Sununu’s Silence on Religious Bigotry in New Hampshire

I previously posted about Senate Bill 8 here.  The bill was a response to the Department of Education’s and the Attorney General’s jihad against the Town of Croydon’s policy of using tax revenues to send some of its public school students to private schools in other school districts.

While well-intentioned, as I explained here, Croydon’s policy was not authorized under State law and a legislative fix was needed.

Senate Bill 8 was intended to be that legislative fix.  However, the State’s attorney general and certain RINOs in the New Hampshire House amended Senate Bill 8 to expressly discriminate against religious schools.  For example:

IV.  Pursuant to RSA 193:3, VI, a school board may execute a contract with any approved nonsectarian private school approved by the school board as a school tuition program as defined in RSA 193:3, VII to provide for the education of a child who resides in the school district, and may raise and appropriate money for the purposes of the contract, if the school district does not have a public school at the pupil’s grade level and the school board decides it is in the best interest of the pupil.

In my prior post, I explained that this amendment was unconstitutional under the United States Constitution.  I am pleased to say “I told you so.”

From Ed Whalen at National Review’s Bench Memos on June 26th:

In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled today that the state of Missouri violated the Free Exercise rights of a church when it excluded religious organizations from taking part in a program of grants for playground resurfacing. As Chief Justice Roberts summed things up near the end of his majority opinion for six justices, “the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution.”

Contradicting early predictions of a ruling sharply divided on ideological grounds, Justice Kagan joined the Chief’s opinion in full, and Justice Breyer wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment. Breyer “agree[s] with much of what the Court says” but (consistent with his general approach) is reluctant to sign on to any broad principle.

The Trinity Lutheran decision means that Senate Bill 8 is unconstitutional to the extent that it discriminates against religious schools.  This means that the prohibition against placing students in religious schools cannot be followed.  In other words, Senate Bill 8 must be interpreted to allow placements in religious schools.

You would think that Governor Sununu, who claims to support school choice, would have loudly welcomed the Trinity Lutheran decision, explained its implications for Senate Bill 8, and announced that the Department of Education would be issuing guidance to school districts to ignore Senate Bill 8’s prohibition against placements in religious schools.

Instead, crickets from the corner office.

In fairness, I haven’t heard anything from the Commissioner, Frank Edelblut, either.

Sad.

 

Public Utilities Commission Says – More Green Pork

This past Friday, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) lifted the so-called cap on net metering.  I explained net metering, and the “cap'” in a prior post, which I partially reproduce below.  In a nutshell, net metering forces electricity consumers who do not use solar to subsidize electricity consumers who use solar:

Because solar power is intermittent, solar-owners do not go “off the grid.”  They need a back-up energy source.  Net metering is a euphemism for State government requiring utilities to purchase energy generated by solar installs that exceeds the energy the solar-owner receives from the grid.  

The purchase takes the form of a credit on the next month’s bill and a check at the end of the year for any remaining credit.  

The catch is that the utility must pay the solar-owner the retail rate for this power.  

That is, the price the utility must pay for the excess electricity is not what it would cost the utility to generate the power itself (the wholesale cost), but the cost of generation plus all the other costs (transmission, delivery and grid maintenance costs) required to deliver the electricity to the consumer (the retail cost).  

Think of it this way.  Imagine a car dealership.  It buys cars from the manufacturers at the wholesale rate, and then sells them at the retail rate.  Of course, the retail rate  is higher because it reflects all the additional costs that the dealer incurs to sell the car.  

Now imagine State government tells the dealer that it must buy a certain amount of cars from a certain manufacturer at the dealer’s retail price.  The result of this governmental actions is that the dealer’s cost of business has now gone up.  In order for the dealer to break even, the dealer must raise prices on the other cars it sells.  

Another way of looking at it is that if the utility bought the excess solar power at the wholesale rate, the credit to the solar-owner would be much lower.  The solar-owner would be paying for the costs of transmission, delivery and grid maintenance just like the other customers.  Instead, under net metering the non-solar customers have to pay more so that the solar-owners can pay nothing for these costs.  

In sum, net metering forces consumers who do not have solar to pay more for electricity in order to reduce the cost of operating residential solar.  To make matters worse, the wealth transfer is from low and middle income households to higher income households.  

