The World and Everything in It - June 6, 2022
On Legal Docket, why the leaked Supreme Court opinion was such a serious ethical violation; on the Monday Moneybeat, the latest economic news; and on History Book, significant events from the past. Plus: the Monday morning news.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!
Leaks from the Supreme Court happened before the latest one of the draft opinion in the abortion case. Yet there’s a big difference.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.
Also today the Monday Moneybeat: jobs, markets, and the politics of the high price of oil—economist David Bahnsen will be along to discuss.
Plus the WORLD History Book. 20 years ago this week, the Philippine military tries to rescue two kidnapped missionaries.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, June 6th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: Up next, Kent Covington with today’s news.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Bipartisan talks on gun legislation continue » Lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to debate new gun legislation following a wave of mass shootings.
GOP Sen. Pat Toomey is part of a bipartisan group of senators looking for common ground on the issue. He told CBS’ Face the Nation…
TOOMEY: This is a moving target, if you will. We’re still in discussions.
Connecticut Democrat, Sen. Chris Murphy, told CNN he’s never been a part of negotiations on gun legislation as serious as these.
MURPHY: We are talking about a meaningful change in our gun laws, a major investment in mental health, perhaps some money for school security, that would make a difference.
He said among the possible measures that are on the table right now are red flag laws and some changes to existing background checks.
But he said measures not on the table right now include new comprehensive background checks or an assault weapons ban.
At least six people killed and dozens wounded in pair of shootings » Some lawmakers on Sunday pointed to a pair of shootings over the weekend as the latest examples of why Congress must take action.
Gunfire killed at least six people and wounded dozens in a pair of separate incidents in two cities.
The first shooting occurred in a popular entertainment district in downtown Philadelphia Saturday night. Bullets struck at least 14 people, killing at least three.
Police and witnesses described “several active shooters” firing into a crowd.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters on Sunday:
OUTLAW: At this time, we believe that one of the three decedents was a male involved in a physical altercation with another male that was potentially the genesis of the shooting.
Hours later in Chattanooga, Tennessee, gunfire wounded 14 and killed at least three people near a nightclub. Three others were struck by cars as drivers sped away from the chaotic scene.
Over 50 feared dead in Nigeria church attack, officials say » Terrorists attacked a Catholic church in Nigeria on Sunday. Gunmen opened fire and detonated explosives, killing dozens of worshipers. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER, REPORTER: The attackers targeted the St. Francis Catholic Church in southwestern Nigeria. Officials say the death toll could top 50, including many children.
The terrorists also abducted the presiding priest.
Videos appearing to be from the scene of the attack showed a heartbreaking scene. Worshippers laid in pools of blood as people around them wailed.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
Nigerian Christians have continued to suffer violent attacks from Muslim extremists in recent months.
President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday—quote—“No matter what, this country shall never give in to evil and wicked people, and darkness will never overcome light.”
Reporting for WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Biden administration on the defensive over surging gas prices » Drivers are digging even deeper into their pockets to fill up their tanks.
The national average is now $4.85 a gallon for regular unleaded.
That’s up 24 cents from a week ago, 60 cents from a month ago. And gas is up a staggering $1.80 from this time last year.
The continued price surge has the Biden administration playing defense. White House adviser Gene Sperling blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
SPERLING: We’re dealing with an almost unprecedented foreign policy aggression that is roiling international gas prices.
Meanwhile Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg on ABC’s This Week pointed to oil companies.
BUTTIGIEG: And when an oil company is deciding hour by hour how much to charge you for a gallon of gas, they’re not calling the administration to ask what they should do. They’re doing it based on their goal of maximizing their profit.
But Republicans, like Sen. John Barrasso, say President Biden’s energy policies are largely responsible.
BARRASSO: We need to use American energy. We have it in the ground. He won’t let us get it out. But I think Joe Biden actually wants high gasoline prices so he can force people into electric vehicles.
Barrasso on Sunday criticized the Biden administration for canceling a series of oil leases in his home state of Wyoming.
I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: betrayal of trust at the Supreme Court.
