Average Joe SCOTUS: Torres v. Madrid

Roxanne Torres, your basic every day crackhead, back in 2014, got all hopped up on meth, sat her ass in a car, and was tripping balls in a parking lot, othewise enjoying her evening. Cops being curious about this car just sitting there running, decided to check it out. They went to open the door, presumably concerned she was dying or something.

Roxanne being high AF thought she was being carjacked and took the fuck off. Side note, don’t do drugs kids.

Anyway, this hurt the feelings of the cops who then shot her, which failed to slow her down, so then they pursued her. Roxanne in her meth-induced stupor decided to go all Smokey and The Bandit and shit. She then swapped her car which was bashed to shit, with another car she stole. Long story short, it didn’t work out for her.

Torres, having been shot, checked herself into a hospital, who are required to report people who show up with bullet holes in them. So cops came and arrested her dumb ass.

Two years later, she filed a civil-rights complaint arguing the cops had no business shooting her under the 4th amendment which reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

She was creatively arguing, (and by she, I mean her lawyer, because you know her dumb ass didn’t think of this shit. She’s a fucking meth-head) that shooting her was an unlawful seizure. That they had no cause at that point to shoot her since they didn’t know she was hopped up on meth, and thus a danger to others, although if they had known, they’d arguably would have been justified, since people on meth shouldn’t drive.

A district court told her to get fucked with this stupid argument, as did the tenth circuit. Citing qualified immunity, no action was taken against these modern day Wyatt Earp’s.

But her argument is that officers shooting at you, is a seizure, because it pretty obviously says you aren’t free to fucking leave. But in California v. Hodari D, SCOTUS ruled that a seizure isn’t achieved until the person is caught. So a failed attempt to seize isn’t a seizure.

Torres lawyers argue however, she was seized when she was shot, then she escaped seizure when she started singing “East bound and down, rollin’ up and truckin’.” Then, she was seized again the next day when they arrested her. So in that first seizure, they believe her 4th amendment rights were violated.

Justice Alito poignantly asked:

Samuel A. Alito, Jr.

If a baseball pitcher intentionally beans the batter, would we say, wow, that pitcher just seized the batter?

His argument being, her use of the word “seizure” seems a little creative at best. That we wouldn’t use seizure in common language in that way at all. She’s clearly trying to fit it in to help her client, but we’d never describe seizure that way otherwise.

Anyway, in a 5:3 decision, where only Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch dissented, John Roberts and company said, “The application of physical force to the body of a person with intent to restrain is a seizure, even if the force does not succeed in subduing the person.”

They added, “So cops, you can fuck right off with that shit. We’re not going to be like, OK, if you try to stop her by grabbing her arm, or Donald Trumping her by the pussy, that’s a seizure, but act like if you shoot her ass to stop her, it’s somehow not. Get the fuck out of here with that noise. You tried to stop her—with your gun—that’s a fucking seizure.”

Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito basically asked, “Where in the constitution, or even common fucking sense, is shooting someone considered a seizure. We’ll wait.”

Hear oral arguments or read about the case at Oyez, here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc.

Google makes phones using their proprietary Android software. That software is based off of Oracle’s Java. Google did this so private owners who also happen to be code monkeys, would know how to easily write programs for Android, since unlike the code-Nazis at Apple, Google want you to be able to download or install whatever the hell you want to your phone.

Although Google was based on Java, what they didn’t do is pay Oracle to use Java. They rewrote Android software from scratch, but used the same terms and shit that Java uses, so it wouldn’t be foreign to Java peeps.

Since Java is an open source language (Oracle allows people to code with Java without paying them), Google assumed that shit was what is called “fair use.” The term “fair use” is kinda ambiguous in law, but basically it means, if someone has a copyright on something, there are “fair” uses other people can employ of that product, without violating a copyright. Like if I were writing a magazine article, and I quote a book, I don’t have to get permission from the copyright holder of the book to quote from it, so long as I credit the book, and don’t copy the whole damn thing, shit like that.

A federal district judge sided with Google, saying that if they sided with Oracle, that would prevent innovators from using such software, but then the U.S. Appeals Court sided with Oracle, saying Google probably should have paid Oracle to use their language, but still kinda demonstrated they were open to a “fair use” defense.

Initially, SCOTUS told Google to get fucked, because they were completely disinterested in these code monkeys and their petty grievances.

But then, a jury sided with Google, and were like “fair use motherfuckers!” Then a Federal court reversed yet again, saying it was not fair use, and the jury was apparently comprised of a gaggle of idiots.

