Jim Huffman | All Articles

Jim Huffman
Jim Huffman
Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution
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      Jim Huffman

      Jim Huffman is Dean Emeritus of Lewis & Clark Law School and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution.

If Voters Need To Be Bribed To Turn Out, Do We Really Want Them Voting?

A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine in the garage of Tom and Carol Marshall, which was made into a polling location in the neighborhood, during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles, Calif., Nov. 6, 2012. (REUTERS/Fred Prouser)

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission has recommended to the city that it consider offering cash prizes to encourage voting. The idea is that anyone who turns up to vote would be entered in a lottery for cash prizes of between $1000 and $50,000. A similar idea was put to Arizona voters in a 2006 citizen’s initiative labeled the Arizona Voter Reward Act. The initiative was rejected by 67 percent of the voters.

EPA’s New Ozone Standards And The Case For Optimal Pollution

8:54 AM 08/15/2014

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to propose a tightening of the standard for permissible ground-level ozone. The current standard is 75 parts per billion (ppb). EPA would reduce that to as low as 60 ppb. Jay Timmons, writing in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, reports that 60 ppb ozone standard “could cost Americans $270 billion annually, put millions of jobs at risk, and drastically increase energy prices for consumers and manufacturers.” Timmons also notes that “the second-highest court in the land [recently] held that the current standard protects public health.”

Paul Krugman’s Proof By Repeated Assertion

5:57 PM 07/29/2014

Most good college teachers know they need to repeat themselves – not necessarily with the same words but with the same facts, or concepts, or theories. Repetition raises the odds of penetrating distracted adolescent brains.

The DC Circuit Strikes A Blow Against The ACA: Is It Law Or Politics?

2:30 PM 07/23/2014

A divided federal appellate court has ruled (Halbig v. Burwell) that the Affordable Care Act does not provide subsidies to individuals who purchase insurance through federal exchanges set up in the 36 states that did not create exchanges of their own. The ruling, if upheld on appeal, invalidates an IRS rule allowing for such subsidies, notwithstanding statutory language limiting subsidies to individuals obtaining health insurance through an exchange “established by the state.”

The Hobby Lobby Decision Doesn’t Need To Be ‘Fixed’

5:01 PM 07/14/2014

Outrage is ubiquitous in Washington this month. Why? Because five men on the U.S. Supreme Court have declared that a few women might have to pay for their own birth control. It is “a horrible decision,” declared Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, “certainly the worst in 25 years.” Reid plans to fast track legislation to reverse this latest foray in the war on women.

Is Inequality Worth ‘Fixing’?

5:23 PM 06/05/2014

New York Mets third baseman David Wright will earn $19.3 million this season. The Mets clubhouse manager earns about $80,000 per year. Wright makes 240 times as much as the guy who is there to provide for his every want and need.

Michael Grimm’s Climate Change About-Face And The Truth About Truth

4:07 PM 04/28/2014

Like many parents of aspiring college students, I spent part of spring break on a college tour with my son. Our travels took us to Ohio where we visited Oberlin College. While taking the customary campus tour led by an enthusiastic student, we passed by Bosworth Hall on which these words are inscribed:  “But of all things truth beareth away the victory.”

To get comprehensive tax reform, Sen. Wyden needs to abandon special interest tax extenders

10:55 AM 02/24/2014

Oregon’s senior senator Ron Wyden has a well-earned reputation for collaborating on bipartisan proposals dealing with a variety of subjects from health care (with republican Congressman Paul Ryan) to tax reform. Although Wyden has had few successes in actually seeing those proposals through to legislation, that could change now that he has become the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. (Full disclosure, I was Wyden’s Republican opponent in the 2010 election.)

Washington healthcare exchange puts on sweepstakes for Sasquatch music festival tickets

2:02 PM 02/18/2014

Washingtonians (the Pacific Northwest variety) have been receiving an unsolicited email message informing them that they can “snag free VIP tickets to the Sasquatch! Music Festival.” To have a chance at two grand prizes or to be among 100 first place winners, Washington residents need only visit the Facebook page of Washington Healthplanfinder and click on the “enter sweepstakes” button. No purchase is required.

Did the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times read the same CBO report on Obamacare?

