Average Joe SCOTUS: Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander

IBM has a retirement plan, part of which is based on company stock. The person managing that stock, failed to act on information that IBM’s microelectronics unit was having issues, which would have presumably lowered the stock’s value, and thus harmed the holders of the stock. So they sued, because that’s what you do when you think someone fucked you in the ass without so much as a reach around.

Back in 2014, SCOTUS ruled in  Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, 573 U.S. that the person running such funds is not given a “presumption of prudence.” This is a fancy way of saying, the courts do not assume this person has done the right thing unless there’s strong evidence to prove otherwise. Making the burden of proof for beneficiaries to prove wrongdoing, not that high. They pretty much just have to show that they could,  “plausibly allege that a prudent fiduciary in the defendant’s position could not have concluded that [an alternative action] would do more harm than good to the fund.”

As such, the IBM peeps were like, “this dude fucked up, and we want our god damn losses covered. These assholes knew there was a problem, but instead of buying other stuck which was a safer bet, they kept investing in IBM stock.”

So now here we are at SCOTUS trying to decide if a fiduciary who knows the company stock may have an issue, but keeps investing anyway, be assumed to have done more harm than good under the previous 5/3 Bank ruling?

SCOTUS however, decided that they’ve heard all the arguments and they were bored AF with them. So much so, that they couldn’t even be bothered to give an opinion. So they sent it back to the second court to deal with that shit.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Ritzen Group Inc. v. Jackson Masonry LLC.

Ritzen Group was trying to buy a piece of property from these deadbeats at Jackson Masonry. But then at the last moment, Jackson sent over some bullshit paperwork that caused Ritzen to have to pull out of the deal. Jackson was shit at their finances, and ended up filing for bankruptcy. So clearly, they were trying to pull something over on Ritzen in selling the property.

So Ritzen sued Jackson for breech of contract, but then Jackson was like, “Oh you’re gonna sue us asshole? We’ll sue you!” And so they did—claiming Ritzen entered into the deal when they didn’t have the money to actually buy the property, and thus were themselves in breech of contract.

So then the deadbeats at Jackson, having filed for bankruptcy, sought protection from Ritzen’s lawsuit, which is what bankruptcy does, among other things. But Ritzen filed a motion to lift the protection against Jackson, and were denied. So Ritzen sued the bankruptcy estate, and they ruled in favor of Jackson, saying that Ritzen’s failure to secure financing for the property was the breech of contract, not Jackson’s bullshit paperwork.

So Ritzen, having been fucked every step of the way, appealed yet again in district court, both appeals were denied. One denied because the courts said Ritzen didn’t appeal in time. The other, they just didn’t think Ritzen proved it’s argument worth a shit.

So now we’re at SCOTUS trying to figure out if the denial of relief for Ritzen are considered a final order, which affects how long Ritzen had to file its appeal. Because there’s steps in the process, and in order to file appeal, you first have to have a final order, otherwise you’re appealing before it’s been decided.

Unanimous decision for Jackson. Once a bankruptcy court has denied relief to the creditor, it is a final decision and therefore open for appeals, which means Jackson waited too damn long.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Rotkiske v. Klemm

General deadbeat Kevin Rotkiske, who suffers from eye problems, because he can’t see paying his bills, racked up some debt in 2003-2005 that he failed to pay.

Respondent Klemm, was a debt collector hired by the people Rotkiske owed money to, and Klemm went after Rotkiske for the deadbeat that he is in 2008.

Part of suing someone is obviously serving them papers that they are supposed to appear in court.

Rotkiske being the wile deadbeat he is, moved around a lot, and was no longer at the address Klemm had on file. But some dumb fuck that lived at the address now, signed for the summons, apparently not realizing their name wasn’t Rotkiske. Real fucking genius, there.

Anyway, Rotkiske, blissfully ignorant of all this shit, didn’t appear, and thus a judgement was given to Klemm.

Fast forward to 2014, and this deadbeat scumbag Rotkiske tried to finance a house. And surprise! You can’t finance shit, motherfucker, you’ve got a judgement against you. So Rotkiske was like, WTF? How do I have a judgement against me when I’ve never been summoned to court?

So after figuring out what happen, Rotkiske sued Klemm, because apparently this is the kind of country we are, that we’ll let a fucking deadbeat who didn’t pay his bills sue the people who just want him to pay his fucking bill.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) has laws to protect deadbeats from mafioso type debt collectors, which I suppose I’ll grant may have some good facets to it. So this is the law in question here. I’m not sure how the fuck Klemm has done anything wrong here, since it was the dumb fuck who wrongly signed the fucking summons who caused the issue. Blame the fucking person who served the papers, right?

