Average Joe SCOTUS: Hemphill v. New York

In US courts, they’re bound to honor the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment in the constitution, which assures that an accused individual has the right to confront their accuser. That’s at the heart of this case here.

In the lovely and scenic Bronx area, some all around scumbags started a fight over whatever the fuck people in the Bronx fight about. Someone whipped out their piece and started shooting.

Being as dumb as their fucking argument probably was, they didn’t hit the person they were trying to hit, instead they hit a two year old kid, in a car, that was passing by, and fucking killed him.

Nicholas Morris was identified as one of the assholes in question, and upon a search of his home, cops found a .357 hand cannon, a starter pistol, and an empty 9mm shell casing. Pacheco, the deceased two year old boy, was killed by a 9mm. So even though they didn’t find a 9mm weapon on Morris, the casing was deemed evidence enough, and he was charged.

Ronnell Gilliam was also at the scene, and feeling guilty as fuck, decided to drop a dime on Morris, and accused him of being the shooter. But then Gilliam was like, “Alright man, I was just messing around. It was actually Darrell Hemphill who shot the 9mm, and then disposed of it.”

It’s important to know that cops never recovered the gun. Just an empty 9mm cartridge from Morris.

Anyway, after failing to prosecute Morris for the murder, New York went after Hemphill in light of this new evidence.

Hemphill however, is saying that because this new evidence came from testimony by Morris at his own allocution where he confessed to possession of the .357, Hemphill isn’t able to “confront” Morris at trial, and therefore such evidence is inadmissable.

But New York is like, “Hemphill opened the door to this testimony when he threw shade on Morris, arguing he was the one found with a 9mm casing at his place.” The phrase “opened the door” is kinda important here, since New York seems to think the Constitution is optional if in a case like this, someone opens the door to the evidence.

So the court has to decide if Hemphill forfeited his right to confront Morris when he accused Morris based on his confession of possession.

I almost feel sorry for New York, representing counsel tried making an impassioned argument, but ended up coming off like a used car salesperson, and the justices seemed pretty skeptical on some of her responses.

In an 8:1 decision, with only Justice Thomas dissenting, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hemphill. That the 6th amendment doesn’t get tossed in the shitter just because the defendant makes some argument bringing up said asshole in his allocution. There’s no exceptions to the 6th amendment the court has allowed, and they’re not about to start now.

Justice Thomas, was so disinterested, he dissented on the premise that because Hemphill didn’t bring up his sixth amendment rights in the NY appellate court, that SCOTUS shouldn’t even be listening to this bullshit.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Thompson v. Clark

This is kinda interesting. So friend of dipshit Thompson, Camille Watson, who has what SCOTUSBlog described as “cognitive delays” was staying with her sister, Thompson’s wife. Thompson and company had an infant daughter.

Camille saw what later was confirmed as diaper rash, and mistook it for a bruise—signs of abuse. Trying to do the right thing, but potentially bordering on Karen territory, she called 911 to report the issue.

EMTs show up to examine the baby, but Thompson answers the door, blissfully ignorant that Camille had called them. So Thompson was like, “The baby is fine. Don’t know why you’re here, but leave in peace.”

Since it was an abuse concern, they weren’t so quick to take off without doing some kind of check. So they had cops come with them a second time, and asked Thompson to show them the baby.

While we here at Logical Libertarian are all about rights and shit, if I’m a parent, and cops are just trying to protect my baby, instead of fighting with cops and demanding to see a warrant, I’d probably just say, “let me go get the baby, so you can see she’s OK.

But Thompson isn’t me, and decided to go full blown hard core libertarian on them, asking for them to provide a warrant, or fuck right the hell off.

It may surprise you to know this, but cops are generally not receptive to invitations to fuck right the hell off, though. So they pushed Thompson down, handcuffed his dumb ass, and went on to check on the infant.

Again, I am libertarian, but before we go too hard on officers, let’s admit some truths. People fucking abuse their kids a lot in this country. It may not be as bad as it was 100 years ago, but it still happens often. So if you were a cop, and you had reason to believe someone was harming their infant, and you do nothing to stop it because “you don’t have a warrant”, and that infant dies…well, I think that’d be a hard thing to live with.

