A federal judge in New York has struck down a test used by New York City to vet potential teachers, finding the test of knowledge illegally discriminated against racial minorities due to their lower scores.
At first glance, the city’s second Liberal Arts and Science Test (LAST-2) seems fairly innocuous. Unlike the unfair literacy tests of Jim Crow, LAST-2 was given to every teaching candidate in New York, and it was simply a test to make sure that teachers had a basic high school-level understanding of both the liberal arts and the sciences.
One sample question from the test asked prospective educators to identify the mathematical principle of a linear relationship when given four examples; another asked them to read four passages from the Constitution and identify which illustrated checks and balances. Besides factual knowledge, the test also checks basic academic skills, such as reading comprehension and the ability to read basic charts and graphs.
Nevertheless, this apparently neutral subject matter contained an insidious kernel of racism, because Hispanic and black applicants had a passage rate only 54 to 75 percent of the passage rate for whites.
Once their higher failure rate was established, the burden shifted to New York to prove that LAST-2 measured skills that were essential for teachers and therefore was justified in having a racially unequal outcome. While it might seem obvious that possessing basic subject knowledge is a key skill for a teacher, District Judge Kimba Wood said the state hadn’t met that burden.
“Instead of beginning with ascertaining the job tasks of New York teachers, the two LAST examinations began with the premise that all New York teachers should be required to demonstrate an understanding of the liberal arts,” Wood wrote in her opinion, according to The New York Times.
LAST-2 hasn’t been used in New York since 2012, but the ruling will still have repercussions. Minorities who failed the exam (who number in the thousands) may be owed years of back pay totaling millions of dollars, and those who were relegated to substitute teaching jobs could be promoted to having their own classrooms. In addition, while Wood’s ruling only applies to New York City, the test was used statewide, and it could serve as a precedent for further lawsuits.
The ruling could also pave the way for another ruling finding New York’s current teacher test, the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST), to be discriminatory as well. That test is even harder than LAST-2, with a strong focus on literacy skills such as writing and reading comprehension, and like LAST-2 it has a very large gap in scores between whites and minorities. A lawsuit, once again being heard by Wood, is already pending, with the plaintiffs arguing that there is no clear evidence strong literacy skills are essential for a teacher.
A federal judge in Florida has scheduled a trial for January for a case charging Bill and Hillary Clinton with RICO violations.
The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations case was filed by Larry Klayman, of Freedom Watch, who alleges over the last decade, the Clintons have participated in “acts” that constitute a “criminal enterprise” that was designed to enrich them.
WND reported earlier this year when the case was filed that it alleged actions by Hillary and Bill Clinton, in coordination with their family foundation, constituted RICO crimes.
Klayman for years has been a Washington watchdog, having engaged Bill Clinton in court battles during his presidency. He’s also taken on terror interests and foreign influences in the United States, and just over the last year or so has won a federal court judgment against the National Security Agency’s spy-on-Americans program as well as bringing a case against Barack Obama over his amnesty-by-executive-memo strategy.
According to Klayman, the Clintons, through mail and wire fraud and false statements, misappropriated documents which he was entitled to receive and possess under the Freedom of Information Act regarding Hillary Clinton’s involvement in releasing Israeli war and cyber-warfare plans and practices.
Hillary Clinton orchestrated this release to harm and thwart Israeli plans to preemptively attack Iranian nuclear sites to stop the Islamic nation’s march to producing atomic weapons, according to Klayman.
The claim also explains Klayman used the nation’s FOIA to try to get details from the State Department regarding waivers to do business with Iran – “acts [that are] alleged to be the result of the defendants selling government influence in exchange for bribes from interests which have donated to The Clinton Foundation, paid huge speaking fees to the Clintons and other means.”
The order comes from Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks, U.S. district judge for the Southern District of Florida in West Palm Beach.
Klayman told WND that it’s time for the Clintons “finally [to] be held legally accountable.”
He alleges their “criminal enterprise” dates back at least 10 years.
It was when the Clintons left the White House in 2000 that, Hillary Clinton has claimed, they were broke.
Estimates are that since that time period, they have been paid well over $100 million, oftentimes in $250,000 and $500,000 increments for speaking.
The Clintons’ foundation also has been embroiled in scandal recently, with details being revealed about how foreign interests made donations to the Clinton-controlled organization during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as a senior government official.
“Defendants have systematically and continuously, over the last ten (10) years and more, conducted a corrupt enterprise in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act,” the filing claims, “all of which acts are continuing in nature.”
