The Janine Bolon Show with Mark Chenoweth and John Vecchione on Administrative Static, and Michelle Mras on 100 Authors

Administrative Static with Mark Chenoweth & John Vecchione, 100 Authors with Michelle Mras

Mark Chenoweth & John Vecchione

Mark Chenoweth & John Vecchione join us from The Administrative Static Radio Show to share with us the situations and experiences they have dealing with Human Rights issues while operating the New Civil Liberties Alliance. They have been working with challenges across the country as government agencies operate outside of their scope of administration. They are the calm voices of reason in times of turmoil for many communities.

Michelle Mras

Next we chat with Michelle Mras, creator of the 100 Authors events that are all over the country. If you’re interested in seeing the new books that are being published but you can’t find in your local bookstore, you may want to pop by one of Michelle’s events.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hello, and welcome to the Janine Bolon show. It is great to have you with us. I always appreciate it when you take time out of your very busy Sunday to sit and just chat with us, and also listen to what these amazing guests that I have on this show. And one of the things that I love about being on KHNC and getting syndicated this year is the fact that I have a bunch of radio show hosts on this station with me. And I couldn’t help but drag them kicking and screaming Haha, no, actually they enjoy being able to come on and talk about their shows. So joining me today is Mark Chenoweth, Executive Director of the organization for New Civil Liberties Alliance, and John Vecchione, who is a Senior Litigator for the firm. Now the NCLA’s public interest litigation and other pro bono advocacy, strive to tame that unlawful power of state and federal agencies. There’s a lot of talk about this, even before 2020, we’re seeing a lot of this, but boy lately is something of great importance. Now. They’re also the host of administrative static and irreverent legal affairs show that exposes the unconstitutional administrative state within our own US government. So Mark, and Vec to cry federal and state agencies abuses, they trot out those legal arguments, they grill their expert guests, and they bandy about the latest cases and controversies every Saturday, right here on KHNC 1360, from 9 to 10pm. Or you can download the episodes on your favorite podcast app. And so I just want to say, welcome to the show. It’s wonderful to have you, Mark and Vec.

Mark Chenoweth
Thank you. Good to be with you.

John Vecchione
Yeah, it’s great to see another host.

Janine Bolon
Right, right. Because most of the time we do our little thing on our own booth. And off we go. We don’t get to see each other. So one of the things I really like to bring out is what was it that brought about this show? I mean, you have to have quite you know, we have to pay for the time on the air. There are sponsors, sometimes we have to get sometimes our guest will actually charge us to be on the show. It just depends on what you’re doing. But you’re doing a radio show every week. This is a huge time commitment. A lot of people may not know that. And so you just don’t do it for kicks do you. I mean, you guys have a story behind this. So if you guys wouldn’t mind, each one of you identify who’s going to go first. And then kind of tell me why did you even start Administrative Static?

Mark Chenoweth
Well, this is Mark, I guess I’ll go first we are at the New Civil Liberties Alliance, we are always looking for additional ways to get our message out and to educate the general public about the administrative state and some of the problems that we are encountering. And a lot of people don’t really understand what the administrative state is until they get caught in its crosshairs over some decision that they’ve made or something that’s happening with their business, maybe that attracts the attention of one of those alphabet soup agencies in Washington DC. And usually if you’ve attracted the attention of one of those agencies, it’s not a good thing for you or your business. And so, we’re of the firm belief that a lot of these agencies are using unlawful forms of power. And we’ve certainly seen this, we can get into that some more. We’ve certainly seen that in the last year with some of the coercion that’s been taking place. But we just looked at administrative static as an opportunity to spread the message of what NCLA is doing to a wider audience, including that increasingly large audience of folks who prefer to take their information in via podcast.

John Vecchione
And the other thing is, we’re practicing lawyers. So we file briefs every day, and we go into court, and certainly I do. And, you know, some of that stuff’s pretty dry. But on the other hand, some of the opinions and some of the things that happen are funny. So it’s nice to be able to talk about something in a way that hopefully brings it to regular people. And just as Thomas always says, he writes his opinion, so regular people can read them. On a podcast, hopefully you can explain things in such a way that it’s not for judges, people who have already learned everything they want to know about the law and have their own views. This is more for people who want to see what’s going on and how this affects people’s lives. And with the administrative state, it reaches into so many places. One of the things we do all the time since broadcasts out of Colorado is we highlight on our last one we just highlighted a water fight right that went to the Supreme Court. And Colorado has a lot of Supreme Court cases with water fights between them and other states.

Mark Chenoweth
Yeah, mostly my home state of Kansas.

John Vecchione
And so we thought people might be interested in that. So sometimes we highlight that. But other times we highlight things that NCLA is doing. And we mainly represent individuals, people who’ve been caught up in the mock of the administrative state. And I think their stories are always interesting.

Mark Chenoweth
Absolutely. And then, in terms of why I asked John to join me on the podcast is because he’s my funniest colleague. So I wanted to, we were kind of, if I’m the straight guy, then you know, then John’s kind of the color commentary. He spices things up.

