MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The U.S. Supreme Court grapples with the president’s authority to fire the director of an agency.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today, the Monday Moneybeat. We’ll try to put things in economic perspective.
Plus, the WORLD History Book. Thirty-five years ago, the first woman to win the Iditarod Dog Sled Race.
RIDDLES: To go out there and chop your own wood, feed your dogs, catch your fish, I mean that to me is the good life.
And finding ways to care for others during a time of physical distance.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, March 23rd. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Senate stimulus plan fails to move forward » The Senate failed on Sunday to move forward on a massive bipartisan stimulus plan to prop up the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the $1.4 trillion bill skimped on spending in critical areas and that it had many other problems.
SCHUMER: At the top of the list, it includes a large corporate bailout with no protections for workers and virtually no oversight. Also very troubling in the bill were significant shortfalls of money that our hospitals, states, cities and medical workers desperately needed.
But GOP Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said loans to companies afloat in a time of crisis is a form of protection for workers.
TOOMEY: When we’re able to go back to work and go back to producing and living normally, it’d be really nice if these employers still exist. The minority leader derisively called that a bailout.
Schumer also said the increased unemployment benefits in the bill don’t go far enough. But Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio said the unemployment insurance provisions in the bill came “from the Democratic side of the aisle.”
PORTMAN: It adds eight times more funding into the unemployment system for the rest of this year than is currently being spent.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell complained that four separate bipartisan working groups largely came to agreements—until Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got involved. But Democrats countered that McConnell is wasting time by not involving House leaders in the talks from the start.
If lawmakers can come together, a congressional stimulus bill, coupled with measures by the Federal Reserve could pump $2 trillion into the U.S. economy.
Kentucky Sen. Paul tests positive for COVID-19 » Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is the first member of the U.S. Senate to test positive for COVID-19. Multiple congressmen have tested positive.
Paul said in a tweet Sunday that he was feeling fine and is in quarantine. Paul said he has not had symptoms and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events. He said he was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.
And an unnamed member of Vice President President Mike Pence’s staff has also tested positive. Pence announced on Saturday that while he had no reason to think he’d been exposed…
PENCE: Given the unique position that I have as vice president, and as the leader of the coronavirus task force, both I and my wife will be tested for the coronavirus this afternoon.
Both tests came back negative for COVID-19.
Fauci: More COVID-19 tests on the way » But while elected officials can easily get access to COVID-19 tests, not everyone can. Dr. Anthony Fauci has called that a “failure.” He is head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes for Health.
But on Sunday, he told NBC’s Meet the Press that will begin to change very soon now that private industry is working to help produce the tests
FACUI: So I would expect that very soon and when I say soon I’m talking about days to a week where you’re going to see it go up like this. Not everybody tomorrow is going to be able to get a test, but pretty soon you’re going to see a major escalation of capability and implementation.
Fauci said if you’re experiencing symptoms, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, do not go to the hospital. Instead, health officials say you should self-isolate and call your primary care provider. That gives providers a chance to limit exposure to the virus. If your symptoms become severe, call 911.
Hawaii, New Jersey announce new measures to fight spread of virus » Hawaii’s governor is taking new steps to try and keep the virus from spreading on the islands. Governor David Ige has announced a 14-day self-quarantine starting Thursday for all people traveling to the state.
The order applies to returning residents as well as visitors. It applies to all arrivals at Hawaiian airports from the continental U.S. and international destinations.
Also over the weekend, New Jersey became the latest state to issue a shelter in place order. Governor Phil Murphy said “we can no longer maintain a sense of business as usual during this emergency.”
MURPHY: This means no weddings, in-person services, or even parties. This decision is not an easy one, and it pains me that important life moments will not be celebrated in the way that we are accustomed to.
He said “ALL gatherings are cancelled,” and “ALL non-essential retail businesses must indefinitely close their physical stores to the public.”
Italy tightens restrictions amid coronavirus devastation » Italy is tightening restrictions once again to try and get a handle on the pandemic.
The government is slowing industrial production nationwide. And in its hardest-hit region of Lombardy, outdoor exercise is now banned, except on personal property. And the government has set distance limits on dog-walking.
Authorities in Lombardy also raised fines for violators to 5,000 euros—that’s more than $5,300.
Italy’s death toll rose by 651 on Sunday. In total, more than 5,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus. Italy has about 24,000 confirmed cases.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: challenging the limits of presidential authority.
Plus, Trillia Newbell on loving others from a distance.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD: It’s Monday morning and we are back at it for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 23rd of March, 2020. Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Well, just like everybody else, the justices of the Supreme Court adjusted how to do their work during this time of emergency.
