Reason Roundup

FBI Love Among Republicans Slips Below 50 Percent: Reason Roundup

Plus: House OKs billions for undeclared wars, court keeps block of Pence ultrasound law, Senate quietly cuts tariffs, and new filings in FOSTA challenge


Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/SIPA/Newscom

Musical chairs. Ahh for the halcyon days of, say, 2015, when it was conservatives who called for abolishing federal agencies and liberals who were wary of federal law agencies like the FBI. But each new administration comes with a reshuffling of the alliance and opinion deck, the Trump era more so than usual. And so here we have a new poll from the Pew Research Center showing serious slippage in FBI love from right-leaning types. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Democrats are against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

Alas, some 65 percent of the total population still views the Justice Department's main thugs positively, according to Pew. Only 26 percent overall view the FBI unfavorably.

But on the Republican side, positive feelings for the agency have sunk 16 percentage points since last year, down to 49 percent from 65 percent in early 2017. Unfavorable FBI views among Republicans were at 44 percent, up from 21 percent last year.

Needless to say, the GOP hasn't suddenly developed a distaste for drug stings, entrapment, no-knock raids, policing consensual sex, and all the other ways the FBI wreaks havoc on American lives. Most evidence suggests this turn is predicated on the FBI's handling of investigations surrounding Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, now and during the 2016 election. But hey—maybe this is a gateway bias accusation, and conservatives will continue to look skeptically at the FBI long after we're done hearing from Robert Mueller. (A girl can dream, can't she?)

And Democrats haven't suddenly gone all anarchist, or even a little more limited-government-friendly, no matter how many #AbolishIce hashtags you see. Sure, 72 percent now view ICE unfavorably—the same percentage as Republicans who view it positively—but 77 percent of Democrats surveyed still had favorable feelings toward the FBI.

Democrats' view of the Department of Justice overall has shifted, falling from 74 percent favorable in January 2017 to 57 percent favorable this June. Perhaps people don't realize the FBI is part of the Justice Department? As Republican views of the FBI tanked, their support for the Justice Department has risen, landing at around 60 percent favorable, up from 47 percent in 2017.


No mandatory reflection period for women seeking abortions, says court. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this week affirmed a district court's block of an Indiana law requiring that those seeking abortions receive an ultrasound at least 18 hours before the procedure. Vice President Mike Pence, then Indiana-governor, signed the waiting period into law in 2016.


Cutting tariffs behind Trump's back. While the Trump administration continues to escalate trade troubles with China (and other countries), U.S. senators "quietly passed legislation on Thursday that would lower trade barriers on hundreds of items made in China," Reuters reports. "With no debate, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would cut or eliminate tariffs on toasters, chemicals and roughly 1,660 other items made outside the United States," about half of which come from China.


"Plaintiffs have standing to challenge FOSTA because the law proscribes online speech in ways that directly threaten Plaintiffs' expressive activities," say the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and others challenging the federal government's criminalization of prostitution ads.

In a new filing opposing the state's motion to dismiss, Woodhull, Human Rights Watch, Eric Koszyk, Alex Andrews, and the Internet Archive push back against prosecutors' assertion that it won't be used against them—a sexual freedom nonprofit, LGBTQ activists, an erotic masseuse, the head of a group supporting incarcerated sex workers, and an archival database of deleted webpages.

Sure, FOSTA—which prohibits web platforms from allowing any content that facilitates or promotes prostitution—is not "aimed directly at Plaintiffs" and their conduct, as the feds argued. But under the broadly written law, and given what we know about the history of how laws criminalizing sex and speech are used, it's not at all a stretch to say that FOSTA could be used against any of these groups or individuals. Because of this vagueness and history, websites and platforms aren't sure how the FOSTA will be enforced, and so many have started preemptively removing content that even discusses prostitution positively, content that discusses legal forms of sex work, content that maybe could be construed as involving sex work, etc.

Read the whole thing here. Then watch as FOSTA's author demonstrates that she has doesn't actually understand the definition of sex trafficking under U.S. law or have any idea about the history of sex trafficking law in America:


The House honors John McCain by approving $700 billion in military spending, including aid to the Saudis.