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Leslie Manookian and Brant Hadaway on The Ed Morrissey Show

By August 3, 2022August 21st, 2022No Comments

Leslie and Brant speak with Ed about HFDF’s answer brief to DoJ’s appeal of the US district court decision vacating the federal travel mask mandate. They also discuss the concerning implications of an unbridled administrative state. HFDF’s segment begins at 7:27, or you can read the conversation below.

Ed: Welcome back. Joining us on the Ed Morrisey Show podcast today are two of our guests who have been here before, and they’ve also been in front of the court before. They’re going to have to do it all over again because the CDC and the Department of Justice just can’t take no for an answer. Joining us today is Brant Hadaway from the Davillier Law firm, formerly Strange Women Lying In Ponds, a great blog from back in the day, and Leslie Manookian from Health Freedom Defense Fund. She’s the President and Founder of Health Freedom Defense Fund, the plaintiff, in this case,, talking about mask mandates, and Brant and Leslie, why are we here? I mean, this is not a popular measure. It’s not an effective measure. The pandemic, even the- whatever excuse there was for this, has pretty much gone by, and yet they’re appealing the win that you got in the district court. I guess we’ll start with Brant. Did they want to make you a wealthy man? Is that what the deal is here? 

Brant: Yeah, one can only hope, you know, one of the things I said back, I think when we spoke immediately after judge Meisel’s ruling, was that there was the part of her order on the statutory authorization was undoubtedly giving CDC and the administration a great deal of heartburn, because even if they don’t want to reimpose the mask order, they want to have the power to do something like this in the future, right? And, and so this is really, really a fight about the authority of the administrative state. It’s kind of just another battle in that bigger fight that’s going on over, you know- the current constitution of the court and their retreat from Chevron deference, which, you know, for the audience is a case, this decision of the Supreme court from the 1980s that said, well, if there’s a statute that one could interpret either way courts will defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation because that is what the agencies are charged with doing by Congress and so it really respects a separation of powers to give the agencies the leeway to interpret that. Of course, that presumed that success of administrations would enforce the law in good faith. And what we’ve had since is that we’ve had increasingly radical interpretations of law where successive administrations are picking and choosing, like looking for obscure provisions in a statute and then saying it authorizes them to take some sort of executive action that is completely unprecedented. And we’ve seen this numerous times, and it is recent concurrence in the Supreme Court case of West Virginia versus EPA. Justice Gorsuch actually referred to this as pen and phone legislation by the executive branch, and that is really what this is all about. It’s about pen and phone legislation, and it’s about the increasing inability to even agree on what words mean, which should be a foundational sort of prerequisite for formulating public policy, but if we can’t even agree on the meaning of words, then how can agencies be entrusted with that sort of discretion?

Ed: Right. Now, Leslie, you’re the lead plaintiff on this, President and Founder of Health Freedom and Defense Fund, Again, that’s where you can find Leslie and all the fine work that they’re doing over there. This really is the fight you want, right? Because what you want to do is you want to take on the administrative state and push back against the federal government and its intrusion in healthcare matters and just simply everyday life, and so this is really the fight that you’re looking to have. 

Leslie: I think it’s really important for people to understand that as long as you’re going along with the flow, as long as you’re doing what a doctor tells you or the CDC tells you, then there’s no reason to push back, right? They don’t understand a lot of people even why this isn’t so important, but if you’ve had a reaction to a drug or you’ve had a reaction to an injection, a vaccination. If you have chosen to use holistic medicine or something that is outside of the scope of conventional medicine as your primary healthcare, then these things really matter to you because you see what happens when institutions and government are weaponized in support of private industry. So what we see happening all over the country is that the Federation of State Licensing Boards, which is the group that actually licenses doctors, and individual states are dictating to doctors what they can and can’t say. That’s a problem, right? This is all about government overreach in all of its guises. And so Health Freedom Defense Fund, and I personally am very, very committed to fighting back against intrusions into my private decisions about how I keep myself well, how I keep my family well, and the mask mandate that was issued by CDC, let’s be really clear, a year after-

Ed: Right.