Anyway, cops took the baby to the hospital, and they were like, “It’s diaper rash, dude.”

While I definitely gave a little deference to the cops at first, now I’m taking that shit back.

Pagiel Clark, one of the responding officers, filed a complaint against Thompson for resisting arrest, because as I mentioned earlier, cops don’t respond well to being told to fuck off. Especially when a baby in danger could be in the balance. Cops could have just been like, “Hey, we were just protecting your baby. If you’re a loving dad, you should appreciate that. Now that we know you didn’t do anything wrong, let’s shake hands, and let bygones be bygones, brother…pal…friend.”

But, they didn’t. Instead, Thompson found himself in the pokey for a couple days, so he could meditate on his life choices.

Prosecutors offered Thompson a deal for a sealed record, if he confessed to the crime of resisting. But Thompson, having meditated for several days, decided that he’d done nothing wrong, officers violated his rights, and he wasn’t signing shit. Furthermore, he’d sue the officers for wrongful arrest.

After two days in Jail BNB, Thompson was released and his case was dropped by the prosecution “in the interest of justice.” That’s legal speak for the prosecutor saying, “These cops fucked up, and we’d like this to go away.”

A federal district court felt Thompson didn’t have cause, since they dropped the charges. So now SCOTUS is being asked if in order to have a successful claim, he has to have been found guilty when he was clearly innocent, or if it’s OK to make such a claim, when the end result where the state eventually agreed he was innocent.

In a 6:3 non-partisan decision, SCOTUS decided that Thompson made a pretty good fucking argument, overturning the lower court’s decision. They wrote that Thompson only needed to show that they didn’t get a conviction, which they didn’t.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-659.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Cameron v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center

In what is expected to be a session where abortion is front and center, SCOTUS picked up this little gem from Kentucky.

In Kentucky, they typically use a procedure called Dilation and Extraction (D&E) to perform an abortion. You can read about the details of how it’s performed here, if you’d like. It basically stops the fetal heartbeat, and the fetus is removed after the fetus is deceased. This is the most common method for a 2nd trimester abortion. And while many states accept the Roe v. Wade decision, it’s worth nothing that 2nd trimester abortions are certainly more controversial than first trimester, as viability comes into play the closer to term the pregnancy becomes.

We here at Logical Libertarian support the system set forth in Roe v. Wade, giving the woman a right to choose in early stage pregnancies. But we also acknowledge that within days of conception, it’s a human life, and it’s being ended. I have written previously why the abortion debate is often fraught with lies and misrepresentation here, so I won’t rehash in this post.

Kentucky saw fit to ban D&E as a 2nd trimester procedure. But then, Kentucky went through gubernatorial changes, as well as a new Secretary for the Cabinet of Health in Kentucky. The new people, unlike their outgoing counterparts do not support the law, and were content to let it die on the vine after a Kentucky district court and the 6th circuit federal appellate court invalidated the statute.

In walks Daniel Cameron, a potential SCOTUS pick for Trump before he ultimately lost out to Justice Barrett. He is the Kentucky AG, and he was like, “If you assholes don’t want to defend the law, I will.”

So SCOTUS isn’t necessarily even opining on the Kentucky law. But they are looking to decide whether Cameron has the right to step in and defend a law that the governor, and the head of the agency who administrates it, have chosen not to defend.

While I obviously don’t know Cameron, this appears to be a staunch pro-life person looking to be a hero as a lone defender of fetal rights.

The 6th circuit shot Cameron down, because they were like, “If we let you jump in, then every asshole with an axe to grind, will sit and wait until a case has been decided to their disliking, then jump in after the fact like some two-bit Superman coming to save the day. It’ll be like dogs and cats—living together—mass hysteria.”

Cameron went to SCOTUS, and was like, “I’m the fucking states attorney general. It’s my job to defend state law, whether the governor chooses to or not. Let me in, bitches!”

