Of Paul Ryan and Buggy Whips

First of all, I have to admit that my prediction was wrong. I predicted that Paul Ryan would not be the Republican nominee for Vice President in 2012. My reasoning was simple: I didn’t believe that Mitt Romney would risk being overshadowed by his running mate on questions of economic policy. However, Mitt Romney did indeed choose Paul Ryan as his running mate late last Friday, thus demonstrating that he is comfortable running for President on a fiscal blueprint that is known as “The Ryan Plan” rather than “The Romney Plan.”

The selection of Paul Ryan immediately transforms the presidential race, turning it from an up or down referendum on President Obama’s performance into a choice between two starkly different views of economic policy. The Republican Party, which proudly labels itself a “brand,” will now embark on an effort to sell a plan that includes tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, reductions in monies spent on programs that benefit low income Americans, and the acceptance of unrestrained budget deficits because defense spending is left untouched.  The sales pitch is that this combination will lead to a faster economic recovery. The question is whether anyone will buy what they are selling. (more…)

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Illinois Prohibits Employers From Seeking Social Networking Passwords

On August 1, 2012, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a bill that prohibits employers from requesting or requiring employees or prospective employees from providing “any password or other related account information” to gain access to the individual’s social networking account. Ill. Public Act 097-0875. By enacting the legislation, Illinois joins Maryland as states that prohibit employers from obtaining social media account password information. The law amends the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act, 820 ILCS 55,…

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Here’s My Invite, so Friend Me, Maybe? Changing Notions of Privacy in Social Media

I first want to take a moment to thank the Marquette Law School Blog editorial faculty for inviting me to be the alumni blogger this month. I have enjoyed the content the MULS blog has offered since its inception, and I am honored to now be a part of it.

I primarily practice in management-side, labor and employment law in Wisconsin, but I have a special interest in how social media interacts with these practice areas. My posts will focus on various ways that social media collides with the law in this respect and others.

As a side note, I not only observe social media but I am a user, too. You can follow me on Twitter @jesse_dill. I typically Tweet about developments dealing with labor and employment law, Milwaukee, and the occasional grumblings about how my favorite teams are not meeting my perfectly reasonable (read: exceedingly high) expectations.

Social media services like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Instagram, and the like have quickly become the hot topic in my line of work because of their widespread use among employers and employees. Whether an employer wants to utilize a service for recruiting purposes or try to regulate its use by employees in the workplace, a host of fascinating issues arise while attempting to apply old legal theories to these new devices. (more…)

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Victory For ObamaCare!

The decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius is a victory for the supporters of the Affordable Care Act, and a fairly broad vindication for the constitutionality of the law.  Here are my initial thoughts: This is a big win for the Obama Administration.  The only portion of the law struck down is the Medicaid expansion provision, on the grounds that Congress cannot threaten to take away funds previously granted to the States if the States fail to…

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ObamaCare Is Still Constitutional

Today I particpated in another debate over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate.  At the invitation of the Milwaukee Chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society, I debated Robert Levy of the Cato Institute over luncheon at the Milwaukee Athletic Club.  My thanks to our hosts, to Mr. Levy, and to the audience.  Below are my prepared remarks.  My previous post on the consitutionality of the individual mandate can be viewed here.

In December 1783, George Washington gave a toast at a dinner celebrating the formal dissolution of the Revolutionary Army.  He did not use his toast to offer a tribute to individual liberty.  Nor did he sing the praises of limited government.  Instead, his toast was a simple expression of what he hoped the future would bring to our new nation. He raised his glass and he said: “Competent powers to Congress for general purposes.”

We must never forget that our Constitution is a document that was intended to create competent powers for Congress for general purposes.

Much of what Mr. Levy cites in oppostion to the individual mandate is based upon abstract principles.  However, when we interpret the Constitution, we do not begin with abstract theories of political philosophy, and then attempt to shoehorn those theories into the text.

Instead, when we interpret the Constitution, we begin by looking to the text itself.

The power to “regulate,” which is the power delegated to Congress under the Commerce Clause, is the power to prescribe the rules by which commerce is governed.  The word “regulate” means “to direct” or “to command.”  Therefore, the plain meaning of the word “regulate” in the text includes a grant to Congress of the power to require action. (more…)

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