Leslie: The whole thing started; it wasn’t like CDC was claiming that they needed to issue this mask mandate right early on in the crisis. It wasn’t until Joe Biden took office that the CDC issued this order, and my point is that people may not care. They may not realize the importance of this, but those who try and choose a path that might be slightly different from the mainstream. Those people really care, and now millions of Americans are waking up and realizing that everybody should care because if the CDC can force you to dawn a medical device or a- literally it’s a garment when it’s just a cloth piece of cloth, 

Ed: Right! 

Leslie: Then CDC has way too much power. And so, yes, Health Freedom Defense Fund is hell-bent on protecting our enumerated rights and those that aren’t enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Because, you know, let’s remember it’s supposed to be a restraint on government, not on us. 

Ed: And coming back to you again on this, Leslie, because I mean, it would be one thing if these were actually effective policies, right? It still would be intrusive. It still would be worthy of challenging because put simply, Congress did not grant the CDC this kind of authority. We’re gonna talk a little bit with Brant about that in just a moment because it’s, it was the basis of your win at District Court in Florida, it’s going to be the basis of the appeal plus a new argument that I’m just itching to discuss with Brant here in just a second. But even if these were effective policies, this isn’t the way to go about it. But these aren’t even effective policies. You mentioned cloth masks. Most people are wearing disposable surgical masks, which are not effective at what it is that they’re supposed to be trying to do for the most part- 

Leslie: Can I just say, even N95s are not effective either, but go ahead, ask your question.

Ed: And you’re right. I was just about to say, they’re the most effective mitigation masks that you can wear, but most people don’t wear them properly. They don’t keep them on their face because they’re uncomfortable as hell. And so they don’t actually do the job either. And so some of this is certainly constitutional issues and major questions doctrine and all that. But a lot of this is also the fact that the reason why we have those safeguards against overreach in government is because oftentimes it just imposed bad policies or nonsense policies. And the CDC mask mandate happens to be one of those.

Leslie: You know, Ed, when Brant was first speaking, and he was talking about all the problems and the way that we can’t agree on language anymore. One of the things I think is so important to remember is that government only works when people who are well-intentioned are in government.

Ed: Yeah. 

Leslie: And our laws also assume that these federal agencies have good intentions, and I’m not so sure that we could all count on that. I think that is highly suspect at this point when CDC completely ignores its own meta-analysis of, I think it was 14 studies that it produced, it published in May of 2020, which show that these masks don’t do anything for the flu. You have to seriously question their intentions when they’re now all coming out and revising history over the last couple of years saying that. Deborah Birx has come out saying that she never ever thought that the vaccines would prevent transmission or infection, when Fauci is now backtracking, saying that he never supported lockdowns. I mean, this is a real crisis, right? I mean, I believe that what we’re experiencing is a true constitutional crisis and that we are not in a place where we have people who are necessarily worthy of our trust. And the thing is, when there are people who are not worthy of our trust guarding the henhouse, you’re gonna have major problems. And I think that’s what we face. So yes, these masks are absurd, and they’re being put on people, forced on people who are not even known to be sick. Who are not known to be a problem or a danger or a threat to anybody. And so, I mean, I think it’s so multifaceted it’s so much more complex than just do masks work or not, and does the CDC have constitutional authority? It’s this huge mosaic of issues, which really come down to who owns our bodies, who gets to decide. And, you know, even if CDC says something, should I trust them? I think most Americans don’t trust them at this point.

Ed: Yeah, Leslie, I think that’s a great point. Now I wanna take it back to Brant here because one of the things that you mentioned is it dovetails exactly into what Brant was talking about, which is the Chevron doctrine, which was based on the idea Brant that agencies were working in good faith on these types of interpretations of the statutes and how they could write regulations around them. The Chevron doctrine assumes good faith, and I think one of the reasons why it’s breaking down now is because it’s been pretty clear. Well, I would say it assumes good faith, and it assumes expertise. And I think the reason why Chevron is under attack and is likely to get tossed at some point entirely is that nobody can prove the expertise, but there’s a lot of evidence about bad faith in these attempts, based on the fact of the manipulation of language like you’re talking about.

