Proposed new Title IX regulations aren’t perfect, but they vastly improve on Obama-era guidance. Betsy DeVos kept her promise. As the education secretary vowed in September 2017, the department’s Office for Civil Rights last week formally proposed new regulations designed to create a more just process when campus tribunals adjudicate sexual-misconduct allegations. The proposed rules closely track recent court rulings favoring accused students. In 2017 interim guidance, Mrs. DeVos had invited schools to develop fairer procedures under the law known as Title IX. But nearly all retained the Obama administration’s approach, which was heavily tilted against accused students. (The University […]
Betsy DeVos undoes a major campus injustice. That campus Title IX sexual-misconduct tribunals are unfair to accused students is all but a truism. Since 2011, when the Obama administration forced a guilt-presuming reinterpretation of the 1972 law, more than 100 colleges and universities have been on the losing side in lawsuits filed by accused students protesting their treatment. The Department of Education is planning to issue new regulations addressing the relationship between Title IX and fair procedures in cases of alleged campus sexual assault. The draft regulations are still under review, but as reported in the New York Times, they […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her advisers have made a remarkably good start at ending the Obama administration’s abuse of federal regulatory power to attack the due-process rights of university students accused of sexual assault. But the more important task—the crafting of Title IX regulations to ensure fair treatment for both parties in campus cases—is ahead. Last September, DeVos publicly called for fairness to both sides in campus adjudications. About two weeks later, the Education Department withdrew the Title IX “guidance” that the Obama administration had imposed to specify guilt-presuming procedures for the nation’s colleges and universities to use. DeVos has also ended […]
In November 2014, a female member of Brown University’s debate team had oral sex with a male colleague while they watched a movie. Eleven months later, she filed a complaint with Brown, accusing him of sexual assault. Both parties in the case had credibility issues; he had violated a no-contact order, she had withheld from the university the bulk of their text messages. But the accused student possessed strong exculpatory evidence. He produced the full record of their communications, which included texts from the accuser to him discussing the encounter in a highly positive fashion and referencing a “plan” to […]
On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took on one of former President Barack Obama’s most controversial regulatory actions: a set of 2011 campus disciplinary procedures for students accused of sexual assault. Arguing that victims of assault were being denied justice, the Obama White House weakened traditional protections for the accused, like presumption of innocence and the right to cross-examine an accuser. DeVos, in a speech at George Mason University, said the system “is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.” Not surprisingly, DeVos was […]
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on September 22 formally rescinded the Obama administration’s commands that universities use unfair rules in sexual-misconduct investigations—rules that had the effect of finding more students guilty of sexual assault. And she appears also to be preparing for far more forceful due-process protections down the road. Those follow-on regulations could require schools to presume that accused students are innocent unless proven guilty, to allow rigorous cross-examination of accusers, and perhaps also to grant the accused the unqualified right to appeal adverse decisions, and more. Meanwhile, the modest improvements that DeVos included in the “interim guidance” of September […]
The Obama-era Title IX sex-crime regime should give way to real regulations that respect due process. With his legislative agenda in trouble, President Trump could do a lot of good by using his executive power to reverse an egregious example of the Obama administration’s bureaucratic tyranny. I refer to the 2011 command by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and subsequent orders, forcing thousands of schools to take an aggressive role in the investigation and punishment of alleged sex crimes on college campuses. Under threat of losing federal funds, almost all schools have willingly complied with a procedural regime […]
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Six Supreme Court justices Thursday came down for common sense and judicial self-restraint by rejecting, over bitter dissents, a legal challenge that had threatened to cripple President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 34 states. Because the court sided with the president, Obamacare will continue in effect with no change from the current pattern of distributing to many millions of low-and-middle-income people in all 50 states the premium subsidies (in the form of tax credits) that make health insurance affordable for many or most of them.
A little-noticed part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act channels some $12.5 billion into a vaguely defined “Prevention and Public Health Fund” over the next decade—and some of that money is going for everything from massage therapists who offer “calming techniques,” to groups advocating higher state and local taxes on tobacco and soda, and stricter zoning restrictions on fast-food restaurants.
The program, which is run by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has raised alarms among congressional critics, who call it a “slush fund,” because the department can spend the money as it sees fit and without going through the congressional appropriations process. The sums involved are vast. By 2022, the department will be able to spend $2 billion per year at its sole discretion. In perpetuity.
What makes the Prevention and Public Health Fund controversial is its multibillion-dollar size, its unending nature (the fund never expires), and its vague spending mandate: any program designed “to improve health and help restrain the rate of, growth” of health-care costs. That can include anything from “pickleball” (a racquet sport) in Carteret County, N.C. to Zumba (a dance fitness program), kayaking and kickboxing in Waco, TX.
“It’s totally crazy to give the executive branch $2 billion a year ad infinitum to spend as they wish,” said budget expert Jim Capretta of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Congress has the power of the purse, the purpose of which is to insure that the Executive branch is using taxpayer resources as Congress specified.”
Recent statements by Attorney General Eric Holder and by drug czar Gil Kerlikowske may signal an impending crackdown on the experiments with partial legalization of recreational marijuana for which solid majorities of the Colorado and Washington State electorates voted last November.
“When it comes to these marijuana initiatives, I think among the kinds of things we will have to consider is the impact on children,” Holder told a House appropriations subcommittee. “We are certainly going to enforce federal law.”
At a National Press Club luncheon, Kerlikowske asserted that “neither a state nor the executive branch can nullify” federal anti-marijuana laws, adding that “using marijuana has public health consequences.”
But the impact on children, and the public health consequences, are likely to be bad if the Obama administration cracks down on the hundreds of marijuana businesses that Colorado and Washington are preparing to license, regulate, and tax.
Such action would likely backfire — warping both federal and state drug policy for years to come — by aggravating the harm to public health, especially to kids, and the leakage of marijuana across state lines that the administration and other opponents of legalization want to prevent.
How would a crackdown backfire? By producing — immediately in Colorado, and eventually in other states — an atomized, anarchic, state-legalized but unregulated marijuana market that federal drug enforcers lack the manpower to contain and the legal power to force the states to contain.
Consider how a federal effort to abort the state experiment would unfold in Colorado, where the voters (unlike those in Washington) chose to create both a state-regulated marijuana industry and another, largely unregulated, one.