There is a silver lining to Shurtleff and Swallow arrests

The arrests of former Attorneys General John Swallow and Mark Shurtleff this week mark the end of a sad chapter in Utah’s history. Now a new chapter is about to begin, one that I suspect will become an even bigger public spectacle as criminal cases proceed. While I am personally satisfied that criminal charges have been brought against Swallow and Shurleff, I fully endorse their constitutionally guaranteed rights to due process under the law. Like anyone else, they deserve their day in court and a presumption of innocence before a…

President Obama has become a constitutional squatter

During my first year at the University of Chicago Law School, while wading through painfully obscure court decisions from hundreds of year ago, I learned that under English Common Law individuals who had no ownership rights in a piece of property could establish “squatters rights” by taking exclusive possession of the property and staying there for a long period of time. The courts of those days reasoned, correctly, that if a rightful property owner did not seek to exercise and enforce his rights within a reasonable amount of time, then…

Obamacare employer incentives could drive up Medicaid expansion costs

Last week, I was invited to share my thoughts and concerns about Medicaid expansion with my former Republican legislative colleagues in the Utah House and Senate. I have been involved in the Medicaid policy debate since 2009, first as a Utah State Senator and now as a private citizen. My primary concern over these past five years has been the financial sustainability of the Medicaid system, which, until recently, has been growing at around three times the rate of our state budget, gobbling up already strained resources and forcing cuts…

Utah’s Energy Revolution

When the history of the great recession is finally written, I suspect that America’s domestic energy revolution will be credited for pulling us out of it. As a country, primarily through the application of new extraction techniques and technologies that are unlocking heretofore inaccessible oceans of oil and natural gas, the United States of America is transforming itself into the dominant energy producer in the world. Within the next few years, America will not only become energy independent, but could also become the world’s largest energy exporter. Once again, American…

Don’t do stupid stuff is not a policy, it is a justification

On Sunday, Politico reported that the Obama administration has made a concerted effort over the past several weeks to publicize a new foreign policy doctrine. First reported by the Los Angeles Times in April, and later parroted by both the Chicago Tribune and New York Times, the West Wing’s new foreign policy strategy is: “don’t do stupid stuff” (but, as each of these papers point out, with “stuff” replaced with a four letter expletive). Apparently, we are all supposed to be impressed. The revelation of such a sophomoric, frat-boy attitude…