He also made it clear, he didn’t wait in the wings for shit. He found out the piece of shit health secretary was refusing to do anything, and two days later, filed his motion.

EMW however, is like, “When we sued, we sued the Health Secretary and the AG. The AG was now governor Beshear at the time. Beshear stepped down from the case, and agreed to abide by the district court’s ruling. So basically EMW is like, “The AG at the time made a decision. So a new AG can’t just roll in dirty, and negate all the shit their predecessor did.”

In an 8:1 decision, with only Sotomayor dissenting, SCOTUS ruled with Cameron. In an opinion written by Justice Alito, there’s no law limiting the jurisdiction of the attorney general in the way the respondents want. If he wants to defend the law, it’s his job, whether the governor or state congress give a fuck or not.

Sotomayor dissented, arguing that the court is bending over backwards to allow this Jesus freak to jump on the bandwagon late in the game. As such, she thinks they opened the door for any new AGs around the country, to come in after a party change, and try to overrule decisions they disagreed with.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-601.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Babcock v. Kijakazi

This is a case about retirement benefits. But before you nod off, let me tell you about it.

David Babcock joined the National Guard back in 1970, served over 3 years, then went to flight school to become a pilot. But flying wasn’t his one true love, making planes flyable was. So he want back to the guard, and ended up as a technician who worked on planes for a civilian group, while he was still enlisted. He also spent a couple years in Iraq form 2004-2005.

When Babcock retired in 2009, he got money from the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and from the military’s Defense Finance and Accounting Service. (DFAS)

Once he fully retired in 2014, Social Security was like, “Here’s your benefits fuckface. But we’re reducing them because you’re getting so much scratch from the CSRS and the DFAS.”

So Babcock was like, “Hold the fuck on, you assholes. According to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), I should be exempted from you not giving me full benefits. I was fucking active duty military. You aren’t supposed to be doing that shit to us.”

The Windfall Elimination Provision, is basically a rule SSI has to say, “Hey look, if you’ve got money falling out of your asshole, you don’t need full SSI benefits. So we’re going to steal the money you paid into the system, and give it to some other dumb fuck who did nothing to earn it. OK?”

But generally, they don’t do this to active duty military, because they fucking risked their lives for these assholes who send them to every war-torn shithole the president or congress doesn’t like. So that’s Babcock’s beef.

The state however, is trying to say that a “Dual Service Technician” which is what Babcock was, isn’t the same as other military. Yes, he was in the military, but he was essentially a private contractor. The government fucking loves a technicality it can use to fuck someone in the neck.

Well, anyway. SSI didn’t see fit to agree Babcock was the type of military personal that should be exempted, and despite Babcock’s appeal, an Administrative Law Judge (ASL) sided with the assholes at SSI.

So now SCOTUS is being asked to decide if a dual status employee is still military for purposes of the military exemption of the windfall provision.

According to 8 out of 9 justices, it is not. He was a friend of the military, but he wasn’t out there risking getting his ass shot off. As the law was written by congress, he’s unfortunately fucked. But thank you for your assistance in the effort.

Gorsuch, the lone dissenter was like, “You other eight justices are being dicks to this poor motherfucker. He was invaluable to the war effort, he deserves to get paid.”

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Tsarnaev

If the name Dzhokhar Tsarnaev looks familiar to you, it’s because it’s the dipshit who decided to blow up the Boston Marathon with his asshole brother. He killed three people, but hundreds were injured.

As you may know, his efforts earned him a justifiable one way trip to ride the lightning.

While on death row, the US Court of Appeals First Circuit threw out his death penalty ruling. Their argument was twofold. They believed that the courts didn’t do a good job scrutinizing jurors to see if they had watched any news about the bombing. But it was a national fucking story. The judge in the case screened a LOT of fucking jurors, and even spent 21 days with these nine angry fucks, probing the shit out of them to make sure that even if they had seen news stories, they exhibited signs they could be swayed by the evidence at trial, as opposed to having their mind made up before the trial even started.

Not sure where the hell you’d find nine people who hadn’t heard about it, unless you had nine homeless jurors from the midwest or something.

