The Non-Existent Garland Momentum

by Rich Lowry

The Left is desperate to create a sense of momentum for the Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland and hypes every sign of supposed Republican wavering. But the truth is that there is no momentum. The two Republican senators who favored a hearing and a vote from the beginning — Susan Collins and Mark Kirk — still favor a hearing and a vote. A third, Jerry Moran, had said the same thing, but he has now had a conversation with Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and accepts that a hearing and vote aren’t going to happen. So every indication continues to be that this nomination isn’t going anywhere, no matter how hard the Left tries to spin it otherwise.

Here is a statement from a senior Moran aide:

As Senator Moran has said, he is opposed to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. He has examined Judge Garland’s record and didn’t need hearings to conclude that the nominee’s judicial philosophy, disregard for Second Amendment Rights and sympathy for federal government bureaucracy make Garland unacceptable to serve on the Supreme Court. Senator Moran remains committed to preventing this president from putting another justice on the highest court in the land.

And a comment from Senator Grassley:

Sen. Moran called me about the Supreme Court vacancy.  I’m confident that he’s committed to ensuring the American people have an opportunity to make their voices heard during this pivotal election, and that the Senate should consider the nominee submitted by the next President.

WATCH: Jim Geraghty Expertly Slams Trump Advocates on CNN

Hillary: Only Looking Better By Comparison

by Jim Geraghty

In the head-to-head polling, Hillary Clinton has gone from a small lead over Donald Trump in the beginning of March to a large lead today. As recently as February, her lead was just 2.8 points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls; today it is 10.6 points — and that’s actually down a bit from last week, when it was an 11.2 percent spread. (These are mostly polls of registered voters, with a few likely voter polls thrown in.)

But if you look at Clinton’s overall favorability rating — i.e., do people like her, do they feel warmly or positively about her — her numbers have been flat or even slightly worse over the past month. (These polls are a mix of adults and registered voters.)

In other words, Clinton hasn’t made people like her that much more; she just looked better compared to Trump as March wore on.

You might think Hillary’s slight dip in her favorable rating represents pro-Bernie Sanders Democrats souring on her, but there’s been an interesting phenomenon at work in the Democratic primary; Hillary Clinton’s national level of support has been pretty consistent all along. In the RCP average, she’s at 51 percent to Sanders’ 42.4 percent. One month ago, on March 1, she was ahead… 49.6 percent to 40 percent. Back on February 1, she was ahead… 51.6 percent to 37.2 percent. On New Year’s Day, she was ahead, 54 percent to 30 percent. (The good news for Hillary is that she’s got a stable floor of support that is right around or just above 50 percent. The bad news is Bernie Sanders is slowly accumulating the large minority of Hillary skeptics — embarrassing, but unlikely to be fatal to her primary bid.)

The bottom line is that Hillary Clinton, as a candidate, hasn’t really changed or improved in this primary season. She’s the same uncomfortable, distrusted, heavily-scripted, inaccessible figure of the status quo she always was, a candidate who can be beaten by a normal opponent in normal circumstances. But because her flaws seem so much more palatable than Trump’s as he campaigns, she’s rising steadily. She isn’t becoming more likeable or popular; she just looks better than the likely Republican option. 

Yes, Universities Discriminate Against Conservatives

by David French

Why are there so few conservative professors in American higher education? University leftists like to say that it’s a combination of self-selection and intellectual interest. There are simply fewer conservatives who are interested in, say, sociology or art history. I’d buy “fewer,” but I simply don’t accept that “fewer” means “virtually none.” There is rampant discrimination in higher education, and it’s not against minorities — indeed, universities often violate state and federal law and their own policies in the quest to increase ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity. It’s against conservatives.

Writing yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, Georgetown University professor John Hasnas shares his experience on faculty search committees:

In the more than 20 years that I have been a professor at Georgetown University, I have been involved in many faculty searches. Every one begins with a strong exhortation from the administration to recruit more women and minority professors. We are explicitly reminded that every search is a diversity search. Administrators require submission of a plan to vigorously recruit applications from women and minority candidates.

Before we even begin our selection process, we must receive approval from the provost that our outreach efforts have been vigorous enough. The deans and deputy deans of each school reinforce the message that no expense should be spared to increase the genetic diversity of our faculty.

Yet, in my experience, no search committee has ever been instructed to increase political or ideological diversity. On the contrary, I have been involved in searches in which the chairman of the selection committee stated that no libertarian candidates would be considered. Or the description of the position was changed when the best résumés appeared to be coming from applicants with right-of-center viewpoints. Or in which candidates were dismissed because of their association with conservative or libertarian institutions.

The result is an academic world that is staggeringly one-sided:

According to data compiled by the Higher Education Research Institute, only 12% of university faculty identify as politically right of center, and these are mainly professors in schools of engineering and other professional schools. Only 5% of professors in the humanities and social-science departments so identify.

A comprehensive study by James Lindgren of Northwestern University Law School shows that in a country fairly evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, only 13% of law professors identify as Republican. And a recent study by Jonathan Haidt of New York University showed that 96% of social psychologists identify as left of center, 3.7% as centrist/moderate and only 0.03% as right of center.

One can learn a lot about an institution by examining where it is willing to test the limits. American universities test the legal limits to admit ever-more liberal minorities while it tests (and exceeds) the legal limits in its quest to exclude conservatives. Breaking through the ivy-covered walls will require a multi-front effort — with outstanding conservative scholars knocking on the doors at the same time that leading conservative lawyers make an example out of the most egregious offenders. Moreover, conservative lawmakers must exercise appropriate oversight on the public institutions in their jurisdictions.