Janine Bolon
You always have to have a color, man. Thank you, John.

John Vecchione
I don’t have a whiteboard like Madden, though.

Janine Bolon
Well, if John is… I’m sure you can definitely imitate him. So John, if you don’t mind define for us what the administrative state is. Now, this is different than bureaucracy. So go ahead and just educate us. I like to start off with definitions. So we all know what we’re talking about.

John Vecchione
So the administrative state is not the Schoolhouse Rock view of government, right? The Congress passes laws, the president executes those laws, and the Supreme Court decides on their constitutionality, or interprets what the law means. That is how it’s supposed to work. But with increasing frequency from the late 1900s, to today, and I’d say really accelerating in the 30s. And then again, in the 60s, the court started to just let the administrative agencies which were either just run by the president without congressional oversight, or sometimes insulated from even presidential control, and the the body of law that built up to allow the administrative state to do anything it wanted to you is, you know, there’s no Fifth Amendment, there’s no jury trials, there’s many of the things we expect in the Constitution aren’t there, because this special body of law has grown up around administrative agencies and administrative power and their actions that is not rooted in the Constitution or how we expect laws to govern us. Because it’s one thing when Congress says, you know, you can’t build on this property and here’s why. And we’re seizing it we’re paying you for, right, that’s taking, but when the administrative state says, Well, we’re gonna let you keep your property, but we’re going to tell you everything you can do with your property, so you don’t even really own it anymore. And they’ve never got a law passed that said, they could do that. And the President sometimes has no idea what’s even going on. So that’s the administrative state. It’s the power that’s been poured into these agencies, extra constitution.

Mark Chenoweth
And our focus at NCLA has been on people’s civil liberties being violated by administrative agencies. So that’s what we really focus on. Either we’re will defend people whose civil liberties have been violated if they’re, in an enforcement action, for example, or if they’re in the posture of a plaintiff suing an administrative agency, there’ll be suing to try to prevent the violation of their civil liberties or, the civil liberties of a larger group of people.

Janine Bolon
Well, and that’s a hot topic, you’re in Colorado, because as we all like to say, water has caused people to get killed on more than one occasion. I mean, it is the Wild West. And people kind of giggle when I say that, because they think of, you know, cowboys, and all that kind of stuff and territorial disputes and all that. I’m like, folks, it’s still going on. You just tried to run a pipe anywhere in the state and see what ends up happening to you. And water is still king, everybody talks about electricity and oil and that sort of thing. Well, yeah, if you’re in Ohio, but down here, it’s definitely water. So if you don’t mind sharing a little bit about what you guys were talking about when it came to Colorado and some of the things you’re seeing happen.

John Vecchione
Well, today’s, I’ll just tell you today’s topic was you know, in a lot of I think there’s even Supreme Court’s cases that cite the old saying that in the West whiskeys for drinking and waters for fighting over. And I’ve heard, that’s made its way into a Supreme Court case. I’m not absolutely sure of it. But I’m pretty sure. Though, that it was Mississippi and Tennessee had a fight not over a river, which is how Colorado is usually fighting over rivers and how much water can come out, leave Colorado.

Mark Chenoweth
And whether to pronounce it Arkansas or our Ar-Kansas as we do.

Mark Chenoweth
Hey, I’m from Missouri, I understand these things.

John Vecchione
So what happened is that Tennessee, Mississippi claimed that Tennessee was taking groundwater that belonged to eight states and was taking too much of it and that it was draining it out of Mississippi even though it didn’t come into Mississippi, it just went down into the groundwater. And the question for the court was, how do you portion that water among the states? And there’s an equitable theory that they have that they applied rivers that they applied for the first time in Kansas versus Colorado in 1906. When a river ran through it, like the movie says, and every state says all the water is ours while it’s here, and if it doesn’t belong to anyone else. And Supreme Court says, well, that’s not really how it works. It’s a river that goes through all your state. So there’s a, we are going to equitably apportion how much goes to under way too complicated scheme that I’m not going to get into because, frankly, I don’t understand it.

Mark Chenoweth
There are people who are water lawyers, yes. But that is not us.

John Vecchione
And in fact, so the thing is, but the Supreme Court had to take it, one of the things we do hear all the time is we file cert petitions, or we file amicus briefs, friends of the court brief saying you should take this, because Supreme Court does not have to take every case, they can just sit on it and say, Hey, let the appellate courts handle it. We’ll just let it ride for a while. But this is original jurisdiction to stop wars between the states. The Constitution says all these various cases between the states, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction, so they have to take these cases.

Mark Chenoweth
And they’re the first one to hear it.

John Vecchione
And they’re the first one to hear it. They don’t have any facts from below. So as I said, they usually appoint a special master, which either lawyer or respected judge to get all the facts from the parties. And then he or she reports that to the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court doesn’t have to take it they can say, Nope, we don’t agree with that we think this happened or that happened. I mean, they kind of have just like when you go into a district court, they get to find all the facts. So does the Supreme Court but I have never heard or at least I don’t know of the Supreme Court actually sitting down and taking evidence, hey, they’re all nowadays, they’re all appellate lawyers. I don’t think that one of them was a trial lawyer. Right.

