Civitas Review

Poll: Parents want right to opt-out



If you're concerned about education, the June Civitas Poll has some interesting and encouraging results. Among other things, the poll asks questions on school choice and data collection efforts to help create a "child profile". We'll feature results on individual questions on this blog in the coming days.

Today lets talk about parental attitudes toward creation of a "child profile." Our poll asked:

Government agencies want to collect performance data on students for research purposes. The Department of Public Instruction is implementing  a new assessment rating system which would begin with 5 year olds in Kindergarten. The data collected will begin a “child profile,” and be stored electronically in the cloud. With that in mind, would you support or oppose providing parents the ability to opt-out their child from this rating system and data collection? 

Responses divided along the following lines:

69 percent Total Support
21 percent Total Oppose
55 percent Strongly Support
14 percent Strongly Support
9 percent Somewhat Oppose
12 percent Strongly Oppose
9 Don't Know/ Need more information.

The numbers indicate that parents clearly want to know what data is being collected about students. Moreover, parents want to choose whether to participate in such efforts. Now if only our local districts thought the same way….

Should the South Ban '18'?


NC Capitol Connection's Matt Caulder continues his columns on the Confederate flag controversy. In this one, he reflects on how a symbol may have multiple meanings. That is, neo-Nazis have appropriated the number 18, because Adolf Hitler's initials are the first and eighth letters of the alphabet. So do we skip 18, just as some buildings once omitted an "unlucky" 13th floor?

More to the point, if the Ku Klux Klan uses the Confederate flag as a symbol of hatred, even in the North, what does that have to do with those who see the flag as a symbol of regional pride? Check out the column and its companion pieces for insights on this issue.

CLF Talks with Chad Adams about Obamacare, Transparency, and More


Yesterday, I sat down with Chad Adams of the Freedom Action Network  to discuss the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act, as well as what the Center for Law and Freedom is and what we are up to. If you missed the interview, you can listen to it in its entirety here.

Anyone with additional questions about the activities of the Center for Law and Freedom can contact us at

The Best Lines from Scalia's King v. Burwell Dissent


Every cloud has its silver lining. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court again bending over backwards to uphold the Affordable Care Act, the good news is that we get to read yet another scathing Scalia dissent. In writing that the Court has essentially rewritten the law to accommodate the IRS's desired interpretation, Justice Scalia once again reminded of us how he pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.

His dissent began in typical fashion:

The Court holds that when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says "Exchange established by the State" it means "Exchange established by the State or the Federal Government." That is of course quite absurd, and the Court's 21 pages of explanation make it no less so.

He then commented on the majority's interpretation of the clear words of the Affordable Care Act:

Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is "established by the State." It is hard to come up with a clearer way to limit tax credits to state Exchanges than to use the words "established by the State." And it is hard to come up with a reason to include the words "by the State" other than the purpose of limiting credits to state Exchanges.

However, Justice Scalia suggests that normal rules of interpretation do not matter to Chief Justice Roberts:

Under all the usual rules of interpretation, in short, the Government should lose this case. But normal rules of interpretation seem always to yield to the overriding principle of the present Court: The Affordable Care Act must be saved.

And that wasn't the end of it —

Having transformed two major parts of the law [in past decisions], the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an "Exchanges established by the State." This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

Finally, Scalia noted the damage that today's decision and others like it have done to the reputation of the Supreme Court:

[T]his Court's two decisions on the [ACA] will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ("penalty" means tax, "further [Medical] payments to the State" means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, "establishment by the State" means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites. I dissent.

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