MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
The Supreme Court considers the dollar value of violating the constitutional rights of a college student.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also the Monday Moneybeat: a trillion here, a trillion there—to paraphrase the old saying—pretty soon you’re talking about the latest Covid stimulus package.
Plus, the WORLD History Book. One hundred twenty years ago, the death of one of England’s most influential monarchs.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, January 18th. 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: Now it’s time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Secret Service, law enforcement prep security for inauguration » The Secret Service and law enforcement agencies are gearing up for Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Secret Service special agent Matt Miller said the agency is preparing for the possibility that an extremist group will try to disrupt the event.
MILLER: There’s a great deal of very concerning chatter, and it is what you don’t know that we are preparing for. So I don’t know if anyone has raised their hand to say we are coming, we will be there. But we are preparing as if they are.
Miller said “we cannot not allow a recurrence of the chaos and the illegal activity” that we witnessed at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Up to 25,000 troops have been authorized to be deployed to Washington for Inauguration Day.
Harris resigns Senate seat » Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is resigning her Senate senate today.
That clears the way for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to appoint fellow Democrat Alex Padilla to serve the final two years of Harris’ term. Padilla is now California’s secretary of state.
Newsom announced his choice last month. Padilla will be the first Latino senator from the state.
Harris will not give a farewell Senate floor speech. The Senate is not scheduled to reconvene until tomorrow.
Apple CEO defends Parlor app suspension » Apple CEO Tim Cook is defending his company’s decision to suspend conservative social media app Parler from its app store. He told Fox News Sunday…
COOK: We looked at the incitement to violence that was on there, and we don’t consider the free speech and incitement to violence has an intersection.
He said postings on the platform violated the app store’s terms of service.
But Cook said his company did not ban that app from its store but merely suspended it. He said if Parler can—quote—“get their moderation together” Apple will lift the suspension.
Google also also booted Parler from its app store.
And Amazon kicked the platform off of its hosting service, prompting Parler to file a lawsuit against the tech giant.
Fauci: Two more vaccines are likely close » The government’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci says two more coronavirus vaccines are likely close to gaining approval.
He told NBC’s Meet the Press that he expects drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to make their pitches to the FDA soon.
FAUCI: I would imagine within a period of a week or so, or at the most a couple of weeks, they’re going to be getting their data together and showing it to the FDA.
He said with that in mind, President-elect Joe Biden’s goal of delivering a 100-million doses in his first 100 days in office is very attainable. He said vaccinations are already trending toward a million doses per day.
North Dakota and West Virginia continue to be the most efficient states in terms of getting vaccine shots into the arms of its residents.
According to a New York Times tally, those are the only two states to have used at least 65 percent of the doses they’ve received.
West Virginia’s Republican Gov. Jim Justice told CBS’ Face the Nation he’s proud of what his state’s accomplished so far.
JUSTICE: We’re saving all kinds of lives. We’re putting our kids back in school. West Virginia’s been the diamond in the ruff that a lot of people have missed.
Texas has administered the most shots in total, about 1.2 million. It’s the only highly populated U.S. state that has administered more than half of vaccine shots it’s received.
Navalny arrested at Moscow airport upon return to Russia » Russian authorities handcuffed opposition leader Alexei Navalny Sunday at a Moscow airport.
Russia’s prisons service claimed he had violated parole terms. He was convicted in 2014 of embezzlement, though outside rights groups said charges against him were trumped up by the Kremlin.
Navalny is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic. The 44-year-old spent months recovering in Germany after being poisoned with a Soviet era nerve agent.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth said Navalny’s return to Russia was a “real act of bravery … given that government agents already tried to kill him once.” But added that Navlany “understandably wants to be part of the pro-democracy movement in Russia, not a dissident in exile.”
I’m Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: a free speech challenge at the Supreme Court.
Plus, historical movers and shakers.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday morning and we roll up our sleeves for another week of The World and Everything in It. Today is the 18th of January, 2021.
Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.
A unanimous Supreme Court handed down a win for the City of Chicago last week.
The question concerned the return of vehicles the city impounded because the owners had left fines unpaid. Specifically, owners who’d filed for bankruptcy.
The justices said the law makes no requirement that the city return impounded vehicles when their owners go bankrupt.
During oral argument, several justices pointed to Congress not the Court as the party responsible to fix problems with the bankruptcy code.
REICHARD: Now onto the single oral argument we’ll cover today that was argued last week.
ROBERTS: We will hear argument this morning in Case 19-968, Uzuegbunam versus Preczewski.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the court, the first party in the lawsuit pronounces his last name Uzuegbunam, so it’s Uzuegbunam versus Preczewski.
EICHER: I can’t count the number of times you’ve caught the chief justice mispronouncing the case caption!
REICHARD: That’s right! Now it’s a difficult name for sure, but little sidebar here: I’ve got a whole folder of people’s names that Chief Justice John Roberts mispronounced and we can count them at some point.
EICHER: Not to be so mean because in the rush to produce this daily program we do sometimes mispronounce and listeners are gracious to offer gentle correctives.
REICHARD: In the spirit of the gracious listener to The World and Everything in It, I offer a respectful corrective to the chief!
EICHER: Duly noted! So Uzuegbunam in this case refers to one Chike Uzuegbunam. His family is originally from Nigeria.
Listen to him lay out the facts of his case that arose in 2016 at Georgia Gwinnett College: GGC, as he calls it.
This audio comes from a press conference by his legal team at Alliance Defending Freedom.
UZUEGBUNAM: When I was a student at GGC, I desired to share my faith with other students. But college officials stopped me twice. First they said I could only speak in…the two tiny speech zones, and even then at only prescribed times and with a reservation. Later, when I was standing in a speech zone I had reserved, they told me I could not speak at all. All I wanted to do was share the good news of Jesus Christ and how he offers us eternal life freely.
REICHARD: Uzuegbunam sued four years ago. He asked for a few forms of relief: one, for the courts to rule that Georgia Gwinnet’s speech code violated the Constitution. Two, for the courts to order the school to stop violating speech and religious freedom rights in the future.
EICHER: And here’s where things get dicey. Before any judge got around to a ruling in the case, the college changed its policy. Now the college had barred itself from censoring students. No more unconstitutional speech codes at Georgia Gwinnett College, for Uzuegbunam or anyone else. So: No foul, no harm.
That meant the case had to change.
By the time he got to the Supreme Court, the remedy he requested morphed from telling the school to stop violating students’ rights—because it had stopped—to something else: He wanted a declaration that what had happened to him four years ago was wrong, and award damages—in this case, one dollar. Making the point: this is not about money; it’s about the principle.
REICHARD: So the question now is: Can his lawsuit proceed, given that he only wants a token amount? In other words, is this case now moot? Meaning, no longer a live controversy because the school changed its ways?
Uzuegbunam’s lawyer, Kristen Waggoner:
WAGGONER: It’s not that the dollar means so little; it’s that the violation means so much. That’s why we award the damages in those instances.
But Justice Clarence Thomas had a question about that.
THOMAS: We’ve said that an injury has to be real and substantial. But if you’re only asking for a dollar for nominal damages, doesn’t that seem to undermine the real and substantial requirement?
WAGGONER: I don’t think so…
Waggoner pointed out that civil rights cases don’t require a certain amount of money. And the high court has held that vindicating constitutional rights is of utmost importance.
Here’s a brief primer on damages. They’re meant to restore someone to how he or she was before the incident.
Compensatory damages are meant to compensate: like I crash into your car so I have to pay to repair it.
Punitive damages are likewise just as they sound: to punish the wrongdoer for willful or malicious actions, and to leave an example as a warning to others. You may recall when McDonalds had to pay punitive damages for serving coffee so hot that it burned a woman in the drive-through lane.
