State of Washington v. Trump et al — notes

Reference information

Court Archive:

Video Testimony

Some case law, will add more later.

Initial thoughts: This could have been so much easier if:

1. The EA had been vetted conservatively by the DOJ, rather than what looks to be a pov of seeing how far they could push things and not break the constitution.

2. Loose lips sink ships… egads folks, I get you are trying to procedurally wiggle around look back stuff, but when anyone can look things up on twitter, the argument against bad faith falls apart pretty fast.

3. The Feb 1 memorandom The suspension of entry in Section 3(c) does not apply to lawful permanent residents of the United States.  should have been included from the get go rather than toggling back and forth as to whether it does, or whether it does not. Washington’s argument that this is not a national security issue makes sense as if it were a true threat, this keystone cop scenario would not have occurred.

4. 1152a1a vs 212f makes for a mess…. congress should have been explicit in this. Its like they are asking the courts to legislate from the bench. Alas nothing new in this.

Equal protection from other cases wrt TRO

Litigation Documents & Resources Related to Trump Executive Order on Immigration


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The Wisconsin Civics Test is Dangerous

I’m aghast that WI students have to take and pass a civics test in order to graduate from high school.  Sure,  it sounds like a good idea… but there is a huge problem. First a little background from a fellow who thinks it is a good thing.


“The leadership in the GOP-dominated Wisconsin legislature has pushed forward a measure (AB 194) that would require high schools in the state to administer a civics test before handing them a diploma. The tests most often proposed are 100 questions long, and are virtually identical to tests taken by immigrants pursuing citizenship.”

He continues…

Education groups are aghast. No, petrified. They’re lobbying against such draconian expectations as though it is dangerous to our education system. Requiring a score of at least 60% of high school graduates  – who are given the freedom to vote, smoke, drive cars, get married, have children, buy homes and perform jobs, often while juggling intense college studies three months later – is considered unreasonable to them.

Its unreasonable to me too, as it’s dangerous to assume that passing said test with a 60% or greater score is going to do much of anything other than eat up time. Most kids get exposed to this stuff in jr high, a decent number will remember it later on, that is if they took it seriously in 8th grade. The rest, well, since its a grad requirement, thy will need to be prepped for it… Which in most cases will equate to memorizing a bunch of canned answers, which are just as likely to be forgotten as anything else.

The problem is the US Citizen test is a mere 10,000ft check to ensure that potential US citizens studied the basics of civics, and for that solitary purpose, its probablly, albeit marginally ok. See for a critique of the test design.

 Using it as a means of cross checking a future voters knowledge of civics is far beyond its scope. Ie, used in this manner, its low expectations on steroids and then some… and yet, there will be some who won’t pass. Who knows, there might even be some politicians who wouldn’t pass.

Perhaps there is some value in this as a first step, but like a lot of things, its more symbolic than something fostering meaningful change. Alas, like a lot of things in today’s govt, maybe symbolism is all we can hope for.

That being said… rather than adding more BS education hoop jumping from on high, why not provide incentives for civic engagement instruction at the classroom level. Maybe this test is part of it, maybe its a field trip to local or state govt, maybe its having a politician spend some time in the classroom. The thing is, one size doesn’t fit all… and the person who knows this best is the teacher in the classroom. Its not the politician, the bureaudolt,  the union, nor even the school board.

Here is the test in a computer generated format for easy results.

Maybe every politician needs to be randomly tested every year or two, and have their lowest score during their previous term published next to their name on the ballot. Fwiw, I got a 98… alas, such happens when you get in a hurry.

Reference material:

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#icanhazpdf Counter to Moocher Business Models

Moocher business models are a dream for many… and while they can be profitable for a while, they are not long term sustainable. Eventually, either customers or vendors, or both see that the emperor has no clothes other than a govt smokescreen and call it for what it is…

Thus, in the world of research, we have an entrenched and legally protected business model that has skimmed off the work of others for decades. In years past, the business model of academic publishing made sense as it provided value… in today’s world of digital distribution, providing no, or very limited value is less and less viable, despite the best efforts of lobbyists to prop up said models as long as possible..

Enter in #icanhazpdf, a way in which the scientific community is putting the screws to the moocher business model, not unlike what happened with napster and related in the world of music. No doubt legal minds are spinning trying anything and everything to put a halt on the practice, but the issue of govt supported mooching has reached a tipping point with many…. Bottom line, its a hearts and minds battle, and I tend to think the publishing worlds overreach has set the stage for a lost battle, even before things enter the courtroom, that is if it even gets that far.



