reported issues with anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts because of the chemical abortion,” he continued.

The Biden Administration is not transparent about this harm, and instead pushes a destructive drug on red states that do not want it. Corporate executives whose companies have benefited from other Biden mandates, such as the CEO of Pfizer, jumped in as though on cue to insist on what Democrats demand.

Under our Constitution, legalizing and promoting chemical abortions is something that would require extensive public hearings and a vote in Congress. It should not be enacted in secret by unelected FDA bureaucrats who are lobbied or captured by the pharmaceutical industry they are supposed to regulate.

Federal law “indicates a national policy of discountenancing abortion as inimical to the national life,” held Judge Kacsmaryk while quoting a legal precedent. Indeed, a specific federal statute prohibits use of the U.S. Mail or commercial services from delivering abortion drugs across state lines.

The legality of the FDA’s process for imposing an abortion drug nationwide is for the courts and Congress to properly decide in our Republic. Some complain that this decision undermines the FDA’s authority, but that is just what a good doctor would order.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Indictment Imperils the Rights of All

The Phyllis Schlafly Report
By John and Andy Schlafly

By indicting President Trump, the New York County prosecutor is infringing on the First Amendment rights of all Americans. Every American has a right to an unfettered debate and campaign by candidates, including Trump, for our nation’s highest elective office.

This indictment interferes with the 2024 presidential election by hampering the full participation of a leading candidate, and the right of Americans to benefit from his undivided attention to his campaign. One Democrat district attorney in Manhattan infringes on all these rights by indicting the front-runner Republican candidate, Donald Trump.

The freedom to speak and the freedom to hear are inseparable; they are two sides of the same coin,” declared Justice Thurgood Marshall in 1972. Democrats are interfering with the right of every American to hear from Donald Trump without distraction by an improper prosecution.

Democrat prosecutors have the right to cast their own ballots in the presidential election, but not more than that. Trump’s ability to hold campaign rallies and meet with supporters is impeded by this and potentially other unprecedented indictments of him.

The U.S. Supreme Court should shut down this and any other criminal prosecution of a prominent presidential candidate. Federal lawsuits based on the First Amendment should be filed by Trump, the Republican Party, and any American voter to object to this governmental action against Trump.

Criminal prosecutions are an enormous distraction to any innocent victim, as Trump is. It shifts his time and focus away from devoting all of his energy to his reelection campaign.

Infringing on Trump’s free speech rights to campaign violates the rights of all Americans to hear everything that this candidate has to say. “The activity of speakers becoming listeners and listeners becoming speakers in the vital interchange of thought is the means indispensable to the discovery and spread of political truth,” Democrat-appointed Justice Marshall observed.

Federal courts have the full power to shut down interference with presidential campaigns by state officials and state courts. No arrest warrant issued by a state official against a leading presidential candidate should be enforceable during the campaign, particularly when an arrest is not needed to protect the safety of anyone.

Chief Justice Roberts joined three liberal Justices on the High Court to emphasize the power of federal courts to halt state court proceedings that impinge on constitutional rights. When someone is “harassed with a multiplicity of suits or litigation generally in an endeavor to enforce penalties” that would have an unconstitutional effect, then Roberts said it should be stopped.

That was less than two years ago when Roberts and the liberal Justices so stated, on an emergency appeal of an abortion-related law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson (2021). “Under these circumstances, where the mere commencement of a suit, and in fact just the threat of it, is the actionable injury to another, the principles … authorize relief against the court officials who play an essential role in that scheme,” they wrote.

In other cases the Supreme Court has held likewise. In Mitchum v. Foster (1972), without dissent it shut down a state court proceeding for threatening to close the doors of a bookstore, much as the New York City district attorney’s new state court prosecution is disruptive to Trump’s presidential campaign.

This decision by the Supreme Court in halting a state court proceeding has been favorably cited by more than a thousand decisions since, including dozens of invocations by the Supreme Court itself. In Pulliam v. Allen (1984), it likewise ruled in favor of a federal court shutting down a state court process, which a federal court should do now with respect to any county-level prosecution of Trump.

Federal courts are empowered by these and other decisions to protect presidential candidates against harassment by state officials, as being done now to Trump. A presidential candidate must be allowed to devote his complete attention to his campaign without interference by a county prosecutor.

This unprecedented prosecution could further divide red from blue states, as conservatives feel strongly that the People rather than a handful of liberal prosecutors should be picking our next president. “Texit” legislation was filed earlier this year in Texas to assert independence from control by New York City and Washington, D.C.

In a democracy, you can’t threaten to jail your opponents,” declared former President Obama in 2016. “We have fought against those kinds of things,” yet now Democrats are doing precisely that: threatening to imprison Trump.

As patriotism declines in polls and millions of immigrants fail to assimilate into our traditional culture, the glue binding our vast country together may have lost some strength. In 1857, the Dred Scott decision arrogantly denied rights to slaves rather than allow the political process to work, and a few years later our Nation broke up.

John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.

These columns are also posted on PhyllisSchlafly.com, pseagles.com, and Townhall.com.