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Why Americans Won’t Give an Inch on Metric – Margins of Erro

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When I was a kid, “back to school” shopping was one of the worst days of the entire summer. But it was also a chance to pick up supplies and maybe learn a thing or two. And one thing I got every year was a composition notebook. You know, the ones I’m talking about with that black and white splotchy design. Anyway, in the back of every single composition notebook, was my first introduction to the idea that there are a lot of different ways that we can measure things. Obviously, an inch is an inch of what is a foot. But did you know that 320 rods equals a mile, or that a cord equals 128 cubic feet? What the frick is a rod or a cord anyway? I mean, when in your day to day life have you ever needed to know what a furlong is? Which is a roundabout way of saying that we have a few different ways of measuring things in this country. We have our U.S. customary units. Some people refer to them as imperial units, though they’re not exactly the same. But those are your inch, your foot, your pound. But there’s also the metric system, which is based on tens. One kilogram equals a thousand grams. Ten millimeters equals one centimeter. You know that one, too. So that composition notebook, it’s probably the first time you get introduced to the idea that there are different ways to measure the exact same objects or I don’t know, maybe you just watched Pulp Fiction and picked it up there.

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

00:01:38

And you know what? They call it a quarter pounder with cheese in Paris?

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

00:01:42

They don’t call it a quarter pounder with cheese?

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

00:01:44

They get the metric system. They don’t know what a f***ng quarter pounder is.

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

00:01:48

What do they call it?

John Travolta in Pulp Fiction

00:01:49

They call it Royale with Cheese.

Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

00:01:50

Royale with Cheese.

Fun fact. My father actually rented Pulp Fiction when I was like six, and we watched it together. I’m not sure it was an entirely wise decision, but at least it was a learning experience. I’ve also been thinking about the ways we measure things here in the U.S. Why haven’t we joined basically the rest of the world and gone metric? Well, according to polling from 2016, only 32% of Americans wanted to go metric, even though we already learned the metric system in school and interact with it in our daily lives, or at least I do whenever I buy a two liter bottle of A&W Cream Soda, Zero Gugar, which you’d know if you listened to our episode about diet soda. So why do we still have the metric system and U.S. customary units here in America? Why can’t we just choose one? Now, this might not seem like that big of a deal to you. After all, heavy is heavy. Long is long. But there’s a lot more going on here because as we’ll find out, there’s a lot of national pride and history wrapped up in our inches and pounds. Oh, silly me. There’s also a lot of money in politics on the line, too. Today, the weird world of our hybrid measurement system. I’m Harry Enten and this is Margins of Error.

When I was a kid, we were told in no uncertain terms by our elementary school teachers that it would only be a matter of a few years before we were all on the metric system.

This is Stephen Mihm. He’s a professor of history at the University of Georgia who specializes in economic and business history.

And so I think that experience, that very personal experience probably led me to wonder what it was about, both the kind of utopian qualities of embracing the metric system. On the one hand, you know, the idea that it was going to change our world, but also the harsh reality that any system of measurement, no matter how virtuous and how well conceived, does not easily take root when another system is already in use.

Which means, you guessed it, it’s time to talk U.S. customary.

So we know pounds, we know feet. Likewise, other units had connections with things that we don’t really think of as being particularly precise, like a certain number of barley corns lined up, you know, end-to-end, would be equivalent to an inch. And likewise, you know, there were all these units that are kind of hilariously dated now, like the perch or the furlong and many more. And all of them were in use and all of them vary greatly throughout England, in the English speaking world, and it’s those units that we inherited.

However, even though the American colonies kind of got a bit of a head start by inheriting a system of measurement that already existed, at the end of the 18th century, American colonists ran into a problem. Units actually started drifting, so people would disagree about how long, say, a furlong actually was.

There are lots of hilarious, albeit kind of obscure stories of of people in the American colonies, you know, having arguments about how big a bushel was. And, you know, they would say, “well, let’s go look at the standard.” And they would go to the customs office or what have you, and demand to see it. And then they realized that someone had stolen it and melted it down for scrap metal. In other words, there was a way in which these these things that we think of as being like, you know, they’re instruments of state power and of taxation, of government, would end up getting really badly abused. And sadly, this remained the norm in the United States after the United States was created.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “oh, well, that seems like a bad basis for a system of measurements.” And you’d be right. But the British units we used in America weren’t officially defined by the federal government here until the 1830s. So when I heard about this, I couldn’t help but think, okay, well, why don’t we just adopt the metric system back then? Because in many ways, problems like this were why French scientists established the metric system in 1799. According to some estimates, prior to the creation of the metric system, there were at least 250,000 different units of weights and measures used in France. But Stephen says there were a couple of key reasons that America didn’t go metric. And like I said earlier, the history of measurements has always been pretty darn political.