Brant: Yeah, it’s an unfortunate legacy of Chevron, which we actually mentioned in a footnote to our brief is that it has tacitly encouraged successful administrations to engage in more and more radical departures from statutory meaning and statutory purpose, and it’s really veering us in the direction of becoming a Banana Republic whereas Chevron was, at least part of the intent, was to encourage regulatory stability and predictability. We now have a situation where investors in important sensitive industries, like the energy industry, they have to consider things that investors used to think about when investing in third world countries, which is regime uncertainty, regulatory instability, this sort of arbitrary and capricious nature of changing regimes and having a new regime come in and say the law is something completely different from what the previous regime said it was. And that is becoming a bigger and bigger problem. And it’s not just the department of education sending out letters redefining the meaning of woman under Title IX. It comes down to very fundamental things that affect our lives and affect our economy. And that is what I think really dooms Chevron is that aspect of what we’re seeing. 

Ed: Yeah, I’m not necessarily sure. I’m a big fan of deference to agency authority anyway, you know, I’m not sure how Chevron came about, but however it came about, I think the sooner it ends, the better, and the sooner that we hue to the actual written word and the commonly understood definitions of those written words, the better off we’re going to be because that in itself will just introduce a lot more stability and it will force Congress to do more of its job, right? Which is to say, well, look, if you’ve got gaps in the statutes, well, then Congress has to fix those gaps. It shouldn’t be up to agencies just simply make assumptions that work around those gaps. It’s up to Congress to do their jobs, right, Brant? 

Brant: Yeah, I mean, I think that’s a big part of it, and Gorsuch has said that other judges, I believe Kavanaugh has mentioned that factor as well, that we’ve really taken the onus off of Congress. And there’s a reason why the powers of Congress are in article one of the constitution because the framers regarded that as the most important power of the federal government was to be in Congress. But we’ve increasingly placed so much emphasis on the executive, and so many people freak out about who’s going to be the next president, and my response to that is, well, if you’re freaking out about who as the next president, it might be because we’ve given the executive too much power over the years.

Ed: Yep. 

Brant: And we need to return that to Congress because the whole framework of the constitution was designed to encourage broad consensus that we wouldn’t have these sort of lurching changes like you feel when you’re on a train on a bad railroad track, you know when you’re being jerked from side to side, this sort of ability to reach broad consensus is taken away when we have so much deference to agency interpretations that things can turn on a dime like we’ve seen in recent years with this, you know, as Gorsuch, put it, pen and phone legislation from the executive. 

Ed: Right.

Leslie: I just wanted to chime in on this because I think there are two major issues at play here that are really important to unpack. One of them is that there’s this notion, right? It’s the nanny state. It’s that government is this great authority that government should be telling us what to do, and we should defer to government. And I mean, I have to confess, there was a time in my life when I thought that the only thing that was wrong in the world is that I didn’t pay enough taxes and that if government just had more money, everything would be okay. I really did. 

Ed: Yeah. I think a lot of us went through that phase too. 

Leslie: So I’ve had firsthand experience listening to CEOs of multinational corporations talk about how they’re going to literally kill people with their new drug, but they’ll still do billions and billions in sales because, you know, it’s only a few people who will die. There’s an incredibly cavalier attitude amongst many of these CEOs. But my biggest point is that government has taken this place where too many average citizens think that government is above the law and government is the authority to which they should defer, and I think that’s part and parcel of another thing, which is the second point that I wanted to make and that is the cult of the expert, right. So we have been conditioned to defer to doctors and scientists. Why do you think they wear white lab coats? It’s because it conveys authority, right? It conveys position and power. Why are they called doctors when no other professionals get to be called that- called some title? 

