Average Joe SCOTUS: Nasrallah v. Barr

Lebanese douchebag Nidal Khalid Nasrallah came the United States in 2006 at 17 on a tourist visa. He liked it so much here, versus his piece of shit country Lebanon, that he eventually become a legal permanent resident. I call it a piece of shit for reasons you’re about to read in a bit. So read on.

Nidal got busted trafficking some stolen goods, was tried and prosecuted accordingly. In this country, if you’re not a citizen, and you commit certain crimes (think much worse than simple misdemeanors), your residence can be revoked, and you can be sent back to your home country.

If you want to come here and stay here, we expect you not to be a fucking criminal. Pretty fair, really.

Anyway, a judge ordered his ass booted out. But here’s why not only is Nidal a piece of shit, but so is his country. You see, Nidal’s religion is Druze. Which is some weird Labanese religion, that can somehow be Muslim or Christian. Don’t even get me started on this shit.

Well, the Hezbollah and ISIS elements of Lebanon aren’t down with that Druze shit. So add that to his Western ties, it’s likely his dumb ass would be tortured and killed if he were sent back. Maybe he should have fucking thought of that before he committed a crime here, huh?

Anyway, while his crimes are justification for expulsion, the United States has a policy against deporting someone who we know will likely be tortured and killed. So now we have a conflict, right?

There is a jurisdictional issue at play here, which is largely what SCOTUS is being asked to resolve. Because while the judge hearing the arguments about how he’d be tortured allowed Nidal to stay (deferred his deportation), the courts denied Nidal’s deferral stating that the judge had no authority to overrule the Bureau of Immigration’s decisions to deport this motherfucker.

In a 7:2 decision, SCOTUS sided with Nasrallah. He’ll probably be tortured and killed in Lebanon, so he can stay, serve his time in a US prison for his actions, and then go on about his merry way. That Convention Against Torture claims trump the removal orders for non-citizens.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: GE Energy Power Conversion France SAS v. Outokumpu Stainless USA LLC

This one is so god damn boring, I can’t even believe I’m writing about it. It’s an arbitration dispute at the heart of it. Outokumpu and Fives ST Corp. agreed to construct cold rolling mills in Alabama. In their agreement, they accepted the terms of going to arbitration, and any such arguments would be settled in Dusseldorf under German law.

Fives subcontracted GE Energy to do the work in Alabama, but they fucked it up, and the machines started to fail. So Outokumpu sued GE in Alabama, since they didn’t have a contract with GE (the contract was with Fives). Since they didn’t have the contract, they figured they weren’t obliged to settle in Dusseldorf.

But of course GE was like, “You do have a contract assholes. Not with us, but with Fives. And we are working for them at their behest. So whatever you agreed to with them, also applies with us. Now fuck off. We’ll see you in Germany.”

You’ll hear them discuss “equitable estoppel” which is kinda confusing. But basically, it means you can’t enter into an agreement with someone, and withhold information that would have made that person reconsider entering into the agreement. So basically Outokumpu is arguing that they didn’t agree to this bullshit. They thought they were dealing with Fives, and disputes would be handled with them in Germany. But they didn’t agree to anything with GE, and therefore aren’t bound to arbitrate with GE under the terms they signed on for with Fives.

GE argue that they are named as a contractor on the damn contract. Therefore, Outokumpu knew damn well what they signed up for.

SCOTUS, in a unanimous decision sided with GE. That Outokumpu does have to arbitrate with GE.

On a side note, outside of these two parties, literally no one else gives a fuck.

Read about the case or hear oral arguments here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission

Title Vii of the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects people in the workplace from being discriminated against, based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Because even though a business owner owns a business, apparently they don’t ACTUALLY own a fucking thing, and employees have every right to dictate what an employer must do with their own company if the majority votes for it. But I digress.

Before you write any hate comments, I’m all for civil rights and equality among all people, but in this country, property rights are a right enumerated in the constitution, and writing laws to prevent some employer from being an asshole, absolutely positively violates their right to run their business however they see fit, and let the market sort it the fuck out.

Anyway, about the case. The Funeral Home had an employee for years named Anthony Stephens, who was born male, but identified as female. Anthony had been Anthony for his employer for years, but then one day, Anthony decided to be true to herself, and opted to transition to becoming Aimee Stephens.

The funeral home, being some backass unwoke motherfuckers, decided that Aimee would be too problematic for them and immorally fired her. Seriously, fuck them. I think it’s their right to be an asshole, when it comes to how they run their business, yes. But they’re definitely the assholes here.

So the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided to defend Aimee and go after the funeral home. The civil rights act protects against sex-based termination, but this poses a new wrinkle. Aimee wasn’t fired for being a woman. She was fired for transitioning from being a man to a woman. In other words, if she had been assigned the gender of female, and been Aimee from the start, they likely would have hired her and been fine. Counsel’s argument for Aimee was that Aimee wouldn’t have been fired if she’d been a woman all along, she’s being fired because she was a man physically, and thus they’re arguing she’s being fired over her sex. Seems a stretch since had Aimee not opted to transition and just remain a man, she’d not have been fired either. Clearly the issue is not whether she’s a man or a woman for the funeral home, but because her employer thinks people shouldn’t transition, and she desired to do so, that alone was her cause for termination.

So a district court sided with the funeral home. Then the 6th circuit court of appeals was like, “Wrong answer, you district court motherfuckers.” So as it always go, two different courts have two different answers, and off to SCOTUS we go to figure this shit out.

As was mentioned in the Bostock decision, SCOTUS in a landmark 5:4 decision, decided gay and transgender people are protected under the civil rights act. You can’t fire someone for being gay, no more than you can fire them for being black, being a woman, etc.