Plus, a missionary kidnapping.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday morning and a brand new work week for The World and Everything in It. Today is the 6th of June, 2022.
Good morning to you, I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Thanks again if you were one of the many new donors who signed on with us in May!
You gave us a great big boost over last year’s drive! and that really puts us in a strong position going into the Spring Giving Drive and it starts today.
REICHARD: And for my part, nothing is more encouraging than knowing we have an army of supporters who have our back.
The hours are long, the work can at times be tedious—just being honest—but just knowing that you care enough to make a gift is motivating.
When you make a gift, it just makes me all the more determined never to let you down. You have my commitment!
EICHER: And mine.
As you pray that God will meet our resource needs this month, you can follow our progress at WNG.org. We’ll have a continually updating tally up at the top and that’s also the place to go to make your gift: WNG.org/SpringGivingDrive.
We expect the U.S. Supreme Court to hand down opinions this morning and so we’ll have analysis as soon as possible for you.
Today, though, a decision we already have in a meaningful respect, but don’t have quite yet, in the most important respect and that’s the abortion decision known as Dobbs versus Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Politico received a draft of the majority opinion and published it in full and later Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed the draft is authentic.
We’ll discuss not so much the content, because it isn’t final and we haven’t seen the concurring opinions and dissents, but we will talk about what it means that someone leaked the draft.
REICHARD: Right. Most media have focused on what the draft says about abortion. That’s important, but so is the leak, which is really a theft. There’s a thief at the court who has access to court documents.
I asked the public information office at the court for comment on the latest in the investigation as to who did it. I received no response, but CNN reported on Wednesday that court officials have asked all the law clerks to sign affidavits and to hand over their cell phone data.
Some of the clerks are now getting lawyers of their own.
EICHER: Not long after the leak, Justice Clarence Thomas spoke at a conference in Dallas on May 13th. He spoke of the damage to the court and to America’s institutions in general. Have a listen to what he says:
THOMAS: I think we are in danger of destroying the institutions that are required for a free society. You can’t have a civil society, a free society, without a stable legal system. You can’t have one without stability and things like property or interpretation and impartial judiciary. And I’ve been in this business long enough to know just how fragile it is.
REICHARD: I saw a piece by Professor Mark Movsesian in the journal called First Things, published by The Institute of Religion and Public Life. Movsesian is co-director of the Center for Law and Religion at St. John’s Law School in New York. He once clerked for Justice David Souter, decades ago.
The piece he wrote that caught my eye is titled Why the Dobbs Leak is Dangerous.
So I called him up for some perspective. He referenced that interview by Justice Thomas.
MOVSESIAN: I don't know if other people pick this up. But Justice Thomas, it was quite striking to me. He said, “This is not how it was when I first joined the court.” And he mentioned two or three very progressive justices, Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg, and he said he got along fine with them. And he said, ”You know, we were a dysfunctional family, but we were a family.” And he said, “Now, I just don't know if I can trust my colleagues in the same way.” And I thought that was really quite a telling comment, and really quite a criticism of the current membership of the court, frankly.
Movsesian called this theft and release to the media particularly shocking, and put it into some historical context:
MOVSESIAN: Well, I say it's not shocking in the sense that there have been leaks before from the Supreme Court. I mean, everyone thinks the Supreme Court quote, unquote, doesn't leak. That's not quite true. There have been leaks before. There were leaks actually about the Obamacare decision a couple of years ago and Bostock and going back to the Dred Scott case in the 19th century.
Those were one category of leaks: after the fact, after the decisions were handed down. The purpose of those leaks differed from the Dobbs draft opinion leak:
MOVSESIAN: So those leaks tend to be maybe after the fact someone wants to set the record straight for history, right, to kind of let historians know what was going on. Sometimes they are, frankly, to make the leaker seem more important than he or she really was in the way the case was decided, you know, kind of saying, “I was there as the eyewitness and I had an important role.”
There's at least one leak in Supreme Court history that apparently involves someone trying to, to make money off a leak, with inside information about some business thing. But those are all very different sorts of things because none of those leaks threatened to destroy the trust that the justices have in one another in the way that this leak seems calculated to do.