“Plaintiff sues the defendants, as individuals operating a criminal enterprise, for violating plaintiff’s statutory rights to obtain documents under the Freedom of Information Act… for violating plaintiff’s due process rights, vested property rights, constitutional rights, and for misappropriating property,” the filing says.
The complaint explains, “Plaintiff has filed many Freedom of Information Act requests for public records created or held by the U.S. Department of State… which records are of the public interest and importance to the citizens of the United States… As it has now been revealed, a primary reason that the plaintiff did not receive the records to which the plaintiff is entitled by law is that Defendant Hillary Clinton – upon information and belief together with Cheryl Mills and Defendant Bill Clinton and other Clinton ‘loyalists’ – set up a private computer file server operating a private, stand-alone electronic mail system.”
It alleges Clinton’s “off the books” plan “concealed from the plaintiff public records to which the plaintiff was entitled to under the FOIA Act.”
It continues, “Using those concealed communications held on the private email server, upon information and belief, the defendants negotiated, arranged and implemented the sale of influence and access to U.S. government officials and decision-makers and official acts by State and other instrumentalities of the U.S. government in return for gratuitous and illegal payments – bribes – disguised as donations to defendant The Clinton Foundation and extraordinarily high speaking fees paid to Defendant Bill Clinton and Defendant Hillary Clinton.”
The case filing estimates the Clintons have “amassed a personal fortune (outside of The Clinton Foundation) of over $105 million.”
Klayman had only just filed court papers requesting the judge take control of Hillary Clinton’s email server, because there could be “material evidence that is in imminent danger of being lost.”
“The plaintiff files this motion respectfully requesting that the court order the preservation of that information contained on a private computer file server (‘server’) that then Secretary of State Defendant Hillary Clinton (‘Secretary Clinton) used to conceal the U.S. government records off-site, rather than at a U.S. Department of State facility,” he wrote.
A federal appeals court upheld an injunction against President Obama’s new deportation in a ruling Tuesday that marks the second major legal setback for an administration that had insisted its actions were legal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Texas, which had sued to stop the amnesty, on all key points, finding that Mr. Obama’s amnesty likely broke the law governing how big policies are to be written.
“The public interest favors maintenance of the injunction,” the judges wrote in the majority opinion.
Mr. Obama had acted in November to try to grant tentative legal status and work permits to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants, saying he was tired of waiting for Congress to act.
The full amnesty, known as Deferred Action for Parental Accountability, or DAPA, had been scheduled to begin last week, while an earlier part had been slated to accept applications on Feb. 18. But just two days before that, Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued his injunction finding that Mr. Obama had broken the law.
Administration officials had criticized that ruling, and immigrant-rights advocates had called Judge Hanen an activist bent on punishing immigrants. But Tuesday’s ruling upholds his injunction, giving some vindication to the judge.
It also could mean Mr. Obama will have to appeal to the Supreme Court if he wants to implement his amnesty before the end of his term.
In the 2-1 decision, Judge Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Elrod ruled in favor of Texas, finding that the state would suffer an injury from having to deliver services to the illegal immigrants granted legal status, and ruling that it was a major enough policy that the president should have sent it through the usual rule-making process.
“DAPA modifies substantive rights and interests – conferring lawful presence on 500,000 illegal aliens in Texas forces the state to choose between spending millions of dollars to subsidize driver’s licenses and changing its law,” the judges wrote.
Judge Stephen A. Higginson dissented from Tuesday’s ruling, saying he would have left the fight over immigration policy to the White House and Congress, saying Mr. Obama should have broad discretion to decide who gets deported and how he goes about that.
Just Higginson also said the fight was a political battle, not a legal one
“The political nature of this dispute is clear from the names on the briefs: hundreds of mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, attorneys general, governors, and state legislators – not to mention 185 members of Congress, 15 states and the District of Columbia on the one hand, and 113 members of Congress and 26 states on the other,” he wrote.
U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. placed a hold on Washington D.C.’s mandate that firearm owners must have a “good reason” to get a concealed carry permit in the District. The judge said the requirement took away citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Judge Scullin granted a preliminary injunction as a result of a lawsuit brought forth by three gun owners who sought to overturn the bureaucratic D.C. gun law claiming the regulations surrounding it make it impossible for the majority of law abiding individuals to qualify for a D.C. firearms permit.