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Lowering #WI Property Taxes

Scott Walker says he plans to lower property taxes if elected. This is actually pretty simple to do, by restoring the states percentage of local school funding to historical levels, rather than what has happened over the last decade. Do note that the state under Democratic control was screwing around with the funding of public education well before Scott Walker and crew entered the game.

The framers of WI state constitution wanted the local area to have skin in the game rather than having the state fund 100% of he schools . I think the framers of the constitution were correct in this analysis… but there is a significant difference between the state picking up very close to 50% of the cost which they have historically done vs slowly decreasing the states tab to less than 40%.

There is also the issue of the insanely complex school funding formula. Its an ideal setup for playing accounting games and has lobbyists written all over it. Even the proposal from the dept of public instruction keeps the basic ideology intact. Such is great for politicians seeking cover from public outrage over funding their favorite lobbyist, but is not so good when it comes to the children’s education.

And there in lies a big problem, the state creates laws which require significant local expenditure to make lobbyists happy, and at the same time the state refuses to pay for them. Fix that, and a good chunk of change can be saved. If a law is that important on the state level, than by all means put up your wallet to pay for it… with the caveat that the importance of the law is not determined by lobbyists, but by evidence, both pro and con. Consider that some lobbyists got means testing removed from the SAGE program. Data suggests SAGE provides measurable results in schools with a low socioeconomic demographic in some grade levels, but has little to no effect in high income areas… so what does governement do? Remove means testing!!!

Its a similar deal with vouchers. On the outset, they seem like a good idea, just as open enrollment is. A student should not be hamstrung when it comes to opportunities due to zip code or parents economic status. Granted, when it comes to test scores, the effects of vouchers and open enrollment are a pig in a poke, but test scores are only a snap shot, and as far as I can gather, a pretty poor one at that.

That being said, the voucher thing needs to be done right. If a person can afford to send their kids to a private school, more power to them. If they can’t afford it, I have no problem with the state providing assistance to do so… but when folks are making 300% of the federal poverty level and are still eligible, vouchers are crossing the line from providing opportunity to all, to buying votes, to say nothing of creating unhealthy, and likely unsustainable dependencies for the voucher schools. Perhaps even worse, is voucher eligibility is perpetual, ie qualify once, and you are good to go, even if you are at 1000X FPL. Perpetual vouchers where the means tests are above an area’s median income are “free stuff” from the govt to an extreme, but talk radio never goes there.

Bottom line, there are multitude of opportunities to provide high quality education at significantly less property tax burden, but there has to be a will to put business as usual and ideology aside to do so.

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Tuition Caps? #Walker

Governor Walkers campaign is capitalizing on their tuition cap program for the UW system. As a political solution, such can bring about votes, so I can’t blame him… but just like we found out from the Nixon era, price controls rarely work, and the unintended consequences often come back to bite in spades.

Back when I was a freshman, tuition was under $500/semester. Today, such wouldn’t cover a 3 credit class,  much less a 21 credit semester…  so obviously something needs to be done, but tuition explosions, just like many government issues, are often problems of their own making.

Consider the following graph from the UW system factbook.


If you want to not only level tuition, but cut a deal to students, simple raise the priority of funding the UW system to the level it was at just a few years ago back in 2009. This isn’t a Republican thing, or a Democrat thing, both of the dolts over the last 10 years have had a free for all at the expense of the young.

I get that its an easy shell game to dump excess state spending onto the backs of students, being student loans are nearly unlimited, and students wont squak too much, but I think one has to seriously question the morality of doing so.

Granted, the UW system itself is not blameless. Overhead is crazy… for a faculty of 7000, there are an additional 25,000 other full time employees. Students amenities are massive compared to my day, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a will to do away with either.

By the same token, when you cap tuition, the slack has to be taken up elsewhere… and while I’ve been away from the UW for 25+ years, I seriously doubt the slack would be taken up by cancelling gold plated amenities, and/or reducing overhead. Rather my guess is the cost cutting is going to focus on the academic and research side of things…  It won’t affect today’s students that much, being things can coast for a while… but when you already had 10 years of reductions already in the queue, the potential for trouble is likely to be sooner rather than later.

So whats the answer? Cap overhead, cap amenities, restore state level funding (its easy as long as you don’t mind a criminal justice lobbyist crying in their beer [education and criminal justice priorities have reversed over the last 30 years [WI has 2.5x the incarceration rate as MN]], and a high level of education and research can continue with ease at tuition levels at, or even less than today’s rates.

