The World and Everything in It — January 25, 2021

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

The Supreme Court considers a law that is in conflict with itself, and we’ll review Chief Justice Roberts’ year end report.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket. 

Also today the Monday Moneybeat, we’ll talk about the economic impact of the flurry of executive orders.

Plus, the WORLD History Book. 35 years ago this week, seven explorers die in an explosion.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, January 25th. 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: It’s time for news. Here’s Kent Covington.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Senate Trump impeachment to start week of Feb. 8 » The Senate impeachment trial of now-former President Donald Trump will begin in two weeks. 

SCHUMER: Once the briefs are drafted, presentation by the parties will commence the week of February the 8th. 

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer with that announcement over the weekend. He argued that the trial will help move the country forward. 

SCHUMER: Only way to bring healing is to have real accountability, which this trial affords. 

But a growing number of Republicans oppose the trial, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

RUBIO: I think this trial is stupid. We already have a flaming fire in this country and it’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire. And I look back in time, for example, Richard Nixon, who had clearly committed crimes and wrongdoings, and in hindsight I think we would all agree that President Ford’s pardon was important for the country to be able to move forward. 

Rubio said the first chance he gets to vote to end this trial, he’ll do it. 

Some also argue that impeachment proceedings will make it hard for the Senate to get things done. But Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar countered…

KLOBUCHAR: We could run it in the afternoons, confirm the nominees in the morning, and pass legislation at night. 

Treasury sec. nominee Yellen could be confirmed today » And speaking of confirming nominees, the Senate is expected to approve more of President Biden’s picks for top jobs this week. 

Lawmakers could confirm Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary today. 

The Finance Committee voted on Friday to advance her nomination. 

AUDIO: Final tally is 26 ayes, zero nays. Okay, the nomination will be reported unanimously from the committee. 

Many Republicans say they strongly disagree with Yellen on taxes, spending, and other issues, but they feel it’s important to let Biden assemble his economic team quickly.

And the White House is asking senators to move fast, saying it’s critical to have Yellen on the job as it looks to win approval for a nearly $2 trillion relief package. 

New CDC director, coronavirus » Another of Biden’s nominees is Dr. Vivek Murthy. He’s the president’s pick for surgeon general. 

Murthy told ABC’s This Week that new strains of the coronavirus are no cause for panic, but they are concerning. 

MURTHY: They are really a shot across the bow. The virus is basically telling us that it’s going to continue to change, and we’ve got to be ready for it. 

And NBC News reports that the president plans to sign new travel restrictions today. The rules would ban most non-U.S. citizens from entering the country if they’ve recently been to South Africa, where one of new strains is spreading. 

The report states Biden is also expected to reinstate limits that impact those traveling from the UK and other parts of Europe, as well as Brazil. 

Thousands of Russian protests call for release of Navalny » AUDIO: [PROTESTS]

Thousands of protesters flooded the streets of Moscow and other cities across Russia on Saturday, demanding the release of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

In Moscow, an estimated 15,000 demonstrators gathered in and around Pushkin Square in the city center.  

Some clashed with police, who arrested more than 3,000 people in the nationwide protests.

Navalny is President Vladimir Putin’s most prominent critic. Authorities arrested him at a Moscow airport as he returned from Germany. He spent months there recovering after being poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. A Russian judge last week ordered that he remain behind bars for 30 days. 

Gas prices on the rise » It will cost you a little more to fill up your tank than it did two weeks ago. 

Fuel analyst Trilby Lundberg says a gallon of regular unleaded costs a dime more than it did on Jan. 10th. 

She said U.S. refiners had been absorbing the rising costs of crude oil, but have now passed that on to consumers. But for now, she said prices appear to be stable. 

LUNDBERG: Now, if crude oil prices resume rising, then we will see more than a trailing few more pennies at the pump. It would be greater. But right now, it appears that any further price hikes would be small compared to what we have seen. 

The lowest average price in her survey: Houston, Texas at $2.07 per gallon. 