There was a political division within the United States in the 1790s between those who favored England and those who favored France. Those who favored England thought the French revolutionaries were a bunch of bloodthirsty nut jobs, basically. And the idea of adopting their system of measurement was viewed as heretical and a dangerous invitation to sow the seeds of revolution within the United States. The second problem, though, which is crops up later, is that the French themselves hated the metric system and all but abandoned it in the early 19th century. So when we got around, finally in the 18 teens and 1820s to considering what system of measurement we were going to use metric or our British units, we didn’t really know what to do because the metric system didn’t seem to be taking root the way that the revolutionaries had anticipated. And so we opted to basically do what Americans are really good at doing, which is kicking the can and not making a decision.

But like in most moments of crisis, a lone genius step forth, determined to institute order where once chaos reigned.

His name was Ferdinand Hassler. And he was actually not an American. He was this very eccentric Swiss scientist who had taken on the very thankless task of surveying the United States coast. It was the Coast and Geodetic Survey that he was in charge of, and he was dealing with the fact that feet weren’t uniform, which is not a good idea for mapmakers. And so he was a scientist and he said, I’m going to create standard units. And so he was the one without any congressional authorization at all who actually chose our bushel, our foot. You know, the exact definitions of these things, the inch, all of our kind of core units were gifts, if you will, of a Swiss surveyor. So he made all these units and they were really beautiful and uniform, and he distributed them to all the United States customs houses. And the United States, in theory, had uniform units. A few decades later, the federal government checked on the status of these, and much like their colonial forebears, they realized that many of them had been lost. Melted down for scrap metal, banged up and otherwise utterly neglected and discarded.

So. Okay, maybe Ferdinand Hassler couldn’t solve our country’s measurement problem by himself. But that didn’t stop others from trying to. And by the mid-19th century, metric was gaining steam. For example, after Napoleon had let metric lapse during his reign, it was reinstated as the system of measurement in France in 1840. So there was some discussion in America: was it time to go metric?

When the Industrial Revolution really kicks off and I’m speaking here after the Civil War, a lot of engineers and industrialists need uniform units. In particular, they need to define the inch with absolute precision. There’s some discussion of going metric at the time, but because the inch had been completely woven into factories, the decision was made and it was a fateful one by engineers that they would standardize the inch and not go metric. And this was in the 1860s and 1870s. They didn’t like the metric system because they would have to retool their factories and that would have been expensive. So that’s a financial consideration. But they also had a very practical objection to the centimeter, which would have been the most logical thing to substitute for the inch. A lot of people said, Well, what’s the big deal? Just simply take a quarter inch and convert it to centimeters. But when you do that, you end up with this horrible decimal.

That horrible decimal, it’s 0.635.

And that’s not as graceful as one over four and certainly not as useful to a mechanic or machinists working in the 1880s.

In many ways, this is where a lot of rational resistance to metrication built up. Not from any kind of patriotic zeal, but because changing established norms was expensive and complicated. But there were some people who did see Metric’s appeal.

The fact is that the metric system has many advantages, right? Especially if you’re in the sciences or if you’re in other fields where dividing stuff by ten or multiplying by ten has utility. In a series of fields, most of which are allied with science, you begin to see people voluntarily adopt the metric system. Pharmacists do it, in the late 19th century, a growing number of scientists convert very quickly to metric. So you begin to see people voluntarily adopting it. And so begins the great motley adoption selectively of metric alongside our old British units. And these two worlds are coexisting and in many ways have continued to co-exist ever since that time.

Which brings us to maybe the most important moment in metric’s life in America: President Gerald Ford’s Metric Conversion Act. Passed in 1975, it declared metric, quote, the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce. And once the Metric Conversion Act passed, well, in came the PSAs designed to teach Americans how to go metric thickness America to their learn the.

Metric Educational Video

00:13:07

Take 10, America, to learn the metric way. It’s a simple system based on tens that you can start today. Efficient, more accurate, more universal too. It’s good for our economy, our country, and for you.

Ford’s motivations for pushing metric. Well, they were pretty darn practical. A lot of U.S. companies found it both costly and difficult to do conversions between U.S. customary and metric, which is a little ironic since money was a big reason why some American companies didn’t metricate earlier. Now they were finding it costly not to go metric. Damned if you metricate. Damned if you don’t. But let me read that bit about the Metric Conversion Act again, which declared metric the preferred system of weights and measures for United States trade and commerce. You hear that? Preferred — which means it was voluntary. It still allowed for the continued use of U.S. customary units as well. So while specific pockets of American industry had already metricated, or did so in response to the Metric Conversion Act, well, if you don’t want to go metric, you didn’t have to. And many Americans didn’t want to. According to Gallup polling in 1977, of the Americans who actually knew what the metric system was, which somehow was not all of them, 60% of them opposed going metric. And so just a few years later, Ronald Reagan defunded the metric board that Gerald Ford had established. The American people had spoken and they did not like metric.

