Category Archives: Libertarianism

Average Joe SCOTUS: Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue

In Montana, they offer a tax-credit for people who donate to scholarship funds. Espinoza’s child was a recipient of one of these scholarships. But because Espinoza’s spawn was going to a private Christian school, it’s an issue. Because Montana has a rule, and we have the 1st amendment, which largely forbids any relationship between government and the church.

So now SCOTUS must decide if giving someone a scholarship, funded by taxpayers, should be prohibited from going to a religious school, in order to preserve the separation of church and state that people believe the 1st amendment represents. For the record, it doesn’t. It’s merely written as “Congress shall make no law…”

But, a long time ago, SCOTUS has ruled that 1A was meant to create a separation between church and state, and it’s been precedent ever since.

So Espinoza’s team is trying to argue that this law from Montana forbidding such scholarships based on religious grounds is the unconstitutional rule, because it discriminates against religious people.

Montana obviously argues that giving taxpayer money to a religious school violates the first amendment.

In a 5:4 partisan decision, SCOTUS sided with Epinoza. That the scholarship was awarded with no consideration to the school they choose to attend. As such, it is discriminatory to award it to them, but then restrict what school they can use the funds for.

The libertarian in me would like to point out that taxpayers shouldn’t be fucking funding education for anyone but their own fucking kids, or anyone else they voluntarily choose to help. If that were the case, we wouldn’t even be having this fucking argument.

While I’m atheist, I tend to agree with this decision. If we’re going to dole out scholarships on merit, we don’t have the right to tell them what school they use it with.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor argued that the law didn’t place any burden on the scholarship’s recipient, and therefore wasn’t a violation of 1A. But that’s fucking dumber than a box of rocks. If this person chooses a school, and then government steps in and says you can’t use our scholarship for THAT school, that’s a fucking burden. Again, I’m atheist. But fuck that. This is the problem with left wing assholes. They want the taxpayer to help everyone, but then they only want that help applied to things they agree with, and not what the person wants. This is why they can all kiss my lily-white ass, those arrogant pricks and prickettes.

Breyer’s and Kagan’s opinion was also a dissent, but in their case, they more argued that this was a 1A conflict since taxpayer’s ultimately end up funding a religious education. I can buy into that one.

 

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.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org

The issue at play in this case, is the government edicts doctrine, which basically goes like this. Government cannot copyright their fucking laws. Meaning, they can’t pass a law, and then get pissed that someone reprints it verbatim elsewhere, like other copyrights.

The reason for this, is that we are a government by the people and for the people, and all people should have equal access to the laws that govern them. So if government copyrighted something, and you could only get it from government (potentially with some fee attached), you may not have good access to it, where someone else might have given it to you another way.

So, now to this case. Georgia has this thing they call The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA). It’s a book of all their laws and shit, with annotations explaining stuff. The annotations aren’t law, but they’re still from Georgia Lawmakers, and then printed and published by a private company.

Public.Resource.Org (PRO), being the nice people they are, try to put out all laws for people to have easy access to them. So they bought the OCGA, scanned that motherfucker, and put it out.

Georgia was like, “Hey motherfucker, you can’t do that. Sure our laws are in there, but there’s a bunch of other shit too. You can’t print that. It’s a copyright violation.”

But PRO was like, “Fuck you, assholes. These are official government documents, both laws, and explanations of the law, and therefore the government edict doctrine mentioned earlier applies. So you can take your cease-and-desist order, and shove it sideways up your whole ass.”

The 11th circuit court of appeals agreed with PRO, and told Georgia to eat a bag of dicks. So Georgia asked for SCOTUS to hook them up, and here we are.

SCOTUS in a non-partisan split decision was unimpressed with the state of Georgia and their shitty argument, siding 5-4 for Public.Resource.org. That the idea the annotations are copyrightable but laws aren’t is fucking stupid, and anyone who interprets it that way are fucking idiots.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Rodriguez v. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

So, this shitty ass bank, United Western Bancorp, Inc. (UWBI) had several subsidiaries, including United Western Bank. They apparently sucked at what they did, because they were losing money like they stored it in a toilet that just kept getting flushed.