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There is no such thing as a left or right

You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course. “- Ronald Reagan, A Time for Choosing 1964

Embarking on the downward course seems to be the one big thing the left and the right agree upon in a bipartisan fashion. The easiest way to ensure the downward path continues, is to present it as the only path, by excluding all others by whatever means necessary.

Consider the following from Donald Allen,  President of the Hamline University Veterans Affairs Organization:

…. why in 2014 are Fox News and HU determined to create a master-method of voter suppression by obstructing “all” candidates running for governor to participate? Is the white-male political construct afraid of what will happen if the mainstream media and Minnesota voter’s see the wide variety of platforms and opinions by all five gubernatorial candidates? In 1998 Jesse Ventura pulled off a major upset. Sending a message to the two-party system that politics as usual will not be tolerated i.e. voting for someone other than a Democrat or Republican could be worth looking into. Sometimes doing something different is a good thing.

MN Gubanatorial Candidates other than the Democrats and Republicans

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Common Values?

@LibertyHous and I are on the opposite side of the political spectra, but in a recent blog post, he presented his value set as concerns government. The amazing thing is, despite being on the opposite side politically, the value set is pretty much the same.

Actually, it shouldn’t necessarily be such a surprise. Despite being to the left, I’ve found many tea party types when you dig down a bit are much further to the left than I am. I think we all have bits and pieces where cognitive dissonance reigns, but when we go digging, we might well find that our individual value sets are not all that different.

A few key bits from Hous blog. (Its definitely worth a read,  beyond basic values, he also brings up the national debt, taxes, entitlements, and defense spending,)

In America:

  • No one should starve
  • No one should be denied necessary medical care
  • Orphans and the elderly should be socially secure
  • Everyone should have access to basic shelter.


  • We have to provide medical care for the poor. We are the most productive and prosperous nation ever to grace the planet. History will not judge us kindly if we led babies die because they can’t pay to get into a hospital.
  • No one should starve in America. No elderly people should be stuck buying cat food to eat or not being able to pay a light bill.

Yep, I agree with all of that.

I also agree with him that national debt is a problem, and even some of the solutions proposed, albeit a bit out there are interesting to ponder.

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The MN Photo ID Amendment is a bad idea

I’m voting no on the MN Photo ID amendment for a few reasons. First, it doesn’t belong in the constitution. Secondly, while it has to be freely provided to the voter, someone has to pay… and that likely means another unfunded and likely very expensive mandate from the state. Thirdly, even if it is free, the time and effort needed to acquire an ID is likely to disenfranchise some voters.  Fourth, there is no religious exemption, thus opening the door for a first amendment court fight. Fifth, its a spendy solution in search of a near non-existent problem… there are bigger fish to fry as far as election fraud goes.

There are a couple issues with making it a constitutional amendment with the first bit being the issue that photo ID’s are likely to become obsolete at some point down the road. If it were a regular statute, it would be a relative no brainer to update it as the years pass. As a constitutional amendment, it likely will be a real pain and significant cost when time forces it to be changed. Secondly, there will need to be a couple pages or more of legislation spelling out the details of how this will work, and how it will be paid for… and afaik, no one has presented anything remotely concrete in this regard. This business of trust me, it will work out just fine without detailed supporting documentation… never works out too well.

My guess is the legislature will try to play the cost shifting game so as not to raise state income taxes to cover its cost. Ie, the costs of issuing, training / recurrent training for false ID detection will be passed on to local govt.

In addition, the legislature may go so far as to try to push the 24th amendment as far as free goes, such that it will end up in court putting adding even more cost to the boondoggle. Its possible they will say the ID is free as they wont charge for printing and issuing costs… even though a voter may need to spend a couple hundred bucks to acquire and notarize the necessary documents. They likewise might not cover the costs of increased student id fees for changes of address and/or verification every time a student moves.

Of course, some might say a photo ID for voting doesn’t need to meet same criteria as does a MN state ID. Ie, it may be possible to simply have a photo book at the polls, and that said ID would not require a current address… (a utility bill etc may be ok) the question I have, is whats the whole point of photo ID, if you are not making the system robust?

As far as time, effort and cost goes… imagine an elderly person who has always banked at the same location, who quit driving 10 years ago, and has been in a nursing home for the last 5 years. This person would likely need to acquire primary and secondary ID per the MN ID requirements and verification of name change if any. Its quite unlikely for such documents to be readily at hand for an elderly person, and its likely they will require some time and expense to acquire. Next, they would need to present themselves in person at a licensing office. The needed time and effort put forth by the nursing home staff to assist said individuals would need to be paid for… and not billed as increased fees to the nursing home resident, to be in compliance with the 24th amendment.