It’s because it cultivates this superiority that they hold a higher place and that they are above reproach. And I think it is high time that Americans woke up and started challenging all of these notions. The cult of the expert is one of the biggest problems, and it’s what is at play with respect to these agencies dictating to us. It’s what’s at play with the federal government dictating to us, which is the President having too much power. And the truth is that all of these entities can be bought. They can all be captured, and they can be used against us. So if I want to use vitamin C or a homeopathic product instead of a jab for my health, I should be able to. That should be my choice. That should be my right. And nobody in government, nobody who’s unaccountable, nobody who is not me, should be able to make those choices. And so I think that’s what we’re really suffering from is this kind of deference to government and also this cult to the expert, which has been carefully crafted over many, many decades. Think about that- do you guys remember the cigarette ads? My brand is Camel, right? In the white lab coat, the doctors were saying my brand is Camel. I mean, it was all about cultivating this sense of authority amongst them, and I think it’s really destructive.

Ed: Well, and Leslie, this goes back to Woodrow Wilson. You know, and Brant, you can feel free to chime in on this. We’ll take a very short dive into the philosophical here and into some con law history here, but the agency state is not the natural state of being in the United States, or at least it’s not the historical natural state of being in the United States. It really started during the Wilson administration, where Wilson sort of conceived this idea that government of experts beats government of elected representatives. And this was an explicit part of Wilson’s progressivism. Wilson was one of the progressives of the early 20th century, and the idea that experts knew better and should really dictate to Americans how they lived their lives. And this starts with Wilson kind of takes a little bit of a break in the 1920s, and after the depression and New Deal, it just accelerates through all sorts of different things. And that’s when you have this explosion of agency law which is really Congress surrendering a lot of its legislative authority to the executive branch, and certainly, they still have some oversight over it, but that’s how we ended up in this position, and that’s what Leslie’s talking about Brant, is that leads us to this point where you get to a CDC that thinks it can dictate human behavior just on the basis of they’re the experts and we’re not. 

Brant: Yes, indeed. And you know the funny conundrum that’s sort of at the heart of the administrative state, and you bring up Wilson, the underlying philosophy from the Wilson era was that this sort of government of expertise was going to give us greater continuity and greater stability in how we lived our lives. And what Wilson failed to anticipate was that agencies would create this monstrous sort of bureaucratic state that would end up being highly partisan or at least subject to the partisan whims of whatever administration was in power. And so it ended up giving, ironically or not, it ended up giving the executive branch enormous amounts of power that would’ve been inconceivable prior to Wilson. Maybe that was his point, maybe it wasn’t, but that’s where we are in that, whatever was being sold to the public back at the time about having greater continuity and stability in terms of regulation and being less subject to the partisan swings of government. We’ve ended up with a complete opposite. Like I said earlier, we ended up becoming something more like a Banana Republic in the way that agencies are weaponized. Especially by the left. I mean, we saw the Obama administration weaponizing the IRS and other agencies against anybody who got outta line. And we’re seeing the EPA weaponized against- for example, SpaceX, and we’re seeing other agencies weaponized against people who are sort of threats- it’s almost a Soviet outlook that anybody who becomes too much of a threat as an independent power center, like an Elon Musk or somebody, has to be hammered down and the weaponization of agencies against people has become a huge problem. And it’s become like the Golem or Frankenstein’s monster in a sense. 

Ed: Yep. 

Leslie: You know, not least of these. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, Ed, but this is truly staggering what’s happened. It’s been revealed in recent months that the CDC “gave”- paid the media a billion dollars in the last couple of years to only convey the official narrative to the American people. Okay, but they didn’t- they went much further than that though. They didn’t only give the money to the media. They also actually colluded with big tech. This has now been released in documents that were released last week through FOIA, that they were actually colluding, making lists of people to take off of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, they were, colluding with big tech and violating Americans first amendment rights. You know this is truly staggering. I mean, I know there was a case against Facebook a couple of years ago, and the judge actually at the time said, oh, come on, the government is not colluding with big tech. There’s no evidence that the government was collaborating with Facebook. There’s no evidence of that. Well, now these documents have been FOIA’d because The White House was actually saying that they were meeting with big tech and that they were collaborating on what the messaging should be, what was appropriate messaging, what was misinformation. Now there’s actually evidence of this, and we are going to be filing a first amendment case in the not too distant future HFDF against CDC and one of the big tech because there is absolute black and white evidence now that they have been colluding and they haven’t just been colluding, they’ve been meeting, they’ve been paying them and colluding. Now this is government gone literally- awry, right? It’s run a muck. When our government is colluding with private industry in order to dictate what an American say can say or can’t say, we are literally at the end of the rope. I mean, we truly are a Banana Republic, to borrow Brant’s characterization of the situation.