They also raised concerns about the fact the jurors didn’t hear about his scumbag brother Tamerlan who was also involved. Dzhokar and Tamerlan shot an MIT police officer in the head, then stole an SUV from a student. Somehow, Dzhokar managed to run over Tamerlan with the stolen SUV and killed him, saving the state from having to put both these fuckheads on trial. But the argument being made, is that Tamerlan may have been overly influential to Dzhokar, and Dzhoker somehow would have been an innocent little flower, had he not been influenced by Tamerlan.

Counsel for the US made a pretty compelling argument that since Dzhokar killed Tamerlan, it’s pretty convenient to throw blame on that prick, he’s fucking dead. He can’t cross examine anyone. He can’t deny the accusations against him. He’s the best fucking patsy you could ask for.

Curiously, despite Biden superseding Trump, having been on record as being in favor of ending the federal death penalty, apparently is keen to light this little piece of shit up like a Christmas tree. They are the ones pursuing it after all.

Tsarnaev’s counsel argues that in typical cases like this, the judge at the trial hearing would usually ask jurors what shit they’ve seen in the news about a case like this, to look for anyone who’s basically ready to pull the fucking switch on this little prick themselves, and the judge didn’t do that.

So now SCOTUS is being asked if the US Court of Appeals blew their load in vacation his death sentence, based on their insistence that the judge should have pursued more, whether these jurors were biased from the onset.

In a 6:3 partisan decision, SCOTUS ruled for the United States, arguing the 5th circuit, as usual, were a bunch of dumb fucks. The district court was well within their discretion, not to ask every juror to rattle off every fucking thing they heard on the news about this little prick. Instead, the court need only to assess the juror’s open-mindedness, or overwhelming bias, which they did.

The courts left three dissented, feeling that excluding the evidence about what a controlling dickhead his brother was, was unfair, and should have been allowed. If the jury had heard this shit, they might’ve chosen a lesser sentence.

But all for naught. Tsarnaev’s date with a needle is back on track. Good bye, you little prick.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Mississippi v. Tennessee

In what promises to be another snoozefest, we have another case that SCOTUS has as part of their original docket. Meaning, it’s not a case they choose to hear, it’s a case they have to hear.

In a case involving the two state with the most double letters in their name, Mississippi have beef over some water with Tennessee. The Middle Claiborne Aquifer is fucking huge. It spans several states including these two assholes.

Not sure what an aquifer is? Neither was I. It’s basically, underground rock which is porous and stores a lot of water inside it. So forget about the rock for a minute, just think of it as a huge lake that spans the states, but you can’t fucking see it, because it’s underground.

Tennessee’s Memphis Light, Water & Gas Division pumps a lot of water out of that mother fucker from wells in Tennessee, but near the Mississippi border. Mississippi expects a certain amount of water from it, too. They argue they can’t get what they want, because those greedy assholes in Tennessee take too much from near the border, which basically depletes Mississippi’s portion as it flows to Tennessee when they pump water out.

They claim that their own groundwater goes down into the aquifer. But when Tennessee pumps water from their side, Mississippi’s groundwater flows into Tennessee, and therefore, they lose it.

Anyway, the courts have in the past appointed a special master to sort this shit out. They try to make sure that states which share a body of water, get their fair share of that water, and one isn’t fucking over the other.

Typically, the courts use an “equitable apportionment” rule to rivers and shit. But this is the first time an aquifer is the source of the dispute. Mississippi is hoping to make the case that it doesn’t apply to groundwater. Presumably because what Tennessee is taking, isn’t that dissimilar to what one would expect in a similar dispute over a river.

The idea is that Mississippi probably has a much larger chunk of water underneath than Tennessee, so they think they should get more of the water that’s there, whereas Tennessee would argue they should get an equal cut.

Normally, the equitable apportionment rule weighs several factors, one of which is that the complaining state has to show how they were harmed by the other state’s taking of the water, putting a larger burden on Mississippi.