“For all intents and purposes, this requirement makes it impossible for the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens to obtain licenses to carry handguns in public for self-defense, thereby depriving them of their Second Amendment right to bear arms,” Judge Scullin wrote within his 23 page opinion.
Local lawmakers created the D.C. gun permitting process after Scullin ruled the District’s long-time ban on carrying firearms in public was unconstitutional last year. The process was intended to set up a process for residents and non-residents alike to apply for concealed carry permits.
Prior the passage of the law for gun permits, law-abiding citizens with permits from other states were allowed to carry in D.C. for a period time before the District took legal action to end the brief carry period.
One of the more controversial scandals dogging likely Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has been her use of a private email account on a private server to conduct official public business during her tenure at the State Department.
Government watchdog group Judicial Watch had previously sued to gain access to Hillary’s emails, which they claimed should be public record, but Hillary has kept them hidden and a court had tossed out the original lawsuit.
However, federal Judge Reggie Walton has agreed to reopen the lawsuit after Judicial Watch and the State Department reached an agreement stating that Hillary Clinton should have turned over all of the documents she held on her private email server.
It should be remembered that Hillary has claimed to have turned over to the State Department only about half of the emails on her private server, deleting more than 30,000 others she determined on her own to be “private” in nature.
According to Fox News, Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said, “This is the first case that’s been reopened. It’s a significant development. It points to the fraud by this administration and Mrs. Clinton.”
This decision could ultimately result in Hillary being ordered to turn over the server to an independent third party that could objectively sort through whatever traces remained on it.
There are many who suspect Hillary’s private email server contained evidence related to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, as well as of her involvement in a “pay-to-play” scheme that involved the trading of political favors for major donations to the Clinton Foundation.
Thanks to this federal judge, America may finally find out just what Hillary has been hiding on that private server.
Please share this on Facebook and Twitter if you are glad this judge decided to reopen the lawsuit demanding access to all of Hillary’s emails, not just the ones she decided to turn over herself.
The cost of federal regulation neared $2 trillion in 2014, according to a new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State, a report by Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, also reveals that the U.S. debt now exceeds the size of China’s economy.
“Federal regulation and intervention cost American consumers and businesses an estimated $1.88 trillion in 2014 in lost economic productivity and higher prices,” amounting to roughly $15,000 per household, the report said.
The report found that the federal bureaucracy – made up of 60 agencies, departments, and commissions – has 3,415 regulations in the process of being finalized, meaning that the number of regulations far surpasses the number of laws passed by Congress.
“In 2014, agencies issued 16 new regulations for every law – that’s 3,554 new regulations compared to 224 new laws,” the report said.
CEI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, found that the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services (HHS), Transportation (DOT), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) account for 48 percent of all federal regulations.
The EPA issued 539 final rules in the Federal Register last year, up 12.5 percent in five years.
Enforcing regulations alone cost the government $59.5 billion in 2014.
Government regulation has led to a hidden “tax” for Americans, the report said, as businesses pass along compliance costs to consumers.
“Economy-wide regulatory costs amount to an average of $14,976 per household – around 29 percent of an average family budget of $51,100,” the report said. “Although not paid directly by individuals, this ‘cost’ of regulation exceeds the amount an average family spends on health care, food and transportation.”
Aside from passing costs onto consumers, the report said, regulation is a way for the federal government to further agendas without relying on the legislative system.
“Rather than pay directly and book expenses for new initiatives, federal regulations can compel the private sector, as well as state and local governments, to bear the costs of federal initiatives,” the report said.
Regulations hit small businesses the hardest, averaging $11,724 per employee for firms that employ fewer than 50 people in 2012. The overall cost per employee for all companies comes to $9,991.
The cost of regulation has grown so large, according to the report, that if it was a country “it would be the world’s 10th largest economy, ranking behind Russia and ahead of India.”
The regulatory state has been growing for decades. The report notes that 90,836 rules have been issued since 1993.
The Federal Register, the government’s official record for all federal regulations, was
77,687 pages long at the end of 2014, the sixth-highest page count in history.
“Among the six all-time-high Federal Register page counts, five have occurred under President Obama,” CEI said.
The report also noted that the national debt, which currently stands at $18.152 trillion, is now larger than China’s economy. China surpassed the U.S. to become the largest economy in the world last December.
“The national debt topped $18 trillion in December 2014,
the same month the International Monetary Fund calculated China’s economy to
be worth $17.6 trillion in terms of purchasing power parity, making it the world’s largest economy (albeit still significantly lagging the United States on a per capita basis),” CEI said.