Not only destroy trust, but manipulate the process of judicial review and integrity. The timing of the leak tells why. The justices would have had the initial vote on how they’d decide back in December after oral arguments. The senior justice in the majority would then decide who’d write the opinion, and we know that was Justice Samuel Alito.
MOVSESIAN: So Justice Alito then circulated his draft in February, and at that point, the other justices had the opportunity to read it and decide whether they were going to join that opinion, or whether they were going to write separately. And so for the leak to come out now suggests that someone, the leaker, understands how the vote is going, and has decided either to try to influence that process, or alternatively, or in a more sinister way, to just blow up the process. That's why this leak was so shocking.
Movsesian has his theories about whether the leaker meant to scare someone away from joining the majority or keep that someone on board with it. Or, whether it’s the more sinister motivation to incite public unrest and expose the justices to threats, destroying their trust in one another.
In that interview in Dallas, Justice Thomas pointed to a dicey future if that’s the case:
THOMAS: I just think that anyone, for example, would have an attitude to leak documents, that general attitude is your future on the bench. And you need to be concerned about that. We never had that before. We actually trusted.
I’d read some commentators saying, “What’s the big deal with the leak? The decision’s coming out soon anyway. Sunlight’s the best disinfectant.” That sort of thing. But all that reminded me of the line someone wrote that, “We don’t know what we’re doing, because we don’t know what we are undoing.”
MOVSESIAN: I know that people will look at this and say the important thing is abortion, why do we care that the justices are embarrassed? And I think that's because, you know, people who think that way may not appreciate just how much is being undone, when members of the court think they cannot deliberate in confidence, when members of the court think that they can't engage in a good faith discussion of the issues with their colleagues on the court, I think that really does threaten to destroy the institution in a way that will have very bad consequences for our law.
I wondered if this egregious breach of trust isn’t the natural consequence of what’s been going on for some time on campuses.
An infamous example of bad and immoral behavior happened at Middlebury College in 2017. Students shouted down Charles Murray and physically assaulted his interlocutor Professor Stanger.
So many examples of people who will be our future judges and advocates now getting away with suppressing the speech of others and using intimidation to do it.
I asked Movsesian his thoughts about that.
MOVSESIAN: I’m not an expert in that. I'm just a law professor. But it seems to me that we have a kind of generalized sense of emergency in our culture today. I read this, there's a really nice essay about, in First Things actually, called State of Emergency in which the author says, you know, ever since 2016, we've had a sense on both the left and the right, that we are in a state of political emergency. And the normal rules no longer apply.
That applied to people who said the 2016 election was the, what, “flight 93 election,” right? People were saying. And then of course, after that, people were saying that the country was in grave danger. And then of course, there was the pandemic. And then you're, you know, you see arguments about free speech, that things are so dangerous now, we can't tolerate speech that says things that we don't approve of. We see all of this as an existential threat.
Movsesian emphasized the importance of identifying the thief in the court and punishing that person for doing it. Otherwise, this will only encourage someone else to do the same.
Institutions matter, and they matter whether a person thinks they do or they don’t. Whether progressive or conservative.
MOVSESIAN: I'd say that, yes, I do think conservatives support institutions, because conservatives are always very attuned to the idea the sort of peace and tranquility and order that we have has been very dearly won and could easily come apart. And that is why conservatives support institutions, maybe to a fault, because, you know, they don't want the bad consequences that come from disorder. But that being said, I think we shouldn't only criticize progressives for this, I think there are plenty of people who view themselves as conservatives today who also may not be attuned enough to the damage that is done to institutions.
I’ll let Justice Thomas have the last word, connecting the dots of our current culture to the leak at the Supreme Court, raising up a generation that conflates disagreement with disinformation, or even hate:
THOMAS: To me, the epicenter of free speech was when I was at the university. That’s where you learned to engage with people who disagreed with you, to deal with ideas with which you were not familiar or with which you disagreed. And it was back and forth and I just loved it. We called them rap sessions back then. And I said but now look at your university. This is the U of GA. How many of you can take a view on this campus of traditional families? And of course nobody, you’ve got a lot of people staring at the floor. How many of you can take a pro-life position on this campus. Staring at the floor.