This case is about nominal damages. They’re awarded when the value of a loss is too hard to calculate a dollar amount. You still get a judgment the other side is wrong, so it’s in the legal record.
Georgia Gwinnett’s lawyer argued this isn’t the right case for nominal damages, though, because those are meant to discourage future behavior. And here, the college fixed the speech code so there won’t be future problems.
Justice Stephen Breyer wasn’t so sure about that. He issued one of his famous hypotheticals:
BREYER: Jones owns Blackacre. Smith, his hostile neighbor, regularly picnics on Blackacre, and then he dies or some unfortunate thing. He’s never going to do it again. Well, what’s the damage? I mean, all he did was picnic. Pretty hard to measure. And so nominal damages. Or a college says: You can’t pray here, young student. And imagine that policy is unconstitutional. And suppose he was stopped from praying. What’s the damage? Can you say there was no damage? There was. But what is it? How do you measure it? I don’t know. Now, don’t nominal damages have a place right there where there is damage, but it’s just impossible to measure?
PINSON: Justice Breyer, they do not.
Georgia Solicitor General Andrew Pinson pointed to Article III of the U.S. Constitution that says courts must consider mootness to avoid wasting time in the judicial system.
Besides that, other ways exist to remedy constitutional violations, like an injunction or declaratory judgment.
Pinson had a hard go of it. Listen to this exchange with Justice Elena Kagan in which she brings up a famous nominal damages case brought by singer Taylor Swift.
KAGAN: She brought a suit against a radio host for sexually assaulting her. And she said I’m not really interested in your money. I just want a dollar. And that dollar is going to represent something both to me and to the world of women who have experienced what I’ve experienced. That’s what happened. The jury gave her a dollar. And…it was unquestionable physical harm, but she just asked for this one dollar to say that she had been harmed. Why…not?
PINSON: A couple things, Justice Kagan. First of all, that sounds like compensatory damages.
…Pinson going on to say Swift could have asked for compensatory damages under the facts of her case because she had a physical injury.
Justice Kagan pressed further:
KAGAN: I thought you might say that, but then why isn’t that the same as this? The Petitioner here said he was harmed. He wasn’t able to speak when he should have been able to speak. And, you know, whether it’s hard to monetize or it’s not hard to monetize, he is just asking for a dollar to redress that harm.
Pinson replied there’s a difference in the law between small damages and no damages. Justice Samuel Alito pushed on that, too:
ALITO: Well, what if it’s ten dollars? What if it’s not one dollar; what if it’s ten?
PINSON: I — I think it’s a hard line-drawing problem, and — and —
ALITO: Well, that’s why I’m asking the question, because I need help with this hard line-drawing problem.
PINSON: Right. And — and Justice Alito, again, what I’d say is I — I think if — if you can reasonably say that that’s compensation…
Pinson reiterating that Article III requires that damages be compensatory for the courts to resolve the problem.
Justice Kagan took that up in a question for Uzuegbunam’s lawyer, Waggonner:
KAGAN: I guess I always thought that our Article III requirements meant that people can’t bring a suit for pure vindication alone, for just saying, you know what, I was right, you were wrong, for the psychic satisfaction that it gives to hear a court say that. And I guess I wonder, if this is not, by your own admission, compensatory damages, how is it that we’re not in that world, … where the suit really is one for, you know, just… a declaration that somebody else committed a wrong?
WAGGONER: Well, it is compensatory in that it’s requiring a defendant … to pay a plaintiff money. And that’s currency. Chike can go out and buy a package of tracts for 1, 10 or 20 dollars. Certainly, in that sense, it is. But I think the overall purpose is that because we can’t measure how harmful a violation of speech is or how harmful an unreasonable search and seizure is, we want to ensure that some redress is provided in that to the plaintiff for the past injury, and damages do that.
