Average Joe SCOTUS: Flowers v. Mississippi

Back in 1996, there was an armed robbery at the Tardy Furniture Store, and four people were killed. The petitioner in this case, and all around asshole Flowers was eventually tried in Mississippi and convicted for the robbery/homicide of one of the people, and sentences to death. Seriously, fuck that guy.

The court had allowed evidence the Mississippi Supreme Court (SCOM) felt was inadmissible related to the murder of the other three people, and dismissed the case.

So Mississippi tried him for the murder of a second victim, and did the same dumb shit, and the SCOM again dismissed on the same grounds, but those persistent prosecutors in Mississippi weren’t about to let this douchebag get off for murder, and went after him again a third time. They prosecuted him for the murder of all four, again found him guilty a third time, and again sentenced this mortherfucker to death.

We all know Mississippi has some race problems, and even if this motherfucker was guilty, these inept motherfuckers could fuck up a wet dream. The assholes in Mississippi went out of their way to exclude black jurors, since Flowers was black, and they thought black jurors might acquit, over recent racial tensions.

There were mistrials multiple times, and it wasn’t until the sixth trial this motherfucker AGAIN was convicted and sentenced to death. But of course you know, that isn’t the end of this shit.

Flowers was like, “these racist motherfuckers in Mississippi kept striking my brothers and sisters from the jury, denying me the right to a fair trial, and equal protection under the law. 6th and 14th amendments, y’all!”

So Flowers asked SCOM to step in, but they upheld the conviction. But then SCOTUS was like, “Wait a fucking minute. You’re joking, right SCOM? Look again, assholes. We already ruled on this shit in Batson v Kentucky. Maybe you’ve heard of it? You can’t just strike jurors because they’re fucking black.”

But SCOM was like, “Fuck you SCOTUS, this is a good conviction. The state fucking told you we had other reasons for striking those black jurors. This was a small ass town, and all those people knew either the defendant or the victims.”

While the lone black SCOTUS justice was one of two who dissented, (along with Gorsuch), and felt the non-race-based reasons were reasonable and potentially a legit reason for the state striking those jurors, the other seven justices sided with Flowers in ruling this was some racist bullshit. Judgement for Flowers.

Read about the case and/or hear oral arguments here.

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Average Joe SCOTUS: Cochise Consultancy Inc. v. United States, ex rel. Hunt

We all remember that there were some warfare activities in Iraq, right? So because of all that, there were munitions scattered about the place everywhere, and that shit needed cleaned up.

So The Parsons Corporation were given a $60M government contract to find those munitions, and discard of them properly, back in 2006.

In the contract, Parsons had to provide adequate security for their employees, and they subcontracted that duty to a company called ArmorGroup, despite the fact that Cochise Consultancy (the petitioner here) had submitted a competitive bid.

As it turns out, this piece of shit for the Army Corps of Engineers named Wayne Shaw, had taken bribes, forged documents, threatened people, and shit like that to ensure Cochise got the bid over ArmorGroup, and eventually, his shady ass got the subcontract shifted to Cochise.

Once Cochise started, they were getting $1M more a month than ArmorGroup would have. Eventually, that shady dickhead Shaw got rotated away from Iraq, and Parsons put the contract out for bid again, eventually giving the bid back to ArmorGroup.

A Parson’s employee, Billy Joe Hunt, was involved in the corrupt scheme between Cochise and Parsons, and eventually in 2010, the FBI came knocking on his door, and he was quick to fess up, landing his ass in federal prison for ten months.

In order to encourage whistle blowers to blow some fucking whistles, the government allows for something called qui tam lawsuits under the False Claim Acts. It’s basically where a private person can sue a private party for defrauding the government, and then get 30% of the reward for doing it. As you can imagine, it encourages private people to report these scumbags, when they can get a reward for doing it.

So Hunt decided to go after Cochise and Parsons in 2013 to try to make some money. He was in federal prison for ten months, and was probably broke AF. So he saw an opportunity, and went for it.

But, unfortunately for Hunt, it was deemed past the statute of limitations by the time the FBI came after him, and he served his time. It had been seven years since the violations occurred, and of course Hunt knew about it all along.

The statute of limitations required it had to either be within six years of the violation, or three years after a government official knew about it, and the seven years exceeded both.

So a district court dismissed Hunt’s claim, but then a US Court of appeals disagreed, reversed, and sent it back, saying that Hunt was a Parson’s employee, and not a government official, therefore, the three year statute hadn’t been violated yet. The government had only recently found out, and they didn’t bother to intervene.

So as usual, two courts don’t agree, and SCOTUS here we come. Cochise of course didn’t like the Appeals Court ruling, so they sued to try to enforce the Statute of Limitations exclusion given by the lower court.

So SCOTUS were asked to resolve the idea that Hunt was not to be considered an acceptable person to “know about it” and start the clock on the three year statute of limitations.

SCOTUS told Cochise to go pound sand up their ass. Unanimous decision for Hunt. He wasn’t a government official, and acted within three years of a government official knowing about the fraud. Now fuck off and pay him you dirty fucks.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

 

 

Average Joe SCOTUS – Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill

There’s this thing some politicians do called Gerrymandering, where they draw election districts in really weird ways so as to help their side win elections. It’s often reffered to as “stacking and cracking,” but here’s how it can work.

Let’s say the government awards every 2,000 constituents with a congressional representative, and you have a state with a population of 10,000, so you get five congressional reps as a result.