Mark Chenoweth
Sotomayor might be the closest she was a prosecutor.

John Vecchione
There you go. Alright. So you have that? And I guess Sosalito. So but they, even there, there’s no discovery, I guess you just have grand jury stuff. But the fact of the matter is, that’s not a job they want to do. So they farm that out, and then they take the report, and then they go over, but the states do have the power to sue each other. And that usually it’s over land or water. Its original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, it goes straight there.

Mark Chenoweth
One of our other cases that we have right now, Janine is a that intersects Colorado is also water case, because we’re suing the EPA over the Animas River, you remember when the EPA destroyed the Gold King mine here a couple years ago and turned the river orange in the southwest?

Janine Bolon
Yes, I do.

Mark Chenoweth
The river seen around the world? Well, we are. We’re currently representing a landowner near that river, who the EPA without telling him, without announcing it, without getting his permission, just built a water treatment facility on his land in order to treat the polluted river, which ordinarily, you would think the government has to pay you for your land, if they’re going to take it and use it in that way. They haven’t paid him anything. So we think that’s a problem. And that’s a another Colorado water case that we’re involved in.

John Vecchione
And it’s called the Animas River. I’d forgotten that.

Mark Chenoweth
Yeah, the Animas River.

Mark Chenoweth
That’s good, that’s a good name.

Janine Bolon
It is, isn’t it? True to form, and true to its name. So one of the things that I remember from a lot of the constitutional law that I had to take when I was working on my master’s, was that we had to go back and study the old state constitutions as each state was formed and all that and we had to read through a lot of those things. One of the things I find more and more disturbing, is the continual eroding of the state’s rights or the state’s power as the federal government a lot of time it’s through finances, like when it comes to roads, or infrastructure or something like that. You always see the federal government get its way by saying well we’ll pull funding, well we’ll pull funding. And so that is something where I’m looking at how can states get some of their power back in that, get their budgets under control. And I’m always talking to folks about, is there any way you folks can at least get this county debt free, and then we’ll work out the, you know, at the district level, and then we’ll move up to the state level, but let’s try to get the financial part of it under control, because then you don’t have Uncle Sam pushing on you financially speaking, you can stand there, like some of the cases of California and go, fine, we won’t pay taxes. It’s like, it’s kind of like when you finally have enough power to be able to get there notice. So I didn’t know if you guys had any commentary on that aspect of it because we see an inordinate number of presidential orders coming through and that was supposed to be a last resort. Like if you couldn’t get Congress to figure it out. And if you couldn’tgetting information from the Supreme Court, the President had the right to come in and say with presidential orders, but that is being used excessively at now to bypass the administration.

Mark Chenoweth
It is. It’s being used as a shortcut. And in fact, we did a report, it’s on the NCLA website in NCLAlegal.org. If people are interested in executive orders, at the conclusion of President Biden’s first 100 days, we did a retropective on all of the dozens of executive orders that had been released in that first 100 days. And it’s not even that they’re a last resort, it’s that executive orders aren’t supposed to be able to bind anyone outside the executive branch. So it’s fine for the President to issue an executive order, directing people employees within his control in the executive branch to do things, that’s fine. That’s how executive orders are supposed to work. But way too often these days, presidents are issuing executive orders that purport to do things like order you to do something or order companies to do something. And that’s, that’s not okay. That’s not what the Constitution sets up as a way to make law that binds other people that has to go through Congress. And by we call it bicameralism, and presentment. Right. It goes through both houses of Congress, and the President signs it. And executive orders obviously, don’t follow that path. So they’re not supposed to bind anybody outside of the executive branch. But to your question about sort of states rights types of cases and the fiscal impact on the states. There’s a very interesting set of cases working their way through the courts right now. Over the over ARPA, the American Rescue Plan Act that Congress passed earlier this year. And so there, you’re talking about something that did go through Congress, it did go through bicameralism, and presentment. But it still has an unconstitutional provision in it because the statute says that, if a state accepts the ARPA sort of the COVID relief funds, the ARPA money, then they may not use that money to cut taxes at the state level. Well, one of the main aspects of state sovereignty is a state’s control over its own taxing and spending policies. And so for the federal government to come in and say, here’s a bunch of money, but you have to give up your right to, to cut taxes for the next three years or something like that. That’s a real violation of state sovereignty. And so, as you might imagine, many states have sued the federal government over this provision, and NCLA has jumped into a few of those cases. And so far, they’ve all gone well, from the state perspective, the Southern District of Ohio, Federal Court ruled in favor of Ohio, the Northern District of Alabama has ruled in favor of 13 states, which I think is a 13 seems like the right number of states to be suing over tax questions that just…

John Vecchione
Exactly I wonder if they catch people out, and say no you can’t join us.

Mark Chenoweth
We stopped at 13.

