HomeUncategorized7.1-4 Prelude to and July 4th Open Threads
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jcitybone

Thanks orl.

jcitybone

Roberts can’t take the more than justified criticism.

https://newrepublic.com/article/174047/john-roberts-begs-liberal-justices-stop-criticizing-court

The most striking portion of the Supreme Court’s student loan relief decision isn’t the decision itself, as significant as it is. The justices on Friday blocked President Joe Biden’s order to forgive billions of dollars of student loan debt in Biden v. Nebraska, ruling that he had violated federal law by trying to wipe away up to $20,000 in debt for each of millions of borrowers last year. As many as 40 million Americans will lose out on student debt relief as a result.

Nor is it the majority’s questionable analysis of standing that let it hand down the ruling in the first place. The lawsuit, filed by a coalition of Republican-led states, hinged on whether they could act on behalf of MOHELA, a federal student loan servicer created by the Missouri legislature. MOHELA has an independent legal personality and chose to not challenge the executive order on its own. That’s OK, the court said—Missouri and other states can just do it on their behalf.

What really stands out is the final paragraph of Chief Justice John Roberts’s majority opinion. Ever the institutionalist, he takes issue with criticism of the court by some of its own members who fault it for overstepping its powers. “It has become a disturbing feature of some recent opinions to criticize the decisions with which they disagree as going beyond the proper role of the judiciary,” Roberts laments. He argues that they reached Friday’s ruling based on normal judicial methods of statutory interpretation.

“Reasonable minds may disagree with our analysis—in fact, at least three do,” the chief justice concludes, referring to the court’s three liberal members who dissented from Friday’s ruling. “We do not mistake this plainly heartfelt disagreement for disparagement. It is important that the public not be misled either. Any such misperception would be harmful to this institution and our country.”

Nobody likes to be criticized. As someone who also has to write things that the public reads—albeit to a much smaller audience and with much lower stakes—I can sympathize with that sentiment. At the same time, it is hard to square Roberts’s plea to not claim the court is exceeding its authority at the conclusion of an opinion in which it does just that.

Roberts, writing for the court, rules that the federal law which the Biden administration invoked to forgive large amounts of student debt did not authorize it. “The Secretary asserts that the HEROES Act grants him the authority to cancel $430 billion of student loan principal,” he writes. “It does not. We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to ‘waive or modify’ existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up.”

The 6–3 ruling fell along the court’s usual ideological divide. In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan writes that “in every respect, the court today exceeds its proper, limited role in our Nation’s governance.” She castigates the majority for concluding that Missouri and a coalition of other Republican-led states had the legal standing necessary to challenge the order.

“[The court] declines to respect Congress’s decision to give broad emergency powers to the secretary,” Kagan wrote. “It strikes down his lawful use of that authority to provide student-loan assistance. It does not let the political system, with its mechanisms of accountability, operate as normal. It makes itself the decision-maker on, of all things, federal student-loan policy. And then, perchance, it wonders why it has only compounded the ‘sharp debates’ in the country?”

Biden’s order sought to erase up to $10,000 of student loan debt for borrowers who made less than $125,000 a year. Borrowers who also obtained Pell grants could receive up to $20,000 in relief. The Biden administration estimated that the order would erase as much as $400 billion in student loan debt and that it would affect as many as 40 million Americans.

For legal authority, the White House cited the Heroes Act of 2003, a law drafted by Congress during the early stages of the Iraq War that replaced a temporary version enacted after the September 11 attacks. It allows the Department of Education to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision” involving federal student loan programs. While the law was originally meant to help Iraq War veterans avoid student loan repayment issues during the war, Congress phrased it to apply to national emergencies in general.

To that end, when the Covid-19 pandemic first struck the United States in 2020, then–Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos invoked the Heroes Act to suspend student debt payments and the accrual of interest. The move was part of a raft of policy maneuvers that Congress and the Trump administration engaged in after the American economy partially collapsed that spring. The Biden administration continued the debt-repayment pause and, last year, added on additional forms of relief by wiping away a certain amount of debt for each borrower.