CNN reporter 1981

00:14:44

A few weeks ago, a “foot” ball was given by a bunch of New Yorkers who are passionately opposed to the metric system creeping in on little cat feet. The group that calls itself Americans for Customary Weight and Measure cries give the foot a hand and stand up for the foot. Stop metric madness.

This anti metric party called the “foot” ball. Yeah, you hear me right, was featured in the CNN report from 1981.

Speaker 1 from CNN report

00:15:11

I try and maintain a certain element of my life that has feet in it.

Speaker 2 from CNN report

00:15:15

No metric. Definitely.

Speaker 3 from CNN report

00:15:17

We want to make people much more aware of the fact that we have a beautiful, beautiful system of measurement that already exists.

Speaker 4 from CNN report

00:15:24

Oh, I’m against metric measure (Why?) It’s not human.

Honestly, listening to that, it’s easy to forget that happened in 1981. Because when it comes to the metric system, you’ll hear many of the same complaints now. And so here we are with pun intended, one foot in metric and one foot in us customary. So is it time to fully metricate? Well, after the break, I’ll talk with someone who spent more than a decade spreading the good word of the metric system. Her thoughts on the matter. That’s after the break.

So I’m going to say nist but it’s N-I-S-T, so I’m not sure if I if I’m supposed to say the acronym or not.

Elizabeth Benham

00:16:15

So the title of our organization is the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which is a mouthful. So we all do use and just NIST, the acronym and we call ourselves Nisters. So, you know, it’s part of our culture just to abbreviate that and sort of the alphabet soup that we tend to use with all our measurement terms and things.

This is Elizabeth Benham. She’s the metric coordinator at NIST, a position she’s held since 2005. And I got to tell you, working at NIST sounds like a dream come true to me.

Elizabeth Benham

00:16:53

We are all things measurement. We look at developing standards, documentary standards, measurement science, all types of technology that innovates and trying to get that into the marketplace to stimulate the economy so that trade and commerce are facilitated.

But don’t worry. Don’t worry. Not looking for a new gig? No, I was talking with Elizabeth because. Well, it’s 2022. Is it time for America to fully embrace the metric system? Of course, like we’ve talked about earlier in the episode, parts of America have embraced the metric system, which some people refer to as the international system of units or SI.

Elizabeth Benham

00:17:36

Invisible metrication has been taking place for a very long time and it’s not always real obvious. So that can lead to the impression that the U.S. has not adopted the SI very much or very deeply. Think about a iceberg floating out in the ocean. You’re a consumer flying on a boat. You know, like see this iceberg? You see that portion that is sticking above the water. Analogous to your shopping experience, you go to the store, you see things sold by the gallon. You see a product sold by inches or feet. And that’s your experience. You’re under the impression, hey, there’s no metric here or very little. However, that’s kind of a myth because below the water’s surface, of course, is the biggest part of the iceberg.

And according to Elizabeth, going full metric really would be beneficial to most business owners here.

Elizabeth Benham

00:18:34

So here in the United States, traditionally the approach has been a marketplace decision. The idea is to minimize the cost and absorb them into your normal business practice, your operations. It’s a cost of doing business. But unfortunately, operating in that hybrid system is often a cost of doing business as well and a risk, any time you have multiple measurements in place. And the challenges, of course, here in the United States, we have a law that requires for, you know, probably 90% of consumer products that it be dual labeled.

Elizabeth, talking about the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act or the FPLA. In 1994, the FPLA began requiring that product labels here in the U.S. show both U.S. customary and metric units. To Elizabeth, well, this is suboptimal.

Elizabeth Benham

00:19:28

That cost of keeping everything system, maintaining those two systems that typically just gets passed on to the consumer. If that business thought that they wanted to do metric only labeling, then they could have both of those lines running with metric labeling. It’s sort of like a double standard, that cost of having to do both, the inefficiencies that come with it. It may be a very small quantity of margin, but it is a competitive disadvantages for some companies. That’s why I think it is important that we can eliminate those barriers for those businesses that feel like that business model works for them, when it comes to U.S. laws and regulations.

It would seem to me essentially is that the answer is it depends on the business. If you’re thinking of going into an international marketplace, then going metric seems like a pretty smart decision versus if you’re really only going to be in the domestic market space, I mean, sure dual labeling is nice, but it really doesn’t pay because most people here in the States don’t really use metric nearly as much, at least on a number of different things.

Elizabeth Benham

00:20:39

And also small businesses, often times like initially, they may purchase older technology bottling, packaging, equipment that lasts a long time, 40, 60 years, you know, and a small business is probably not going out there unless they have a lot of capital to buy the latest and greatest technology, which is probably designed in metric specifications.