They’ve postponed oral arguments scheduled for the rest of this month—without consulting you!
REICHARD: That’s right, the court appears to have zero regard for my schedule!
But seriously, this is going to be something to watch.
The court calendar had 20 arguments remaining for the term. But not now. So the chief justice is going to have to figure out how to handle the docket.
Good news for lawyers who need to file appeals to the high court: they’ll have five months to file instead of three.
EICHER: And these are changes in place until further notice, considering all the unknowns that remain at this point.
Now, this isn’t fully unprecedented. The Supreme Court building shut down during the anthrax scare in October 2001.
REICHARD: That’s right. But the court just moved location and kept hearing arguments. That’s not going to help in this case.
The court has postponed arguments before. Back in 1918, the court simply put off arguments for a whole month because of the Spanish Flu. And the yellow fever outbreaks postponed arguments in the 1790s.
So we’ve come through these things before. And Lord willing, we will again.
Meantime, the justices are still at work. It’s even possible we’ll receive opinions this morning, and if so, I’ll tell you about those tomorrow.
EICHER: Hmm. Well, the court’s been pretty reluctant to embrace technology. No cameras in the courtroom, for example.
But might this pandemic force the court to modernize a bit, even temporarily? I’m thinking oral arguments by way of Skype or something like that?
REICHARD: Wouldn’t surprise me. I mean, we have six justices over 65 years old. So they’re in the population at greatest risk with COVID-19. Skype might be a solution.
EICHER: Well, meantime, let’s catch up on arguments you’ve not treated yet. One of them is quite relevant to the day—given what’s happening to the economy and the capital markets. Wall Street’s performance this past week is considered the worst since the 2008 financial crisis, and it’s that crisis that led to some controversial new laws. One of them is before the Supreme Court.
Listen to this clip from 2010 of President Barack Obama announcing a new agency, the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren. At the time, she chaired the Congressional Oversight Panel of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP.
OBAMA: Part of what led to the financial crisis were practices that took advantage of consumers…For years, banks, mortgage lenders, and credit card companies have often used fine print, and confusing language… to take advantage of American consumers. Basically, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be a watchdog for the American consumer.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB. You’ll hear that initialism repeatedly before we’re done today.
CFPB grew out of the Dodd-Frank Act, and Congress decided that the head of CFPB would serve a five-year term and that person could be removed by the president only for cause.
That’s the crux of the dispute here: the structure of CFPB, that the petitioner in the case contends violates the constitutional separation of powers.
REICHARD: Here are the facts of this case. In 2017, CFPB investigated a law firm in California for its telemarketing practices. The agency suspected the firm’s practices were abusive.
That firm is Seila Law LLC. It refused the agency’s demands to produce documents and answer questions.
CFPB sued to force compliance. Seila Law lost over and over in court, and so finally appealed to the Supreme Court.
ROBERTS: We’ll hear argument this morning in case number 19-7. Seila Law v Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Shanmugam?
Here’s how Seila Law’s attorney, Kannon Shanmugam, laid out the argument.
SHANMUGAM: The structure of the CFPB is unprecedented and unconstitutional. Never before in American history has Congress given so much executive power to a single individual who does not answer to the president.
Article II of the US Constitution gives executive power to the President. He in turn keeps federal officers accountable by holding the power to fire them, for any reason or no reason.
But CFPB makes an exception. It requires the president to show “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office” before firing a director.
That takes away the president’s constitutional authority to remove officials at will. For political reasons, for example. It may not look good, but that’s our system.
The federal government is the Seila Law firm’s opponent in this case, but it isn’t arguing to dissolve CFPB.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco is trying to convince the Supreme Court to send it back to lower court to tweak things: to allow the president to fire the director at will. But keep the rest of the law that formed CFPB.
But Shanmugam for the law firm argues the court shouldn’t tweak things:
SHANMUGAM: The court should leave to Congress the quintessentially legislative task of deciding how to fix the CFPB’s defective structure.
Maybe you’re thinking this is esoteric stuff.
The Framers were explicit that the legislative process should be slow and arduous, full of debate, to ensure the will of the people figured into our laws.
But once that process is complete, the Framers vested in the president power to quickly enforce the law and to hold executive officials accountable.
So you’ve heard from two lawyers so far. One arguing the agency should be chucked, another arguing it should be tweaked.
Nobody stepped up to defend CFPB as it is. For that, the Supreme Court appointed former solicitor general Paul Clement. Listen to this exchange with Justice Samuel Alito.