Republicans strongly opposed that level of relief when it was announced. At the time, however, even they acknowledged that it would be extremely difficult to challenge in court. To bring a lawsuit, a would-be plaintiff would have to show that they were injured in some way by the executive order. Without an injury, there’s nothing for the court to fix, and if there’s nothing for the court to fix, there’s no reason for it to hear the case. The Constitution only allows the courts to hear “cases and controversies,” not issue freewheeling advisory opinions.

Who is possibly injured by having $10,000 in debt removed from your student loans? Certainly not the individual borrowers who received that relief, despite some tortured attempts to claim otherwise. In a separate ruling on Friday, the justices unanimously rejected a too-clever-by-half lawsuit by two individual borrowers who were recruited by right-wing legal activists. The borrowers claimed that the order was invalid for procedural reasons and that, if it were redone properly, they might receive even more debt relief. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for all nine justices in Dept. of Education v. Brown, rejected that argument out of hand.

In Biden v. Nebraska, a coalition of Republican-led state attorneys general sought to overturn the order. How could states possibly have standing, you might ask? They do not go to college, after all. The residents of a state may go to college, but the state couldn’t sue on their behalf because they don’t have standing either. And while every state operates its own colleges and universities, those schools get the tuition payments no matter what happens to the student debt that follows, so there’s no injury—and thus no standing—to be found there.

The Republican attorneys general clung to MOHELA as their vehicle to stop the Biden administration. Missouri’s legislature created the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority in the 1980s to act as a servicer for federal student loans. MOHELA has its own independent legal personality, meaning it can file lawsuits and defend itself from litigation on its own. MOHELA has filed no such lawsuit to challenge the debt-relief order, nor does it appear interested in filing one, even though it purportedly stood to lose out on an estimated $44 million in fees if the order went into effect.

Not to worry, the Supreme Court said on Friday. Since the order would affect MOHELA’s revenues, and thus potentially make it harder to “help” Missouri students “access student loans,” as Roberts puts it, Missouri naturally has a legal interest in the welfare of one of its “instrumentalities.” Kagan sharply disagrees with how the court misread its own precedents on the matter, as well as its ultimate conclusion.

jcitybone

Part 2

For starters, Kagan notes, not even Missouri has claimed that anything affecting MOHELA will necessarily hurt Missouri borrowers, and it probably couldn’t claim that because MOHELA doesn’t actually issue student loans. “MOHELA is not a lender; it services loans others have made,” she points out. And even if that weren’t true, she notes, it is a canonical rule of standing that states can never sue the federal government based on alleged harms to the state’s residents.

“Missouri needs to show that the harm to MOHELA produces harm to the State itself,” Kagan explained. “And because, as explained above, MOHELA was set up (as corporations typically are) to insulate its creator from such derivative harm, Missouri is incapable of making that showing. The separateness, both financial and legal, between MOHELA and Missouri makes MOHELA alone the proper party.” She also pointedly noted that Roberts himself had previously opposed broad versions of state standing.

“If MOHELA had brought this suit, we would have had to resolve it, however hot or divisive. But Missouri?” Kagan concludes. “In adjudicating Missouri’s claim, the majority reaches out to decide a matter it has no business deciding. It blows through a constitutional guardrail intended to keep courts acting like courts.”

On the merits, Roberts and Kagan also duel over how to read language that the secretary could “waive or modify” student loan provisions. Roberts, writing for the court, rules that the Biden administration could not “rewrite that statute from the ground up.” His view that it was a radical shift from the text suffuses the opinion. “What the Secretary has actually done is draft a new section of the Education Act from scratch by ‘waiving’ provisions root and branch and then filling the empty space with radically new text,” Roberts wrote, referring to the requirement that the administration report on any changes to Congress.