The ultimate beneficiaries of net metering, of course, are companies like Solar City, whose CEO and founder happens to be billionaire Elon Musk.  Net metering is crony capitalism.  

The reason there is a “cap” on net metering is because it fleeces non-solar customers of electricity.  Raising the cap would fleece them even worse.

While the PUC modified the rate the utility must pay for so-called “excess” solar power to allow only 25 percent of distribution charges, that is still much higher than the true wholesale rate.  In other words, the PUC slightly decreased the subsidy that non-solar consumers must pay to subsidize solar, but removed the limit on how much of this “green pork” consumers must pay in total.

The PUC apparently determined that forcing non-solar consumers to subsidize solar does not increase the cost of electricity for non-solar consumers … which as I explained in the prior post is nonsensical.

The question now is whether the GOP legislature and GOP governor will let this stand.

Sununu’s Supreme Court Pick – Even Worse Than We Feared

I previously posted about Governor Sunna’s nomination of Bobbie Hantz Marconi to the New Hampshire Supreme Court here and here.  In brief, I was of the opinion that Sununu was playing identity-politics along the lines President George W. Bush played when he nominated Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court because Marconi has no experience in or interest in constitutional law.

I truly hate to say I told you so, given how rare and crucial supreme court appointments are, but I told you so

At Marconi’s hearing, per New Hampshire Public Radio:

On guns, Hantz told the Executive Council she believed the Second Amendment was a collective and individual right, but also said she wasn’t familiar with the particulars of the Heller decision.

That ruling struck down a Washington D.C. handgun ban and spelled out an individual’s right to possess a firearm.

Hantz’s view that the Second Amendment is both a “collective” and an individual right sounds like an attempt to please both sides of the debate, rather than something she has given much, if any, thought to or studied.

If the Second Amendment is a “collective right,” that is, a right of the State -that cannot be abridged by the federal government- to maintain its own military force, then the State in the exercise of that right could regulate the ownership and use of guns by its citizens up to and including banning private gun ownership altogether.  In other words, it is one or the other.  The Second Amendment cannot simultaneously be a right of the State to maintain its own independent military force and a right of its citizens to bear arms because the two rights are inconsistent with each other.

More troubling is that Marconi has not read the Heller decision.  In the words of thankfully departed John Boenher, “are you kidding me”?

Heller, in the opinion of many constitutional scholars, was one of the most important United States Supreme Court decisions ever issued.  It remains extremely relevant as the parameters of the decision continue to be defined by lower courts.  To have never read Heller, or to only have read it cursorily, shows a stunning lack of interest in constitutional law.

I am sure that Marconi is a wonderful person and very competent in the areas of law she practices, but she does not belong on New Hampshire’s supreme court.

What is perhaps even more troubling is that Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who waged a scorched earth campaign to prevent Frank Edelblut from becoming commissioner of the Department of Education because he believed Edelblut would not continue bureaucratic business as usual, voted for Marconi.  Rest assured that if Mr. #VolinskyAgenda believed that Marconi were a judicial conservative (that is a judge who does not rule based on political considerations) who would oppose and expose judicial activism he not only would have voted against her, he would have tried to “Bork” her like he tried to “Bork” Edelblut.

In short, Sununu appears to have wasted a Supreme Court pick in order to avoid a fight with Volinsky and/or appear “bipartisan,” and/or appease the New Hampshire Bar and the GOP establishment.

Questions the GOP Executive Councilors Should Ask Harriet Miers, er Bobbie Hantz Marconi, But Won’t

I previously posted about Governor Sununu’s nomination of Bobbie Hantz Marconi to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, likening it to President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers.

The Executive Council, which must confirm the nomination, will hold a “public hearing” on the nomination.  Unlike hearings before the United States Senate, where a finite number of witnesses are called by each Party, the “public hearing” held by the Executive Council allows any member of the public to speak.

This makes hearings on judicial nominees before the Executive Council essentially a farce.  Judges should not be nominated based on their popularity with the public, but based upon criteria I discussed in a prior post: (1) Judicial Philosophy (2) Intellectual capacity (3) Experience (4) Integrity and (5) Demeanor.

Here are two questions the GOP Executive Councilors should ask the nominee, but probably won’t. Continue reading

The #VolinskyConstitution

UPDATE June 24, 2017:  Appears I was wrong and Bradley was right.  #VolinskyAgenda & fellow hard-leftist Dan Feltes (Communist – Concord) lobbied Democrat representatives to vote against full-day kindergarten.