On the other end, San Francisco, at $3.46 a gallon.

I’m Kent Covington.

Straight ahead: the annual state of the judiciary report.

Plus, a pioneering communications partnership.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Monday morning and we’re back at it for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 25th of January, 2021. 

Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Before we leave the month of January, I want to call your attention to the chief justice’s end-of-year report on the federal judiciary. And I’ll say, it’s a surprisingly entertaining read.

EICHER: And not just for Supreme Court nerds such as yourself. It’s accessible to the layperson such as myself!

You’ll find a link to it in today’s transcript. 

As he often does in these annual reports, Chief Justice John Roberts begins with a history lesson from the year 1789:

Back then, the court had no cases to hear. So the nation’s first Chief Justice, John Jay, saddled up his horse and galloped his way to preside over trials in the lower courts.

Earlier, two justices failed to show for the planning meeting to assign territories. That’s why they got to cover 1,800 miles, on horseback.

As Chief Justice Roberts noted, that’s “another lesson in what happens when you miss a meeting.”

REICHARD: So true. Mainly, the Chief Justice paid homage to his colleagues in the judiciary. They kept up with their work load despite the pandemic, made changes and stayed flexible.

Just as the Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments by telephone, lower courts changed, too. In fact, the first fully virtual jury trial in a criminal case took place on August 11th in Austin, Texas. And naturalization ceremonies for new citizens took place outside or by using drive-through windows.

The chief was pleased that citizens reported for jury duty throughout, made possible by reconfigured jury boxes and careful distancing.

EICHER: Now onto the single oral argument we have for you today. (Pham, et al v Chavez, et al)

It’s a complex dispute about which of two conflicting laws ought to apply to the facts of the case.

Here’s a bit of background. 

U.S. officials deported to their nations of origin respondents Maria Guzman Chavez and several others. But they would later return, illegally. Each one now cites fear of persecution at home, and asylum officers found their claims reasonable.

The question is, should these individuals be kept in detention without a bond hearing while an immigration court sorts out their current claims? They can’t be sent back to their home countries until those are resolved. 

The federal government says because the first deportation order is reinstated, these individuals should be held in detention and the law does not entitle them to a bond hearing that may free them in the meantime. 

Arguing the case for the government is Assistant to the Solicitor General Vivek Suri.

SURI: Our point is simply because these particular aliens have come back into the country illegally and been caught, there’s a particularly strong basis for concluding that those aliens are a flight risk.

REICHARD: Lawyer for the aliens, Paul Hughes, shifted the focus to other language in that federal law: One he argues better deals with the changed facts his clients now face. You’ll hear him say INA. When he does, he’s referring to the Immigration and Nationality Act.

HUGHES: This case addresses narrow circumstances: individuals who, after removal, face persecution, returned here to escape, and have already been found to have a reasonable fear of persecution. During withholding proceedings, the INA does not authorize removal. When the government lacks authority to remove, the decision on whether the alien is to be removed from the United States remains pending.

Let me take a moment here to define terms.

The respondents here aren’t asking for asylum. That’s for aliens who meet the legal definition of refugee. The individuals in this case don’t meet that definition in part because they’ve already been deported. Plus, they didn’t apply for asylum within a year, as required by law.

So for this narrow group of people, an alternate path to allow them to remain in the United States is to apply for something called “withholding of removal.” 

They’d still have a deportation order against them. It’s just that the government wouldn’t enforce it. 

At least for the time being.

In this case, lawyer Hughes emphasized the phrase in the law about when an order of removal “becomes final.” Here’s why that’s important: these removal orders don’t become final until after authorities resolve the withholding claim.

Hughes argued nothing’s final with his clients at the moment. 

Justice Stephen Breyer seemed to agree.

BREYER: And now you could also say: By the way, I don’t want to go to country X because they’re going to murder me, et cetera. And what supports that is the date the order of removal “becomes”—it doesn’t say the date it was reinstated. It doesn’t say “became final.” It says “becomes final.” And so something must have the possibility of happening between the time you entered the order saying — an old order — go, Smith, and the beginning of the removal period. Now is that correct?