Kagan, by comparison, concludes that Congress gave broad authority to the executive branch to rewrite student loan provisions during a national emergency, and the executive branch used that broad authority to do it. “How does the majority avoid this conclusion?” she asks, rhetorically. “By picking the statute apart, and addressing each segment of Congress’s authorization as if it had nothing to do with the others.” Roberts’s interpretation, she noted, makes the Heroes Act useless for future national emergencies because the court has rejected what it described as any “novel and fundamentally different loan forgiveness program.”

Perhaps the area where Kagan expresses the most frustration is on the court’s invocation of the major questions doctrine, a newfangled legal doctrine where the court claims it can block executive branch actions if it thinks Congress did not speak “clearly enough” on a matter of “vast economic and political significance.” Kagan and the doctrine’s many other critics see it as a vehicle for the court to ignore broadly written statutes and substitute its own policy preferences for those of the elected branches of government.

“Congress may have wanted the secretary to have wide discretion during emergencies to offer relief to student-loan borrowers,” she writes. “Congress in fact drafted a statute saying as much. And the secretary acted under that statute in a way that subjects the president he serves to political accountability—the judgment of voters. But none of that is enough. This Court objects to Congress’s permitting the Secretary (and other agency officials) to answer so-called major questions.”

At least two justices in the majority gave reason to believe that their concerns with student debt relief were not strictly about its legality. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined Roberts’s opinion, appeared to take issue with relief on policy grounds during the Nebraska oral arguments. “What I think [the states] argue that is missing is costs to other persons in terms of fairness, for example, people who have paid their loans, people who don’t plan their lives around not seeking loans, and people who are not eligible for loans in the first place, and that a half a trillion dollars is being diverted to one group of favored persons over others,” he told Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

So did Roberts himself. “Since we’re dealing in a case with individual borrowers or would-be borrowers, I think it appropriate to consider some of the fairness arguments,” he said in an exchange with Prelogar during the Brown oral arguments. He hypothesized about a person declining to take student loans to attend college in favor of taking out loans to start a lawn-care service. A person who goes to college, Roberts noted, will likely have a higher lifetime income than a person who does not.

“Nobody’s telling the person who is trying to set up the lawn service business that he doesn’t have to pay his loan,” the chief justice then claimed during oral arguments. “He still does, even though his tax dollars are going to support the forgiveness of the loan for the college graduate, who’s now going to make a lot more than him over the course of his lifetime.”

“I may have views on the fairness of that and mine don’t count,” he continued. “We like to usually leave situations of that sort, when you’re talking about spending the government’s money, which is the taxpayers’ money, to the people in charge of the money, which is Congress.” Everything is going fine. At this point, Roberts and the dissenters are still on the same page about the proper role of the judiciary in a democratic society.

Then things fall apart. “Now why isn’t that a factor that should enter into our consideration under the major-questions doctrine again, where we look at things a little more strictly than we might otherwise when we’re talking about statutory grants of authority, to make sure that this is something that Congress would have contemplated?” Roberts asked.

I could write at length on a weekly basis about how the “major questions doctrine” and its vague terminology gives judges room to nix the policy judgments of Congress and the executive branch in favor of their own. What is a question of “vast political and economic significance” and what isn’t? How “clearly” does Congress need to “speak” to pass the court’s muster? Fortunately, Roberts has done that better than I ever could. You could see the wheels turn in that monologue where he acknowledged that this “fairness” question is properly answered by the elected branches, not by him. And then he finds a skeleton key that lets him answer it anyway.

Roberts, for his part, notes in Friday’s opinion that Kagan didn’t really challenge the application of that doctrine in this case. “Aside from reiterating its interpretation of the statute, the dissent offers little to rebut our conclusion that ‘indicators from our previous major-questions cases are present’ here,” he complained, quoting from a concurring opinion by Justice Amy Coney Barrett that discussed the doctrine in greater detail. Kagan likely did not feel the need to rebut the particulars of the doctrine because it is, in her view, “made up.” Roberts might as well ask why Buzz Aldrin doesn’t engage with people who think the Moon landing was faked.

