17,000 march in support of Charter Schools in NYC

October 10, 2013

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Looks like a big battle looming in Gotham.  I predict DeBlasio’s notion of charging rent to certain types of public schools (charters) but not to others (districts) will end in tears one way or another if he is foolish enough to pursue it. Equal protection under the law anyone?

NYC charter supporters should be calling Clint Bolick about now.


Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick on Immigration in the WSJ

January 25, 2013

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick are teaming up for a book on immigration that will come out in March, and previewed their thinking today in the Wall Street Journal. Read the article here. Basic thesis:

In some conservative circles, the word “comprehensive” in the context of immigration reform is an epithet—a code word for amnesty. People who oppose such reform declare that securing the United States border must come before moving toward broader reform.

Such an approach is shortsighted and self-defeating. Border security is inextricably intertwined with other aspects of immigration policy. The best way to prevent illegal immigration is to make sure that we have a fair and workable system of legal immigration. The current immigration system is neither.

The immigration system is like a jigsaw puzzle. If one or more pieces are out of whack, the puzzle makes no sense. To fix the system, Congress must make sure all of the pieces fit together, logically and snugly.

NYT on Clint Bolick

December 26, 2011

 (Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

The New York Times has a very nice feature on Clint and the GI litigation team.  That scorpion may have to hunt and peck to type, but the sting packs a wallop!


States to Protect Health Care Freedom?

November 19, 2009

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

George Will wrote a column today about an effort to protect Arizonans from being forced to buy health insurance or to ban the right to privately purchase medical care by Obamacare.

If Obamacare passes, the people of Arizona may give it the proverbial single finger salute. Other states may as well.

The proposed initiative reads:

No law shall be passed that restricts a person’s freedom of choice of private health care systems or private plans of any type. No law shall interfere with a person’s or entity’s right to pay directly for lawful medical services, nor shall any law impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage or for participation in any particular health care system or plan.

Clint Bolick notes that the federal protection of individual rights have always served as a floor, not a ceiling. If both Obamacare and this language passed, an interesting legal battle would ensue. Money quote from the column:

The court says the constitutional privacy right protects personal “autonomy” regarding “the most intimate and personal choices.” The right was enunciated largely at the behest of liberals eager to establish abortion rights. Liberals may think, but the court has never held, that the privacy right protects only doctor-patient transactions pertaining to abortion. David Rivkin and Lee Casey, Justice Department officials under the Reagan and first Bush administrations, ask: If government cannot proscribe or even “unduly burden” — the court’s formulation — access to abortion, how can government limit other important medical choices?

How indeed? This would all be much better if judges simply rediscovered an ability to read the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, but if you can’t “unduly burden” abortion how are you supposed to “unduly burden” an individual’s right to pay a heart surgeon or have an appendix removed?

Hopefully the Senate will kill Obamacare, but if not, the fight can be carried on by other means. If some states passed such amendments and other did not, get ready for the second great doctor migration. I had a Canadian doctor growing up in southeast Texas in the 1970s. Any guesses why?


Bolick on School Choice and the Election

July 17, 2008

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Clint Bolick, recovering from an accident in Wyoming, nevertheless managed to hit the Wall Street Journal this week on education and the Presidential election:

Education is slipping in priority among many voters but not among Hispanics, many of whom see school choice as a deciding factor in whom to vote for this fall. This has implications for the presidential election.

A new poll shows that 82% of Hispanics consider education as one of three most important issues facing this country. The survey also shows that, even while Hispanics trust Democrats over Republicans on education by more than a two-to-one margin, that ratio could change if Republicans heavily promote school choice while Democrats oppose it.

The poll was conducted last year among more than 800 registered Hispanic voters for the Alliance for School Choice and the Hispanic Coalition for Reform and Educational Options, but never publicly released. It was conducted by two polling firms, The Polling Company (which works primarily for Republicans) and the Ampersand Agency, (which polls mostly for Democrats).

This survey found that although Hispanic voters generally consider public schools to be effective, they also favor, by a wide margin, school choice (defined as allowing parents a choice in whether to spend their children’s education dollars in public or private schools).

Fifty-two percent of Hispanic voters have a favorable view of school choice, according to the poll, while only 7% had an unfavorable view. When asked about vouchers specifically, 32% expressed a favorable opinion compared to 13% unfavorable.

But where the poll really gets interesting is on school choice as an electoral issue: 65% of those surveyed reported that they would be more likely to support a candidate for office who supports school choice, including 35% who said they would be “much more likely.” Only 19% said they would be less likely to vote for a pro-school choice candidate.

These numbers were high regardless of whether the person was of Mexican, Puerto Rican or Cuban descent. They also transcended party affiliation: 67% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 63% of Democrats preferring pro-school choice candidates. And 70% of those who prefer pro-school choice candidates — including 66% of Democrats — said they would cross party lines to vote for a candidate who supports school choice over one who opposes it.

Barack Obama has hinted at being open to serious education reform. Before the Wisconsin primary in February, he praised Milwaukee’s highly successful school-voucher program. But, facing furious criticism from the establishment, which is disproportionately influential in Democratic politics, he backtracked.

John McCain has been a consistent supporter of school choice and passionately endorsed it during one of the Republican debates, although the issue is far from a mainstay of his campaign. His appointment of pro-school choice former Arizona Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan as his campaign’s top education adviser may signal a new emphasis.

Sen. Obama will count heavily on teachers’ unions for support. The unions, though, have nowhere else to go. Hispanics do. If Mr. Obama opposes school choice, he will cede to his opponent a huge opportunity to make inroads among Hispanic voters — if Sen. McCain seizes it.

Hispanic votes will be crucial in key battleground states, including Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. George W. Bush won 40% of Hispanic votes in 2004, but support slipped to 30% for GOP congressional candidates in 2006. Mr. Obama fared poorly among Hispanics in the presidential primaries, while Mr. McCain carried 74% of Hispanic votes when he won re-election to the Senate in 2004. All that adds up to this: Hispanics voting on school choice could tip the balance of the election.

Hispanic voters are overwhelmingly young and have exhibited a propensity toward political independence — and no issue is more tangible for them than educational opportunity. If Hispanics align their voting with the educational interests of their children, it could alter the electoral landscape — not merely for this election, but permanently.


The Way of the Happy Warrior

May 30, 2008

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Last week, I gave a commencement speech for the BASIS middle school. Newsweek recently named the BASIS Tucson the nation’s top high school. Charter schools took 10 out of the top 100 spots, which is far out of proportion with their numbers.

I had no idea of what to talk about, so I researched commencement speeches on the internet. There seemed to be two models: first you can quote a philosopher and give advice. Second, you can talk about whatever happens to be on your mind.

I chose model 1. For my philosopher quote, I used this nugget that I have seen attributed to Zen Buddhism:

The Master in the Art of Living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion.

He hardly knows which is which.

He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.

To him he’s always doing both.

When I first saw that quote, I said to myself “WOW- that’s what I want to be when I grow up!”

Let’s face it though, I’m not in much danger of growing up, so it remains only an aspiration for me.

The quote however perfectly describes my colleague at the Goldwater Institute Clint Bolick. The magazine Legal Times recently honored Clint in compiling “The 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers of the Last 30 Years” to mark the magazine’s 30th anniversary. The list honored attorneys for upholding the legal profession’s core values and “fighting to expand liberties and protect civil rights.”

Congratulations to Michael and Olga Block and their BASIS team, and the other charter schools making the list. Congratulations also to Clint, the only person I know getting lifetime achievement awards at the age of 39 (Ok, 39ish) and happily spending his time doing what he loves- suing bureaucrats.


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