Now, let’s assume your state is evenly divided, 5,000 Republicans, and 5,000 Democrats. If you divided your state up in very equal ways, you’d potentially have five districts where 1,000 are Democrats and 1,000 are Republicans each—a fair division.

Now let’s imagine Democrats control congress at the time when districts are redrawn. So what they do, is draw the districts in such a way that two of those districts have 2,000 Democrats and zero Republicans (that’s “stacking”), then the remaining 1,000 (333ish) Democrats are divided up into three districts which have the remaining 5,000 Republicans (1,666ish). That’s an example of “cracking.”

You see what just happened right? What should have been a tight race is now always going to be a state which picks three Democrats and two Republicans, and therefore Republicans will always lose.

Gerrymandering is a fascinating and way more complicated thing than I outlined above. So if the above interests you in the slightest, and you want to know more, check out this series of podcasts called “The Gerrymandering Project” from the statistics geniuses at 538. It’s fascinating, interesting, and most of all, non-partisan and factual. There’s no agenda with 538, other than being right.

Now, about these assholes at the Virginia House of Delegates.

The 14th amendment says:

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Back in 2014, twelve voters, presumably black, citing the 14th amendment, argued they were not getting equal protection under the law, because their state was being gerrymandered along racial lines, and therefore, their votes were being minimized unfairly.

In 2017, they made it to SCOTUS, and SCOTUS said 11 out of 12 looked shady AF, but one seemed fair enough. Basically, in those 11 districts, Virginia Republicans drew that map with a standard of having at least 55% black voting-age people in them. They argued this was because those districts were predominantly black, and thus, represented them all fairly, which is required in the federal Voting Rights Act.

But the opposition argued that basically, they “packed” those 11 districts with black voters, so that several of the other 129 of 140 districts could be favorable to Republicans.  If this was their motive, versus complying with federal law, then it’s some racist bullshit.

Before y’all jump on the “Republicans are racists” bandwagon, remember that black voters pull the lever for Democrats to the tune of 80% on average. So it could be that it’s purely trying to maximize votes, and not driven by any racial hatred.

SCOTUS wasn’t having that 55% bullshit as a fair test for redistricting. So they sent it back to the lower court and told them to they fucked up reviewing it previously, allowing that 55% number to slide, so try again, fix it, and quit bothering us.

The lower court agreed, it was some racist gerrymandering bullshit and said those 11 districts were unconstitutional and ordered them to be redone.

So then, the assholes from the Virginia House of Delegates were like, “Listen, SCOTUS! This is bullshit. We did this right and we want another bite of this fucking apple.”

SCOTUS was asked to rule on several aspects.

Were those 11 districts fucked up?

Did the lower court fuck up in adjudicating the Virginia House of Delegates work?

And should the Virginia Delegates even have a right to sue in the first place since the state of Virginia didn’t challenge the lower court, nor the people who started the civil action. The Virginia Delegates are just people who might lose some votes as a result.

SCOTUS decided 5:4 to dismiss. They told the Virginia delegates to go eat a bag of dicks. You’ve got no business here, and we’re not even going to bother answering your other two questions. If Virginia doesn’t have a problem with the decision, it’s not your fight to fight. Capiche? Now fuck off.

 

Read about the case and/or hear oral arguments here.

 

 

 

Average Joe SCOTUS – Smith v Berryhill

Back in 1987, this dude Ricky Lee Smith was all kinds of fucked up. So he filed for, and received disability insurance. Then 2004 rolled up, and SSI was like, enough’s enough, man. Get a J-O-B.

So Smith was like, “Fine, fuck you.”

Then, eight years later, he crawls his ass back to the SSI office, and is like, “Seriously, I’m fucked up. I need help.” But SSI wasn’t having it, and told him to fuck off. Not once, but twice.

So Smith applied for a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ) on March 26, 2014, and the ALJ was like, “You can fuck right the hell off. We agree with the SSI peeps. Get a job. You can work, so work.”

So now, a month later, he files for an appeal by mail (or so he says), and then by fax on October 1st. The claims rep was like, “We never got your shit back in April, but we have it now. So we’ll file it.

But then the appeals council was all like, “Why the fuck did you wait so long? Claim denied, bitch.” Smith was like, “Fuck you, I sent it a month later by snail mail. This October shit was just a follow up.”

But the Council was like, “Prove it, dude. You’re talking shit.”

So then Smith went to the district court, the Appeals Council’s boss, and was like, “Hey man. Those assholes over at the Appeals council are trying to fuck me like I’m in the McDonald’s drive thru. Can you help me out? I’d like some judicial review.”

But then the Appeals Council was like, “sure we denied it, but it wasn’t final or anything yet. No reason to bring the district court into all this man. It’s all good. They’ve got no reason to get involved.”

The district court was like, “Smith, you seem like a lazy piece of shit to us, and we don’t want to hear your shit today. So we agree with the Appeals Council. Go back over there and leave us alone.”

So now Smith, being both too lazy to work, but clearly motivated enough to waste the taxpayer’s money went to SCOTUS and was like, “Can you help me out here? Can you make the district court realize that when the Appeals Council told me I was too late, then I had every reason to go to the District Court and get them to sort those motherfuckers out?”

All nine SCOTUS justices sided with Smith. They agreed that the Appeals Council telling him to fuck off for being late, was a final decision on their part, and the now places his fight in the district court to address it through judicial review.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.