Janine Bolon
you don’t want those even numbers. So that’s unlucky is what people tell me all the time. You don’t want even.

John Vecchione
And so state sovereignty has been whittled down, but the spending and the taxing of the Holy of Holies. I mean, that if the Supreme Court, that’s the one place it does not want to go, it says well, what the power to tax is the power to destroys said John Marshall and the supreme court thinks the power to take away your taxation and spending is the power to destroy state. So they do. That is the one thing I would say that the law is pretty good on that.

Mark Chenoweth
Yeah. I mean, the precedents are, I think that’s why the cases have all been coming out the way they have. So. But that’s probably the most current example we have. And there’s something called the non-delegation doctrine, which is, I guess you could say that the doctrine, or at least the name of the doctrine was invented by the Supreme Court. But it flows from article one, section one of the US Constitution, which says that all legislative powers will be invested in a Congress of the United States. And so all that the non-delegation doctrine says is essentially, yeah, and Congress can’t give that power away. So it’s vested by the Constitution in Congress, Congress keeps the legislative power, they can’t give it to the President. They can’t give it to the courts. They’re the ones that have to make those legislative determinations. And one of the things that is wrong with ARPA, is that it has essentially, it had very vague language about what would happen to the States if they didn’t, or if they did raise taxes or, and what a tax that is and what it would look like and, and so the Department of Treasury put out a regulation that purported to clarify all of this, that essentially turned the states into having to account for every dollar that they taxed or spent and report it to the federal government so that the federal government would be able to monitor them for purposes of compliance with ARPA. So just that amount of interference with the state and turning the state into auditors for the federal government, it’s kind of a problem.

John Vecchione
It’s kind of worse. The case is Yellen versus Ohio. And I don’t think Commissioner Yellen wanted this power Ohio v Yellen. Oh, yeah. Well, yeah. But it’s versus yeah, and so I don’t really think she wanted it. But what the federal government said is, well, there might be problems with the statute, but the administrative state through Yellen is going to fix all the problems, she’ll administer it in such a way that won’t be unconstitutional. So Oh, her regulations will fix the statute. But that’s not how it works, because she can only issue regulations that the statute has already authorized. Exactly. And from a constitutional perspective, and I do, this is what I usually find that you know, in the cases, but they’re usually the administrators seem like they really, really want to push this, this administrative position through. And if you see him on TV, they’re always like, this is the greatest regulation on Earth. And I, of course, I can do this, and I should do this, and the court should stay out of it. And they’re like, very VMware experts. Yeah, we’re experts. And I have to say Yellen has been kind of quiet.

Janine Bolon
Well, I feel like they’ve been thrown under the bus. No offense, but here you go, you’re gonna fix it all. It’s all going to be fine. We’re just going to get it passed through. Thanks for throwing me under the bus boss. Appreciate that. So yeah. So these are things that you folks are kind enough to bring about and say on the radio waves, because a lot of stuff does get ushered to do pretty quickly. And one of the things my background is analytical biochemistry. And so I worked a lot with the FDA. And we were trying to get things taken care of before we ever tried it into legal affairs, because that’s when it got very expensive, very fast as everybody wanted to kind of play nice, nice before that. But it was amazing to me to see these reports that would come out that were anywhere from 18 to 2800 pages that no one would read through because they were great for insomnia. And a lot of times couldn’t understand what was being said, because there’s a lot of words on the page, but nothing is very clear. So one of the things that is helpful as folks like you in the NCLA, at least you bring it to a language we can understand. Because how many years did you guys spend learning your own lingo and legal ease? Right?

Mark Chenoweth
The three years of law school, but it’s all that time spent, I’ve spent, I guess, five years in the federal government, in a different stance, that’s the real damaging time you start to learn all of the acronyms. Then you can bamboozle anyone.

Janine Bolon
Right? Because it’s all acronyms, like you said, it’s the same thing in science or any other institution or any other sort of career path is that you have this insider language, so to speak. And so then the common person or Vox Populi, if you say a man on the street is lost in the shuffle. So as a folks like yourselves, what are some things that I always like to say, what is it that a person can do? Right? It’s all very good to have wonderful people like yourselves, that are watchdogs for things. And you’re, you’re letting us know, hey, this is not appropriate. This is not appropriate. But at the same time, I sit here, as a homeschooling mom of four and I have a law online university. What does somebody like me can do with all this? So did you guys have any things that you recommend for folks? How do we stay in touch with that?

