Man, they do so hate on Dave Kopel, Director of our Second Amendment Project! And it’s awesome.
Dave was the target of a hit piece by the anti-Second Amendment “news” outlet The Trace. It leads with a truly boffo picture of Kopel looking extra manly in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not quite as sexy as the centerfold he did for Tiger Beat magazine, but still hot.
They went on to report the blockbuster story that the NRA Foundation is among the funders of his work (imagine our surprise). Of course, while we never disclose our donors, the NRA Foundation makes this information public for all to see. By the way, we are thrilled that one of the nation’s oldest civil rights organizations supports our work.
But the real bombshell of the report, and you might want to sit down for this, is that David writes wildly impactful amicus briefs on gun issues before the courts. Why yes he does!
They try to imply that Kopel breached an ethics rule by not disclosing on a brief that the NRA Foundation supports us. Of course, it’s a non-story because such disclosure is needed only if the foundation was a party to the suit, which it was not.
Dave calls the shots on his legal work. And speaking as a gun owner (thank God!), his work has been quoted in court ruling after court ruling, including numerous times in the landmark Heller case.
If you ever wonder if our work here at Independence is powerful, just judge us by those who hate us and by how much. Keep it up, Dave!
And for those of you at home keeping score, Kopel has been cited 22 times from the courts of 16 states and D.C., 20 times by the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals, and 5 times by the United States Supreme Court.
By the way, this week the Florida Supreme Court heard an oral argument in Florida v. Garcia, for which Dave participated in an amicus brief on behalf of Independence Institute. The brief argues that compelling an individual to disclose his cell phone password to law enforcement violates the Fifth Amendment and the Florida Constitution. Some commentators predict that the case is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
We recently released a study titled Unequal Opportunities, Unequal Outcomes: The COVID-19 Recession in Colorado. It explores Colorado’s policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic and social consequences of those policies for various populations across the state.
Using publicly available data, our economists evaluated the outcomes of the policies Colorado used to respond to COVID, as well as how those outcomes compare with other states. Among other things, the study finds that:
- The number of small businesses in Colorado declined by over 40% from pre-pandemic levels by June 2021, while stock prices for the Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Colorado increased by 61.4%;
- Overdoses increased markedly in 2020 with the sharpest increases occurring among the state’s Hispanic and African American minorities;
- The percentage of Coloradans with a household income under $75,000 who were working dropped to less than 50% in the spring of 2020 while it remained steady for those over $75,000;
- Workers making less than $40,000 per year accounted for 38.6% of the layoffs at the height of the pandemic recession; and
- The state’s largest minority group, Hispanics, comprise the highest percentage of workers in the industry hit hardest by the pandemic, hospitality.
Director Ben Murrey says of the study:
“COVID-19 has caused tremendous suffering and loss around the world. Yet, this study makes it clear that the policies implemented by the state of Colorado in response to the virus hurt specific segments of our population and state more than others. Low-income families, minorities, and small businesses were hit the hardest by government-mandated lockdowns and have yet to fully recover.”
Read the full study HERE.
Never has there been so much statewide excitement related to school board races. COVID-19 “woke up” parents. While we don’t know with certainty quite yet, it looks like conservatives flipped seven school boards and a significant number of conservative candidates made it onto other boards. In Douglas County, conservatives took four seats to win the majority. A particular highlight is Colorado Springs, where strong voter turnout by frustrated parents helped conservative-leaning and parents’ rights-focused candidates win and flip District 11, Falcon 49, and Academy 20. Winning the election is the first step, but school board members must make sound policy decisions. Since 2005, our Education Policy Center has directly provided all Colorado school board members with policy papers and school board candidate policy briefings.
This fall, Pam Benigno, Director of our Education Policy Center, briefed 63 candidates from 37 school districts about key K-12 policy topics. Of the 63, 48 of the candidates won their race! These weren’t all Republicans. We love to share our perspective with anyone, no matter their political leaning. All of the school board candidates received our 2021 edition of A Handbook on K-12 Issues for Colorado School Board Members and our newest education publication, The Science of Reading: What Every Colorado School Board Member Should Know.
In Complete Colorado’s post-election coverage, reporter Sherrie Peif looks at conservative victories in school boards across the state.
Joshua Sharf, meanwhile, swims upstream trying to find a silver lining somewhere in the Denver election aftermath.
Also, Fiscal Policy Center Director Ben Murrey looks at how legislative meddling sideswiped the Prop 120 effort to lower property taxes and also explains how the defeat of Amendment 78 means more slush fund abuse in Colorado.
Constitutional Law Center
Rob Natelson, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, appeared on 11 radio shows in October. They were in eight states, including Colorado, and on Sirius XM. Rob’s recent Epoch Times column—arguing for defunding the federal Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health—has proven hugely popular, and is provoking even more radio invitations.