But the pro-metric argument goes beyond business. Elizabeth sent us a recent study from Old Dominion University which called our teaching both customary and metric in school, quote, a financial drain. Researchers found that eliminating customary from elementary and middle school curricula would save millions of hours of teachers and students time annually and by doing a cost benefit analysis of that time, researchers suggested that if we were to teach only the metric system, the U.S. would save anywhere from $1.6 billion to $2.5 billion a year. But, and this is an important but, Elizabeth recognizes that going from metric. Well, it’s not something that can just happen overnight.

Elizabeth Benham

00:21:56

Our economy is very, very complex. I wanted to give you a quote that is from a 1978 General Accounting Office report. The GAO found that no country with the economy and population anywhere near the size of the United States has converted to the metric system.

Of course, other countries have metricated since that GAO report from 1978, but obviously we haven’t, at least not fully, because on a practical level, just think about how big and complicated the U.S. is.

Elizabeth Benham

00:22:33

When we take the economies of individual states like the state of California, their GDP is analogous to that of France. The GDP of Texas is analogous to that of Canada. And so very complex. What’s right for Texas or California may not be right for, let’s say, Maryland or Florida or so forth and those different industries in those states. So it’s hard to make that decision. It’s not necessarily economically feasible for all of them.

But I was struck by something that Elizabeth said when we were talking about the two liter bottle, which is on the same level of recognition as, say, the gallon of milk. Ultimately, it’s really important that we, as consumers and citizens and just plain old people, are familiar with the measurements that we’re using, which cuts both ways when we think of going metric or not.

Elizabeth Benham

00:23:31

Two liters, now, you go to the grocery store that’s ubiquitous. Everybody, you could hold up a two liter bottle. Everybody in the United States like I know what that is. So it’s building up those reference points that helps us navigate through our measurement system, understanding it. It’s that innate ability to relate to a quantity that everybody needs to know to really function, whether you’re estimating how much sugar you need to make lemonade or how many bags of potato chips you need to buy for a party or things like that. So estimating and understanding what a quantity is, is very important.

And so I guess, you know, looking into the future, do you think we could potentially have the prospect, I’m not saying right now, but ten, 20, 30, 40, 50 years down the line where we might ever fully metricate, are we going to always sort of be on this pathway where we have really two systems going on at the same time in this country?

Elizabeth Benham

00:24:30

Well, I anticipate that we will be further along on that metric continuum. We will be closer to 100% than we are today. Ultimately, over time, legacy technology is taken out and replaced with the new. And that’s where we see more and more things that are designed with the metric specifications from the ground up that are going to replace them.

Coming up after the break, Professor Stephen Mihm will be back with us to break down another roadblock towards the US metricating: modern American society. Stick around. We’ll be right back.

Welcome back, folks. So last segment, we talked about metricating on a kind of macro scale from exports to education in the U.S. and all those reasons do check out. I understand them. But I got to be honest, as someone who’s grown up in our hybrid system, I can’t say I feel a deep personal push to go metric. And Professor Stephen Mihm, who we talked to earlier in the episode, says that ain’t too surprising.

What’s striking about the metric system since the 1970s, though, is the degree to which there is, outside of hard core partisan feelings on both sides within a very small group of people, a general apathy on this issue. In other words, while Tucker Carlson, has in fact, done segments in which he’s painted the metric system as a dangerous, insidious form of global government that will infect and destroy the United States.

Tucker Carlson on Fox News

00:26:20

Almost every nation on Earth has fallen under the yoke of tyranny: the metric system. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, from Lusaka to London, the people of the world have been forced to measure their environment in millimeters in kilograms.

And I gather that these are popular arguments to make for his particular audience. Most Americans just don’t really care that much. The only thing that seems to bind us together is that we don’t like change, really. In other words, we don’t like having things renamed or units banished. And so we we tend to react badly in those cases.

Tucker Carlson on Fox News

00:26:57

Now, you might be smirking about the kind of anti metric rhetoric you can find in America these days, but people have historically taken measurement systems very seriously. I mean, very. Especially when governments have mandated top down overhauls.

You know, in Latin America, for example, in the 19th century, some of these countries were metric and there were riots, people smashed metric measures. There were these these these incidents of actual violence over this. I don’t think that would happen. But I do think it — in this moment of a rebelling against globalization that I think is informing a lot of political movements around the world, this is one issue that, you know, it may not be a good idea to poke the bear of of people’s attachment to the gallon or the inch, you know, which seem quaint, antiquated, outdated to people who use the metric system. But it’s really not probably worth the battles that that that would have to be fought. In other words, there could be a very significant political cost to whomever pushed the metric system and made it mandatory in the United States, particularly mandatory and exclusive.

Like, do you remember Lincoln Chafee? He’s a former senator and governor of Rhode Island who briefly ran for president in the 2016 election and in his campaign announcement speech. Well, he decided to go big.