Parents are paying tens of thousands of dollars to send their children to glorified propaganda mills, where students (to borrow my friend Greg Lukianoff’s excellent phrase) “unlearn liberty.” You can call this “college,” but don’t dare call it an “education.”

Scottish Police: Be Nice Online or We’ll Come Get You

by Charles C. W. Cooke

Not a parody:

Okay, I’ve thought. And now I’m going to post. How about, instead of being monitored by the cops, the free people of Scotland write pretty much whatever they like online — extremely narrow incitement exceptions notwithstanding – and their servants in the police do something else with their time? Something like, say, solving the country’s 77 outstanding murder cases? Or reading John Stuart Mill.

Chicago Teachers Union Strike No April Fools’ Joke

by James Sherk

More than 300,000 Chicago children are missing school today because their teachers’ union wants taxes to rise. Unfortunately, this is not an April Fools’ prank. The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is actually striking for higher taxes.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) does not have a record of success. One-third of the district’s students fail to graduate. This happens despite the district paying some of the highest teacher salaries in America. Rising pension costs have now pushed the district into a major deficit. Teacher pension benefits have quintupled over the past 30 years — well over twice the inflation rate. The average career teacher in CPS can now expect over $2 million in lifetime retirement benefits.

To close this deficit, CPS offered the union major concessions. It offered to cap enrollment in (largely non-union) charter schools and relax teacher evaluation standards. In exchange, the district wanted educators to contribute more toward their pensions and health-care benefits.

The Chicago Teachers Union considered that unacceptable. It wants state legislators to raise taxes instead. So the union called the one-day strike to pressure them to do exactly that.

This shows why collective bargaining does not belong in government. Government unions pressure policymakers to make working for government more comfortable. That is their job. Of course, in a democracy, citizens often lobby their representatives for preferred policies. But collective bargaining enables government unions to go much further: They can shut down the government to get their way.

Consequently, voters’ elected representatives no longer have the final say. They must instead bargain — as equal partners — with government unions. Again and again, government unions block changes that voters support but the unions dislike.

Chicagoans elected Mayor Emmanuel on a platform of improving public schools. The 2012 teachers’ strike forced him to water down his education reforms. Illinois voters turfed former governor Pat Quinn after he hiked the state income tax. Now the CTU wants the legislature to raise taxes anyway.

In a democracy, no special-interest group should have such power. Why should CPS need to offer to curtail charter-school enrollment in order to adjust its benefit policies? Or negotiate over how rigorously to evaluate teachers?

The government exists to serve the public good. But collective bargaining forces government to put its own employees’ interests first. This April 1 Chicago’s students, parents, and taxpayers have learned just how foolish that is.

Don’t Just Stand There: Freedom Day Is Coming

by Jack Fowler

If Earth Day got every kid worried about recycling, why not have a day to get them thinking and celebrating the blessings of liberty? A few good folks pondered that concept and came up with a grand idea: Freedom Day, the second annual of which will be this April 13th, to be marked and honored primarily at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, but possibly also celebrated in a neighborhood or at a campus or school near you. The City of Brotherly Love shebang will feature participation from a broad spectrum of interests and organizations (from Facebook to FIRE to the ACLU) with the aim of encouraging “people of all ages to explore how Americans’ freedoms of speech and expression are exercised, threatened, and protected.”

You don’t have to be in Philly to celebrate: Colleges are being urged to host campus free-speech events, and maybe you can nudge your town officials or local elementary and high schools to take advantage of the terrific materials the Freedom Day folks have created. (We dare you to download the Amendment Cootie Catchers.)

Why the South Carolina Delegate Intrigue Is Less Than It Appears to Be

by Jim Geraghty

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

Why the South Carolina Delegate Intrigue Is Less Than It Appears to Be

At first glance, this looks like a good, intriguing controversy . . . 

The Palmetto State was one of several that required candidates to pledge their loyalty to the party’s eventual nominee in order to secure a slot on the primary ballot. Though Trump won all of the state’s delegates in the Februaary 20 primary, anti-Trump forces are plotting to contest their binding to Trump because of his threat on the pledge Tuesday.

The loyalty pledge is nothing new in South Carolina, where it has been required for decades, but took on new focus in light of Trump’s public musings about a third-party run or withdrawing his support from the eventual nominee if he is stopped at a contested convention.

When asked about if he still would pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee during a town hall Tuesday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Trump said “No. I don’t anymore,” adding that he has been “treated very unfairly.”

For what it’s worth, South Carolina Republican-party chairman Matt Moore declared on Twitter, “Regarding delegate questions today: To be clear, no one is seeking to unbind ANY of South Carolina’s national delegates.”

But this is probably going to be moot. Let’s say Trump goes into Cleveland with 1,237 ballots or more. Under that scenario, he’s obviously going to honor his pledge to “support the nominees and platform of the Republican Party in the November 8, 2016 general election” — he’ll have a solid claim to be the nominee because he won the required number of delegates, and he’ll be supporting himself. Could the South Carolina delegates claim, “Well, back in March, you told CNN you wouldn’t support the nominee, so based on that off-the-cuff comment, we’re free to break the one thing we’re explicitly obligated to do under the party rules”? Sure, they could try, but if you think Trump supporters are outraged now, imagine how they’ll be when they have a legitimate claim that the nomination has been taken from them.

Next let’s assume the more likely scenario, that Trump goes into Cleveland with the most delegates but fewer than 1,237. Then, none of this matters, because delegates from South Carolina are bound only on the first ballot:

After that first ballot, the delegates are free to support whomever they like — Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, or some other option.