It’s Friday, January 14th, and this is your Morning Wire. Listen to the full podcast.
1) Supreme Court Rules Against Biden’s Private Employer Mandate
The Topline: On Thursday, the highest court in the land ruled against the Biden administration’s OSHA mandate, which forces private employers to require their workers to be vaccinated or tested.
In a massive blow to the Biden administration’s vaccine agenda, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Thursday against the OSHA mandate for private employers. The mandate, which would impact 85 million Americans, has been stayed, blocking the federal government from enforcing it.
Harmeet Dhillon is the founder of Dhillon Law Group, which has been working with The Daily Wire in its lawsuit against the mandate.
Dhillon said that the justices, in their majority opinion, used the narrowest ground to reach their ruling that a stay was appropriate for this OSHA workplace mandate. There is also a concurring opinion by Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito, which is somewhat more broad. Finally, there was a dissent by Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer.
The bottom line of the majority ruling of the Court was that the Occupational Safety and Health Act does not clearly authorize a vaccine mandate.
The Court also noted in its majority opinion that there was a Senate vote on December 8 disapproving of the order, and that the order will force the petitioners in this case, the plaintiffs, to incur billions of dollars in unrecoverable compliance costs causing hundreds of thousands of employees to leave their jobs.
The concurring opinion was led by Justice Gorsuch, and joined by Justices Thomas and Alito, who are considered to be the most conservative justices on the Court.
They discuss what’s called the “major questions test,” which is a doctrine that has to do with the administrative procedures. If Congress did not clearly speak in assigning OSHA the decision-making power, then the Court is not going to let them essentially make it up as they go.
The justices said this is a type of regulation that, if appropriate, states could do, or Congress could do, but it’s not something that OSHA can do by itself.
The case is going to go back down to the Sixth Circuit.
2) Student Sentenced In Loudoun School Rape Case
The Topline: The male student accused of raping a ninth-grade girl in a girls bathroom in Loudoun County last spring was sentenced on Wednesday in juvenile court. The case made national news when the female victim’s father was arrested at a school board meeting where parents were speaking out against the district’s transgender bathroom policy, which allows male students into girls’ bathrooms.
Quote Of The Day: “I question some of the decisions of the school system and prosecuting office for allowing the second assault to happen.”
– Scott Smith, victim’s father
The judge said that the rapist was guilty of four crimes, and ordered him to residential treatment until he is 18 years old. She also ordered him to be placed on the sex offender registry. This is the first time the judge has taken that step for a minor.
The judge said that a psycho-sexual report on the offender was the most disturbing she has ever read, saying, “It scared me. It scared me for you; it scared me for society.”
Scott Smith and his wife were in court, as was their daughter and the assailant’s second victim. Smith was dragged out of a school board meeting in handcuffs because he was angry after the superintendent claimed there had never been any bathroom rapes in Loudoun. Smith said the case had torn his community apart, with “half of Loudoun County” refusing to patronize his business after liberals accused him of lying about the rape of his daughter, and the National School Board Association listing him in a letter that likened conservative parents to domestic terrorists.
On Wednesday, the rapist acknowledged the event was real, and he looked his victims in the eye and apologized “to you and you.” He was ultimately taken away in leg shackles as his mother blew him a kiss.
The judge said she was “cognizant” there was also a third victim.
Another issue in this case was the role of Buta Biberaj, a prosecutor who ran on a platform of reduced sentencing. She showed up in court and faced the victims.
Biberaj let the rapist out after the first incident, and Loudoun schools transferred him to a new school without properly disclosing information about the rape, which is how the second assault was able to occur.
The school system said it would commission an independent investigation into how it handled all of this in order to put community concerns to rest. Before sentencing, however, it was discovered that the investigation is complete, but the school system is going to keep its results secret.
Newly-elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) and his attorney general have discussed several laws and actions specifically designed around this case. One would allow the state attorney general to step in and prosecute crimes where a prosecutor seems to be refusing to enforce the law. Another is a state investigation into Loudoun’s handling of this event.
3) Cable News Ratings Plummet
The Topline: Cable news experienced a major disruption in 2021, with ratings down across the board.
Among the 18-49 demographic advertisers care most about, CNN crashed 90% from this time last year. While CNN is suffering the worst of the audience exodus, the other big players in the cable news game are struggling as well.
Fox is the dominant force in the industry, as it draws more viewers than MSNBC and CNN combined. However, while Fox is comparatively the ratings winner, its numbers also declined overall.
The conservative network is down 34% from the same time last year in the primetime block. Comparing 2020 to 2021, it suffered a steeper drop than MSNBC, which was down 28% year over year.
It’s understandable that the numbers would come down after the first year of the pandemic, and the Trump administration tended to draw ratings. Before Trump, however, cable news overall had already been on a downward trend. Cable news saw huge spikes that are now seemingly being matched by equally huge drop-offs.
CNN fired Chris Cuomo over his unethical coverage of his brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Brian Williams is out at MSNBC, and there are rumors that Joy Reid may be following him due to low ratings. Chris Wallace just left his role as host of “Fox News Sunday” to move to CNN’s streaming platform.
Big networks have also been turning their attention toward streaming in a serious way, and spending money on it.
Fox added Tucker Carlson to the Fox Nation subscription service, and launched a streaming weather channel.
Other Stories We’re Tracking
The Red Cross is offering blood donors the chance to win tickets to the Super Bowl as it faces its steepest blood shortage in over ten years. The organization said there’s been a 10% overall drop in individuals donating blood throughout the pandemic. College and school blood drives have also dropped by over 60%.
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John Bickley and Georgia Howe