Archival Lincoln Chafee

00:28:29

Here’s a bold embrace of internationalism. Let’s join the rest of the world and go metric.

Yeah. So did you catch that awkward pause and then laughter? Well, Chafee’s presidential campaign lasted all of four months, and looking back on it, a year later, he called this focus on metrication, quote, the big mistake, because in many ways, he immediately became that guy who wanted to go metric. But this contemporary pushback against metric isn’t only happening in America.

Great Britain has gone through something similar but less dramatic, and that their move toward integration into the European Union was attended with the relinquishment of British units. And now that Brexit has taken place, there’s now the door is wide open to reviving the older units.

The UK actually began Metricating in 1965, eight years before it joined the European Union. But in the wake of Brexit, imperial measurements seem to be making a bit of a comeback in Britain. Last year, Brexit Minister David Frost announced his intention to allow shopkeepers and supermarkets to sell items in imperial units, not metric. So back to buying fruit in pounds and ounces, just like the good Queen intended. But like we’ve said, people have been anti metric ever since it was invented. Like take this wild story.

Well, in the 19th century, there was a movement and it was not a fringe movement, it was a very serious movement among people in Great Britain and the United States who were opposed to the metric system. They believed and I am not making this up, I feel like I need to make this disclaimer before I go forward. They believed that the inch was a God given, in other words, literally the big man himself had handed down the inch to humanity at the dawn of time and had embedded it, and I’m not quite certain how this worked in the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.

And scientists and engineers, very prominent ones, you know, including, you know, people at Oxford, you know, Cambridge were huge proponents of this. A lot of these people were super smart and also invented amazing things that became central to the Industrial Revolution or made astronomical discoveries. So if there’s a lesson to all this, it’s that maybe maybe we need to let go of the belief that people can be wholly rational, wholly metric, and maybe acknowledge that there’s a little bit of irrationality in all of us.

Why does this debate bring out such passionate opinions from people? And why is it that it seems to bring out such passionate opinions from people who aren’t really necessarily, you know, impacted too much by whether we go metric or not metric, you know, just people who are living their everyday lives, who aren’t engineers or scientists, who, to be honest, are the ones who are perhaps most impacted by this.

That’s a great question. And I think the answer probably goes to what weights and measures, in other words, systems of measurement have always been, which is that they aren’t just a label on a food package or a number on a scale. But they are a kind of language. In other words, they are functioning in a very fundamental way as a means of communicating things about the world around us that we use to understand the world. When we grow up with one of those languages, whatever it might be, metric or imperial units, those systems become a kind of shorthand that we use to understand the world, the language we use to describe the world. When someone tries to take away your language or ask you to speak a new one, I think it brings out a very instinctive reaction and a resistance to it.

I actually really like that. I think that is exactly sort of right. It’s something simple, but it represents something so much larger.

Exactly. And if you are — let’s say that everyone started learning the metric system as a child, those children would be totally fine with it, as adults, there would be no problem. It’s it’s the resistance inevitably is from those who are already speaking the language that they know and don’t want to take on the burden of of learning something new. We are creatures of habit, human beings, and a new system of measurement is something that’s difficult for people to acquire after they’ve grown up.

Ultimately, our system’s kind of a mess, but it’s our mess, and it still works well, kind of.

If I were to describe what what makes America, America, it’s often times are our cludgy workarounds that actually sometimes are less disruptive and allow us to to to function and tolerate the kind of, many different ways of doing things within a single country. And that’s not a minor achievement, actually, on some level, if you if you think about it and it’s embedded in our political system with 50 state governments operating simultaneously with a single national government, and perhaps on some level that’s embedded in well, in our very ugly but functional system of measurement.

I must admit that before we recorded this episode, I didn’t know what to think of the metric system in America. I knew about kilometers and meters and kilograms from school, but for the most part, I didn’t use them all that often in my daily life. Even tackling the topic came from my buddy Noam, and I thought to myself, “Hey, what’s the deal with all that?” But as I looked at the metrication, it became clear to me that this wasn’t just a trivia question. For example, which disastrous presidential campaign put forth metrication as a main issue? It was far larger and more complicated than that. Indeed, that’s often why I choose the topics I do for this podcast. I love looking at issues that seem small at first, but actually say a lot about who we are. As for me and the metric system, I think I come down where Stephen does. Yes, there would be some clear advantages to switching. Yet what we have now mostly does the trick. In a world where there are so many big problems, why rock the boat? Coming up on our next episode, people these days are more single than ever, having less sex than ever and just being less romantic than ever, so I got to wonder, is love dead? And if so, who killed it? Next time I’ll try to find out. Margins of Error is a production of CNN Audio and Western Sound. Our showrunner is Cameron Kell. Our producer is Savannah Wright, production assistance and fact checking by Nicole McNulty. Mischa Stanton is our mix engineer. Additional support from Tamika Ballance-Kolasny, Dan Dzula, Allison Park and Alex McCall. Our executive producers are Ben Adair and Megan Marcus and me, well, I’m Harry Enten.