ALITO: In concrete terms. So let’s say that the director is appointed by a prior president and the new president says: I want to remove you because I think you are too pro-consumer and you’re hurting the economy, or you are not sufficiently protecting consumer interests. Would that be permissible? There’s just a policy disagreement about the way interests are balanced. Would that be sufficient to remove that person?
CLEMENT: If the only alternative is to strike the statute down, I would say that’s sufficient. Now I will confess I don’t think that’s what Congress had in mind when it put those words in this particular statute. And I think, as written, it’s still perfectly constitutional.
That seemed to convince Justice Kagan. She addresses Solicitor General Francisco.
KAGAN: Why don’t we just leave it to the political branches, who actually know about these things?
FRANCISCO: The reason why I don’t think that the courts leave this just to the executive branches is…to protect the liberty of the people by enforcing the structural constraints of our Constitution…that the executive power shall be vested in a president and that he shall take care that the laws will be faithfully executed. The only way he can do that is if he’s fully accountable for the decisions of his principal officers.
The justices’ questions revealed how differently they interpret the Constitution. Listen to this question from Justice Sonia Sotomayor:
SOTOMAYOR: Mr. Clement, can you say what your counter is to “the buck stops here” argument? There seems to be an overriding assumption that somehow the president needs unfettered discretion to execute the laws
CLEMENT: So I don’t think that that’s true as a constitutional matter with respect to every power the president exercises. I think Congress has the power to say there are certain things where we want the president to have a role, but we also want it somewhat insulated from politics—take the Fed, for example. We don’t want the president to juice up interest rates right before a presidential election, so we’re going to give that to somebody who is insulated. How insulated depends on what’s constitutionally permissible. In the current situation, you see people are trying to make a political football out of dealing with a pandemic disease. So maybe Congress decides: You know what makes sense, let’s have the head of CDC be protected by for-cause removal because that’ll make sure people get good advice and it doesn’t become political.
One relevant aside to all this: a similar case came before Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a federal appeals judge.
The majority there upheld CFPB’s structure, but he dissented. Kavanaugh’s dissent opposed the for-cause requirement because he saw it as a violation of the Constitution.
He would have kept CFPB, but severed it from that one provision.
I’m guessing that reasoning will carry the day in this case. And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER: We’ll say it again: Worst week since the financial crisis of 2008. All the major indexes down for the week between 12 and more than 17 percent.
But here’s a silver lining, of sorts: to report “worst week since” is better than reporting “worst week ever.” Meaning, the markets have endured even more perilous times, historically speaking, and bounced back.
It’s not just the capital markets, though. When people are on lock-down, major sectors of the economy they depend on are locked, too.
And so I’d like to turn back to David Bahnsen, financial adviser and analyst with offices in New York and Southern California. Today, he’s at home in Southern California, so we have a digital connection there to his home office.
David, thanks for giving us some time. Good morning.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Hey, good morning.
EICHER: I saw an estimate, David, that we’re looking at 5 million job losses this year. $1.5 trillion lost in economic output. Just estimates, of course. What’s your sense of the future, assuming this passes? Do we just bounce back to normal or do you see economic life just being vastly different because of the shock?
BAHNSEN: Well, I would be really careful of anyone who gives too confident of an answer because of the variables that exist out there. There is a variable as to how long it will last and how deep it will go and various things that will be on the stage when we get some normalization. And all of those variables represent the ability to change that answer quite dramatically.
Do I think that the second quarter unemployment and GDP contraction is going to be just unbelievably bad? Of course. But in being able to forecast the job losses that are sustained they would require so much more intelligence than we have right now it’s futile. What I do believe is the sort of base case, not as bad as it could very well get and not as good as it could very well get is that you would see approximately $1.5 trillion of economic output lost. And probably that much or more of government stimulus that enters the fray. And then in terms of the recovery and the ability to sort of unwind the short term temporary efforts that were put in to keep the economy afloat, it will—that’s going to be the trillion dollar question. Third quarter and fourth quarter of this year are so much more important right now than the second quarter because the second quarter we know is basically going to be lost.
EICHER: Tell me what you know about economic stimulus plans in Congress—some of the discussions that are ongoing. Do you have a sense whether the broad strokes of what we’re hearing will prove helpful?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s going to be big. I think it’s going to be dramatic. I believe that it’s going to be as much as a $2 trillion federal stimulus package, a combination of what you might call a kitchen sink approach, direct money to taxpayers, tax cuts, tax deferrals, loan guarantee programs where businesses can go to banks that otherwise would not lend to them, but then the bank would be able to go to the government, get the money, and then turn around and give it.