HUGHES: Yes, Your Honor. We absolutely make and embrace that argument  throughout.

The problem with the government’s argument, Hughes highlighted, is the clause it relies upon says the “Attorney General shall remove the alien from the United States within 90 days from when the removal order is “administratively final.” 

Like any good lawyer, Hughes puts his finger on the timeline most advantageous to his clients and argues that “administratively final” hasn’t happened yet. 

Still other parts of the law use similar words for a different purpose.

For example, only when a case is “final” at the appeals court level can the case then be heard at the Supreme Court. So it’s final at the lower court, but not final yet at the Supreme Court. 

Justice Clarence Thomas asked government lawyer Suri about that idea in this case.

THOMAS: Could you tell me what the difference is between “administratively final” and – an “administratively final order” and a “final order of removal,” if there is one?

SURI: Yes. The term “final order of removal” is ambiguous.

And that ambiguous designation allows him to make the best argument on behalf of his client, the government. 

But it seemed to me that several justices were looking for a way to let the respondents here stay in the United States and get other protections. Listen to this exchange between Suri and Justice Elena Kagan:

KAGAN: Suppose you had a third country that, for whatever reason, was willing to accept an alien. If that alien was currently in withholding proceedings, you couldn’t put him on a plane to that third country, could you?

SURI: We could after we provide the alien notice that we were going to do that.

KAGAN: Right.

SURI: But, without notice —

KAGAN: So that’s what it would depend on, right? That — that you would have to provide him notice, and if he had a fear of persecution or torture in that country, he would be given an opportunity to contest his removal to that country, isn’t that right?

SURI: Yes, that’s right.

Justices and lawyers explored other clauses that seemed a better fit in some ways, and even other laws, like the Convention Against Torture. But it still came down to these facts, this law, and which clause fits.  

Both sides agree that people here illegally can’t be deported while withholding claims are pending. The only question is whether they must be detained without a bond hearing. 

I counted six justices who didn’t see how a deportation order that can’t be executed right now can be truly “final.” So the opinion may turn—as so many cases do—on the meaning of that one word. 

And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Fritzie Neitzel grew up in Wisconsin and went to her first Packers game with her dad when she was 10 years old.

Since then, she has never missed a playoff game at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.

But with only 2,000 seats available for the NFC championship game yesterday, Mrs. Neitzel almost missed her first.

She told WISN tv she was pretty upset.

NEITZEL: I can’t even begin to tell you. This is the first time in 75 years that I’ve been denied being at a playoff game.

REICHARD: 75 years?!

You heard that right. Her unbroken streak of Packers playoff games spanned 75 years!

And that would have been the end of it, if not for a generous fellow Green Bay fan. 

For years, Steve Ewing has bought Packers playoff tickets for the sole purpose of giving them away.

EWING: I’m looking for really, really deserving people, people that really deserve the tickets much more than me.

And he managed a pair of tickets this year as well.

Just one problem: the Packers made all e-tickets non-transferable

To solve the problem, Ewing not only gave Mrs. Neitzel the tickets, but loaned her his phone to get into the stadium.

Too bad for Green Bay fans, the Packers lost as Tampa Bay won the game and advanced to the Super Bowl.

But just as she has for 75 years, Mrs. Neitzel was perched in the stands at Lambeau wearing green and gold and cheering on her Packers!

It’s The World and Everything in It.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And good morning to our friend David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. David, good to see you, good morning.

DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Well, good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.

EICHER: Well, a flurry of executive orders from the new president, David. How do you evaluate them economically?

BAHNSEN: Well, I kind of have two thoughts on this. 

One is that there wasn’t anything that could possibly have been considered a surprise and it wasn’t telegraphed. And yet on the other hand there was very little that was good. I mean, they were all mostly I think pretty negative things. And that to me is kind of a mixed bag. 