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Supreme Court to hear case about power of state legislatures over elections

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court announced Thursday that it will hear a case that could radically reshape the conduct of federal elections by giving state legislatures independent power, free from review by state courts, to set election rules in conflict with state constitutions.

The case has the potential to affect many aspects of the 2024 election, including giving judges the power to influence the presidential race in the event of a dispute over how state courts interpret state election laws. .

By taking up the case, the court could upend nearly every facet of the U.S. electoral process, allowing state legislatures to establish new rules, regulations, and districts for federal elections with few checks against excesses, and potentially to create a chaotic system with different rules and votes. eligibility for presidential elections.

“The Supreme Court’s decision will be extremely important to presidential elections, congressional elections and the constituency of congressional districts,” said J. Michael Luttig, a former Federal Court of Appeals judge. “And so, for American democracy.”

Protections against partisan gerrymandering established by state courts could essentially disappear. The ability to challenge new election laws at the state level may be reduced. And the theory behind the case could open the door to state legislatures sending their own voter lists.

It’s one thing to agree to hear a case, of course, and quite another to decide it. But four judges have already expressed at least tentative support for the doctrine, rendering a decision accepting it more than plausibly. The court will likely hear arguments in the fall and issue its decision next year.

Currently, Republicans have full control of 30 state legislatures, according to at the National Conference of State Legislatures, and were behind a wave of new voting restrictions passed last year. And Republican legislatures in key battleground states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have used their control over redistricting to effectively lock in power for a decade.

The Democrats, in turn, control only 17 state legislatures.

The case involves an electoral map drawn by the North Carolina legislature that was dismissed as a partisan gerrymander by the state Supreme Court. Republicans seeking to restore the legislative map argued that the state court was powerless to act under the so-called doctrine of the independent state legislature.

The doctrine is based on a reading of two similar provisions of the US Constitution. The one involved in the North Carolina case, the Election clausesays, “The times, places, and manner of holding the elections of Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

This means, North Carolina Republicans argued, that the state legislature has exclusive responsibility among state institutions to draw congressional districts and that state courts have no role to play. to play.

The North Carolina Supreme Court rejected the argument that he was not authorized to review the actions of the state legislature, claiming that it would be “contrary to the sovereignty of the states, the authority of state constitutions, and the independence of state courts, and would produce absurd and dangerous consequences”.

In a previous encounter with the case in March, when the unsuccessful challengers requested emergency assistancethree members of the United States Supreme Court have said they would have granted the request.

“This case presents an exceptionally important and recurring question of constitutional law, namely the scope of the power of a state court to overrule rules adopted by a state legislature for the conduct of federal elections,” wrote Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., joined by Judges Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch.

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh agreed that the issue was important. “The problem is almost certain to continue to arise until the court resolves it definitively,” he wrote.

But the court should consider it in an orderly fashion, he wrote, outside the context of an impending election. He wrote that the court should grant a motion for review on the merits “in an appropriate case – either in this case from North Carolina or in a similar case from another state.”

The court has now granted the motion in the North Carolina case, Moore v. Harperno. 21-1271.

Some US Supreme Court precedents tend to undermine the doctrine of independent state legislatures.

When the court closed the doors of the federal courts to allegations of partisan gerrymandering in Rucho c. Common cause in 2019, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the five most conservative members of the court, said state courts could continue to hear such cases, including in the context of congressional redistricting .

Lawyers defend the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision in the new case said it was a bad way to resolve the scope of the state’s independent legislature doctrine, because the legislature it It even had allowed state courts to review redistricting legislation.

During the last redistricting round, state courts in North Carolina, Ohio, and New York dismissed the newly drawn maps as partisan gerrymanders. In 2018, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court rejected Republican-drawn congressional districts.

But if the Supreme Court adopted the doctrine, “it would completely eliminate the possibility of undoing redistricting maps based on the proposition that they are some sort of partisan gerrymander,” said David Rivkin, a federal constitutional law expert. who served in the Reagan. and George HW Bush and supported the doctrine of an independent state legislature.

It would also leave little recourse in the courts to challenge the Congressional maps as unconstitutional. Partisan gerrymandering would be essentially legal, and a racial gerrymander would be the only way to file a challenge.

Adopting the doctrine could also end up gutting independent redistricting commissions that have been established by voters through a ballot initiative, such as in Michigan and Arizona, and limiting their reach to state legislative districts only.