So since a million courts seemed to have an opinion at this point, and none of them agreed, SCOTUS was like, “Fine, we’ll listen to your bullshit case, nerds.” We’ll even give you an extra 30 minutes to sort this shit out.

I think a good analogy of Google’s position is basically like this. If I am a company that owns a copyright on a paint, and you make a picture with that paint and sell it, my copyright does not give me any rights to what you created with the paint.

So basically, they’re saying the copyright prevents another company from making a software that’s identical to Java, and calling it their own. But if someone uses Java to create a new software, Oracle doesn’t have a claim to shit.

So the question for the court is do copyrights protect a software interface, and if so, did Google’s usage constitute fair use or not.

In a 6:2 majority, where Justices Thomas and Alito dissented, and Justice Barrett couldn’t be bothered, SCOTUS sided with Google. They felt that this was a fair use, and that siding with Oracle would thwart the progress of science and useful arts.

Thomas and Alito felt the courts should have ruled on whether Oracle’s code was copyright-worthy, and that they felt it was. As such, they felt Google had no business copying it faithfully for their own use, without throwing some bones to Oracle.

You can hear oral arguments and read about the case at Oyez.com.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v. Mazars

So we all know, the DNC controlled House of Representatives not only hates Trump and are working hard day and night to remove him from office legislatively, if not at the ballot box. As a libertarian who dislikes Trump immensely, even I am put off by the amount of effort going into this by Democrats who are playing politics at the level of full-blown hatred, instead of just accepting that this is our current situation with Trump, and they should only make efforts to win in 2020.

Well, here’s another instance of them abusing their authority. Despite having no credible evidence of a crime, Congress has demanded Trump’s personal financial records, in hopes to uncover some wrongdoing. They’ve presented it as they need this info to consider how to draft new law.

Meaning they’re acting as though they aren’t looking to convict him of anything, they just want to be able to write good law, and his financial records will somehow help them. Is there anyone who believes this bullshit one iota? I hope not. Congress wouldn’t even elaborate on what law they’re looking to write.

So despite congress’ assertion, let’s assume they’re lying political hacks, because they have a good record of being exactly this. Let’s also assume that they’re using this in hopes to find an impeachable offense in the records, because they also have a record of this.

Here’s a couple of issues with this.

First: If the professionals at the IRS who most assuredly audited him didn’t find anything worthy of indicting him on, it is unlikely congress will either.

Second: Any write-offs he took advantage of, that the assholes in congress passed in the first place, will be used to argue Trump is just a greedy rich asshole, instead of that they passed a shitty law, favoring some of their favorite assholes, which Trump was able to exploit too.

Third: And this is most important, in a free country, my personal financial records should be none of anyone’s fucking business ever. EVER!!! The fact we have an income tax which penalizes people for success, instead of a consumption tax which merely takes a fair cut of commerce, is disgusting.

Fourth: We don’t subpoena records to see if there is a crime in them potentially, which is what congress is doing. We have evidence of a crime occurring, and then subpoena records that would confirm or exonerate someone of that crime, based on the evidence suggesting that the crime which occurred has evidence in those records.

Anyway, enough of my own personal opinions, let’s talk about this case.

Trump sued his accounting firm to prevent them from complying with his subpoena. That’s why it’s argued as him against them as opposed to Trump against the government.

Trump is claiming that this is an undue burden on him. But the respondent is arguing that Trump literally doesn’t have to do anything. The subpoena is for his accountant, and doesn’t require any work at all.

However, in this testy exchange, Justice Alito clearly saw through this shenanigan of an argument.

Stephen G. Breyer

Yes, you emphasized it goes to a private person and it’s for tax returns.

But the subpoenas that I’ve seen go far beyond that.

They apply to 15 Trump-affiliated entities.

They ask for all documents related to opening of accounts, due diligence, closing, requests for information by other parties, et cetera. Now that’s a lot of information, and some of it’s pretty vague.

And if somebody subpoenaed you for that information or subpoenaed your tax accountant or subpoenaed somebody in your business, wouldn’t you at least want to know what was being turned over? Wouldn’t you want to ask them? And might that not take time? And might that not take effort? So my problem is there may be burdens here, third-party or not, and not just political burdens.

The job of the House and Senate, in part, as the President, is politics.

That doesn’t bother me. But the Clinton v. Jones information does bother me.

And the fact that what I hold today will also apply to a future Senator McCarthy asking a future Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman exactly the same questions, that bothers me. So what do I do?

Douglas N. Letter

Justice Breyer, I fully understand that concern.

None of the subpoena recipients have complained about burden.