That brings us back to Roberts’s initial note of concern: that people might be disparaging the court by saying it was overreaching itself. “At the behest of a party that has suffered no injury, the majority decides a contested public policy issue properly belonging to the politically accountable branches and the people they represent,” Kagan replies. “In saying so, and saying so strongly, I do not at all ‘disparage’ those who disagree. The majority is right to make that point, as well as to say that ‘reasonable minds’ are found on both sides of this case. And there is surely nothing personal in the dispute here.”

Despite that olive branch, she does not relent in her criticism of the majority’s approach and notes that expressing it is essential to her duty as a justice on the court. “But justices throughout history have raised the alarm when the Court has overreached—when it has exceeded its proper, limited role in our Nation’s governance,” she writes, repeating her opening line. “It would have been ‘disturbing,’ and indeed damaging, if they had not. The same is true in our own day.”

To borrow a phrase from Roberts, the best way to stop criticism that the court is “going beyond the proper role of the judiciary” is for the court to stop going beyond the proper role of the judiciary. The conservative majority went out of its way, both on standing and on reading the Heroes Act, to find a way to kill Biden’s student debt relief order. It did so while some of the justices, including the opinion’s author, expressed deep misgivings with it on purely policy grounds. If the public might naturally conclude that the court is not really acting like a court in this case, that is not the public’s or the dissenters’ fault, but the court’s own.

jcitybone

https://apnews.com/article/tennessee-expelled-lawmakers-fundraising-pearson-561e8237fc470f05942c123ec40181e3

Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson raised about $860,000 through some 31,700 campaign donations after Tennessee Republican lawmakers abruptly moved to expel him and two other Democrats for a gun control protest on the House floor, his campaign said.

The short-lived expulsion propelled the Memphis environmental activist, a fresh face just months into his first term, to become a nationally watched progressive figure who sat in the Oval Office.

His quick fame translated into a wave of campaign cash largely because Republicans opened the door for Pearson and fellow expelled Rep. Justin Jones of Nashville to accept donations from across the country just when the spotlight centered on them. Had Republican lawmakers left the two young Black lawmakers in office, they would’ve been banned from raising cash because a legislative session was ongoing.

Instead, in just two months, Pearson attracted, through average donations of about $27, an amount of campaign cash similar to what the Republican House speaker raised all of last year and into early 2023 through his campaign and his political action committee combined. The vast majority of Pearson’s haul — $814,000 — poured in during the week when he had been kicked out, but not yet reinstated.

“To see so much support, particularly from these tens of thousands of small-dollar donations, is a testament to what I believe is a people-powered movement, which is that we all have something to contribute, and our little bits of contribution makes a lot,” Pearson told The Associated Press.

The preliminary fundraising numbers Pearson’s campaign shared with the AP reveal just a partial picture of how much Democrats were able to capitalize after the Black lawmakers were expelled for protesting for GOP to pass gun control measures after the deadly shooting at a Christian school in Tennessee’s capital city. Their white colleague who joined them in protest, Rep. Gloria Johnson of Knoxville, was spared by a single vote. Local officials reinstated Pearson and Jones within days.

The Jones and Johnson teams have yet to comment on how much they have raised.

Democrats have been relegated to the superminority in both legislative chambers for years, limiting their recourse mainly to complaining when Republicans want to halt debates quickly, or waive other House rules. Pearson and other Democrats hope the fundraising wave can help them cut into that margin.

Kent Syler, a Middle Tennessee State University political science professor, said Pearson’s fundraising could have an impact, and given how very few competitive legislative districts there are in Tennessee — a net gain of even a few seats could be a win for Democrats.

“That amount of money is a testament to, really, how badly this issue went for House Republicans,” Syler said. “It gave Democrats an incredible platform in Tennessee that they haven’t had in a couple of decades.”

Benny

The Tennesee 3 represent the direction the Dem Party should aspire to.