I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them. And then I wonder when they’re gone or they are destabilized, what we will have as a country. And I don’t think that the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.
That’s this week’s Legal Docket.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: the Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now for our weekly conversation on business, markets, and the economy with financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen. He is on the line now. Good morning.
DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick. Good to be with you.
EICHER: I’d like a quick reaction on the May jobs report that came out last week: The headline in the financial press emphasized that despite continued growth in jobs, the retail sector cut 60,000 jobs in the month of May. Is that of particular significance?
BAHNSEN: No, the jobs number was so strong that some of the inner details were a little bit mixed. So you're always going to have that. On a weak jobs report, you should have something that sticks out to the strong side. The retail number had been quite high, and as far as what the lumpiness is going into summer, and so forth, we'll see where that plays out. But the number was quite a bit above expectations. And this continues to reinforce why rolling averages—three months is what we use at my firm—rolling averages of the jobs report is the best way to get concrete data.
EICHER: We received word of a trip on the presidential itinerary for July in Saudi Arabia, so you’ll have the top two oil producers in the world in the same room. Do you expect that visit will have economic ramifications?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, they still have not confirmed that President Biden will be meeting with MBS of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. I believe he will, and reports continue to be that he is going to meet with MBS. And that White House is not denying that, so I will assume it is happening.
I don't think that there's an economic ramification—other than the apparent objective would be to go beg Saudi Arabia to produce more oil. But there is definitely a geopolitical ramification because I think that relations between Saudi and the US are at an all-time low. I think that Biden coming in a year ago, and just basically really shunning the idea of doing anything to improve those relations, and now seemingly turning around on that, it seems to indicate to me, without further information, that they're deciding the politics of shaking hands with someone who committed murder a couple of years ago of a reporter is better than the politics of $110 oil.
Certainly the environmental inconsistency doesn't seem to matter to anybody: that it's too bad for the environment for Oklahoma to produce oil, but it's okay for the environment for Saudi to produce more oil. That glaring inconsistency doesn't seem to bother anybody.
But that's really what I think is behind this meeting. And we'll see if what comes out of it is some gesture of more U.S. friendly action from Saudi, which would probably be very bad for China.
EICHER: And before we go, you’ve been calling our particular attention to the markets. How’d you see last week?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, it was another pretty volatile week in the markets, except for the overall market is basically back to where it was a month ago: it's up over 2000 points from where it had bottomed a couple of weeks ago. The reason I bring up market volatility is that I'm increasingly of the view, that a significant amount of people that were heavily, heavily, heavily into technology investments are newer investors - that in other words, they began their investing life at some point in the last 10 years. And so the reason why I'm increasingly of the view that the pain in the technology sector could last longer, is that every time there has been a dip in these types of companies, without exception for 10 years, they've rallied and recovered and they haven't had to fully ever reprice. Now they're clearly repricing. And I think a lot of the investors in the space have never seen this before. And so I think that's an important dynamic right now to be watching in the markets. And then if bond yields really did hit a high a few weeks ago, we don't know that yet. But the 10 year Treasury got up to 3.3%. It came back all the way down to 2.8. And now it stayed in the high twos for the last couple of weeks. And I just wonder if bond yields have seen they're high, in which case, I think that that's going to be very profound in what it means for this cycle of Fed tightening - that the market just simply doesn't believe the Fed is going to last with this. And so there's a number of things we're watching, Nick, but overall, the market’s a little bit better off, technology still doesn't look great. And that's the story.
EICHER: All right. David Bahnsen, financial analyst and advisor. David is head of the financial planning firm The Bahnsen group. He writes daily at DividendCafe.com. You can visit that site and there sign up to receive David's daily email newsletter, The DC Today. David, thanks so much. We'll see you next week
BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, June 6th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next, the WORLD History Book. Twenty years ago this week an American missionary couple’s year-long captivity comes to a dramatic conclusion. Here’s Paul Butler.
PAUL BUTLER: For 17 years, missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham lived and worked in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission. Martin was a jungle pilot and Gracia supported the work in many ways while also home-schooling their children.