John Vecchione
I have a couple of things. First of all, you can fight the regulatory state, it’s expensive, but you can find people to help you if you have a good case. But I also think there’s always a war, there are two sayings in the United States. And one of them is there ought to be a law. And the other one is, it’s a free country. And when those two things are at war with each other, but they’re very common sayings, and I think that when people regulators, or politicians or lawyers are saying all there ought to be a law, and everyone ought to go along with it. I don’t think that should be the default, the default should be freedom. And so don’t be so fast to say, the government should do this, or the government should do that. Because if you are fast to say that the government’s gonna do it, and you may not like the results. So one thing is to listen to what people say they’re going to do and look into the weeds of what actually happens then and why they have that power. Because one of the things we do we sometimes sue state governments in administrative law, that they’ve done something wrong, but at least the states usually have, they can say we do have this power, they either point to a part of the Constitution, or they say we have the police power, which people can argue whether or not they should have the police power maybe it comes from Kings, and maybe they shouldn’t have that. But at least from court has said they do the federal government, it only has the power that’s comes out of the Constitution, and then the agencies only have the power of the animating statutes. So making them always say what animating statute gives them the power to do this is the Achilles heel of the administrative state. And I think that question always has to be asked. And one other thing, they asked for comments, if you’re in an industry and you know that there’s comment, they’re asking for comments on a rule, for God’s sake comment, all you have to do is send them a letter saying this rule is bad, because it affect me this way, or this rule is good, because it’ll effect me this way. But there’s a professional commentary in DC and all the lobbyists are there. But if you’re in an industry, you’re perfectly fine. You don’t have to be a lawyer, you don’t have to have a bar, you could just write a letter saying this will, this administrative proposal will have this, this and this effect. And often you can belong to your local business group or your local union or, and they’ll tell you, these things are coming down the pipe. So you can watch it yourself. But usually, there are groups that watch them in your area, and you can then just comment, and at least that’ll be in the record. And if they don’t pay attention to that the courts will strike it down for not answering that response in their administrative processes.

Mark Chenoweth
Yeah, I think those are good examples, John. And I think what may be one of the biggest disappointments, Janine, of being with an organization like the New Civil Liberties Alliance is we can’t help everyone who you know, who calls us or send us an email asking for help. Because what we’re really trying to do is set precedent and bring cases that are going to help the maximum number of people, because we have limited resources, we really can’t devote those resources to one off sorts of cases or opportunities, we have to find cases where we can take away a particular tool or tactic of the administrative state that is being used to violate lots of people’s civil liberties. So we hear about cases all the time, where someone’s really getting shafted. But it’s just not the kind of case where it’s gonna affect anybody else in the same way in the future. And so those cases don’t fit our, you know, our remit. But those are good candidates, hopefully for maybe a local attorney to help somebody out on a pro bono basis or, or something like that. Because there are a lot of civil liberties violations happening. And we like to say it’s a target rich environment, and we can’t do it. We can’t take all the cases that we hear about.

John Vecchione
But on the other hand, sometimes there’s a regulation you want to challenge and businesses will not challenge it like my fourth grade teacher would say Mr. Vecchione stick to your guns. And Ms. Depass I’ll never forget, she always says that when you’re being wishy washy.

Mark Chenoweth
And you take that to heart.

Janine Bolon
You’ve done very well.

John Vecchione
I do wish some companies would stick to their guns, but they’re sometimes they even think they can win you talk to these people, they think they can win they think it’s bad, they think you’ll be but they just think that the let’s use the Animus of the agency will be such that they can hurt them in so many other ways that they don’t want to bring a case. And so what you find is that you can’t find that plaintiff who’s effective to get standing to then attack the rule, because they’re afraid of what else might happen to them. And that’s really a terrible commentary on our country and on the administrative state. Because whatever you do in court, you shouldn’t worry about the agency coming back at you for some other reason.

Janine Bolon
Right. I think that’s where Hollywood has done a disservice to a lot of things in multiple industries where Hollywood has made it seem that way. I do know that, like you said, there’s always an organization you can go to, because even now they have a national whistleblowers organization that will help you legally financially they guide you on before you bring this into the public eye before you shine a spotlight on this very dark grubby mess that you see in this institution. You may want to consider XYZ PDQ and they run them through a whole list. So like you guys, you have a network, you have people that you can refer other folks to because like you said you can’t carry all the cases.

John Vecchione
Well, that’s the Alliance part of it. Although I do want to comment on Hollywood, you know, Ghostbusters coming out, and that one has the EPA Administrator, bad guy, so I’m not gonna just throw it under the bus as Ghostbusters is coming out. But in any event, we do have, you know, there’s certain things we don’t do that we refer cases out to certain religious liberty cases, certain freedoms, that second amendment stuff that there’s a lot of organizations that do that. And they often have to do some administrative state stuff because that’s who’s coming after them.

Mark Chenoweth
Right. In fact, you know, getting back to sort of what led to the founding of NCLA. Our founder, Philip Hamburger is a professor at Columbia Law School in New York, and he wrote a book back in 2014 called Is Administrative Law Unlawful? Short answer, yes. But it’s an 800 page book i i recommend it to you.

John Vecchione
He read the last page.

Janine Bolon
Skip to the end. You want to know who did it.