I guess the disappointment would be that you might’ve hoped some of the things he said he was gonna do, he didn’t do. But these executive orders are mostly pretty symbolic. There are some things that are impactful. They’ll take a little while to get implemented—unwinding the deregulations of President Trump. They took a while to get done when they were passed by Trump, and now they’ll take a while to get undone by the new administration. 

But I think it’s more just the symbolic message that the newly inaugurated President Biden is certainly going to have to run and govern with a real significant thought to the far left of his party.

EICHER: So neither Paris nor Keystone? The president ordered us back into the Paris Climate Accord and he revoked the permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada. So you’re saying, not much of an immediate impact in either case?

BAHNSEN: No, definitely neither of those things. 

I mean, I think that the Paris Climate Accord was well known it was coming. Undoing the Paris Climate Accord was more symbolic. At the end of the day that doesn’t have a whole lot of teeth to it in actual implementation. I think it’s a very bad accord, but ultimately I believe that primarily around what it doesn’t do to China, as opposed to what it does do to the United States. 

There’s certainly deeper criticisms I could offer of the policy, but I think what you mean is actual meat on the bone impact into the American economy right now. 

Keystone also is one that I think has a lot more symbolic significance because it’s a pipeline that judges have been blocking and that has not, you know, been on its way to fruition anyway, and yet there’s been this sort of master plan to run a lot of these liquid fossils from Canada and be able to be in a position to export and create a lot of American jobs in the construction of the pipeline along the way. 

But I think that, again, that’s such a long-term issue as to really whether or not that’s going to end up happening. I think this thing will ultimately find itself in the courts and we have quite a few years to go. So those are the two things I would say are big issues, but not the more immediate impact to the economics. 

Probably it’s what you’re going to end up seeing in some of the financial side. I think there just seems to be this real desire to hurt smaller banks with more regulation, all in the name of regulating bigger banks. And it was a mystery to me during the Obama administration. I know at some point I finally figured out that it was not because they were being disingenuous. That they actually just really didn’t understand the unintended consequences of the policy. And that’s what I think is the case now. I think that they will be heavily regulating industries and that the damage will not be done to those who they think it’s going to be done to.

EICHER: Looking ahead, David, what do you expect is big news to watch?

BAHNSEN: One of the things that I think is going to be really important in the two weeks ahead that is a little bit outside the macroeconomic news, outside some of the political stuff, but it’s actually pretty relevant just to those wanting to understand the market, understand profitability of American business is this next earning season is really the first one we’ve had since COVID where companies by and large are no longer going to be able to say, “Oh, we can’t really give guidance. We can’t really give projections forward because there’s too much uncertainty out there.” 

There will still be some of that. And there is still, in fairness, some opaqueness about where everything stands, but more and more now, as we go into this next quarterly earnings season where companies are reporting what took place in the fourth quarter and projecting out for the quarters ahead, I think it’s going to be very important to see how public companies in America see their own revenue environment, earnings environment, growth environment. 

There’s a lot out there that has kind of been skewed for a couple quarters in a row now by COVID. And it will be interesting, not just obviously in those really COVID sensitive sectors—airlines and travel and food and beverage—that’s all still really kind of wrapped up in getting through this kind of vaccine period. But I think that for the rest of the economy, that is less COVID-sensitive, there’s a lot on the line here as to how American business sees their own predicament and what they’re willing to invest in by way of growth and cap-ex and productivity going forward. 

So that’s probably the biggest thing on my radar right now, Nick.

EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor. Thank you, David. Have a great Monday.

BAHNSEN: You too, Nick.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book. This week, a great victory for business and the consumer and a great loss for America and its space program.

And happy birthday to the Great One—the greatest hockey player ever to lace a pair of skates and grace ice rinks all over North America.

Here’s WORLD senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.


KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: We begin with the meeting of legendary minds: inventors Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. Together, they formed the Oriental Telephone Company of New York on January 25, 1881. Scottish-born inventor Bell, of course, is credited with inventing the first practical telephone, while Edison—known for helping develop the electric lightbulb and inventing the phonograph—improved upon Bell’s telephone microphone and transmitter designs. 