But a decision favoring the doctrine of the independent state legislature has consequences that could extend far beyond the maps of Congress. Such a move, legal experts say, could limit a state court’s ability to strike down any new election laws regarding federal elections and could restrict its ability to make Election Day changes, such as extending voting hours. in a place that opened late due to bad weather or technical difficulties.

“I just can’t overstate how consequential, sweeping and consequential this could be,” said Wendy Weiser, vice president for democracy at the Brennan Center for Justice. “Essentially, no one but Congress would be allowed to curb some of the abuses of state legislatures.”

The decision to hear the case comes as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have sought to grab more authority on the administration of elections by election officials and nonpartisan secretaries of state. In Georgia, for example, a law passed last year stripped the secretary of state of significant powers, including as chairman of the state Board of Elections.

Such efforts to gain more partisan control over election administration have worried some voting rights organizations that state legislatures are moving towards more extreme measures in elections that do not go as planned, such as plans hatched by former President Donald J. Trump’s legal team in the last days of his presidency.

“The Nightmare Scenario”, The Brennan Center written in june“is that a legislature, dissatisfied with the way an election official on the ground has interpreted his state’s election laws, would invoke the theory as a pretext for refuse to certify the results of a presidential election and instead selects its own list of voters.

Legal experts note that there are federal constitutional checks that would prevent a legislature from simply declaring after an election that it will ignore the popular vote and send an alternative list of voters. But if the legislature passed a law before an election, say, setting the parameters under which a legislature could support an election and send its voters list, that could be upheld under the independent legislature doctrine of the ‘State.

“If this theory is adopted, then the red state legislatures will be smart and start putting these things in place before 2024,” said Vikram D. Amar, dean of the University of Illinois Law School. . “So the rules are in place for them to do whatever they want.”

Adam Liptack reported from Washington, and Nick Corasaniti from New York.

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HexClad, Tushy and Wild One: the best online sales of the moment

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Today you will find an offer on the Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi Routera discount classic tushy and savings on A savage pet equipment. All this and more below.

The manufacturer of our choice for the best restaurant quality nonstick skillet offer up to 40% off sitewide. You can score the Hexclad 10-inch Hybrid Skillet for $109.99 and shop the rest of the site for cookware, knives, mixing bowls and more, through July 5.

Win the title of our favorite bidet accessory, the Tushy Classic is a fantastic bidet for beginners and great value at just under $100. In our testing, this attachment had by far the most comfortable spray, and its adjustable nozzle made deep cleaning much easier than others. No other bidet attachment matches this one from Tushy gentle but effective flow, simple installation and easy to use controls plus adjustable pressure and direction. Right now, get the Tushy Classic 3.0 at a new low price from Nordstrom.

Treat your furry friend to stylish pet accessories from Wild One’s offerings – think minimalist design and chic jewel tones, all built with utility and comfort in mind. Whether you need a durable new leash for daily walks, a carry bag for the upcoming vacation, or treats to show your pup your love, this summer sale is giving you up to 40% off discount on top selling pet gear.

If you haven’t tried sous vide yet, now is your chance to jump on the culinary trend. An Anova Precision Cooker, complete with a Precision Base Kit that allows the unit to stand on its own, is on sale for $149 on Amazon for one day only. For the unindoctrinated, this cooker circulates water at the exact temperature needed for perfectly cooked meals, plus it offers fast heat-up times and Wi-Fi so you can set the timer and temperature with the associated application, all in a small, durable format. body.

Eero Mesh Wi-Fi System

We’ve named the mesh router Eero 6, with its foolproof setup process and nearly unmatched speeds and coverage areas, just like your best bet by opting for a mesh router. Now over $100 off, the router is at the lowest price we’ve ever seen.

• A good night’s sleep is key, and right now you can save big on green, vegan, and latex Avocado mattress during the brand’s 4th of July sale.

• It’s the time of year for the cooling powers of Dyson Pure Cool Link Fan, which also acts as an air purifier. Right now it’s $120 off at bestbuy.com.

Neutrogen makeup remover wipes are mega branded at Woot!, with eight 25-packs for $21.49.

The beautifully designed outdoor furniture from Haysofas, lamps and much more are marked down during the brand’s summer sales.

• The Alps Mountaineering Rendezvous Camping Chair is more than half at REI right now.

• The premium cashmere brand naadam is offering shoppers 30% off its summer shop, meaning you can top off your seasonal wardrobe at a discount now all weekend long.

• The 11 Piece NutriBullet Set from Magic Bullet has everything you need for your morning smoothie, and it’s 25% off at Amazon right now.

• Coleman makes reliable (and affordable) outdoor gear, and it’s become more economical with Walmart’s sale on Coleman 50 Quart Rolling Coolersnow under $40.

Calpak travel bags and suitcases are up to 55% off until the 4th of July weekend, just in time for the upcoming summer holidays.