And the government would give that backing to the loan on the bank’s balance sheet without making it count against the regulatory capital. Those types of things are very—they have a big multiplier effect. Some are probably going to like, some are probably not. I’m in daily communication with folks in Washington, D.C., on where this is shaking out. I do think you’re going to get a vote on it sooner than later and I think that the market’s been worried this was going to take another week or something. So, the next few days are pivotal. We’ll find out where that goes and there’s a lot of conversation to be had about what it all means for the future of our country and our economy.
EICHER: So, let’s talk philosophy just a little bit. Do you have a sense that what we’re going through now is a vindication of free-market economics or do you think it’s the kind of thing that someone who is committed to a large role in the government managing the economy, pointing to this crisis, and saying, more of this, please? Clearly, socialism is the answer, some say, and that point of view would start to gain some purchase among more and more Americans. How do you think that philosophical debate is sort of setting up based on circumstances?
BAHNSEN: Well, I think it’s really unfortunate that there is a sort of political and ideological debate in the midst of kind of the peak problems and health concern and what not, but I guess it isn’t uncommon. However, it really strikes me as odd that while we’re sitting here desperate to find private companies to produce solutions for masks, for hand sanitizer, for soap, for food delivery, that we’re looking to private companies to design the vaccine, to come up with therapeutic cures.
At the end of the day, I think that this will prove to be a tremendous victory for free enterprise and for the reality of human action, driven by the dignity given to them by their Creator and their care for fellow man.
What I’m seeing right now are businesses stepping up in profound ways. I believe that there is a compassionate, free enterprise DNA and so much of the Judeo-Christian ethic version of free enterprise.
Yeah, there’s going to be a big check to cash from the government and a debt that is put on our kids because the scope of this problem is larger than any one balance sheet could happen. But that debt is going to get paid from the fruit, work, sweat, and spirit of free enterprise. Otherwise, that debt wouldn’t be there. The ability to go about servicing it still comes from the natural human actions that drive our experience and, ultimately, our economic activity. And I hope that answer is helpful for our listeners.
EICHER: I think it is. Before we go, maybe my questions didn’t give you the opportunity, so I just want to give you the freedom to say at this moment, any message that you think it’s important that each listener hear?
BAHNSEN: The last thing I would say is that through this uncertainty, there is one certainty out there and that is that God is in control and that our country has been through worse. It has been through many bad things and we will come out of this thing OK as well. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I do know that in those periods of most uncertainty, when one looks to the lesson of history and the hope of the future, they should derive optimism and we will get through this.
EICHER: Financial analyst David Bahnsen, God bless you. Thanks for your time.
BAHNSEN: Thank you for having me.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, March 23rd. You’re listening to WORLD Radio and we are really glad you are! Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The WORLD and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book.
Today, the first woman to win the Iditarod Dog Sled race. Plus, near the end of World War II, Hitler issues a scorched earth decree.
EICHER: But first, 245 years ago today, the most famous speech of the American Revolution. Here’s Paul Butler.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today in March, 1775. 120 delegates gather at St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Richmond, Virginia, for the Second Virginia Convention. A fiery lawyer sits in the third row of pews—his name is Patrick Henry.
Henry is determined to convince the other delegates to take defensive action against the British crown. On March 23rd, 1775, he submits a resolution to raise a Virginia militia.
After several delegates argue the merits, Patrick Henry rises from his seat to address the gathering. Here’s Chris Fabry, reenacting a portion of his speech:
FABRY: Sir, we have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament…
After reviewing how those petitions had been slighted, and supplications disregarded, Henry says there is no longer any hope for peace. He says all that is left is to take up arms and appeal to God for help.
FABRY: There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…
As Henry speaks, he gets more and more animated. He says that war is inevitable. Fellow delegates appeal for peace.
FABRY: Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!
I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
The famous speech convinces many delegates. After Thomas Jefferson voices his support, the resolution passes. The convention then appoints Patrick Henry as head of the new committee tasked with making the militia ready for combat.
Next, 75 years ago, during World War II: Adolf Hitler issues his “Nero Decree.” Read here by actor David Pierczynski:
HITLER: Our nation’s struggle for existence forces us to utilize all means, even within Reich territory, to weaken the fighting power of our enemy and to prevent further advances. Any opportunity to inflict lasting damage on the striking power of the enemy must be taken advantage of.