Anyway, when you own several companies as a parent company, you can file one big ass tax form each year for the parent company instead of a bunch of little forms for each of your subsidiaries, so that’s what these assholes did.

Well, one of their branches United Western Bank (UWB) lost so much damn money, they qualified for a $4,000,000 tax refund. So the parent UWBI was like, “gimme that money, bitches.” Rodriguez, they’re Chapter 7 attorney, and the petitioner here, filed one big ass return for all of UWBI, claiming the losses of UWB, and getting that big ass refund as a result.

However, the FDIC had closed down UWB (the subsidiary), and took them into receivership because they were the shittiest bank that ever banked.  Now UWBI (the parent) was told that the FDIC was taking UWBI’s refund, because they argued it went to UWB since they were the source of the loss, and therefore the FDIC would use that money to pay its debtors.

But UWBI was like, “Fuck you, you government pricks. We need that money.” So one court agreed, another court didn’t, as is usual. And eventually, these assholes found their way to SCOTUS.

In 1973, the courts had ruled on a previous case where they decided that a refund of this nature, absent any other agreement, belonged to the parent company. They call this the Bob Richards rule, because that’s the case it was named after in 1973.

But the FDIC is arguing that they did have an agreement between the subsidiary and the parent, and therefore the Bob Richards rule does not apply.

You can read about the case and hear oral arguments here.

Also, a pretty detailed analysis here and here.

So SCOTUS is now being asked whether state law or federal law determine who gets a tax refund. Because state law would mean Rodriguez wins. SCOTUS being keen on state’s rights determined that the state can and should handle this shit, and unanimously decided for Rodriguez, telling the FDIC to go eat a bag of dicks.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Peter v. NantKwest

So this dude, Dr. Hans Klingemann was doing some work on immunotherapy, and discover what was termed natural killer cells, as an effective method for going after and killing cancer. So he worked with the company NantKwest to patent this shit.

Problem for Doc Lingemann, was this comes form the patient’s own blood, and not necessarily something Klingemann makes himself. So the Patent Office was all like, “You’re joking with this shit, right? Get the fuck out of here.” His Patent claim was denied as “obvious.” You don’t get to patent naturally occurring shit, and try to take credit for mother nature’s work.

Klingemann and NantKwest were persistent fucks, because they appealed, and their dumb asses lost again. So then they appealed to the U.S. District course, and lost the fuck yet again.

You’d think this would be over, but no.

You see, the Patent Office had to pay motherfuckers to justify their position through all these hearings and appeals, and so the USPTO was like, “You cost us $113,000 you motherfucker. We want our money back for you wasting our time.”

According to 35 U.S.C. § 145, “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” of these hearings are recoverable by the PTO if they win their judgement. But a district court was like, “Seriously, PTO? It’s bad enough you denied this guy his patent, you want him to pay your legal fees, too? Come on with this bullshit. In this country, you pay your attorneys, and I pay mine. That’s how it fucking works. Now piss off. Your recoverable expenses are paying for expert witnesses and shit, nothing more.” Judgement for NantKwest.

But now the PTO are the persistent fucks, because they’re like, “Fuck you, you lower court motherfuckers, we’re going to SCOTUS. We want our fucking money.”

So, here were are at SCOTUS to determine if the 35 U.S.C. § 145, “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” statement trumps all the legal precedent in U.S. history and considers legal fees are part of the expenses or not.

SCOTUS unanimously ruled in favor Nantkwest, telling the USPTO to go fuck themselves. You pay your legal fees, and they pay theirs. Nuff said.

Average Joe SCOTUS: McKinney v. Arizona

All around piece of shit, James McKinney, had a horrific childhood fraught with abuse. He started drinking and smoking weed by age 11, dropped out of school, ran away from home, shit like that. You kinda feel for the guy, but still, as an adult, he’s a total douchebag.

Anyway, he eventually committed robbery with his half-brother and two people were killed. So McKinney was convicted and sentenced to death.

