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Will Prince Andrew Pay His Way Out of His Epstein Mess?

Jon Thys/Getty

Prince Andrew may well end up making a financial settlement with Virginia Giuffre, legal experts have told The Daily Beast, after lawyers for the prince participated at the 11th hour in the American legal process this week.

Any such settlement would, of course, likely be couched in carefully negotiated verbiage specifying that Andrew did not admit to anything untoward. There would be no official admission of guilt. Individuals would be left to draw their own conclusions as to what such a payment would signify.

Giuffre’s legal team did not respond to a request by The Daily Beast for comment. However that team, led by attorney David Boies, has clearly cast the civil lawsuit as a moral crusade, saying in court filings, for example, that it is “long past the time for [Andrew] to be held to account,” suggesting that any settlement that explicitly exonerated Andrew might be a bitter pill to swallow.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Supporters of gun control and firearm safety measures hold a protest rally outside the Supreme Court as the justices hear oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York on December 2, 2019. | Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images More than a century of gun laws are potentially on the chopping block. For nearly all its history, the Supreme Court kept its distance from gun policy. Now it’s about to decide a case that could radically reduce the government’s power to regulate guns. The Second Amendment states explicitly that it exists to protect “a well regulated Militia,” and until fairly recently, the Court took these four words very seriously. As a unanimous Court explained in United States v. Miller(1939), the “obvious purpose” of the Second Amendment was to “render possible the effectiveness” of militias, and the amendment must be “interpreted and applied with that end in view.” Because the kinds of militias that concerned the framers in the 1790s are now an anachronism, Miller’s approach gave states broad authority to regulate guns. That all changed with the Court’s 5-4 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), which held for the first time in American history that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own a gun for personal “self-defense.” And yet Heller was only a partial victory for the gun lobby. The Court’s opinion is thick with language explaining that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited,” and it even enumerates several very important limits on gun rights. As conservative Justice Samuel Alito complained in a 2020 opinion, this has meant that lower courts “have decided numerous cases involving Second Amendment challenges to a variety of federal, state, and local laws,” and that “most have failed.” In other words, the constitutional right to own a gun is both stronger now than it was at any point in the first 217 years of the Second Amendment’s history, and weak enough that state and local governments can prevent most Americans from carrying a gun on city streets and in other heavily populated areas. But that’s likely to change soon. Next Wednesday, November 3, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. (NYSRPA) v. Bruen, a challenge to a 108-year-old New York state law requiring anyone who wishes to carry a handgun in public to demonstrate “proper cause” before they can obtain a license allowing them to do so. It’s relatively easy in New York to get a license to carry a gun for limited purposes — the plaintiffs in NYSRPA include two men who already have a license permitting them to carry a gun for hunting, for target practice, and while in areas not “frequented by the general public.” One is also licensed to carry a gun while commuting to and from work. But neither plaintiff obtained an unlimited carry license, and New York courts require that someone who seeks such a license must “demonstrate a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.” The petitioners sued, along with a New York gun-rights group, claiming that they are entitled to an unrestricted license. The implications of this case go far beyond these two plaintiffs and New York state. The current Court, with its 6-3 conservative supermajority, may very well dismantle the limits on the Second Amendment articulated in Heller. It could completely rewrite the federal judiciary’s approach to gun-rights litigation. And the Court could potentially force crowded cities to adopt the same permissive gun rules that apply in the most conservative, rural parts of the nation. NYSRPA could be the Court’s most significant Second Amendment decision since Heller, and it could prove just as revolutionary as that 2008 decision. Under existing law, the government still has fairly broad authority to restrict gun use Heller broke with more than two centuries of judicial history when it held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to self-defense, not just a right to state-run militias. But while this holding was a paradigm-shifting victory for gun-rights advocates, it came with many caveats. Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller includes a long list of limits on the Second Amendment. “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill,” Scalia wrote, nor “laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.’” The government may also ban “dangerous and unusual weapons,” so the regulation of machine guns and similarly destructive weapons is still valid. This language, retired Justice John Paul Stevens revealed shortly before his death in 2019, was inserted at the insistence of Justice Anthony Kennedy. Because Heller was a 5-4 decision, Scalia needed support from all four of his conservative colleagues, or else he’d lose his majority. And that meant Kennedy could wield a great deal of influence over the final opinion. But Kennedy retired in 2018 and was replaced by the much more conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Then liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died in 2020, was replaced by conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett. As lower court judges, both Kavanaugh and Barrett wrote opinions calling for an expansive approach to the Second