This case came out of the 11th Circuit, the rare appeals court likely to rule against Uzuegbunam on the narrow question of nominal damages. And the Supreme Court could have let that stand if it had wanted to.
On that basis, I think he’s likely to prevail, but I’ve been surprised before.
Yet colleges across this country have under the standard sought here unconstitutional speech policies in place right now. I’ll let Chike Uzuegbunam have the final word on what a ruling in this case means:
UZUEGBUNAM: It’s wrong for government officials to violate the Constitution with no accountability. Our right to speak freely, to assemble, to share our faith, to receive due process? These rights are priceless for all Americans. And if we live in a country where government officials silence speech without consequence, we no longer have free speech.
Or, as nominal-damages winner and occasional Grammy winner Taylor Swift declared: Someday I’ll be big enough that you can’t hit me and all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
LYRICS: Why you gotta be so mean?
And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.
LYRICS: All you are is mean … and mean and mean and mean. But someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me and all you’re ever gonna be is mean. Yeah. Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me (why you gotta be so) and all you’re ever gonna be is mean.
Why you gotta be so mean?
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: The U.S. House okayed a Covid economic measure last week—another $1.9 trillion of Biden stimulus on top of the $900 billion in Trump stimulus added in December—for a total of $2.8.
It didn’t bring the market reaction supporters may have hoped, though.
And David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor, has some thoughts.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: I think that the market response was kind of muted. It came out Thursday night and the market had been up so much throughout the week and somewhere in that is the expectation that another stimulus was coming, more money pumped into the economy.
What percentage of the market’s movement was related to all the expectations of stimulus? It’s hard to say.
But it’s very rare that you would see the market go up further on the news that it was already expecting. There’s an expression in our business “buy the rumor, sell the news.” And so on Friday the markets didn’t have a big response to the stimulus itself.
But the stimulus was certainly more aggressive than I thought it was going to be. I figured that there would be some degree of massaging it to be a little bit more reasonable and sensible. And something that would have a chance of getting through without a whole lot of controversy. My understanding is his goal is to not have to use the budget reconciliation process, which enables them to get through with only 50 votes in the Senate, that he wants to actually get this through filibuster-proof, which means picking up 10 Republican Senators and assuming he keeps all 50 Democrat Senators. So, there’s no way this bill as it is structured now is going to meet that threshold.
But it’s the first shot across the bow and it doesn’t really just stop at stimulus. He threw in a federal $15 minimum wage, for example. And, if I’m going to be fair, President Trump had said he was open to doing, too. So, anyway, this is a big bill and there’s going to be a lot of back and forth before we see where it goes.
EICHER: You know, I called it stimulus, but is that even the right term? Isn’t it more Covid relief than economic stimulus? I don’t want to get hung up on nomenclature, but it should point to a reality. Shouldn’t it?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I would argue that the CARES Act, which was $2.2 trillion, the bill done in the lame duck session, which was $900 billion, and I would argue this one now all have pieces that could be fairly called stimulus and all have pieces that are more accurately referred to as relief. And then also have pieces that would be more accurately called as pork or just nonsense. And that’s sort of legislation in its purest form.
In this case, there is a lot that I would say is in the relief category than stimulus. And I think that’s by design, though. That’s not necessarily a criticism. I think that’s what they’re going for.
Let me be so bold as to suggest maybe the most important thing in our time today: When we did a $2.2 trillion stimulus back in March in the panic of the moment and with the total uncertainty as to how long they were going to have our entire economy shut down, and we just did another almost $1 trillion, and now we have a proposal out there for another $2 trillion. The point is, we are talking about $3-4-5-maybe 6 trillion all as if it’s interchangeable. Like a trillion here, a trillion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money to borrow off of the famous old senator’s line about a billion. OK?
So that is, I think, when you’re talking about one-thousand-billion dollars which is what a trillion is, and you’re talking about multiples of that, I just think we have to understand that we are in a position now where both sides of the aisle and the public—I will never let the public off the hook for this—that we are just routinely in a mode of accepting multiple trillion dollars of government spending. This is baked into the American public consciousness now and it’s not going away.