Anyway, Klemm felt like the courts should drop this shit, because the state of limitations on such violations is one year, and that shit happened back in 2008, or six years prior to 2014 when they were sued by Rotkiske.

But Rotkiske was like, “Fuck you, assholes. I didn’t know about this shit until 2014, and I took action immediately. How the fuck am I supposed to act when I don’t even fucking know it’s a problem.

So one court sided with Klemm, another with Rotkiske, as is usually the case, and now he we are at SCOTUS determining if a statute of limitation started in 2008 when Klemm got a bogus signature, or if it started in 2014 when Rotkiske first found out.

8:1 Judgement for Klemm, Ginsburg being the lone holdout. But the majority argued that the clock starts from the violation, in the text of § 1692k(d) of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. So fuck you, Rotkiske. Pay your fucking bills.

Ginsburg’s dissent was some half-hearted bullshit where she agreed with them on one point, and disagreed on the other. Who cares, though, right?

Read about the case, or hear oral arguments here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Knick v. Township of Scott Pennsylvania

Seven years ago, Scott Pennsylvania passed a law to protect cemeteries, and make them accessible to the public during all daylight hours.

The idea being, the poor or whatever, should always be able to visit their loved ones in their final resting place, without having to pay to do it.

Rose Mary Knick owns property in this township, and a township officer entered her property without a warrant, found some stones he deemed to be gravestones, and basically ordered her property be protected as a cemetery.

Rose was like, “WTF? First of all, where’s you’re fucking warrant for coming on my property?” Then Rose was like, “If you’re going to commandeer my fucking property, you have to pay me for it. There’s this thing called the constitution. Have you ever heard of it assholes?”

The Township merely protects these properties for people to visit their loved ones, so somehow, they’re trying to argue that Rose was unable to even show damages here. In other words, they’re not building something on the property and taking it away from her, they’re just protecting it.

I know, that’s the bullshittiest argument that ever bullshitted, right?

They also wanted to argue that they were going to reimburse her, but she didn’t give them time. They have a process for doing that, AFTER they’ve taken her property (the after being the part the Knick has a problem with), and she didn’t follow it. This bitch went straight to “sue those motherfuckers.”

While the lower courts seemed to think it was perfectly OK for the state to take Knick’s property over this bullshit, without first paying her, SCOTUS was unimpressed to the tune of 5:4, and told Scott Pennsylvania to either pay her up front, or give her her property back. You don’t get to set some long ass drawn out process for her to get paid, and meanwhile she’s without her property, and her compensation. That’s fucking ridiculous.

The dissent from the left-leaning justices Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kagan , was largely over when Knick can make her claim. They didn’t seem to dispute she should be compensated. They just think she had to jump through the hoops the state set forth. And then, if she doesn’t feel she was made whole, she can sue.

Breyer, Sotomayor, Ginsberg, and Kagan trust the state to handle it properly with due process. But the rest of SCOTUS realizes this is dumb as fuck, and you can’t trust government to do a fucking thing right.

There was a state Supreme Court decisions, Williamson County Regional Planning Comm’n v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, that sided with Scott Pennsylvania, and SCOTUS told Pennsylvania they could shove that squarely up their ass, too. Overturned, bitches!

Average Joe SCOTUS: Lamone v. Benisek

So gerrymandering—it’s a thing. Weirdly, every politician says they hate it, and it should be stopped. Yet, every politician quietly does it in their party’s favor. But nonetheless, some people dislike it so much, that they decide to go to court to prevent it, so here we go.

Maryland drew up a map in a district that was traditionally Republican. But because of their redistricting map, a Democrat won the seat. So Republicans were like, “this is some bullshit.”

So they sought injunction against those scumbags who rigged the election legally, and a district court granted it. So now this thing meanders its way to SCOTUS, where the Maryland peeps hoped SCOTUS would tell the lower court they needed to know their fucking role.

SCOTUS on the other hand, decided the lower court was fine. But also, they were looking at another case, and they wanted to wait on the outcome of that shit, which they did.

So after hearing this shit the second time, they were like, “You know what? Fuck it. This is none of our fucking business. Good luck assholes. We care about the Constitution, not your childish fucking political games.”

5:4 Judgement for Lamone, and the courts to stay the fuck out of it. Separation of powers and shit. Good luck. The opinion was given under Rucho v. Common Cause in North Carolina, because there was gerrymandering fucking everywhere, and challenges were coming in like they were half-off on Black Friday.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Analysis: Free College For All

Unless you’ve sworn off all news media, you’re no doubt aware that self-described Democratic Socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and other members of the DNC, campaign on the idea that college education should be treated essentially like an extended public high school—paid for via tax dollars, and open to everyone.

Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

I won’t go into the weeds of analyzing Bernie’s “College for All” plan, or how he intends to pay for it. You can click here for a Vox article which goes over his plan, and that of Elizabeth Warren to some extent.

I also won’t elaborate on the fact that some in congress infamously didn’t even know they were the ones doing the lending in the first place, when for instance Senator Maxine Waters attempted to blame banks for what she and her party perceived as a student-loan debt problem. But this should at least give you pause that such ignorance is not ideal from the people you’re asking to take over education altogether.

Maxine Waters

We libertarians are generally against any plan that says person A should pay for goods or services consumed by person B; this is no different. It’s simply immoral, in our view. While I accept “immoral” is a subjective term, please allow me to explain.

If I buy a widget from you, I get a widget (a positive action), and you get the money you asked for (also positive). That’s a net positive (moral) transaction.

If I just give you money (positive) because I’m being charitable, but you don’t offer me a good or service in return (negative), that’s a net neutral transaction. The positive and negative cancel each other out.

But if I take from you by fiat (negative), and you receive something without offering a quid pro quo (also negative), that’s a net negative, or immoral transaction.

But, as was said, the morality issue is subjective, so now let’s talk about a few of the facts that should be considered if you don’t take issue with the morality of it all.

The Need Isn’t There:

This study from Georgetown University estimates that approximately 30% of  the jobs next year, will require a college degree, which obviously means that 70% do not.

Georgetown University

As such, more than two-thirds of the labor force, if they went to college, would have essentially made a poor investment—they didn’t need it, and won’t be using it.

As such, it’s not logical to argue that the taxpayers should be pilfered to the tune of $2.2 trillion, if Bernie’s math is to be believed. $1.54 trillion of it will be your tax dollars literally wasted.

While I don’t like to personally attack anyone, Bernie’s math, like any politician’s, is often suspect. If he is wrong, and history is any indication, it’ll most assuredly cost more, not less. Coming in under budget is not government’s forte. I’d like to think that $1.54 trillion wasted, is not something critically-thinking voters would pull the lever for.

The Desire Isn’t There:

Bernie’s argument supposes that everyone wants to go to college, when many don’t. The 70% mentioned earlier aren’t just entry level jobs. The “College For All” crowd would have you believe that these jobs are all careers one can’t make a living with. If someone truly wishes to have a career they can support a family on, they’ll need a college degree.

But skilled trades such as plumbers, mechanics, ot electricians, are crucial jobs that can pay six-figure salaries with enough effort. Lucrative sales jobs, aren’t all that uncommon, either.

But even entry level jobs can become careers to the right person. Every simple call center or food service job has a supervisor or manager; most of which were promoted from within.

Based on the amount of time spent partying, cutting class, and even dropping out voluntarily for non-financial reasons, it’s obvious many of these students are simply not interested in their chosen education. They would be better off, and happier, following a career path they actually wanted.

It’s a cliche that a young adult is forced to go to college when all he/she wanted to do, was be an artist, pursue a skilled trade, or some other alternate career path. So we know many of them don’t want the education when their parents opt to pay for it (free college for them). So why would they want it, if government is paying instead?

Sadly, the issue with such children isn’t their career choices, we need people doing those skilled trades. A world without people to fix all the things we break every day, would fall to its knees. The problem is parents who refuse to believe their child is anything other than the next great doctor or lawyer, and behave as if they’d be ashamed of their child if they chose what they believe is a menial career.

We should support people’s dreams for themselves, not the dreams others have for them—even well-meaning parents.

Not Everyone Needs a Career

One of the poorest assumptions is that everyone needs a career they can support a family with.

However, some people will go to their grave never getting married, and never having children.

Some others will get married, and their spouse will be the main income for their family, while they work a smaller job that pays less, just to add to the overall income of the household.

Some will also choose to cohabitate. They’re not getting married or having children, but they share a home with a roommate, and therefore household costs are split.

All of these options dictate that a high-salary career needing a college degree, simply isn’t necessary for them. And while some of us think that such a life sounds unrewarding, there’s little to no evidence such people are universally more unhappy, and people working a higher-salaried career are more happy. As such, there’s certainly no argument to make we should force others to pay for an education to get them out of that lifestyle.

Bad Economics

The cost of higher education is largely fixed. You have to pay the professors, and build the infrastructure. This is why it costs so much to go in the first place. But if you try to make nearly every child go, then you’re going to need more colleges and professors.

Do you trust that Bernie has factored in the additional costs for all that? Or do you assume like me, that he’s simply making the assumption that the colleges that exist can take all the extra students?