Amendment. It’s far from clear, in other words, whether there are still five justices who will respect the mitigating language in Heller. Many of the “longstanding prohibitions” on gun use that are now perfectly legal could soon be declared illegal. Kavanaugh, moreover, is one of the judiciary’s most outspoken dissenters from the consensus approach to the Second Amendment that federal appeals courts have come up with since Heller. At least 10 federal appeals courts — every court to hear a Second Amendment case since Heller, in fact — have applied what federal appellate Judge Stephen Higginson describes as a “two-step analytic framework.” Under this framework, “severe burdens on core Second Amendment rights” are subject to “strict scrutiny,” the most skeptical level of review in most constitutional cases. Meanwhile, “Less onerous laws, or laws that govern conduct outside of the Second Amendment’s ‘core,’” are subject to a more permissive test known as “intermediate scrutiny.” Applying this framework, federal appeals courts determined that restricting “the right of a law-abiding, responsible adult to possess and use a handgun to defend his or her home” burdens the “core” of the Second Amendment. Similarly, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down an Illinois law prohibiting nearly anyone from carrying a loaded gun outside their home, reasoning that because no other state had a similar law on the books — and “few states did during the nineteenth century” — the law infringes upon core Second Amendment rights. Many lesser restrictions on gun rights, however, were upheld by lower courts. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals applied the two-step consensus approach when it upheld the New York state gun licensure requirements now before the Supreme Court in NYSRPA. Other courts upheld a federal law preventing people with misdemeanor domestic violence convictions from possessing a gun, and some federal appeals courts have affirmed laws banning semiautomatic assault weapons and large-capacity magazines. Perhaps that explains why a right flank within the lower courts harshly criticized this consensus framework. One of those critics was Kavanaugh, still a lower court judge at the time, argued in a 2011 dissenting opinion that this framework should be abandoned. “Courts are to assess gun bans and regulations based on text, history, and tradition,” Kavanaugh claimed, “not by a balancing test such as strict or intermediate scrutiny.” Notably, both the plaintiffs challenging New York’s licensure law and the state attorneys tasked with defending it spend the lion’s share of their briefs applying this “text, history, and tradition” standard to New York’s law. So it seems that, at the very least, the lawyers litigating this case seem to think that it is very likely the Supreme Court will adopt Kavanaugh’s approach. So how, exactly, does the “text, history, and tradition” test work? If the merits briefs filed in NYSRPA are any sign of how lawyers should approach this “text, history, and tradition” inquiry, it largely involves citing a lot of laws and court decisions from hundreds of years ago, then arguing about whether those old laws resemble the specific law now before the Court. The plaintiffs, represented by Republican lawyer Paul Clement, argue that “founding-era cases, commentaries, and laws on both sides of the Atlantic … confirm that the founding generation understood the Second Amendment and its English predecessor to guarantee a right to carry common arms for self-defense.” Drew Angerer/Getty Images Paul Clement speaks to the press outside the Supreme Court after oral arguments in a gun-rights case against the City of New York on December 2, 2019. New York’s lawyers, meanwhile, cite many of the same historical sources but make a more nuanced argument that “any right to bear arms outside the home permits a State to condition handgun carrying in areas ‘frequented by the general public’ on a showing of a non-speculative need for armed self-defense in those areas.” Thus, they argue, states may apply stricter gun-control rules in cities and other population centers than they can in more sparsely populated areas. Both briefs spend a simply ridiculous amount of time discussing a 1328 English law known as the “Statute of Northampton,” which provided that individuals may not “go nor ride armed by night nor by day, in fairs, markets, nor in the presence of the justices or other ministers, nor in no part elsewhere, upon pain to forfeit their armour to the King, and their bodies to prison at the King’s pleasure.” The state argues that this nearly 700-year-old law did exactly what it says it did, while the plaintiffs point to a pair of 1686 cases which, they argue, narrowed the 1328 law to apply only to people who carry arms in order “to terrify the King’s subjects.” Similarly, the plaintiffs quote a bevy of old decisions by state supreme courts, mostly in the South, suggesting that early Americans had broad gun rights. We learn about an 1833 decision by the Tennessee Supreme Court, the opinion in which cited the state constitution when it said that “the freemen of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence”; an 1846 case out of Georgia, which found that “a prohibition against bearing arms openly, is in conflict with the Constitution, and void”; and an 1840 Alabama Supreme Court decision holding that “the Legislature cannot inhibit the citizen from bearing arms openly, because [the constitution] authorizes him to bear them for the purposes of defending himself and the State.” Meanwhile, New York musters up its own array of centuries-old laws and court opinions to justify its understanding of the Second Amendment. In its brief, we learn that the Old West settlements of Dodge City, Kansas, and Tombstone, Arizona, required anyone entering them to leave their guns at the city limits — visitors to Tombstone even encountered a sign reading “THE CARRYING OF FIREARMS STRICTLY PROHIBITED.” New York also cites early 19th-century manuals instructing law enforcement to “arrest all such persons as in your sight shall ride or go armed.” They quote a colonial New Jersey provision making it unlawful to “ride or go armed with sword, pistol, or dagger,” though the law made an exception for “strangers, travelling upon their lawful occasion