The bottom line is, this seems like some pretty amazing creativity on Mississippi’s part. The nature of water is that it fucking flows. Whether it’s above ground in a river, or below ground in an aquifer, that’s what water fucking does.

The idea that Mississippi is going to act like this groundwater is somehow supposed to be treated different than river water is a pretty big stretch in my mind. But fuck it, might as well waste the court’s time with this bullshit.

Justice Clarence Thomas came out asking if there was any previous cases where somehow, someone was taking water from a shared source, but not entering the property of the other state, and the courts offered a remedy that wasn’t “equitable apportionment.”

Justice Roberts and Justice Kagan also seemed as baffled as I am about how this could possibly be anything different than an equitable apportionment situation.

Read this bit of the transcript to see an argument only a lawyer could love. It is clear, he’s hoping they just won’t get that he’s full of shit.

John G. Roberts, Jr.

Well, what other cases would you — putting aside water, what other cases would you admit are subject to equitable apportionment?

John V. Coghlan

Your Honor, I’m not sure, and I’m not sure the equitable apportionment should or should not apply as a concept to groundwater.

I think there are reasons why, based on the nature of groundwater, it might not make sense. But I think the Court doesn’t need to address that question about whether or not equitable apportionment should apply to groundwater because, as I say, this is a different type of injury.

This is an injury where one state is reaching across the border and exercising control beyond its sovereign territory.

John G. Roberts, Jr.

Putting aside your reaching across the border, I mean, in — in the absence — you — you concede, don’t you, that the aquifer flows from Mississippi into Tennessee?

John V. Coghlan

We — we concede that there is some water that crosses the border, yes.

John G. Roberts, Jr.

Well, I suppose then you’re — you’re not saying that there’s no equitable apportionment of that water?

John V. Coghlan

I think, Your Honor, our point is that whether or not aquifers and groundwater should be subject to equitable apportionment is not the legal issue that we’re presenting before the Court. What we’re presenting is does Tennessee have the right to control the resource beyond Tennessee’s sovereign boundaries in Mississippi when Mississippi has not waived its sovereign right over control of that groundwater.

Elena Kagan

I’m not sure I understand that, Mr. Coghlan.

I mean, you’re not now saying that this is not an interstate water.

You’re conceding that it is an interstate water, is that correct?

John V. Coghlan

I don’t know that we’re conceding it, Justice Kagan.

Elena Kagan

You’re saying that you win even if it is an interstate water, is that correct?

John V. Coghlan

That’s correct.

Elena Kagan


So you’re saying it’s irrelevant whether it’s an interstate water or not?

John V. Coghlan

That’s correct.

Elena Kagan

So let’s assume that it is an interstate water.

John V. Coghlan


Elena Kagan

And you’re saying that the reason you should win is because — is because what? Because Mississippi is essentially doing something unnatural to have access to that interstate water? What —

John V. Coghlan

I’d say, Your Honor, it’s that Tennessee —

Elena Kagan

Tennessee, excuse me.

John V. Coghlan

That Tennessee is exercising control over groundwater while it is located within Mississippi’s sovereign territory.

Elena Kagan

Well, but Tennessee is doing things, I think you admitted, in — in — in one of the questions that Justice Thomas put to you — Tennessee is acting entirely within its own borders.

It is having effects on Mississippi, but that’s the case with respect to people using a flowing river, that if there’s a — a flowing river, Tennessee might be taking water from it, which has effects in Mississippi. So why is it any different?

John V. Coghlan

Justice Kagan, where I would disagree with you is that Tennessee is acting entirely within its own borders.

Their — their wells are physically located in Tennessee, but this pumping is creating a unnatural area of effect that’s predictable, measurable, and controllable, and that area of effect is having physical effect, unnatural —

Elena Kagan

Well, it’s have —

John V. Coghlan

— physical effects —

Elena Kagan

— it’s — it’s predictable, measurable, and controllable when an upstream state takes a lot of water from a river that that will leave the downstream state with less water.

All of that is predictable in the exact same way that one state is harming another, and yet we turn to equitable apportionment to deal with that.