On May 27th, 2001, the Burnhams were celebrating their wedding anniversary at a resort when the Abu Sayyaf—a Muslim terrorist group linked to Al-Qaeda —kidnapped the couple and 18 other guests. Within six months, all but the Burnhams and one additional captive remained in custody. Some had been released, others killed.
The Abu Sayyaf took refuge in the jungle—forcing the Burhams to live in primitive conditions while evading the Philippine military. On the afternoon of June 7th, 2002, the military succeeded in pinning the group down.
NEWSCAST: Martin Burham was killed during a rescue attempt by the Philippine Army, but his wife Gracia survived. Family members say that, during Martin’s final hours, both he and Gracia had a sense that they might not make it out alive.
Over the two decades since the rescue, Gracia has visited hundreds of churches sharing her story. Earlier this year she spoke at the Cross Con youth conference. Here is a short excerpt of her presentation.
GRACIA BURNHAM: Well, you know how our story went, and you know how Martin died in the gun battle that rescued me. But…my kids and I have been asking people like you, all over the world to pray for the guys who held us captive. And why are we surprised when God does something awesome, and answers our prayer? I don't know. Oh, me of little faith. God has given me a “rest of the story.”
Several years ago, an American couple that works in prison ministry in the Philippines contacted me. They had gotten ahold of a comic book series that our foundation printed. These were printed in Tausug - the language that many of the Abu Sayyaf spoke. They're beautiful, colorful, I have no idea what they say - they're in Tausug. But they gave them out in the prison and the guys loved them…
But they said the interesting thing that's happening here is these guys found out Gracia Burnham printed these. They're coming to us saying “we're former Abu Sayyaf. We’re the ones who held Martin and Gracia captive.”
I said, “Well, ask ‘em their names. Maybe I know them.” And here came the names; sure enough, guys we walked with, lived with, starved with for a year - 23 or so of them in prison for the rest of their lives.
…This American couple and I have gotten together to figure out ways to show the love of Christ to these guys. And I could spend an hour telling you that story. But awesome things are happening. These guys are reading the scriptures in their own dialects. Some of them are going to Bible studies. To make a long, awesome story very short, so far, five former Abu Sayyaf that I know of have come to know the Lord as their Savior. [APPLAUSE]
Some of them are in the prison. Some are not. One is a very violent man with over 20 counts of murder against him - a new person in Christ, a brother in the Lord. And we just keep praying. And I wonder if you'd want to start praying, too, when you think about me and my story. Pray for these guys in the prison…
God can do anything can’t He? And it's not over till it's over. And I think that God has let me be a small part of what's happening there in the prison, just to encourage my heart because he loves doing good things for his children.
Had I known while we were going through our hard year in the jungle, that one day, even one of those guys would come to know Jesus, because of our experience, I think the days would have been easier to bear. And I could kick myself now and say, would it not have been enough to trust a good God with the days of my life? Can we begin to believe that God takes us into hard situations, not to crush us, but so that we can learn to see his hand and learn to trust him when he's doing a good work? And God's work is good, it's always good.
And I've been encouraged that there can't be a harvest without seed planters. And maybe planting seeds isn't always fun. Maybe planting seeds for you is downright uncomfortable. And you don't see any fruit for your labors. You might wonder why you were called to plant seeds, because you're not even good at it. But all of a sudden you see what God's doing. And I've been encouraged that the seed we planted long ago in the jungle was not wasted. Others are reaping what we sowed ever so long ago. So keep planting those seeds, my friend - those seeds of the gospel that Christ died for our sins, the ones that God said will never be wasted. Keep on when you feel like givin’ up. When you don't see any fruit, when you wonder if you even really know what you're doin’, keep on. It's God that's going to do the work on down the road. And I thank you for having me. God bless you guys.
That’s this week’s WORLD History book, I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: state protections for unborn babies. We’ll hear about what pro-life lawmakers are doing to prepare for a possible end to Roe v. Wade.
And, our Classic Book of the Month. This time, a great option for vacation entertainment.
That and more tomorrow.
I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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