Pet portraits of West and Willow and the rest of the site are at -20% right now with the code SUMMER20.

Right now, thanks to a 4th of July sale at Drybar, you can save on high-end hair care – from shampoo, conditioner and styling products to tools like hair dryer, curling irons and straighteners. Everything is 20% off, and blistering discounts will appear every day until July 7th.

Save on the internet’s favorite linens, bedding, loungewear and more with this summer savings event at Brooklinen. Until July 6, you can get 15% off nearly everything on the site, including everything you need for maximum convenience. Swap out your stuffy winter bedding and relax in the softest linen sheets or lay your head on a pillow we love.

Outdoor Voices has long been one of our top picks for activewear, loungewear, and even outdoor gear. It’s the perfect time to shop the beloved brand – some summer favorites are 30% off for a limited time. Until July 5, shop best-selling styles like the Workout Dress, Hudson Skort, Doing Things Bra and more at discounted prices.

Looking to reduce your kitchen waste? The Vitamix FoodCycler is a countertop device that breaks down food scraps (including chicken bones!) in just hours. Like magic, you’ll have nutrient-rich fertilizer that mixes into the soil to nourish your garden. Quiet, compact and odorless, the FoodCycler is a great investment, especially at this low price.

There is no doubt about it: the ice nugget is the best type of ice cream. And you can get that coveted type of ice cream at home with the GE Opal Nugget Ice Maker, which is now $50 off. Yes, it’s quite a sum to pour on an ice maker, but ice cream lovers say it’s worth it. Not to mention that this machine offers everything from a compact and portable size to Bluetooth connectivity.

Girlfriend Collective’s activewear is sustainably made, size inclusive and ultra chic – what’s not to love? Until July 4, the brand is hosting its annual anniversary sale, so you can save up to 60% on select styles, from best-selling workout gear to swimwear, lounge sets and more. Moreover.

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Cubs’ Christopher Morel adapts to a league that took notice

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Right now, all of Major League Baseball has access to information on what kind of damage Cubs rookie Christopher Morel can do with a fastball. And Morel knows even better.

“Sometimes he wants to hit 600-foot homers,” Cubs assistant coach Juan Cabreja told the Sun-Times, “instead of 400-foot homers — that’s OK.”

What about 429 foot circuits? That’s how far Morel homered in the sixth inning in the Cubs’ 8-3 win over the Reds on Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

Morel’s multi-hit game has shown how effective he can be even as he adapts at home plate to the changing approach of opposing pitchers against him.

On Wednesday, Cubs manager David Ross moved Morel to 9th in the batting order as he adjusts. For more than a month, Morel had been the Cubs’ leading hitter in every game he played, but he had posted a batting average below .200 for the past two and a half weeks.

“That nine holes can sometimes be a leading second,” Ross said. “And, one, just taking out one of those at bats in an area where he puts a lot of pressure on himself, swinging and missing. Try to find his timing, let the game come to him a little more.

Struggles are relative, and even before Wednesday, Morel had recorded hits in six of his last seven games. But the Cubs — and the rest of MlB — witnessed what Morel is capable of with a hot bat when he started his career on a 22-game streak.

“He’s just your typical guy coming into the big leagues, being successful, and especially at the top of the roster, he’s on the radar,” Ross said last week.

The higher a batter is on opposing teams’ radars, the more he pays attention to potential weaknesses.

“Especially on the first pitch, people are a little more cautious with him,” Cubs batting coach Greg Brown said, “because they know he’s ready to hit right out of the box. .”

So they don’t challenge him with a fastball in the strike zone.

The Cubs’ streak against the Cardinals last weekend was an overstated example of how pitchers adapted to the rookie as he began to establish himself in the majors. Over three games, Morel saw 36 breaking balls, compared to 22 fastballs, according to Statcast.

With that approach, the Cardinals limited Morel to two hits in all three games, both singles. The first was out of a fastball and the second out of a slider.

“They’re definitely more focused on throwing breaking stuff at the start of the accounts against me,” Morel said through team interpreter Will Nadal. “I’m going to keep working on that, just practicing, making sure that every time they throw breakable stuff at me, I’m able to identify it, adjust it and make it pay.”

It’s not that Morel can’t hit breaking balls. Entering Wednesday, he was batting .207 on that group of shots, according to Statcast. But he did more damage on fastballs.

“The goal would be that as he grows,” Brown said, “he’s going to recognize which sliders he wants to hit versus which ones he doesn’t. Or which lane he wants the radiator. These are just things that I think will come with time.

Morel battled to get his pitch against Reds reliever Ross Detwiler in the sixth inning. Detwiler mainly threw cutters at Morel. And Morel, showing patience, watched the first five pitches to come up with a 3-2 count.

He fouled another cutter to hold the stick.

Next, Morel fired a low, inside cutter to send a towering home run into the left-field stands.



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