EICHER: David, we saw a big jump in new unemployment claims last week—things going in the wrong direction on jobs—and as we’ve emphasized so many times, we’re talking about the jobs of those who can least likely afford to be unemployed at this point.
I wonder what’s going on here. About a month ago, it seemed, we were talking about the near miraculous rollout of vaccines, but we’re hearing now about distribution bottlenecks. Seems like it’s all stalled out and we’re going to keep limping along economically for the foreseeable…
BAHNSEN: I don’t share your pessimism there, but I know what you mean—and, of course, you’re a news guy so I get it—but of course the tone and tenor of the news does not always reflect the reality.
EICHER: Haha! Fair!
BAHNSEN: And you’re right, there’s sort of a negativity to their almost dysfunctional distribution in particularly California and New York. But I think you have to look at this marginally. Like, if 20 million vaccines should have gotten out and they only got out five million, that’s disappointing at their inefficiency and bureaucracy, but the fact of the matter is we do have millions of people that have gotten vaccinated and we’re about to have millions more. And it’s also very encouraging to me that what they did really well in Florida, in South Dakota, in West Virginia is now being used as a model to tell some of these other states that thought they had a better bureaucratic idea, you’re getting shown up by these smaller red states and all of a sudden you see the Cuomos and Gavin Newsoms of the world changing their policies to be more efficient in getting the vaccine out.
I’ll be honest with you and I usually avoid being overly partisan and also because I don’t consider myself an overly partisan person, but I think a lot of the reason for negativity around the post-vaccine news was that there was this sort of desire to kind of save some of that improvement into the administration from the media. And that I understand. I don’t like it. I don’t think it’s clean and fair, but I get it.
But then it kind of backfired on them because it was these blue states that were really having a problem and so then they had to back off of that. They couldn’t really talk about how we were having these vaccine distribution hiccups under the Trump administration because it was coming out that it was really vaccine distribution hiccups in New York and California, so all of a sudden the conversation seems to have changed to me. I do think there’s some partisan rancor behind that. What I do know is that exponentially, as more and more people are vaccinated, already we see hospitalizations and case growth on a huge percentage downward trend. California was the only state this week that had an increase. And so we are certainly going to be in a better position there and that will flow through, Nick, to economic data in due time.
EICHER: Hey, bonus question, if I can hang on to you here for a minute: Did you see this story? A colleague passed it along to me, about how an office in the Treasury Department—the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency—approved a rule the day he was leaving office that would prevent banks from blacklisting certain disfavored industries, those that, say, are going to face a difficult time when the Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wing of the Democratic Party are no longer constrained by the Trump White House—talking about oil-and-gas companies, among others—banks can’t blacklist those companies and deny them loans. Did you see that?
BAHNSEN: Oh, sure, sure. And the gentleman that runs OCC, it’s sort of a parting shot. He’s very conservative. Here’s the story there: it’s a regulatory thing that can be undone but it’s hard sometimes to undo them. By getting this in there, it’s significant because I do believe that you might get some banks that have wanted to bank for oil and gas but have been receiving some of that AOC type pressure and this gives them cover. And, again, it can’t get undone with one pen. I mean, it’s taken the OCC—I think he’s been working on this for six months—so undoing it, there’s a process and some red tape. So, I think on the margin it’s a good thing, but it isn’t lasting.
But it’s almost trolling as much as it is regulation and I actually am somewhat amused by the story.
EICHER: Alright. David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor. Hope you have a great week and we’ll talk next time.
BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book.
This week, movers and shakers: from a popular English queen, to the youngest American president, and—talk about movers—people who parachute from tops of buildings.
Here’s WORLD senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.