John V. Coghlan

And I think, Your Honor, the difference as — as I — in this case is that in all of the Court’s equitable apportionment cases, the state who’s, you know, unnaturally having an effect on the water by taking and removing water is acting, and the effect of that is occurring — the direct effect of that is occurring entirely within the state’s sovereign territory and that whether or not the water ultimately doesn’t reach the downstream state because it doesn’t flow there is — is incidental, whereas, here, there is a direct intentional effect. The — the — the purpose of pumping is to move water.

And Tennessee is putting these wells next to the border, creating a vacuum, and of — of a measurable area of effect, and intentionally pulling the water out of Mississippi and exercising control, direct control I would say, over that groundwater while it is within Mississippi’s sovereign territory.

If you’re still as confused as I am as to what their justification is for treating this situation any different than others, then welcome to my world.

It should be pointed out, Mississippi is seeking millions in monetary damages, and Tennessee’s counsel was not shy about suggesting this was just an attempted money grab by Mississippi.

So now SCOTUS has to decide if Mississippi’s damages claim is legit, or some bullshit.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS agreed, Mississippi were being whiny little bitches, and Tennessee doesn’t owe them shit. Equitable apportionment was awarded, and Mississippi doesn’t get any more than that.

Hear oral arguments here


Read about the case here

Average Joe SCOTUS: Wooden v. United States

Ever heard of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)? Well, there’s a provision in it that goes something like this:

(1) In the case of a person who violates section 922(g) of this title and has three previous convictions by any court referred to in section 922(g)(1) of this title for a violent felony or a serious drug offense, or both, committed on occasions different from one another, such person shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than fifteen years

Well, that whole “three previous” shit is going to come into play here.

You see, all around dipshit William Wooden decided to roll up on a storage facility in Georgia back in 1997, and see if he could find some shit he wanted to own, but didn’t currently own. He proceeded to take possession without consulting the current owners of the property. Probably stocking up for the impending Y2K.

Wooden may have been an idiot, but he didn’t lack ambition. This fuckhead broke into ten different units and robbed each one. See where this is going?

That’s right. Ten units equals ten separate burglaries. He may have had one helluva night, but in the eyes of the law, he committed ten subsequent crimes.

Anyway, part of the ACCA is you’re not allowed to own a fucking gun if you’re an Armed Career Criminal.

So in 2014, a plain clothes officer came to Wooden’s house looking for Wooden’s wife. No clue why—doesn’t matter. Wooden, not knowing he was a cop, let him in, while he went to get his wife. Dude knew Wooden was a felon, and he saw the rifle in plain sight. Knowing Wooden wouldn’t be allowed to own a gun, the cop arrested him on the spot.

The feds charged Wooden accordingly, which gave him ten years in the pokey, after he already served eight for the burglaries back in the day. But the feds were also like, “Hey, wait a minute, he has three or more burglaries in his past doesn’t he? We can hit this mother fucker upside his had with the old ACCA fifteen year minimum, too.

Wooden of course tried to appeal. He was like, “Come on, man. Maybe I hit ten units, but it was just one crazy night. And that shit should be one ‘occasion’ under your stupid fucking law.”

But the 6th circuit court of appeals told Wooden to eat a bag of dicks. Occasions can be one after the other, as in hitting ten units in a row.

So now, the question before the court, is if some dipshit goes on a crime spree in one outing, is each successive crime he/she commits while enjoying a night on the town a separate “occasion” for purposes of the ACCA?

Justice Thomas opened up questions, and queried Wooden’s counsel how much time he would argue has to pass before it’s a new “occasion.” Clearly, they don’t want this interpretation to be some subjective bullshit. Otherwise, it ends up being constitutionally vague.

Counsel argued that this was one stream of illegal activity, from the time he hit the first storage locker, to the time they hit the last, he never stopped burgling. So that’s one occasion, in his argument. So it could be a new day, it could be that he did one in the morning, broke for lunch, and did a second one in the afternoon. As long as it’s broken up, it’s a new occasion, otherwise not.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS agreed with Wooden. If you go on a spree, without pause, that’s one fucking occasion.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.