Answering Reagan’s Challenge

Remarks at the Reagan Ranch

Aug 13 2014

My first real exposure to the Reagan Administration occurred when I was about ten years old. My father, the late Rex E. Lee, served as the Solicitor General of the United States during President Reagan’s first term in office. It is the job of the Solicitor General to serve as the federal government’s advocate before the U.S. Supreme Court. Like every lawyer, the Solicitor General has a client—it’s the federal government, and specifically the presidential administration in power. As a practical matter, that meant that my dad was President Ronald Reagan’s voice in the Supreme Court.
The situation at the border is heartbreaking. Tens of thousands of single adults, families and children have made an incredibly dangerous journey north from countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

They are leaving theses countries because they offer too little opportunity and are mired in poverty and violence. No one begrudges them for wanting to find a better place to live.

Americans are compassionate and generous. The American people always have extended and always will extend a helping hand to every corner of the world. And even as the number of illegal border crossings has exploded over the past year, we have treated these individuals with dignity and respect.
We are here today because our federal highway policy status quo is not working. And it hasn’t been for a long time.

This is the sixth time American taxpayers have been asked to bail out the Highway Trust Fund since 2008. None of those patches – $52 billion worth of bailouts in seven years – fixed the problem. And neither will the $10.8 billion authorized by the bill before us today. It will buy us only a few months before we are right back where we are now.
The most extraordinary feature of the bill before us today is the incongruity between its title and its content.

The title—the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act”—is clear and straightforward. It suggests the bill is aimed at the important and worthy goal of protecting women’s health.

But the text of the legislation plainly demonstrates that the true objective of the bill is to circumscribe Americans’ religious liberties within the narrow confines of the Democratic Party’s partisan agenda and the whims of politicians and bureaucrats.
The Senate is in the process of considering one of the most important presidential nominations of Barack Obama’s second term. Sylvia Burwell, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was nominated by President Obama to replace Kathleen Sebelius as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is now the Senate’s responsibility to review Ms. Burwell’s candidacy and then vote to confirm or reject the President’s nomination.
In an influential law review article, the late Professor Bill Stuntz noted the academic consensus lamenting criminal law’s constantly expanding breadth. Professor Stuntz wrote that virtually all scholarship in the field “consistently argues that existing criminal liability rules are too broad and ought to be narrowed.” But, Professor Stuntz continued ominously,
It is always a privilege to be back at the Heritage Foundation, the heart of America’s conservative movement. And it is to that broad, diverse movement that I have come to speak today about an issue with the potential to unify and revive our coalition.
The American economy is the envy of the world, primarily because it is still seen as a place where anyone – regardless of who you are or where you come from – can work hard, play by the rules, and succeed.

That belief is predicated on the notion that America has a thriving, competitive and free enterprise economy in which the best ideas and hardest workers win the day, while those who are less successful always have a fair chance to try again.