Hear oral arguments, and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International Inc.

Respondents (the people being sued) The Alliance for Open Society International receive federal taxpayer money to help fight HIV/AIDS outside the United States. Worthy goal, but I already take issue with the idea that the U.S. taxpayer is on the hook for this. But enough of my libertarian concerns for now.

Such funds provided by government come with a rule that any agency doing such work, to oppose prostitution and sex trafficking. Again, my libertarianism says I’m down with forbidding sex trafficking, but there’s nothing wrong with voluntary prostitution. But let’s move on.

Back in 2013, SCOTUS ruled on U.S. Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International Inc., that such rules violate the first amendment’s right to free speech. But despite this ruling/precedent, the government continues to apply this rule to foreign affiliates of Alliance.

So now SCOTUS is being asked if the ruling applies to people not directly involved in the case, such as affiliates of Alliance.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) argues that such protection from the precedent only applies to people within the US, because only they get 1st amendment protections. Since this is assistance that is outside the US, it shouldn’t apply.

In a 5:3 decision (Kagan abstained), SCOTUS sided with USAID. That the policy opposing prostitution is not unconstitutional, and can be applied to them.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC

ARTICLE 2: Section 2 U.S. Constitution

He (The president) shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law: but the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.

So Puerto Rico…when it comes to balancing their budget, there’s no easy way to put it—they suck. Between pensions for government workers, hurricanes galore, and the migration of people from Puerto Rico to the mainland USA, they’re basically fucked.

Anyway, because of their financial issues, they owe a shit ton of money to creditors, with what appears to be no way to actually pay it. As a result, back in 2015, president Obama appointed a panel to oversee Puerto Rico’s spending and budget, because you know, Obama knows how to fix everything.

Both some of Puerto Rico’s creditors, and politicians think Obama’s appointees suck even worse, and they’re less than pleased. So they’ve decided to try to nullify these assholes by saying that they fall under the appointments clause, and thus should have been approved by the senate, just as the senate does with other presidential appointees, but these asshole weren’t. Obama just shoved them down Puerto Rico’s throat and wished them good luck.

So here were are at SCOTUS, asking them to determine if these assholes Obama sent down should have been run by congress first. And if not, does Puerto Rico have to comply with these mother fuckers if they weren’t properly appointed and/or can they seek relief from decisions these assholes already enforced? This is the de facto officer doctrine at work, which basically says, if someone was appointed wrongly, and that’s determined down the road, their orders were still valid at the time they were in office, and there was no reason to believe their nomination to the post wasn’t legit.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided for Financial Oversight. That the appointments clause does govern the appointment of officers of the United States, this oversight panel are not officers withing the meaning of that clause.

Basically they were saying that the appointments clause applies to people who govern over Puerto Rico for the United States. But that these assholes were just local authorities. Puerto Rico law is what allowed these assholes to come down and oversee their spending, not federal law. Obama just sent down some people he thought would be good at it.

Since federal law isn’t what’s behind these twits, they didn’t need to go through the appointments process.

Good luck Puerto Rico.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Bostock v. Clayton County

In our previous episode of Average Joe SCOTUS,  we talked about R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission, a case where a transgender male -> female person was fired because of their desire to transition, and whether Title VII of the Civil Rights act, which protects people in the work place from being discriminated against for their sexual identity.

In this case, a very similar issue is at play. So apparently SCOTUS is looking to deal with sexual identity/orientation issues in one session, and establish precedent. But whereas the previous case was about someone transitioning from man to woman, this is about sexual preference.

Gerald Bostock is a gay man who worked for Clayton County as a child services coordinator starting in 2003. By all accounts, was a damn good employee, and did his job like a boss.

Eventually, in 2013, Bostock decided to join an all-gay softball league. The backass motherfuckers he worked for, decided to criticize him over his participation in this league. Presumably making up some bullshit argument to link gay men to abusing young boys or some shit. I have no fucking idea how they thought being gay would hinder his ability to do his job.

In meetings, one person in the room was even noted as making disparaging remarks about being gay against Bostock. Shortly after, they announced they were auditing him and his work, and he was terminated shortly after.

Bostock, assuming he was fired for his open gayness, and not because of his job performance sued. So here we are at SCOTUS trying to determine if the Civil Rights Act covers sexual orientation.

The crux of Bostock’s counsel’s argument was as follows:

John G. Roberts, Jr.

Do you agree or disagree with Judge Posner’s statement that the statute should be read to encompass sexual orientation discrimination to “avoid placing the entire burden of updating old statutes on the legislative branch”?

Pamela S. Karlan

I disagree with Judge Posner.

I don’t think you need to do any updating here.

I think you should read the words as they were understood then, which is men and women.

Title VII was intended to make sure that men were not disadvantaged relative to women and women were not disadvantaged relative to men. And when you tell two employees who come in, both of whom tell you they married their partner Bill last weekend, when you fire the male employee who married Bill and you give the female employee who married Bill a couple of days off so she can celebrate the joyous event, that’s discrimination because of sex. Well, if no one has any further questions, I’ll reserve the remainder of my time for rebuttal. (Laughter ensued because this was her first argument, which was then met with silence as if none of the justices had a question.)

In a pretty big landmark decision, spanning multiple cases, SCOTUS rules 6:3 that the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964 does cover gay and transgender people. The CRA is meant to protect people who are born a certain way, and then employers discriminating against them for being that way. Their decision accepts the idea that being gay or transgender isn’t a choice, but a condition of who you are as a person.