Their business venture represented personal growth for the ambitious Edison in particular. A 2015 PBS documentary highlighted Edison’s cutthroat personality.  

PBS: For Edison, there were few more powerful catalysts than competition. “I don’t care too much for a fortune,” he once said, “as I do for getting ahead of the other fellows.”

And he was particularly enticed by competition with Bell. 

PBS: Bell—college-educated and bankrolled by his future father-in-law—was the ideal adversary. 

Ultimately, they found common ground, founding together a company that gained licenses to sell that burgeoning technology—telephones—in a handful of European and Asian countries. 


Exactly 34 years later, on January 25, 1915, Bell made the first transcontinental phone call, when he placed a call from New York to his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco.

Moving now from great inventors to The Great One: Wayne Gretzky. 

ANNOUNCER: Robitaille gets it back center, they score! Gretzky scores! And the Los Angeles Kings have beat the Maple Leafs… 

The hockey legend celebrates his 60th birthday today. While he made a name for himself on the ice, his start came as a little boy, passing the puck in his grandmother’s farmhouse. His dad, Walter Gretzky, told Newsworld about those early practice sessions. 

WALTER GRETZKY: Grandma Gretzky had a pinewood floor, and Wayne would slide around on this little floor, like he had skates on with a miniature hockey stick, and she would sit there, with a little stick and be his goalie. 

His talent turned heads from the start. He did an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Company when he was just a child. 

INTERVIEWER: Wayne, how do you feel about all the publicity? Does it bother you, do the kids at school razz you about it? 

GRETZKY: Nah, they all just joke about it at school. Every day when I come back, they tell me all about it, as if I didn’t know about it. 

Eventually, Gretzky went from a small town in Ontario to 20 seasons in the National Hockey League. The former player and former head coach holds four Stanley Cup titles and 61 NHL records, including most assists and goals in NHL history…

ANNOUNCER: He’s done it! Wayne Gretzy is the all-time points leader in NHL…

…and he’s the only NHL player to score more than 200 points in a single season—a feat he accomplished four times. 


We’ll end today’s segment by remembering some of America’s fallen pioneers: the crew members of Space Shuttle Challenger, who died on January 28, 1986. CBS reported the disaster live. 

ANNOUNCER: Good morning, everyone. There appears to have been a very serious accident involving the Space Shuttle Challenger…  

After several delays, Challenger was cleared for liftoff. But just 73 seconds after it left the launch pad, onlookers saw a violent flash of light, then plumes of smoke and falling debris over the Atlantic. The accident claimed the lives of all seven on board. ABC’s Peter Jennings covered a memorial service at NASA headquarters in Houston. 

JENNINGS: Only yards from mission control, immediate family as well remember Dick Scobee, Mike Smith, Judith Resnik, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. 

That last person—a New Hampshire teacher named Christa McAulliffe—had earned her place on the crew after a nationwide screening. NASA hoped her selection would interest young Americans in high-tech careers. 

MCAULIFFE: I decided to overextend and fill out an application that I knew thousands and thousands of people were going to be filling in… 

President Ronald Reagan appointed a commission to look into what caused the devastating failure. Investigators found that NASA’s internal culture and processes contributed to the malfunction. The agency violated its own safety standards, particularly in regard to faulty O-rings. 

Reagan was set to deliver his State of the Union address the same day as the Challenger liftoff. But he changed course following the disaster, addressing the nation with words of comfort. 

REAGAN: The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, or the last time we saw them—this morning—as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. Thank you. 

SONG: “Taps,” The United States Army Band

That’s this week’s History Book. I’m Katie Gaultney.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: we’ll tell you what pro-abortion policies the Biden administration has in store for us.

And, we’ll find out why one professional association’s attempt to curb so-called hate speech has free-speech advocates concerned.

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.

The Bible says to rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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