Mark Chenoweth
But folks, the book was well received, particularly in the limited government community, but folks said, well, Philip, what are you going to do about it? And he had done a lot of work, religious liberty scholarship earlier in his career, and was aware of some of these public interest groups that help people out with, free exercise claims when they feel like their religious liberties have been violated. And he thought, Well, what would it look like to set up a group that was like that, except devoted to protecting people’s civil liberties from the administrative state? And he talked to some of the religious liberty groups and said, Well, what would you think about that, and the reason why they were really enthusiastic and encouraged Philip to follow through and set up an organization like NCLA, is because their experience has been recently it is the administrative state. That’s the one that is trampling their religious liberties. It’s not typically Congress or state legislatures passing laws, because when state legislatures pass laws, for example, on lock downs, or something like that, you’ll notice that the state legislature will typically put in an exemption or a reasonable accommodation, for religious exercise. It’s when you have these sort of single minded administrators who are coming up with rules and regulations, that they are the ones who trample religious liberty and other civil liberties, and don’t provide for those sorts of accommodations. So we’ve really seen that in our practice over the last four years, as well. And that’s one of the things we’d like to talk about on our show.

Janine Bolon
So can you kind of give us a little bit of a preview for your next season on, you know, we’re in a world pandemic, there’s all kinds of perspectives, and everybody, of course, has the right one. And so I was just kind of curious, you know, this has had to have been just wonderful grist for the mill of your show.

John Vecchione
Well, I will say we’ve done a lot on vaccine mandates. And I don’t know if we’re in a pandemic anymore. I think it’s gone to endemic. It’s endemic. Well, okay, around like the flu. Where and so the responses there are, the government still is called crying emergency all the time, regardless of how full the hospitals are, regardless of what’s happening on the ground. They just say it’s an emergency. And I think some of the pushback is the courts have to decide whether they just take that at face value or not. And we’ve got to see what they’ll do there. Because in the federal government’s area, they have a lot they can do. I mean, they can make certain drugs available quicker. They can spend a lot of money to make sure vaccines come out fast. There’s lots of things the federal government can do. Lawfully, but they, the administrative agencies, and sometimes the President wants to push them and this is president of two administrations. Now we’ve seen in the CDC, eviction moratorium that was put out under the Trump administration has continued on the Biden administration, and there was nothing in the CDC. The CDC is not allowed to control housing in this country. Okay, newsflash. And it’s the Center for Disease Control. It’s not the Center for rent control. And I think that those agencies just say, oh, yeah, we can do this. And they do it. One, because the statute is either poorly worded, and they say it’s broad, broad authority. So it all fits in here. Or they just want to do it. And they say, Well, we think we can do it and stop US courts whenever you get a chance.

Mark Chenoweth
And the administrative state moves faster than the courts do, or faster than the Congress too, and that sort of dispatch is useful in some contexts. But when it’s being used to violate people’s civil liberties, it’s really a problem. And maybe the biggest concern I have right now, is Congress passed a statute called the emergency use authorization statute. And that statute allows for vaccines to be offered to people, even though they haven’t been fully FDA approved. But that statute also explicitly says that people have the right to informed consent and to refuse administration of an emergency use authorization vaccine. But what we’ve seen is despite that statute, guidance and agencies have been putting out advice or putting out regulations in Asia, the Office of Legal Counsel, the Department of Justice has put out an opinion, saying, well, that’s not what the statute says. The statute says that, the person who’s giving you the vaccine has to tell you that you have the right to refuse the vaccine, but you don’t actually have the right to refuse the vaccine, or at least you don’t have the right to refuse it and not lose your job or not have these other negative things happen to you. I think that’s a terrible reading of the statute. And I think when Congress and by the way, Congress passed this isn’t some ancient statute, Congress passed the statute in around 2003 When they were worried about anthrax and some of the post 911 threats that were coming about and wanted to be able to give people quick access to experimental drugs if necessary. But the idea is to take that statute and turn it into forcing experimental drugs on people who don’t want them. I just don’t think that’s what Congress had in mind at the time. So there’s gonna be a lot of battles over that in the coming year.

John Vecchione
And I think this emergency, what constitutes an emergency may be coming out, because we have seen with Supreme Court, and most of the courts we’ve been in, the first three months from March to December last year, you didn’t want to be moving against anything the government did on COVID. Because, you know, no judge wants to be the guy who allowed all these people to die, and the germ of the virus to just go all over the place. You don’t want to be that guy. And it’s an emergency, and you don’t have the knowledge that the executive has. So you go, Oh, whoa, sorry, guys, I’m waiting on this, or you say this is in their purview. But eventually, you know, all of life can’t be an emergency forever. So I think we’re going to start seeing some more activity. And we have, I will say this, the CDC, a moratorium on evictions took a year and a half to get struck down by the Supreme Court, maybe almost two years, really year and a half, 15 months. But the the OSHA rule, which was even if anything Wilder, that OSHA could do this, that got struck down, lickety split, and less. Just this week, the government said, lift the stay, because it moved from the Fifth Circuit to the Sixth Circuit. And the government said, Oh, new port, new chance. So he filed this thing. I don’t think that’s how it works. But we’ll see.

Janine Bolon
I like the way you keep saying that. That’s not how the way it works, or they keep trying to play outside of the lines. And that’s just not where you are.