The reason these subpoenas go back a ways is because, as you know —

Stephen G. Breyer

I’m sorry to interrupt you.

I’m not talking about their burden.

I’m talking about the President’s burden in having to monitor, decide if there are privileges, figure out what his answers are to all those documents you are requesting which go, in my opinion, way, way, way beyond just tax returns.

SCOTUS is now charged with determining if Trump must comply with these unreasonable and clearly dishonest requests from congress.

SCOTUS opined that they understand this shit had deep political implications, and potentially opens the door for congresses of the future to go after any sitting president they dislike.

The president argued that congress should demonstrate a specific need, and SCOTUS said, “Nah, dawg.”

But the House argued that that they only needed to have a valid legislative purpose, and SCOTUS said, “Nah, dawg” to that, too, fearing it opens the door for a malicious congress to harass a president.

SCOTUS instead, decided to write their own rules for this.

  1. The courts have to prove only the president’s records will help, and not some other asshole’s
  2. Courts can’t make this shit any broader than is needed for what they’re doing
  3. Courts should review it, to make sure it’s legit, kinda like a warrant
  4. The courts should determine if the president is being harassed, or the subpoena is legit.

Thomas said Congress should simply not have the right to ask for private and unofficial documents from anyone, in his dissent. Alito felt like the House hadn’t met the burden of the test laid out by SCOTUS above. The rest sided with Mazars.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Mathena v. Malvo

So if you’re old enough, you’ll remember the D.C. sniper shootings back in 2002. It was all over the fucking news. Well, it was two assholes, Lee Boyd Malvo (then 17 years old) and John Allen Muhammad. Muhammed was an adult, tried, convicted, and sentences to death, that all around piece of shit was executed in 2009.

When SCOTUS, in 2012, decided Miller v. Alabama, they decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to give a minor mandatory life in prison without parole. In a later ruling in  Montgomery v. Louisiana they decided that Miller must be retroactive as a matter of constitutional law. So Malvo, didn’t get a mandatory sentence, but he did get life without parole. So Malvo’s cheeky counsel is creatively trying to say that the ruling was about life, not about it being mandatory, and asked for relief.

Petitioner Mathena, chief warden of Virginia’s high-security Red Onion State Prison on the other hand, thinks this whole thing is some bullshit. Malvo is a first class scumbag, and at 17, certainly knew WTF he was doing, and deserves the sentence he got. It wasn’t mandatory, it was the sentence the jury came to. So Miller and Montgomery don’t fucking apply here.

The case was dismissed, being withdrawn by Malvo, due to a passage of new legislation which passed in Virginia on February of 2020 saying that if someone is given a life sentence under the age of 18, they are eligible for parole after 20 years.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Opati v. Republic of Sudan

Back in 1998, Al Qaeda detonated some truck bombs in Kenya and Tanzania, near the US embassies there. It became pretty clear that Al Qaeda was behind it, and that Sudan had given them some training and safe harbor for their part in these bombings.

So families of the victims decided to sue the fuck out of Sudan for wrongful death. Sudan didn’t give a fuck, and didn’t even bother to show up to court to defend themselves.

As is typical in a civil court proceeding, if you don’t show up to defend yourself, you’re going to lose your judgement. And they did.

So then, when awards were handed down, they decided to appeal. Hard to appeal when you didn’t bother to defend yourself, but fuck it. They’re going for it.

Most countries have sovereign immunity in a U.S. court, which basically means they’re not bound to any U.S. law, and therefore can’t typically be sued in a U.S. court. But, under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), a country determined to be involved in terrorism loses such sovereign immunity, and can be subject to a lawsuit. It’s not the easiest thing to enforce, but if these nations happen to have money parked in the United States, we’ll seize that shit.

In 2008, Congress amended the law to allow for punitive damages in such a suit. So the Sudanese government is challenging on the grounds that this shit occurred ten years before the punitive damages amendment to the law, and therefore, the action is not open for punitive damages.

In an 8-0 unanimous decision (Kavanaugh couldn’t be bothered, and decided to sit this one out), SCOTUS sided with Opati. They determined that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) is retroactive, and applies to things that happened prior to it being written, such as these bombings.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania

We all remember the Affordable Care Act, right? The gift that keeps on giving? Anyway, part of that monstrosity, is a provision for women’s health which states that women should get preventative health care, such as contraceptives, because somehow the rest of us should pay for others to enjoy pleasure. This is after all to prevent pregnancies, and the two people have sex, are only doing so for pleasure, if they are not trying to get pregnant.