Ed: All right, Brant. I think at this point in time, we gotta get back to this brief because I promised the audience a really fun argument that is brand new in your brief. Now, this is an appellate brief, and Leslie and I were talking about this before we turned the recording on, and this is- it’s a fun argument. Appellate briefs really do primarily recap what happened at the district court level and recap the case. I’m sure that the CDCs brief here, in this case, is gonna do something similar. And, of course, they also try to expand on it and make the case stronger. And you actually have a pretty good hypothetical in here based on the idea that the CDC can somehow regulate human activity as part of its sanitation clause. I’m not even gonna read this; I’m just gonna let you describe it because it’s your brief man, and you get the glory here.

Brant: A big part of the fight here is over the interpretation of section 361-A of the Public Health Service Act of 1944. And if anybody wants to look it up, it’s encoded at 42 United States code section 264-a. You can go and look it up there, and it has two sentences, and the first sentence basically says the surgeon general, which is a duty that’s been conferred to the CDC over the years, has the authority to institute regulations, reasonably designed to prevent interstate or spread of disease, the spread disease from foreign countries into the states or the spread disease from state to state. And there’s a second sentence that says in doing those. The surgeon general may do things like order inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, and so on.

Now, going back to-, you’ll remember, under the Trump administration, there was the eviction moratorium that CDC instituted this rule, and CDC had never done anything to rule over our daily lives or reach so deeply into the national fabric or the economy. CDC was generally an agency that was known for providing advice and assistance to the states and local governments in public health, and, where it governed people’s lives at all, it was to enforce quarantine at ports of entry to the United States. But even that function has really gone very much in the background. We don’t have- they long ago ceased having things like mass quarantine, like, you know, you arrive at Ellis Island, and you sent for inspection and-

Ed: Like the scene from the Godfather II where they put them in for three months.

Brant: Yeah, exactly. They long ago ceased doing that, but this statute was written in 1944. And so you have to think about, you know, most people coming in the country, they’re coming in by ship and so forth and so what do these words mean, and the district judge looked at the words and said, well you know, CDC urges that sanitation should have a broad meaning like of things pertaining to public health. And the district judge said, well you got to look at the statutory context, and one of the things she did was you look at these other words, inspection, fumigation, disinfection, these are active measures that you would do to a thing or an object, not to a person and so sanitation must mean some sort of active cleaning measure that you would apply to a property or a thing, not to a person. And in their argument on appeals, CDC again goes back to that argument that you can pick and choose from any number of dictionary definitions. And there was an Amicus brief filed on behalf of CDC by a group of public health law experts, and they’re all leftists. And they provided this laundry list of possible definitions of sanitation. And all of them were very broad and amorphous, and it’s the same thing, you know? If that’s the definition, then CDC could take almost any public health measure just based on the word sanitation, say it was a sanitation measure. And in one paragraph, I suggest that perhaps as a sanitation measure, CDC could require condoms, or perhaps it should just order a moratorium on all intimate human contact until it gets the Monkey Pox outbreak under control. By CDC’s reasoning, you know, by this sort of notion that you can define sanitation in a manner that’s completely untethered from a statutory context. That’s the sort of thing you get. Now you know, maybe somebody would say, well, that’s an absurd sort of hypothetical. But part of the point of arguments on appeal are to educate the judges on what absurd lanes the reasoning of the other side could take you to. 

Ed: Absolutely. 

Brant: And there’s absolutely nothing to stop the CDC from going on that sort of rationale at all based on what arguing vis-à-vis the meaning of the word sanitation. 

Ed: Well, right. I mean, is it a reductio ad absurdum? Yeah, but it’s not necessarily all that reductio because- and Leslie’s already chiming in here in agreement. The mask mandate itself is sort of a reductio ad absurdum in and of itself. And it’s actually in place. Leslie. So, I mean, this is the reason why the statute doesn’t anticipate having bureaucrats dictate to people their own personal behavior. I mean, that’s a line that shouldn’t have gotten crossed in the first place.