John Vecchione
Mark and I had a discussion, he thought certain of the judges would take a new chance. And I said, No, none of them are going to jump at this. So we will see, we will have a chance to see when the court rules.

Mark Chenoweth
We do feel like Schoolhouse Rock needs to be revisited and, retaught to a whole generation of bureaucrats. They seem to have missed the 1970s somehow.

Janine Bolon
I know my kids will still sing you know I’m just a bill to you, they will sing the song to you. It is one of those fun, fun little aspects of it. Well we have about four minutes left here on the show. So what are some recommendations that you guys can give or kind of let us know where you’re headed with the show, particularly because you know, now that we have the endemic, you know, are there areas that you guys have a spotlight on? I’d love each of you to give your own opinion on this please?

Mark Chenoweth
Yeah, well, you know, one thing that we like to showcase on the show is whenever we have victories in court, so that’s usually if you have a victory, that’s well, it’s a positive development for civil liberties on for one thing, but it also shows that you’ve reached some sort of an endpoint with litigation that you’ve been involved in. So we have a few cases in the pipeline that we are hoping to be able to report victory news on here in the coming year. So for example, we have a lawsuit against the ATF over the bump stock ban, that they put into effect, not because we have a policy position on guns or on bump stocks, per se, but just that we don’t think the ATF has the ability to outlaw those as a matter of regulation, we think Congress has to outlaw them as a matter of statutory law. And so that issue has been been percolating working its way up in the courts, the courts have disagreed about that issue. That’s one thing that we’ll get a decision on here. Relatively short order.

Janine Bolon
Fingers crossed.

John Vecchione
We have a case down in the Gulf, we have a class action where we’re representing an entire class of charter boat fishermen. And the question there is whether or not they have to put a tracking device that says where they are at all times. That goes back to NOAA, and back to the Department of Commerce, even though they’re reporting all the fish they catch and everything. So I I’m hopeful,.

Mark Chenoweth
And boat captains tend to be independent people. Yeah, this may not surprise you.

John Vecchione
Yeah, you talked about people wanting to get out of the 9 to 5, they kind of want I think the 6:30 to 3.

Janine Bolon
Right. That is where they live. Yes, sir. Exactly.

John Vecchione
But in any event, so and there’s certain others. I will say this one of the things that I’d like to focus on just in general, and I’m looking at a case on it now is the administrative agencies affect your contract rights? A lot of the time, that’s what we saw in the CDC eviction moratorium case and, the Supreme Court has been very lacks on contract client. I mean, the law is just I read it sometimes. And then I read the Constitution I’m saying, Does anyone know English? Did they learn English? And you said you learned about your state constitutions in law school. I don’t know when you went to law school, but we never heard of a state constitution when I was in law school. So that was that’s good. That’d be nice for them to read those too. So, but actually, since I just wanted to get the federal constitution, right, I’d be happy if they just use the word. I’d settle for that. So maybe we’ll see something on the contracts clause, if the agencies do it rather than Congress. So that’d be good, too. I don’t have any case in mind, but I just been looking at it. And that’d be good to do as well.

Mark Chenoweth
But we have about 40 cases in the pipeline right now. So if folks are interested in that, again, www.NCLAlegal.org is our website, people can learn all about the different cases we have going against probably two dozen different federal agencies that we’ve filed lawsuits against in the past year or two.

Janine Bolon
And if somebody had a case that they wanted to see if you guys would work on do you have a Contact Us section on there?

Mark Chenoweth
Not really. And the reason for that is we’re already inundated with more cases than we can take, but people do find ways to reach us.

Janine Bolon
So please, Janine, don’t give out our email addresses. Is that what I’m hearing, please Janine.

Janine Bolon
Okay. Yeah, I’m playing with you. I know. I understand that. Anyway. Thank you, gentlemen. It is always lovely to be able to hear people from inside the beltway who are trying to make decisions and also broadcasting what’s happening to those of us who are dealing with daily life outside of the beltway, and sometimes it gets a little incestuous. And they’re the nightly news doesn’t share the whole story. So thank you for giving us a different piece of story, something that is coming from you guys. So we appreciate that. And with that, thanks so much for listening.

Janine Bolon
Hey, welcome to the Janine Bolon show, and I have a special guest with me today, Michelle Mras, Michelle and I have only really known each other since 2018. But we’re definitely feel like we’re sisters from the different mothers or however that wonderful tribal saying is that she uses all the time. But one of the things we wanted to share with you guys today was this 100 authors event. And as you know, I’m a double digit author. I’m working on book number 12. Michelle herself has written multiple, multiple books. And the thing is, is we really like supporting and mentoring our other authors. So Michelle, welcome to the show today.

Michelle Mras
Thank you for having me. I’m really excited to be here, actually, it’s really nice.