While it is fairly rare for Amish people to vote, their hard core stance against personal photography is widely known due to their religious view that it conflicts with the graven image commandment. The amendment proposal doesn’t leave any room for a religious exemption,  thus it would seem it would get struck down as being in conflict with the establishment clause. On the other hand, legislation supporting an exemption would then be counter to this state amendment. In other words, this would be messy.

Beyond that, photo ID’s are pretty easy to fake, even the ones with so called security features can be forged without too much effort. Likewise, there are other ways in which an election can be gamed apart from photo ID. In other words, if an individual, campaign, party, or superpac is determined to commit voter fraud, they will do so irrespective of a photo ID requirement.

If photo ID is really that big a deal to folks, (one person in MN contributed over a million bucks) it belongs in the regular legislative process, not in the constitution.

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When you can cost shift, why worry about balancing the budget?

MN finally has a budget… its sort of balanced too, at least within the bounds of the state constitution, thus holding off on the nuclear option, ie mandated property tax increases. The thing is… $2 billion dollars magically appeared by simply not paying what was agreed to.

Granted, such occurs daily, whether it be an average Joe who defaults on loans, or a big business that puts the squeeze on their creditors and/or vendors. Strategically, if your business has the bank or vendor by a hangman’s noose, it can make sense to do so. Ie, if you squeeze their cashflow to the point that get concerned whether they will remain a going concern, almost always they will re-negotiate for better terms (better for you, not so good for them). This is not rocket science, its just negotiation 101. By the same token, if you dont have your vendors or creditors in a noose… then will put the screws on you to try and collect.

Thus, the state has the schools by the noose… and as a result, many schools are going to have to take out loans to cover their operations, which then proceeds to put the schools in a worse financial bind. On the other hand, Pawlenty wins via no new taxes, and the DFL wins because they didnt have to make massive cuts. The banks win, as they get to write new loans. And of course, the taxpayer looses, as they will have to pay interest on such loans… and yet,few if any see any problems with this.

Some yahoos have told me to run for office… lol, its not going to happen. However if I did, I’d propose legislation to end this BS of accounting gamesmanship. Few legislators like paygo, or tabor, as they hamstring the ability to play games (both parties), limit lobbyist influence, and they often force all the cards on the table. Despite the dangers of such, I think MN is in much greater danger with the status quo of doing the same thing over and over, all the while hoping the budget miraculously fixes itself.

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BS Gamesmanship and The MN Republican Gov Race

Its been a few years since I left the Republican party… but the same BS continues. The political words continue on forever, say no to tax increases, say no to bigger goverment, say no to encroaching on liberty… and then do just the opposite via gamesmanship.

Case in point… Republican Gov Candidates Dual over Tax Votes

“I voted to fill the hole. I didn’t do any new spending. Nothing,” Emmer said. “Our city stayed right where it was. Whether you want to say they were paying it into the state and then hoping to get it back, or they were paying it into the city to pay for those services. I made the vote to keep our budget right where it was, because it was very lean at the time.”


“Is Marty suggesting that somehow his signing a tax pledge, breaking a tax pledge, vowing he’ll never sign a tax pledge and then signing a tax pledge again, and my saying, ‘Look, I give you my word that we don’t have to raise taxes on a state level,’ which is what I said consistently,” Emmer said.

Instead… they might want to think of the following… my arms length summary of what I think the tea party folks would like to see.

Look, we wont raise taxes on a state level, nor will we play accounting games to shift tax increases to the local level, nor will we shift them into the future, nor will we shift them around via delaying payments here or there. We will not increase our debt ceiling. If we dont have the revenue, and we are at our debt ceiling… we WILL shrink government as needed. If federal funds are used, and they require state increased state spending, we WILL shrink government as needed, or we WILL decline said federal funds. The only exception to the above is voter referendum, and potentially an index to inflation, both positive and negative.

In effect, such a stance would be an integration of paygo, and TABOR… it would truly result in smaller less intrusive government, greater liberty, and static, or perhaps even future tax reductions depending upon economic growth. On the other hand, such a stance would be political suicide, and might not even be feasible, since so much of state government spending is far beyond the control of current state government to do much of anything about…. But it most certainly would put at least some action behind BS rhetoric, trivial arguments, and weasel words.

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