Leslie: A hundred percent. Well, first of all, it’s really important to bear in mind that CDC never argued that masks were a sanitation device in the very beginning. When they implemented the mask order, they never said that. It was only after the fact after we filed our lawsuit and we got the ruling, and then they wanted to- then I forget at which juncture Brant you can remind me. 

Brant: Yeah, it was when the Supreme court came down with its decision in Alabama, Association of Realtors, that was an eviction moratorium case. The Supreme court said that the scope of the first sentence is informed by the words in the second sentence, and I forgot to mention that, and it was only after that ruling came down- which was shortly after we filed our lawsuit. The CDC came in and seized on that word, sanitation, as a post hoc rationale for the order.

Leslie: Yeah, so they’re just trying to cover their butts right after they’ve already done something, which seems pretty egregious. So that’s one thing that I think bears remembering. But the other thing is Mike Bloomberg, when he was Mayor of New York City, he tried to-, by executive order, dictate that New Yorkers couldn’t drink big gulps.

Ed: I remember that very well. 

Leslie: 32oz- I don’t know how much is in a big Gulp; I’ve never had a big Gulp-

Ed: I think it’s a 44-ounce soft drink or something. 

Leslie: Some absurd amount of high fructose corn syrup, right?

Ed: Well, you know, when I was a teenager, it was great. I’m not a teenager anymore, so I wouldn’t even try something like that, but yeah, exactly.

Leslie: Nobody in their right mind would want to drink that unless they were maybe a teenager, but the point is that he tried to do this, and it was struck down as a violation of his power and authority. The court said, sorry, no go, Mike. And I think it’s a great illustration of this overstep of government, and if you take CDC’s interpretation of sanitation, what’s to stop them from dictating what we can and can’t eat? How much ice cream can you have? Can you eat a candy bar? And the reason I’m arguing that is because we know scientifically that sugar undermines the immune system. So they, are they going to dictate that? How far are they going to go? Are they gonna tell us how much exercise we have to get every single day or every single week? Where is it going to end? And is it somehow connected to what your genetic composition might be like? Are you more inclined to get diabetes or to have heart disease? And the government gets it wrong all the time. I mean, for decades, we were told that fat is bad for us, saturated fat, and now they’re admitting that actually butter is good for you, right? Saturated fat from healthy pastured animal animals, whole milk, raw milk in particular. It’s good for you, and so the point is that it’s so easy for them to get out over their skis, right? To get way, way out in front of where they should be, and this is about politics. It’s not about science. It’s not about public health. It is clearly about political power, and that’s it, and I think it’s incumbent upon every person to actually consider these sort of absurd examples because you never know where they’re gonna go with any of these things, and that’s how you really see what the true sort of- if you take it to its end conclusion where that might end up. And I think we don’t want to forget about that. 

Ed: Well, right. And Brant, I mean, so you filed the brief, the funs over now, you gotta do the waiting until you get in front of the appellate court. Do we know when the appellate court is gonna take this up? 

Brant: We’ll have to see whether they schedule oral argument. I expect that they will. They don’t have to. There’s going to be a number of Amicus briefs filed on our side, including I would anticipate one from a number of states, including the state of Florida. Those should drop on Monday. There’ve already been a couple of Amicus briefs filed as of today, but we’ll see if and when the 11th circuit schedules oral argument, and then we’ll take it from there and see what happens. But I get the feeling that the administration would prefer that there not even be a ruling before the midterms because, really, when you think about it, either way this goes, it’s going to be bad political news for them before the midterms. Because if they win a reversal, then the news cycled is, oh my gosh, they’re gonna put you back in masks. If they lose, then it’s well, what did you do that for? And so, I think one of the reasons they’ve been kind of, not in a hurry to get a ruling here is that. 