Janine Bolon
So one of the things I wanted to share with folks was about the 100 author event, talk to us a little bit about what it is. But really, what’s the story behind the story? What got you into that anyway,

Michelle Mras
The story behind the story, we have to tell that one, I launched two books in the same week from two different publishers. And both of them wanted me to have a launch party. And I don’t like being the center. Yes, I’m a speaker, but I don’t like the attention on me. And I said, I’m not going to do two book launches. It’s just, it doesn’t feel right. And they said, Well, what do you want to do? And then one of the publisher said, Well, why don’t you do a like a an author event, invite all your friends who are authors, and then you all celebrate together, because they’re going to come to your launch party anyways. I said, that’s a really good idea. He says call it 100 authors, that’s a nice round number. Like, okay, we’ll do 100 authors. So that’s what happened. I was launching my books the same week. So I made 100 author, but I didn’t want it to be about me, I want it to be about everyone else. And that whole rising tide raises all the ships, if I can have all those that the photography in there, and the people videoing me, they would be able to do all that for everybody else, too. So my thought was, they’re there for me, but they might as well get a couple of shots of everybody else because that way we can uplevel any of the authors that are there. So the 100 author event is about authors coming together to conspire, to partner, to help each other and learn from each other. And that’s what the Colorado Springs one was about was bringing us together. So we realize we’re not alone. Authors like to write books and put them on a shelf. And my thought process is, it’s not just the book, it’s your business. So we need to be able to figure out how to manipulate your book. And in your message, because I’m a messenger, I help people write messages and write their speeches. How do we make it so you can grow from it, instead of just putting it on paper and letting it collect dust? And then we get everyone in the room and everyone’s so excited and I said, Hey, stage time, get up on that stage and talk for a few minutes about why you wrote your book and what your passion is. And that set a lot of the authors that were there on fire for more. And I’m like, Oh, we’re on to something now. And in that process, I said, Wouldn’t it be great if all the authors in this room who didn’t have a website could be connected to someone who could build them very simple website with their book? Ah, we’re recording them, what if we like take the audio or do some kind of a podcast? And then Janine walks in the room. Ah, we have a podcast. I mean, so basically, it’s how do we develop authors, so that they’re not just a one book author, that no one ever reads their book, but to up level them. So they really become that part of their brand. And they’re out there and sharing, they get on stages and talking about their book and getting on more and more podcasts, I see it as just this huge blooming flower of amazingness. So all of us solo authors who are doing our thing, aren’t alone anymore, we can work on each other and help each other. And what I just realized, I didn’t just, but a couple of days ago, I want to bring in expert speakers. So when we do the 100 author event, I only made it four hours, I want to make it five hours. And then that first hour would be you know, VIP, you can buy a ticket to talk to John Maxwell for an hour, you know, or come in and talk to JK Rowling for an hour, you know, that kind of thing. And that way, it’s an up level we can learn from other people. I’ve got a lot of ideas going on in my head. And I’m glad.

Janine Bolon
It was a good event. The Colorado Springs was a very good event. But like you said, there. This is the core group, and it’s going to go from there. And already how many additional events have been orchestrated. Now you’ve got Dallas, coming.

Michelle Mras
Well, Dallas is November 30. Right. And Las Vegas, it looks like there’ll be two of them back the back. December 8 and December 9, one will be at a hotel, the other one will be at a bookstore. And then the one in January right now we’re working in Orlando, March will be DC somewhere. April is London.

Janine Bolon
Nice. So what started as an idea that was just trying to solve a problem, which is one of the things I love is you’re just trying to solve a problem of two books. same week, two different publishers create an event. The next thing you know, you’ve gone international, and you haven’t even really tried. So bravo. And you also have a new award. I want everybody to know about your new award back there. Talk to us a little bit about that. It was named after you.

Michelle Mras
It was named after me and my tagline. So it’s the Unapologetic Award. And it was given to me by, well, I won an award in July, I competed at the ultimate speaker competition. And I won the ultimate speaker. And I’m kind of, I’m very unapologetic, but I’m also very energetic. And I tend to Yeah, you can see it that kind of energy that I bring around. And the creators, Christoph Wyman and Michelle Wyman said that I deserve something special to be recognized for what I do and the efforts I bring to that environment. I love speaking and I love bringing messages out. And so they gave me the first annual Michelle Mras Unapologetic Award. And it’s basically what Michelle says it’s the flame in my soul, the light that I give, and I share with everyone else. Isn’t that beautiful?

Janine Bolon
I think it’s beautiful. And that’s why when people are like, Janine, why are you always mentioning Michelle, and why are you always mentioning these awards and everything I said, because I’m so proud of her. And like, if you have any idea of her background, if you had any idea of what she has been through, you know, she doesn’t look like what she has been through. Right? She actually looks good, and girl and you laugh. And that’s why I wanted to share that. But anyway, this was just meant to be a little quick inspiration for you to know that there are authors out there that know how you are struggling and we want you to do better. And there are events and people who their sole purpose is to help mentor you, and raise you up, and help you with your message. I want you to look into Michelle Mras. We will have a button below so you can see what the new events are for the 100 authors event. If you’ve never been to anything like that, take your book and your shaky knees and I know you’re nervous, and get out there and join an event like this. Thank you so much for listening. And Michelle, thank you for your time.

Michelle Mras
Thank you so much.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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