Noonletter, Nov. 1, 2018
The cable guy
President Donald Trump is making noises about issuing an executive order that would undo birthright citizenship in the country. He contends he has the authority, through executive order, to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in the country if their parents are here illegally.
In doing so, he’s bucking the overwhelming consensus of legal scholars. Kris Kobach is bucking them with the president. On TV.
With less than a week to go before the election, Kobach showed up on both CNN and Fox News on Wednesday.
On Fox, the Republican nominee for governor said that we’ve been doing things wrong for a long time. And that the president has the power to change that.
“There are many people who are under the misapprehension that the 14th Amendment commands it,” he said. “It doesn’t.”
The folks on the “Fox & Friends” couch left that unchallenged, moving on to offer him a chance to say why he should win his race against Democrat Laura Kelly.
The tone was a tad different on CNN. Anderson Cooper was hosting or refereeing, a conversation between Kobach and left-leaning legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Toobin sparred with him over the birthright issue and tied it to Kobach’s successful push to require photo IDs to vote.
Toobin: “Kris has devoted his career to stopping black people and poor people from voting. I mean that’s been your goal for decades."
Kobach: “That is an outrageous accusation.”
Toobin: “It’s completely true.”
The birthright fight stems over the interpretation of the 14th Amendment: All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.
It’s the “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” clause that Kobach, and the president, see as an opening to exclude what they often call “anchor babies,” those U.S.-born children of immigrants in the country illegally.
Kobach on Fox:
Kobach on CNN:
Speaking of Kris ...
The latest episode of the My Fellow Kansans podcast focuses on Kobach, his career and his appetite for confrontation.
You’ll hear a lot from Kobach, and listen to him challenged on a range of subjects. Give it a listen.
Life after Kobach
The folks looking to replace Kobach as Kansas secretary of state, meanwhile, don’t even agree what the office is all about.
Republican Scott Schwab, a lawmaker of more than 10 years, says it’s not the secretary of state’s job to get more people voting. He says the things that drive voters to the polls lie beyond the control of the office — factors like times of war, ailing economies, contested races.
Democrat Brian McClendon, a former Google vice president from Lawrence, contends the secretary can do quite a few things. He’s promising to bring technology smarts to the task.
Celia Llopis-Jepsen tells you more.
Let’s study that again
A University of Kansas research team has detected a link between Kansas imposing work requirements and lifetime limits for welfare and a rise in kids landing in foster care.
The state Department for Children and Families doesn’t want to end those restrictions.
So now, reports Madeline Fox, DCF chief Gina Meier-Hummel is commissioning another study from the University of Maryland to check the work from KU and examine the agency’s data and policies.
Midwest economy slowing
The economy remains strong, as it has been through the first two years of the Trump administration.
But the numbers guys at Creighton University have begun to detect some signs of a slow down.
The school’s monthly Mid-America Business Conditions Index issued Thursday found that in October, some trouble signs started to appear.
They pushed the index score — it covers Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, both Dakotas and Oklahoma — to 54.9 in October from 57.5 in September. Any score in the survey above 50 suggests growth.
“It’s still in a solid range, but it’s definitely trending lower and the tariffs and labor shortages are showing up … and restraining growth,” said Creighton economics professor Ernie Goss.
Scott Canon is digital editor of the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, Kansas Public Radio, KMUW and High Plains Public Radio covering health, education and politics. You can reach him on Twitter @ScottCanon.
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