Ed: You know, honestly, and I’ll make this the last question, both of you can answer it, but I think it’s a little bit more towards Brant. I don’t even understand the strategy here. Because if you lose at the district court, you’ve just lost in one court, and you can just wait until you actually think that you need to do something before you challenge it or just issue a different order and let it be challenged again, right? This is going to set a precedent, at least in the 11th circuit, that isn’t set yet, and if it gets pushed to the Supreme Court, it’s gonna settle this question once and for all, and likely on the terms of the Alabama Association of Realtor’s case when it comes to eviction, I mean, oh, it’s probably gonna be nothing if it gets that far, I don’t even understand what the hell the strategy is here. They’d be better off politically and legally just walking away from this one and waiting for the next thing to pop up. 

Brant: You know, I thought that the smart play politically would’ve been to end the mask mandate before Judge Mizelle had a chance to rule. 

Ed: Right. 

Brant: And then I would’ve been arguing with DOJ about mootness and capability of repetition type arguments and that could have gone either way, but, you know, by leaving and hanging out there, and giving a court a chance to rule on this when they had to know that their arguments were kind of shaky, struck me as politically, not so intelligent, but I think I’ve mentioned to you the first time we talked about this. Was that I learned from somebody inside DOJ that nobody outside DOJ actually knew about this case before it blew up, and so it caught the administration completely flat-footed. And then you had this finger-pointing, and then you had this kind of thing well, who’s gonna make the decision? And it was all a big mess. And it’s just par for the course of this administration. I haven’t seen nothing like it in my lifetime. 

Ed: Yeah. 

Leslie: Can we say, though, maybe that it’s just par for the course for government? I mean, isn’t that really what the issue is because here’s, what’s so interesting, you know, we file, we win, we win on April 18th. You would think that if there were an emergency, they would fight back right away. They would try and overturn the ruling immediately. They’d try and expedite the process. They did none of that. 

Brant: Yeah, they didn’t seek a stay, which it became obvious within the first couple of days that they weren’t terribly serious about fighting this and trying to snap back the policy, and I think they knew because it was political poison. I mean, everybody saw the viral videos online of people celebrating, and that was- you know, how do you walk that back? I mean, to me, it was like the same sort of preference cascade that we almost like what we saw in 1989, you know, with the wall coming down. People were so happy. What are you gonna, you gonna bring back unhappiness now?

Leslie: Exactly. 

Ed: It’s about the preservation of the nanny state. That’s all this is about. It’s a preservation of the nanny state, they see this as an existential threat to the edifice of the nanny state, and that’s what Leslie Manookian has been arguing all along. That’s what Brant Hadaway is also arguing in court, and that’s what you have to be paying attention to, folks. This is a case that you’re gonna wanna stay on top of, and thankfully Brant and Leslie have been so generous with their time and keeping us informed here at Hot Air. I know that we’re gonna talk more as this case continues to progress. And Leslie Manookian is at Health Freedom Defense Fund, that’s, and I think Leslie, you’re on Twitter, right? 

Leslie: We have a social media presence. You can find all of our social media by going to our homepage

Ed: Yeah, that’s a smart way to do it. 

Leslie: We are on social media, but we are seriously suppressed. I’ll tell you that. Whenever someone tries to join our Facebook page or our Instagram page, they get a warning. Saying that, this channel has been flagged and that it shares questionable content and things like this, which is just bogus. I mean, we share science, we share the law, but it’s a good example of how bad things are for those of us trying to portray a different perspective. 

Ed: And it’s just another piece of evidence for your next court case. Leslie Manookian, you can find out more about that at So stay tuned on that. And, of course, Brant Hadaway, a friend of mine from way back in the blogosphere, is doing some fine work in court. You can find him at, that’s D A V I L L I E R law, and that’s where he’s doing a lot of his work. He doesn’t do Strange women lying in ponds, darn it, anymore, but I’m gonna try to talk him into it at one point here, when he is done winning all these fights, cuz he is gonna win ’em all. We’ll get him back in the blogosphere. Brant Hadaway, Leslie Manookian, and thank you so much for being with us today.

Brant: Thanks for having us, Ed. 

Leslie: Yeah. Thanks, Ed. 

Ed: Always good to see you, always good to see both of you. Stay tuned for more from the Ed Morrisey show coming up next.