Benny

Dave Dayen

Supreme Court Decides Fake Plaintiffs Are Good Plaintiffs

Approximately 43 million Americans were made between $10,000 and $20,000 poorer today (plus interest) thanks to six Republican lawyers from Harvard and Yale. They decided that a program based on a statute intended to modify student loan balances in the event of an emergency could not modify student loan balances in the event of the COVID-19 emergency. And they did it by claiming that a plaintiff was injured by this program, when that plaintiff did not petition the Court over its injury, had no involvement in the case, and would likely not be injured by the program.

This is the upside-down world in which the Supreme Court dealt a fatal blow to the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation program. Advocates and members of Congress are now calling for a Plan B, to enact debt relief by some other means; for various reasons, I doubt that the administration will take that opportunity. But what should not be ignored is the way in which the nation’s highest court relies on dodgy theories and facts not in evidence to make the pronouncements it wants.

The plaintiffs in the two student loan cases, one of which was so preposterous that it was thrown out unanimously for lack of standing (that was the one where two borrowers said they didn’t have a chance to make public comment to get more debt relief, and that the remedy should be that nobody gets debt relief), simply didn’t like that borrowers would have some debt canceled, on ideological grounds. Nobody seriously contests this as their aim. But in American law, at least in theory, you have to have standing to sue: A party would have to be harmed by 43 million people getting debt relief, and eliminating the debt relief would have to redress this harm.

The Roberts Court, with the chief justice writing for the majority, believes they found one in the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), a student loan servicer that stands to lose $44 million in servicing fees from debts that would be wholly canceled, according to the state of Missouri’s calculations. There’s one problem: MOHELA is not a plaintiff in the case. MOHELA in fact didn’t know about the case until hearing news reports, played no role in the case, opposed the case from being brought, and would not give the state of Missouri evidence for the case until required by state sunshine laws. We know all this from internal documents and public statements by MOHELA.

Even if MOHELA went ahead and sued, the contract they signed to accept federal student loans for servicing stipulates explicitly that the government has “sole discretion” to remove contracts from servicers, that the contractor cannot “object or protest,” and that the contractor “waives and releases all current or future claims” related to this. Perhaps this is why MOHELA did not sue in this case. Moreover, MOHELA stood to gain from debt cancellation on net, because it would get an estimated $61 million in fees to process forgiveness (more than Missouri said they would lose), and it would eliminate legal liability from botching Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) claims, and many of those loans would have been extinguished in debt cancellation.

Roberts dismisses MOHELA’s lack of involvement, and ignores its lack of injury. To him, a “harm to MOHELA is also a harm to Missouri.” He writes that it is a “public instrumentality” established by the state, with a board that has state officials and others appointed by state officials, which oversees MOHELA and can abolish it. Therefore, MOHELA didn’t have to get involved with the lawsuit, because it’s part of the state itself.

What should not be ignored is the way in which the nation’s highest court relies on dodgy theories and facts not in evidence to make the pronouncements it wants.

Justice Elena Kagan, in her dissent, made quick work of this argument. She notes that MOHELA has the power under state law to file suit, yet it was explicitly not involved in this case. MOHELA is also “financially independent from Missouri—as corporations typically are, the better to insulate their creators from financial loss,” Kagan writes. MOHELA’s assets are its alone, as are its debts. “So MOHELA’s revenue decline—the injury in fact claimed to justify this suit—is not in fact Missouri’s.”

In other words, Missouri set up MOHELA with a separate corporate identity, a separate legal function, a separate financial function, and a separate contracting function. Yet when Missouri needed MOHELA to give life to their ideological opposition to student debt relief, it dragooned them into the case, the first time in MOHELA’s history that Missouri decided to sue on their behalf. Kagan amusingly cites a case from just last week, Haaland v. Brackeen, where the same Court decided a state cannot sue the government on behalf of its citizens. So it had to find some harm, and it pulled in MOHELA. “Is there a person in America who thinks Missouri is here because it is worried about MOHELA’s loss of loan-servicing fees? I would like to meet him,” Kagan correctly writes.