Anyway, initially the rule stipulated non-profit religious organizations had to file an exemption form, if they believed in some overarching theism that said every sperm is sacred. If they did, they could be exempted.

But then, Hobby Lobby came along in 2014, and were like, we may not be a fucking church, but we still believe every sperm is sacred up in this bitch. We think we deserve such an exemption, too—SCOTUS agreed.

Then also in 2014, in Wheaton v. Burwell, SCOTUS ruled that you don’t have to file for an exemption, because that’s an undue burden. You just have to notify Health and Human Services (HHS) you’re exercising your right to object.

But it gets better. In 2017 in Zubik v. Burwell, these fuckers decided that just having to notify HHS they intended to abstain was too much effort, and were like, “First amendment, assholes. We don’t have to tell you shit.” But the court was unimpressed, and told them to fuck off.

In 2017, Trump and his merry band of misfits amended the rules, allowing for a “moral” exemption, making it yet again easier to get out of this shit.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged these rules, arguing it was some bullshit discrimination, and a district court agreed.

So here we are at SCOTUS to determine if the federal government was allowed to exempt such people, and if the Little Sisters peeps have standing to sue here.

Ginsburg questioned the idea that the exemptions outside of churches exist at all, because that’s not how the law was written. But the petitioner argued that the law was written to give HHS discretion on whether to require contraceptive care. So since the HHS is run by the executive branch, they get to decide on that rule, which Trump did.

In a 7:2 majority, where Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, SCOTUS decided that the executive branch, which directs the Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the authority to write its own rules, and so they did. They ruled that the rules only required “additional preventive care and screenings,” and the ambiguousness of that statement leaves the door open for DHHS to write it’s own rules within that framework.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor agreed they were allowed to write their own rules within that framework, but this was negating it altogether, which the ACA would not allow.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v. Vance

Related to the Trump v. Mazars case, where the House of Representatives are trying to subpoena Trump’s financial records, here is a case where some douchebag New York county prosecutor is trying to go after Trump, and issued a subpoena for his tax records from Mazars as well.

Trump is again suing to quash the subpoena, the issue at play being whether he has executive privilege of such information, and therefore a right to not comply.

Whereas the house was arguing these records were requested to help draft legislation, this county prosecutor is more honest, claiming that they have reports of illegal activity by the Trump organization in New York County over the last ten years, and these subpoena’s are to aid in that investigation.

Again, it seems we have a situation where there’s no evidence of a crime, but the government just believes he’s a bad guy, and are hoping to find evidence of something they can prosecute. This is not me being a political hack. If Trump did commit a crime, I want his ass to pay for it. But no party can or has reported an actual crime that occurred that they are investigating.

I think Trump’s petitioner summed it up quite nicely.

Jay Alan Sekulow

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Let me start with this, and there’s some agreement.

The New York district attorney, New York County district attorney, acknowledges that their subpoena implicates Article II issues and burdens.

They also agree that there is harms that could arise to the presidency.

We say those harms have actually existed. The other aspect of this is the ordering, who carries the burden here.

That seems to be the issue that’s left open.

This Court’s decision in Cheney answered that very clearly, that said that the exacting standard is carried by the party requesting the information. So it would be carried by the Respondent in this particular case. There has been no showing and no findings of heightened need standards being met here.

That — and I think it’s again also important to remember — and I think this came up in the context of earlier questioning — there’s a different stigma that attaches to criminal process than civil litigation.

And I don’t think that stigma should be ignored in a case like this. But the irony of all of this is that the House of Representatives and the district attorney issued essentially the same subpoenas to the same custodian for the same records. The House said it wants the records so it can legislate, not for law enforcement reasons.

The district attorney says he wants the same records for law enforcement reasons; he has no legislative authority. But what’s really happening here could not be clearer.

The presidency is being harassed and undermined with improper process that was issued, in our view, for illegitimate reasons.

The copying of the subpoena speaks to that. The framers saw this coming, and they structured the Constitution to protect the President from this encroachment. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

In a 7:2 decision where Alito and Thomas dissented, agreeing that a president is not above the law, but Thomas saying that in situations such as this, they felt a sitting president should potentially receive relief from an overzealous prosecutor, and Alito believed that the prosecutor should have a higher burden to go after a sitting president.  SCOTUS determined that there’s nothing in the Constitution what increases the burden on a county prosecutor when pursuing criminal action against a president.

They also decided that there is nothing unreasonable to ask a president to provide evidence in the pursuance of a criminal investigation.

It’s also worth noting that the two dissenters were NOT Trump’s two appointees, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. So if there was a concern of them being biased towards the person who appointed them, I guess you can through that shit in the trash.