Hitler’s March 19th order includes three specific commands. First that all military, communication, industrial and supply installations that might be of use to the Allies are to be destroyed. Second, that every military command post is to follow his order. And third, any contrary order is illegitimate.
HITLER: During his retreat, the enemy will leave behind only scorched earth and will abandon all concern for the population.
Hitler taps Albert Speer, Germany’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, as the one to enforce the decree. But Speer becomes disillusioned—believing Hitler has lost his mind—so he delays and ignores the order.
Weeks later, Speer tells Hitler of his disobedience. Hitler is furious, but allows Speer to leave, and the Nero Decree is never fully executed.
And finally, 35 years ago, two and a half weeks into the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race:
REPORTER: Are you worried at all about going into this wind?
RIDDLE: Yeah, it probably would bother them, but I’m going to do it anyway…
That’s 28-year old Libby Riddles. She’s a veteran of the sport, having run the 1,100-mile race twice before in the early 80s.
In 1985 she returns to the race with a strong team and keeps a competitive pace—despite many mishaps. Just an hour into the race, she was thrown from her sled when it hit a washing machine buried in the snow. Later, she fell off the sled and the dogs continued on without her. One night, she struck a low hanging branch and split open the bridge of her nose—losing her headlamp in the process.
Severe storms interrupt the marathon a number of times during the 3-week race. Three-quarters into the race, a ground blizzard makes visibility nearly impossible. Riddles decides to brave the storm while everyone else hunkers down.
RIDDLE: I made an agreement with myself before I left that if I took off, I wasn’t going to come back. Even if it’s crummy.
The bold move works. Riddles takes a commanding six hour lead. White-out conditions eventually force Riddles to stop.
After 18 days, 20 minutes, 17 seconds, Riddles rides into Nome, Alaska—two and a half hours ahead of the nearest competitor—becoming the first woman to win the race.
In 2007, her Iditarod Trail Race victory was inducted as a “Hall of Fame Moment” into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
RIDDLE: I hope that there are always dog teams running around this state…And I hope we never forget our traditions and our heritage, and thank you so much for this. [APPLAUSE]
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book, I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, March 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Within each hardship is opportunity. WORLD commentator Trillia Newbell sees it first hand.
TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: The other day Twitter user Gayle Clarke shared a sweet story. Quoting now—“[A]n adorable neighbor knocked on my door, stepped back a few feet and shouted, ‘elderly neighbor, are you okay? Just wanted to check on you.’ He was all of 7 years old… doing what he could.”
Many responded to her celebrating the cuteness of it and chiming in with laughing emojis. It is cute. And it’s funny, too. But at the heart of this young child’s actions was a boy understanding the gravity of the situation and trying to help.
It can be easy to focus on the devastation we’re seeing. There is much to lament. But there are also glimpses of God’s common grace all around us. People are sacrificing their time, money, and other resources in an effort to ease suffering and serve others.
For example, last weekend churches around the globe shut their doors for the foreseeable future. Pastors took to live streaming sermons while church members gathered in their homes to watch.
One pastor saw an opportunity to serve his fellow pastors in his city. Dean Inserra of City Church in Tallahassee offered to assist pastors who do not have the resources to film or post online. His church hosted slots for pastors to record sermons.
Since COVID-19 puts those 65 and above at risk the most, many have volunteered to pick up groceries for their older neighbors. My neighborhood association has gathered volunteers to serve our most vulnerable neighbors.
And some with the greatest financial means are taking it a step further. Country music star, Brad Paisley and his actor/wife Kimberley Williams-Paisley opened up a free grocery store and will be delivering groceries to the elderly in Nashville.
And what about all of those canceled sports? They leave some of us longing for a big game—but they also leave many out of work. From stadium vendors to janitorial staff, people went from a predictable income to nothing.
Well, some NBA players saw this as an opportunity to step up and use their multi-million dollar salaries for good. The first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus didn’t take it seriously before his result. But Utah Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert has since donated $500,000 to part-time workers at the team’s arena in Salt Lake City.
There have been many acts of kindness all around the world as we come together in spirit. As Christians, we get to put that great commandment to love our neighbor into action.
And for many of us, the greatest way we can show love to one another may be to comply with the government’s recommendation to social-distance. We may not be able to give time or money—but we can all play a part in loving our neighbor.
Who would have ever thought physically staying away would be an act of love? Today it is.
I’m Trillia Newbell.
NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: We’ll talk to ranchers in Arizona about the wall construction happening along the southern border.
And, the pandemic means a lot of disruption. That includes weddings. You’ll hear how one couple’s handling it.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
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Go now in grace and peace.