thro’ this Province, behaving themselves peaceably.” A Virginia law enacted three years before the Second Amendment was drafted imprisoned people who go “armed by night []or by day, in fairs or markets.” A Massachusetts law enacted a few years after the amendment was ratified incarcerated individuals who enter populated areas “armed offensively, to the fear or terror of the good citizens of this Commonwealth.” The state’s brief, in other words, paints a more nuanced picture than that of the plaintiffs — arguing that different parts of the US had different gun laws and that city dwellers often had to put away their guns, except when traveling through sparsely populated areas where they had to rely on their own armaments for protection. As it turns out, much as the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose, so too can lawyers on both sides of the Second Amendment quote “text, history, and tradition” to justify the outcome they prefer. This confusion over history will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the Heller decision and Stevens’s dissent in that case. Like the merits briefs in NYSRPA, Scalia’s opinion is replete with citations to early American laws and old English legal treatises. But so is Stevens’s dissent, which quotes at length from both founding-era state constitutions and early drafts and proposals for what became the Second Amendment. The five conservative justices looked at text, history, and tradition in Heller, concluding that the Second Amendment should be interpreted in the way conservatives prefer. Meanwhile, the four liberal justices — who looked at the exact same text and historical sources —determined that the Second Amendment should be interpreted in the way liberals prefer. The pre-Heller approach to the Second Amendment, which largely left gun policy up to elected lawmakers, avoided this problem of motivated reasoning. Sure, liberal lawmakers (especially those in cities) were especially likely to pass stricter gun laws, while more conservative lawmakers (especially those in rural areas) were especially likely to support expansive gun rights. But these lawmakers stood for election. If the people didn’t like their state’s gun laws, they could elect a different legislature. That ship sailed in 2008 with the Court’s decision to make gun policy the domain of an unelected judiciary. And, if the briefs on both sides of NYSRPA are any indication, all parties appear convinced that the current slate of justices will care a whole lot more about what a 14th-century English law had to say about gun rights than they will what the people of New York have to say in 2021.
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New Hampshire parents and other supporters gather outside Sen. Maggie Hassan’s office on September 14 to thank her for child tax credit payments and demand they be made permanent. | Scott Eisen/Getty Images for ParentsTogether The child taxcredit accomplished in one month what other policies took a decade to achieve. It could expire soon. The expanded child tax credit, a policy passed in March 2021 that beefed up monthly payments to most families with kids, has already had a massive, positive effect on the lives of America’s children. After just one monthly payment, it cut child poverty by 25 percent — and should the larger payments continue, it could slash child poverty by more than 40 percent in a typical year, according to the Urban Institute. This is a huge decline in a very short time frame. According to the Brookings Institution, child poverty rates dropped by 26 percent between 2009 and 2019, meaning the tax credit accomplished in one month what other policies took a decade to achieve. Despite that success, the expanded child tax credit (CTC) is in serious danger. As part of their budget negotiations, Democrats are debating how long to extend the program — most likely for a year, with some calling for a four-year (or even indefinite) extension. In the best-case scenario with a short extension, the program will probably run out of money by the end of 2022. In the worst-case scenario, it could end as soon as April 2022, when families are currently due to receive their final enhanced payment. To prevent the policy’s gains from being undone, the benefit needs to be extended. An Urban Institute study found that child poverty would go down by 50 percent or more in 11 states if changes to the CTC were made permanent. It also noted that poverty rates would be reduced across the board, with larger impacts for Black and Hispanic children. Established in 1997, the CTC has been around for more than two decades, but a proposal included in the American Rescue Plan, signed into law in March, bumped up the amount significantly. Previously, families received a credit worth up to $167 per month per child ages 16 and under. Families are now eligible for up to $300 per month for every child under 6, and $250 per month for every child ages 6 to 17, with half the credit being paid in monthly advances. The benefit is phased out as families’ incomes rise, but it currently covers 39 million households and more than 88 percent of children. Plus, lower-income households that previously didn’t qualify for the full credit are now able to receive it, including 1 million children in military families. This increase has made a major difference, particularly for lower-income households: For instance, food insecurity has decreased as many families used the credit to cover basic necessities such as groceries, rent, and utilities. Per CNBC, food insecurity for families making less than $50,000 dropped by 7.5 percentage points (from 26 percent to 18.5 percent) one month after the first expanded payment went out. To sustain the credit’s early success, the program needs to continue. Whether it will — and for how long — remains to be seen. Letting the policy expire puts millions of children at risk of poverty Given the policy’s effectiveness, some Democrats have pushed to extend the measure through 2025. Others want to make it permanent as part of the budget reconciliation bill currently being negotiated. Either extension seems unlikely due to demands from moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), both of whom want more than a trillion dollars cut from the reconciliation legislation. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) catch an elevator en route to the Senate Chamber on September 30, 2021. To make those cuts, Democrats are considering an extension of the expanded child tax credit that might only last for one more year. That approach could leave the 30 million households that have come to depend on the benefit in danger of losing it after 2022. “That’s going to be like taking the rug from under families,” says Elena Delavega, a professor of social work at the University of Memphis. “Especially if you have it for a year or a year and a half, it’s going to get budgeted into families’ expenses.” An abrupt end to the program in 2022 could lead to major shocks. “In the absence of the CTC, more families — and low-income families in particular — will go hungry more often and be at risk for things like eviction, utility shut-offs, and other hardships,” said Stephen Roll, a research professor at Washington University in St. Louis who has studied the effects of the expanded child tax credit. Families have recalled suddenly beginning to struggle to make rent, utility, and grocery payments after states wound down their pandemic unemployment insurance offerings this summer. A similar situation is possible with the expanded child tax credit since it’s helping families cope with the imminent financial stresses they’re facing. “Getting these payments now, I know that at least I have help covering food,” David Watson, a technician and single parent of two, previously told Tiffanie Drayton in a story for Vox. “Now I can pull back on overtime. I need sleep, man.” By letting the policy sunset, Democrats would also deprive families of some of the projected long-term benefits of the credit. In addition to helping families meet their immediate costs, the credit could also enable people to bolster their emergency savings, build a college fund, and invest in extracurricular activities for their children they might not otherwise be able to afford. “We know that providing these supports is associated with better outcomes for children once they reach adulthood, including higher earnings, improved health, and increased economic mobility,” says Roll. Columbia University researchers found that each dollar distributed via the child tax credit translates to a long-term societal return of $8 in lower health care costs and increased earnings for children who benefited. Democrats are hoping that the child tax credit’s popularity will ensure that future Congresses renew it, no matter which party is in control. They argue data like a September Reuters/Ipsos poll that found 59 percent of US adults including 75 percent of Democrats and 41 percent Republicans back the policy, shows wide political buy-in. And they believe that if they only authorize a one-year extension of the credit, public pressure would be enough to guarantee the program’s renewal even if Democrats lose control of either chamber in the 2022 midterm elections. There are no guarantees they are right, however. While popular policies like the Bush administration’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts were renewed on a bipartisan basis after their expiration date, other proposals like 2020’s eviction moratorium and expanded pandemic unemployment insurance simply ended after Congress failed to extend them. Democrats have very different visions for the child tax credit’s future Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), both longtime backers of the proposal, have pushed for this year’s expansion to be indefinite. Democrats who are more skeptical of its effects have wondered whether it should be limited further. “It is food. It is diapers. It is going to the dentist, getting a kid to the doctor. Buy school uniforms or supplies. Or paying rent. It has made a profound difference already, which is why I’m trying to move it to be permanent,” DeLauro has said. In September, 400 economists signed a letter calling for the policy to be permanent because of its effects on poverty and children’s long-term health care outcomes. Opponents of the policy, however, argue that these payments could deter recipients from working since parents without an income can receive the help as well. Manchin has expressed this concern, arguing that work and/or education requirements ought to be added to the policy should it be extended. “Don’t you think, if we’re going to help the children, that the people should make some effort?” Manchin has said. Some researchers have pushed back against this view, noting that a continual credit might help parents join the workforce by enabling them to afford basic services like child care. Given that the expanded child tax credit has only been distributed since July, it’s too early to ascertain which argument is correct, though data from a Columbia University study found that the credit hadn’t had a “significant effect on employment or labor force participation” so far. There is also debate as to whether access to the credit should be capped even more. Right now, families that make up to $150,000 a year receive the full boost, a figure that Manchin would like to see go down. Manchin has argued that the policy should be capped at households that make $60,000 or less. Proponents of a more universal policy, meanwhile, argue that broadening the constituency that benefits from the credit will increase its political support. More universal programs including Social Security and Medicare are some of the most popular government offerings and have polled better than Medicaid, which is means-tested. With pressure from Manchin and Sinema, the reality is Democrats likely won’t be able to implement the most comprehensive tax credit. The estimated annual cost of the program is around $110 billion, or roughly $450 billion if it were to be extended through the end of 2025. It’s possible lawmakers could also try to reduce the size of the expanded payment in order to lower the cost of the bill. It will become clear in about a year whether Democrats were right and the credit becomes something lawmakers of both parties vote to keep intact. But if they are wrong, more than 4 million children could be thrown back into poverty, and millions of families could once again find themselves struggling to cover payments for food and shelter.
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