MUSIC: [MAZURKAS, OP. 68: NO. 4 IN F MINOR BY CHOPIN]
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: We begin today with the end—the end of the Victorian Era, that is. On January 22, 1901, at the age of 81, Queen Victoria of England breathed her last. She began her rule of Great Britain, India, and Ireland in 1837. She held the record for longest reigning monarch in England and Scotland’s history—until her great-great granddaughter, the current Queen Elizabeth, surpassed her.
Despite her age, Queen Victoria’s death shocked the British Empire. Amy Sears was a schoolgirl when Victoria died.
Sears spoke to the BBC and PBS in 1995 about hearing bells tolling that day in 1901 and asking her aunt about it.
SEARS: The bell was tolling, and she said, “Oh, that’s the poor old dear, she’s gone at last.
Over the course of Victoria’s 63-year reign, Britain gradually adopted a modern constitutional monarchy. With that came voting reforms, and a shifting balance of power from the House of Lords to the House of Commons. But Victoria, with her high-buttoned collars and austere styling, left a legacy of morals, uprightness, and family values.
Victoria biographer Gertrude Himmelfarb spoke to CSPAN about her impact.
HIMMELFARB: I don’t want to exaggerate the influence of Queen Victoria, but nevertheless there is a very real sense in which she was a symbol of the age. She represented that kind of domestic virtues that the English regarded so highly…
Victoria and her husband Prince Albert had nine children. Their eldest son, Edward VII, succeeded Victoria as ruler of the British Empire.
MUSIC: [NATIONAL EMBLEM]
Moving from the Queen of England to an American president. January 20, 2021, will see Joe Biden take the oath of office as the oldest American president. But 60 years ago, on January 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as the youngest American president.
KENNEDY: We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom…
Like the 2020 election, the 1960 election was controversial. Rumors of Russian interference swirled around Kennedy’s campaign. After Election Day, Nixon’s supporters railed against the Electoral College, urging their candidate to contest the vote count.
William Rorabaugh, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin, spoke at a CSPAN event in 2018 about just how close the results were.
RORABAUGH: There were 68 million votes in 1960. Kennedy got 49.7 percent, Nixon got 49.6 percent. Kennedy had won the popular vote by about 114,000 votes, or less than one-half vote per precinct…
Of course, Kennedy did take the nation’s highest office after that election. His inaugural speech stressed the importance of political rivals working together, across the aisle.
And his inaugural address included some memorable one-liners:
KENNEDY: And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
Interestingly, all but one of the four men atop the 1960 tickets became president: Kennedy, of course, plus Richard Nixon, and Lyndon B. Johnson. The odd man out was Henry Cabot Lodge, Nixon’s running mate.
MUSIC: [HIGH HOPES BY FRANK SINATRA]
Some people say you’d have to be crazy to want to run for public office. Putting yourself under a microscope can be risky. But not as risky as jumping off a skyscraper!
NEWSCAST: What’s your group called? “Crazy Men of the World,” or what?/ That’s what most people call us. We’ve got an organization… The type jumping that we do, first of all, is called BASE jumping…
That’s fixed-structure parachuting pioneer Phil Mayfield in an early 1980s TV interview. It’s been 40 years since January 18, 1981, when Mayfield and Phil Smith parachuted off a Houston skyscraper. The acronym Mayfield mentioned is “B-A-S-E:” B for buildings, A for antennae, S for spans—or bridges, and E for earth—that is, cliffs.
SMITH: You’ll see the building behind you, or the cliff, or whatever it is, as it just goes zoom.
The jump from the under-construction Texas Commerce Tower checked the final box they needed to become the first two people to BASE jump from objects in all four of those categories.
They broke through a chain link fence in broad daylight, entered the building, got to the roof—ready with parachutes on their backs—and jumped.
MUSIC: [FREE FALLING BY TOM PETTY]
That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: We’ll review the Trump administration’s major policy accomplishments.
And, we’ll tell you about the man tapped to lead the Education Department for the Biden administration.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.
WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Go now in grace and peace.