Regardless, John Roberts and his colleagues, at odds with prior precedent (the Missouri Supreme Court in a nearly identical case ruled that a public instrumentality was, in fact, separate from the state), allowed the state to assert the rights of an unwilling third party. This breaks with the typical conservative tactic of limiting standing and access to courts, as Kagan points out, quoting Roberts himself about how “utterly manipulable” standing law had become in the 1970s. “In adjudicating Missouri’s claim, the majority reaches out to decide a matter it has no business deciding,” Kagan writes. “It blows through a constitutional guardrail intended to keep courts acting like courts.”

But Roberts and company swiftly moved to the merits, where they employed their invented “major questions” doctrine to decide that the HEROES Act, which gives the secretary of education the authority to “waive or modify” student loan rules in an emergency, doesn’t allow the secretary to waive or modify too much. There’s no upper bound set on how much you can waive or modify; it’s more of a thing that conservative justices know when they see it. Ian Millhiser can give you the dirty details on this particular bit of lawlessness.

I recognize that this is all now sadly history. But it’s important on its own terms. On the same day that the Court violated standing rules to decide the fate of 43 million borrowers based on an unwilling (and apparently, unharmed) plaintiff, it also decided that a website designer had the First Amendment right to deny services to a gay couple based on an entirely fake solicitation for a wedding website, which that designer does not and has never made. We talk about the corruption of the judiciary based on its leading justices taking travel junkets with billionaires. But there is a subtler corruption, whereby the Court picks up whatever facts, whether true or untrue, and wields them as weapons to decide cases that fit their prior beliefs.

A final postscript: Advocates are now calling on President Biden to come up with a Plan B to cancel student debt. He could actually move to Plan A. When this magazine and others argued that a president has the authority to cancel student debt, before there was such a thing as COVID-19, we based it on the Higher Education Act of 1965 and its “compromise and settlement” authority to deal with outstanding debts. This could enable the secretary of education to modify or cancel debts, per that theory.

Many observers, all the way up to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, are demanding this. “The Biden administration has remaining legal routes to provide broad-based student debt cancellation,” Schumer wrote in a statement after the ruling. But I should point out that Roberts already tried to preempt the Higher Education Act strategy in his majority opinion. He writes that the HEA “authorizes the Secretary to cancel or reduce loans, but only in certain limited circumstances and to a particular extent,” which he then enumerates (wrongly, I might add, claiming that “bankrupt borrowers may have their loans forgiven,” when the 2005 bankruptcy law severely limited that exercise).

There’s really no doubt in my mind that, if the administration tried again, Roberts and this same majority would go right back to this and say that the statute limits the ability to do any kind of mass cancellation, regardless of the plain words of the statute. And there’s no doubt that they’ll stretch as far as possible finding some plaintiff with an imagined injury on whose behalf they can rule.

I believe as strongly as anyone in the president’s authority to execute the nation’s laws. This case doesn’t deter me from that general belief; the only way to make progress is to try to make progress. But in this instance, six unelected men and women in robes are determined to contribute to the suffering of millions of young people. Without action to check their power, they’ll get away with it.

Benny

Seems to me the CEO’s of consumer transportation agencies show solidarity for their services by riding on the planes. This illustrates ultimate privilege in that you don’t believe in your own product/service to get you home in a timely manner, so you jet home on a Leer plane.

Benny

TSMC to Bring 500+ More Migrant Workers to Arizona

The world’s largest contract chipmaker will import hundreds of workers from Taiwan to help build its sprawling new facility in Phoenix, Arizona, the company announced on Thursday.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and its suppliers plan to bring “more than 500” migrant workers to Phoenix for a limited time, due to “labor shortages and other factors,” according to Nikkei Asia.