10:56 AM 02/06/2014

“Health Law to Cut Into Labor Force” read the headline in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. “Health Care Law Projected to Cut the Labor Force” read the headline in yesterday’s New York Times. Sounds like both newspapers had a similar take on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimate that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the total number of hours Americans work by the equivalent of 2.5 million full-time jobs over the next decade. But not so on their editorial pages.

The State of the Union is a national embarrassment

10:18 AM 01/28/2014

Today is the day.  President Obama will deliver his fifth state of the union address to Congress, assembled dignitaries, a few carefully chosen guests, and the American people.  It should be, and could be, an occasion of civic pride for all Americans – an opportunity to remind ourselves and the world that the democratic republic we have sustained for two and a quarter centuries remains a model for freedom lovers everywhere.

Please, do not misgender your students

4:27 PM 01/24/2014

Last week I received a message (forwarded by the dean) from my school’s Queer Resource Center (QRC) explaining that many individuals in the LGBTQQAOPA community have been made to “feel uncomfortable and disrespected in their learning environments” as a result of being “misgendered by professors.” The QRC (a student organization) message advised that, to prevent such discomfort and wounded feelings, professors should make it known that they care “about respecting students’ gender pronouns.”

If the Senate won’t act on a nomination, the president should find a new one

5:29 PM 01/13/2014

The United States Constitution grants the president authority to appoint judges and other federal officers subject to the advice and consent of the senate. In anticipation of the need to fill vacancies in these offices when the senate is not in session, the framers allowed for the president to make appointments during senate recesses. To minimize the incentive for abuse, judges and officers appointed in this way would serve only until the end of the next session.

Insurance coverage of birth control still makes no sense

6:34 PM 01/07/2014

Justice Sotomayor’s order temporarily enjoining enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate was, no doubt, a disappointment to the man who appointed her to the high court, and to most Obamacare supporters. If the Supreme Court ultimately finds the mandate unconstitutional it will be a victory for religious freedom, but will leave barely a dent in the massive wealth redistribution scheme that is Obamacare.

Do chimpanzees have rights?

2:25 PM 12/27/2013

Earlier this month, the Nonhuman Rights Project filed a habeas corpus petition in New York’s Fulton County Court seeking the release of Tommy, a chimpanzee “held captive in a cage in a shed at a used trailer lot in Gloversville.” On Tuesday a similar petition was filed in Niagara Falls on behalf of Kiko, a deaf chimpanzee living in a private home. A third petition was filed Thursday seeking the release of chimpanzees Hercules and Leo who are in the possession of a research center at Stony Brook University.

Detroit and the problem of positive rights

4:58 PM 12/11/2013

Nearly a half century ago, the late Frank Michelman argued that the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution should be understood to guarantee some minimum welfare to all Americans. Over the intervening decades that theme has inspired many others, including our current president, to insist that Americans should have a right to minimum levels of housing, nutrition, education, health care, and so on. These generally well-intentioned advocates for the less well off would have the courts declare that our constitution protects individual welfare every bit as much as it guarantees free speech.

Waiting on Obama at the tarmac

5:22 PM 12/02/2013

Last Monday morning we awoke to news of a pending storm in the Northeast. We were scheduled to fly Tuesday from Portland, Oregon, to New York for Thanksgiving, arriving about the same time as the forecast storm. So my wife swung into action and miraculously got us rerouted on a flight leaving in less than four hours through San Francisco. We tossed our things into our bags, raced to the airport, and caught our flight to San Francisco.

Why kids, and politicians, should still memorize the Gettysburg Address

11:06 AM 11/19/2013

150 years ago today President Abraham Lincoln spoke 277 words that, for generations, were memorized by students in schools across this great nation. Some of those former students, now drawing social security, still remember those immortal words. But given that civics education has been largely abandoned in our schools and memorization is now disdained as an educational tool, the vast majority of Americans will never have read the Gettysburg Address, let alone committed it to memory. Our nation is worse off for our neglect of Lincoln’s simple but profound message.

The ignorant presidency

11:29 AM 11/18/2013

Is it the imperial presidency, the impudent presidency, or just the ignorant presidency? For some time I have thought it was the first, with a dose of the second. I figured President Obama for a man who thinks so well of himself and his notion of how the world should be that he believes he must do whatever it takes to transform his vision for America into reality.