No one wants to die, including McKinney. So because of the PTSD he suffered as a young kid, he believes that to be a mitigating factor in why he’s such a piece of shit now. Which is maybe true, but so long as you’re not delusional, you fucking know it’s wrong, and that you shouldn’t do it. So I’ve personally got little sympathy.

However that’s not important, I’m not trying this case.

So why are we here at SCOTUS? Well, SCOTUS in Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U.S. 104 (1982), determined that any mitigating evidence should be considered in a death penalty case, and therefore McKinney thinks his PTSD diagnosis is mitigating, and therefore would like not to be executed, please and thank you.

And also, in Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), SCOTUS ruled that Death Penalty must be imposed by a jury sentencing hearing, and not by a judge. But Arizona was like, “Fuck you, that ruling happened after this mother fucker was convicted.”

But McKinney’s lawyer is nothing but creative. He wants a resentencing based on Eddings, which he believes must consider McKinney’s PTSD. Then he thinks that resentencing must be held to today’s standard as a result of Rings, that a jury must award the death penalty.

So now SCOTUS must determine whether this prick gets a needle in his arm or not.

The “liberal” justices agreed with McKinney. They make a fairly compelling argument that if SCOTUS makes a constitutional ruling, that the constitution shouldn’t be subject to timing. In other words, if it’s unconstitutional, it was always unconstitutional. It shouldn’t be deemed only unconstitutional after they hand down their ruling. Thus, they believe all such ruling should be retroactive and applied as such, to any relevant case.

However, Ginburg and her merry band of left-leaning cohorts are in the minority. The right-leaning majority decided that an appellate court can decide if they fucking want, and there’s no reason to retroactively change this. Ruling for Arizona, and goodbye McKinney.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Hernandez v. Mesa

On the face of it, this one makes me fucking sick. So apologies in advance for my strong opinions. I can’t find anything humorous to say on this one.

Several Mexican kids were playing near the U.S./Mexico border, jumping back and forth across it.  Border agent, Jesus Mesa, rolls up on a bicycle to do his job, and catches one of the kids—detaining him in the U.S.

Before I go on, I want to be clear; I think border enforcement is an important job, and I have nothing against them doing it, as the job description says they should. But this is not that. It’s not even fucking close, IMO.

Another boy, 15-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca managed to escape back to Mexico with his friends, and thus was not detained. He stood there, watching as his buddy was detained by Mesa.

Mesa alleged the boys, including Hernandez, started throwing rocks (allegedly not confirmed in video of the incident). Now I don’t know how fucking hard 15 year olds can throw a fucking rock, but I’m pretty sure, it’s not deadly. Yet somehow, this cop Mesa shot young Hernandez across the border in the face, killing him.

I’ve tried my best to find any reason whatsoever to defend Mesa’s actions, but I just can’t. If he was getting pummeled with rocks, and since he was on a bike, didn’t have something to protect himself, I can see where he might have panicked and fired to get the kids to stop doing it. He had one of the boys in custody after all, so he was probably trying to not let this kid go, and at the same time, avoiding injury from the rocks.

Anyway, the U.S. for reasons I cannot comprehend, opted not to charge Mesa at all. Not even for a lesser crime than murder. This incident occurred in 2010, so before anyone wishes to argue Trump is to blame for the inaction, this was the Obama DOJ.

Mexico charged Mesa with Murder, but the U.S. refused to extradite Mesa. So this man gets to walk free, when he clearly erred in shooting Hernandez.

Anyway, the parents of the boy, who aren’t Americans, are suing for wrongful death, since they can’t seem to get any other justice for their sun, and SCOTUS needs to decide whether they have cause to do so.

The majority opinion split along left/right lines ultimately decided that congressional authorization must be given to sue the agent who shot Hernandez, because of the international issue which potentially has national security issues at stake if this becomes precedent. But ultimately, that the constitution does not protect non-Americans in a situation which occurs outside America, just because the incident was perpetrated by an American.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2019/09/27/sleeper-supreme-court-case-could-make-suing-rogue-federal-agents-almost-impossible/#588a54ff2965

 

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/17-1678