The news comes a week after the Prospect published an investigation of labor problems plaguing the TSMC site, which currently employs over 12,000 contract workers. Some described life-threatening injuries, while others detailed setbacks in construction that they alleged were caused by non-union contractors. The company has refused to sign an agreement with local labor groups, which union leaders say would help secure a reliable workforce.

“It’s a fucking disgrace,” Aaron Butler, president of the Arizona Building Trades Council, told the Prospect in response to the news that the company would bring more overseas workers.

In recent months, TSMC has issued a drumbeat of complaints over high labor and regulatory costs in the United States. The criticisms come as the company angles to receive tax credits and grants from recent federal legislation totaling up to $15 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Todd Achilles, a former tech executive who now researches semiconductor markets, described TSMC’s publicizing its grievances as press positioning.

TSMC said it has struggled to secure needed talent for its technically complex projects. “There is skilled expertise that we require for specific TSMC Arizona construction activities. We are bringing to Arizona select specialized talent for limited timeframes to build and ramp what will be the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology in the U.S.,” a spokesperson for the company told the Prospect in an earlier statement. TSMC did not respond to requests for comment on Thursday.

Migrants on work visas are already employed at the TSMC fab, the Prospect found in its previous reporting. Union representatives argue that reliance on migrant workers, whose visas would be secured by TSMC or its suppliers, can make it harder to improve working conditions, since migrants have little leverage to push back on the company that secured their residency.

According to Nikkei, TSMC is in talks with U.S. government officials for help expediting visas for temporary workers, who could arrive as soon as this month. TSMC said in its earlier statement to the Prospect that despite its decision to bring in foreign workers, “there will be no impact to our U.S.-based hiring, or construction personnel onsite.”

Yet on Thursday, union representatives were already racing to catch up with what some interpreted as early signs of displacement.

Luke Kasper, a representative of the sheet metal workers union (SMART), said that one of his union contractors at the site, working on an open-ended “time and materials” contract, was told to turn over their materials, since TSMC was removing them from that scope of work.

“They asked for a reason why and they weren’t given a reason why, but it sure sounds to me like they [TSMC] are testing the waters to see if they can do it faster or cheaper,” Kasper said.

A second SMART-affiliated contractor called on Thursday, Kasper said. “Hey, there’s a tool in the fab that is [another SMART contractor’s] tool, but we just wanted to let you know we see a bunch of Taiwanese people installing their ductwork on the tool, and they’re doing all the work on it,” Kasper recalled being told.

The White House has said that the CHIPS Act, like other recent investment packages, was intended to bring good-paying union manufacturing jobs back onshore.

“The United States is a top destination for companies across the globe looking to make investments because we have a world-class, highly skilled, committed workforce—union labor,” President Biden said at an inaugural ceremony at the TSMC plant last year.

Local union leaders say they have been let down.

“Why would our government give a corporation money if our workers aren’t going to do the work? I don’t agree with that at all,” Kasper said. “Isn’t the whole purpose of the CHIPS Act and everything to bring jobs to Americans, of all sexes and colors?”

A Department of Commerce spokesperson declined to comment on whether the CHIPS program would consider TSMC’s reliance on migrant workers as it evaluates the company’s application for federal subsidy, saying the department cannot weigh in on potential applicants.

This is precisely one of the issues Bernie raised over the Build Back Better/Inflation Reduction Acts – whereby the regulations are so lax, companies ignore them. Oh, but they want the money, despite all of conservative efforts to say “we want less government spending.”

Benny

He lays out the problem beautifully here, with a shoutout to Dave Dayen at The American Prospect.

Benny

This is not likely one of the punitive measures if Trump finally gets convicted, but I’d like to see Trump not be able to run for office again after this cycle. (no one will disallow him from running now)

Benny

Benny

Benny

What kind of headline is this?

Supreme Court delivered big conservative wins, and a mixed message

SCOTUS is not elected.

wi66

Just a couple related to out esteemed USSC

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Benny

Benny

Benny