As usual, I find myself in disagreement with State Senator Jeb Bradley (RINO – Wolfeboro).  More specifically, I think Bradley’s observation that Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (Communist – Concord) is trying to create political-cover for Democrats in the New Hampshire House and Senate to vote against increased spending on kindergarten is wrong.

I think Volinsky believes that he can bluff the Legislature into increasing spending on kindergarten, failing which some Democrat lawyer will file a lawsuit along the lines Volinsky has sketched and that New Hampshire’s Democrat-appointed judiciary will expand the Claremont rulings to make “fully-funded, full-day kindergarten” a “constitutional right.” Continue reading

The #VolinskyAgenda – Yogurtnomics

I previously posted about the #VolinskyAgenda here, in response to this tweet from Volinsky:

Volinsky is out with an op-ed about how he would grow the New Hampshire economy.

But just as the #VoliskyAgenda described in Volinsky’s tweet really involves empowering government at the expense of parents, healthcare consumers, and private business, so too Volinsky’s economic agenda is all about increasing the size and scope of government. Continue reading

Chris Sununu Has His Harriet Miers Moment

Remember Harriet Miers?  She was President George W. Bush’s choice to fill the United States Supreme Court vacancy left by Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement.  Here’s what the late Judge Robert Bork had to say about Miers back in 2005:

TUCKER CARLSON, MSNBC HOST: Are you impressed by the president’s choice of Harriet Miers?

JUDGE ROBERT BORK, FORMER SUPREME COURT NOMINEE: Not a bit.  I think it’s a disaster on every level.

CARLSON: Why?  Explain the levels on which it’s a disaster.

BORK: Well, the first one is, that this is a woman who’s undoubtedly as wonderful a person as they say she is, but so far as anyone can tell she has no experience with constitutional law whatever.  Now it’s a little late to develop a constitutional philosophy or begin to work it out when you’re on the court already.  So that—I’m afraid she’s likely to be influenced by factors, such as personal sympathies and so forth, that she shouldn’t be influenced by.  I don’t expect that she can be, as the president says, a great justice.

But the other level is more worrisome, in  a way:  it’s kind of a slap in the face to the conservatives who’ve been building up a conservative legal movement for the last 20 years.  There’s all kinds of people, now, on the federal bench and some in the law schools who have worked out consistent philosophies of sticking with the original principles of the Constitution.  And all of those people have been overlooked. …

The same concerns raised by Bork apply to Governor Chris Sununu’s nomination of “Bobbie” Hantz Marconi to the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Continue reading

The Problem With Senate Bill 3

The problem with Senate Bill 3 is that it doesn’t go far enough, as explained below.  That said, it is a baby-step in the right direction that can be easily improved upon, and it probably is the best that can be expected under the current RINO (Republican-in-Name-Only) legislature.

If Senate Bill 3 is defeated, which would take GOP votes, it would mean the GOP chose to make no improvements to New Hampshire’s porous voting laws, give the Democrats -who have been flat out lying about Senate Bill 3- an undeserved victory, and embolden the Democrats to escalate their voter-fraud schemes in 2018. Continue reading

NH Democrats Lying About the AHCA (Just Like They Lied About Obamacare)

Democrats lied repeatedly about Obamacare, when they were trying to pass it.  The video below, for example, shows 36 instances when Obama lied about being able to keep your current healthcare plan.  Actually, Obamacare would have forced insurance companies to cancel millions of policies.

He also repeatedly stated that under Obamacare premiums would go down $2,500.00 per family.  Another lie.

Well, the Democrats are using the same tactic -lie- to prevent the repeal and replacing of Obamacare.  From the twitter feed of the New Hampshire Democrats (May 24th):

The statement that the AHCA kicks 23 million off health insurance is a blatant lie. Continue reading

How Representative Sherry Frost Has Elevated Political Discourse in New Hampshire

The tweet from Representative Sherry Frost, aka Representative Potty-Mouth, that first became notorious was this one, calling State Senators “fuckers” for voting to reform New Hampshire’s concealed-carry law:

That tweet appeared on January 10, 2017, on the same day Potty-Mouth also tweeted “fuck fuck fuckity fuck”:

and Continue reading