The Devaluation Problem

It also devalues the college degree itself, if everyone has one. This is simple supply and demand.

If I’m an employer who’s hiring, I might have a job that doesn’t require a degree. But that doesn’t mean certain degrees might not be helpful, if for no other reason than to show me this person chose to educate themselves further versus another candidate.

But if everyone has that degree, then the person who would have went to college if it weren’t free, and thus was more motivated and possibly the person I’d prefer, won’t be known to me. They’ll simply look the same on a resume as the others, and I’ll have no inherent reason to believe they’re the better candidate now, making their degree inherently less valuable.

More Bad Economics

We often talk about the problems with Social Security, and misleading unemployment stats by citing the drop in the labor participation rates. As people decide not to work anymore, such as a spouse relying on a working partner, or people retiring after a successful career, we know that this results in less “producers” for the economy making it work.

But if we remove a significant chunk of the 18-24+ year old crowd from the labor force, when they’re at their most energetic, healthy, and strongest, we reduce the labor participation rate significantly of the most able-bodied people. Most people work from 18-65 (47 years), and it’s been estimated that kids are taking nearly 6 years on average to get their degree. So six years off of 47 total years for 70% of the population could add up to an 8-9% loss in labor participation, which is already a problem, when compared to other nations who are out-producing the United States increasingly more as time goes on.

Even More Bad Economics

As more students enter college, you’re seeing more courses, and even majors, with little to no employers in need of those holding such degrees. While philosophy for instance, helps with general critical thinking, other than being a professor teaching philosophy, the want ads aren’t exactly littered with people looking for a full-time philosopher. The liberal arts in general, are notorious for having few career paths after college related to such a degree.

There are several reports like this one from Simple Dollar showing degrees that are proving to be incredibly poor investments, even for those who were truly motivated to get them. But if you hand out educations freely, you can bet the number of useless degrees will not only grow commensurately, the people who didn’t want them, and didn’t learn much getting them, will grow, too.

Summary

While we libertarians always support people wanting to better themselves, the logic of providing free education is dubious at best. The morality of it, is highly questionable as well.

Instead, free markets should be left to do what they do best, providing the best education at the best price for the people who want it.

We also believe people should promote the idea that college isn’t for everyone, and take notice that companies like Google, Facebook, IBM, et al., are starting to realize that there’s a lot of talented people who never have, nor ever will step foot on a college campus.

 

 

Average Joe SCOTUS: Taggart v. Lorenzen

Holy fuck! This case has more twists and turns than a Hillary Clinton campaign position.

So this dude Taggart, (The petitioner here) owned 25% of a real estate company. But Taggart sucked with money and investing, was feeling kinda broke, and decided to sell his share to his attorney to get himself some scratch.

However, Terry Emmert and Keith Jehnke also owned 25% each, and they were represented by a Stuart Brown, who was then represented by Shelley Lorenzen (The respondent in the case). My head already fucking hurts from this shit.

Anyway, Emmert and Jehnke thought Taggart selling to his attorney instead of them, was a total dick move, and sued his ass. They won, and Taggart was booted from his own fucking company, with the shares being sold to Emmert and Jehnke. The courts also ruled that Emmert and Jehnke’s attorney could sue for attorney’s fees, so of course he totally did.

Taggart was all like, “Fuck you, I’m filing for bankruptcy.” Which means, his creditors are supposed to go to the bankruptcy proceedings if they want money from him. After that, it’s Hands-Fucking-Off. That’s why it’s called bankruptcy “protection.”

Anyway, this deadbeat Taggart was awarded his bankruptcy, but Brown, the attorney for the two assholes who were trying to squeeze blood from a turnip, decided to sue Taggart anyway, for legal fees, as mentioned earlier, after he got his bankruptcy. Their argument was that Taggart had “returned to the fray” and therefore didn’t deserve protection.

So now Taggart is suing Brown (Lorenzen) for contempt saying, “Hey, those motherfuckers knew I was in bankruptcy, and came after me for money anyway. But Brown (Lorenzen) were like, we thought it was Saul Goodman (Slang for “It’s all good, man”). We didn’t know we couldn’t come after him. We thought he “returned to the fray.”

So 97 different fucking courts weighed in on this shit before it finally got to SCOTUS who were asked to decide if someone in bankruptcy protection can sue someone who comes after them after the bankruptcy, if they thought in good faith, it was OK to sue for that.

SCOTUS unanimously thought Lorenzen, Brown, Emmert, and Jehnke were the bigger assholes in all of this. They fucking knew better, and did it anyway. Judgement for Taggart.

log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action

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