Native of India, Pankajkumar Patel made his way to the United States in the 90’s, but he did so “without inspection.” That’s a fancy term for he was here illegally. In 2012, that shit caught up with him, and was charged by the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to be removed from the United States, because he had in fact, come to the US illegally.
In the United States, we have an “Adjustment of status” proceeding, which basically is a way for non-citizens, here illegally, to be made legal, without being forced to leave the country and go through the process of obtaining their visa like every other legal immigrant. It is a two-step process where first, they must show eligibility, and then they qualify “in the exercise of discretion.” Which as I read it, basically means, you not only have to prove you’re eligible, but you also have to show there’s a good reason, in the eyes of the United States (in their discretion), you should be allowed to stay. But feel free to click the link and see if you read that differently.
Patel had been working the whole time, and thus, was a productive person here. He claimed this should justify him being allowed to stay. But , Patel made a serious fuck up. He applied for a driver’s license in Georgia, and on the application, he checked the box indicating he was a citizen. He argues it was a mistake, but it is suspicious that maybe he did so, in order to get that shit approved.
This false information led DHS to argue he’s a liar liar, and his pants are on fire, and order her get the fuck out.
So Patel’s case lands in front of an immigration judge, who is more impressed with DHS’s argument than he was Patel’s, and was like, “Sorry bro, you gotta go. We’re not in the business of letting bullshit artists to hand around.”
Patel, not so quick to give up, because it’s pretty fucking great here in the US compared to India, filed for appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). They were however, just as unimpressed as the Immigration Judge, and told him to kick rocks.
Congress passed laws barring federal courts from reviewing these discretionary decisions. So Patel, not being happy about those decisions from the Immigration Judge and the BIA, took his case to the 11th circuit. But the law mentioned above, basically argues the 11th circuit has no business getting involved in this shit. It’s a matter for DHS and Immigration, not the courts, and told him to politely fuck off.
So the question before SCOTUS, is does Patel have the right to ask the federal court to step in and smack down the BIA and Immigration Judge, if they agree with Patel?
In a 5:4 decision, written by Justice Barrett, and joined by Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Kavanaugh, Scotus sided with Merrick Garland, essentially putting the nail in Patel’s coffin. The text of the law was clear in their opinion, that federal courts don’t get to weigh in on such immigration matters.
Justice Gorsuch, with the Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented, basically saying that the law as written gives way too much power to DHS and Immigration, and that’s straight up bullshit.
Read about the case and hear oral argument at the links below.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
United States Constitution, Bill of Rights, 2nd amendment.
While the rest of the country seems intensely focus on whether Roe v. Wade is overturned, a good number of us are pretty interested in how this one goes.
The People’s Republic of New York, the most statist state that ever stated, is under the scrutiny of SCOTUS again, thanks to the New York State Rifle Association (NYSRA), and their crusade against New York’s tyrannical positions on guns.
The latest kerfuffle is over permits to carry. You see, New York knows they can’t ban guns outright, but they have done everything in their power to make sure you can’t actually wield it.
One of these rules is that in order to carry a gun on your person in New York, you must apply for a permit, and show cause for getting one, such as someone has been threatening you, or you’re in some high-risk job.
This seems totally fair, right? Criminals are always courteous enough to give you a heads up that they’re coming for you, so you can apply for such a permit, buy a gun, and be prepared.
Counsel for NYSRA opened by saying, “Carrying a firearm outside the home is a fundamental constitutional right. It is not some extraordinary action that requires an extraordinary demonstration of need.”
We’re of course biased here at Logical Libertarian towards the freedom to own and carry a gun, but few other rights, if any, allow the state to make you prove your desire to exercise that right. This is highly “atypical” as Counsel Paul Clement put it. The bill of rights specifically says, “to keep and bear arms,” but NY’s law effectively makes “bearing” a privilege the state grants you, not a right.
For instance, you don’t have to go to the Mayor and get a permit to tell your local conseltwerp to eat a bag of dicks, and then be required to supply a load of evidence to suggest said counseltwerp has a demonstrable need to eat that bag of dicks.
Justices Barrett, Roberts, Alito, and Kagen all pressed NYSRA’s counsel on the “sensitive places” allowances. This is the idea that the majority of justices agreed in previous decisions, the government has a right to refuse carrying in places like schools, government buildings, etc. So they were testing the idea of whether NY is just basically declaring the entirety of a city or district, can be deemed a “sensitive place.” The crux of the argument being, when is it OK to declare a place a sensitive place, versus when is the place to broad to be declared as much.
One thing to note, in the sensitive place issue, people still have the right to carry in general, and even if they have a permit, they can’t carry in a sensitive place, so it seems a little disingenuous to debate. The law in question forces people to get a permit to carry in general. The sensitive places restricts anyone other than law enforcement from carrying in that particular place. While they’re related, they are not the same.
Counsel for NYSRA stated succinctly:
At the end of the day, I think what it means to give somebody a constitutional right is that they don’t have to satisfy a government official that they have a really good need to exercise it or they face atypical risks.
Counsel Clement went on to point out that while they accept the “sensitive places” limits, and even limits on who can carry, such as criminals and people with mental illness, their side opposes the “atypical” stance NY has adopted. Meaning, that NY is essentially saying a typical person may not carry, only a person who’s atypical, such as someone at elevated risk, is the problem. It can’t be a right, if one has to be unique to exercise it.
One issue that also comes up, is tradition. SCOTUS like to make sure laws are adjudicated consistently, so people who were perfectly OK one day, aren’t criminals the next. Change should come gradually, and not sweeping and fast.
They’ll look at old law, sometimes even English law adopted prior to the Constitution, but which the Constitution got it’s basis from. Sotomayor wanted to cite traditional laws restricting weapons, which states have adopted, many of which American law is inspired by.
The one thing that I’ve looked at in this history is the plethora of regimes that states pick, and that starts in English law, through the colonies, through post-Constitution, to post-Civil War, to the 19th Century, to even now, those 43 states that you’re talking about, most of them didn’t give unrestricted rights to carry in one form or another until recent times. Before recent times, there were so many different regulations.
What it appears to me is that the history tradition of carrying weapons is that states get a lot of deference on this.
And the one deference that you haven’t addressed is the question presented is what’s the law with respect to concealed weapons. In 1315, the British Parliament specifically banned the carrying of concealed arms.
In colonial America, at least four, if not five, states restricted concealed arms. After the Civil War, there were many, many more states, some include it in their constitution, that you can have a right to arms but not concealed. You can go to Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana, which are now more open—more free in granting the right to carry guns, but they prohibited through their history concealed weapons, the carrying of concealed weapons.
It seems to me that if we’re looking at that history and tradition with respect to concealed arms that there is not the same requirement that there is in the home. One of the things Heller pointed to was there were few regulations that prohibited the carrying or the keeping of arms in homes. But that’s not true with respect to the regulations about keeping of arms outside of homes. Putting aside the prohibitions, regulations on sensitive places, regulations on the types of people, it seems to me that I don’t know how I get past all that history
But justice Kavanaugh, speaking with Clement reiterated that rights start with the Constitution’s text, not tradition or other laws. So basically, Sotomayor’s argument was stupid, and she should shut the fuck up with that noise.
As counsel Underwood for the state of NY came to make her shitty arguments, Justice Roberts hit a home run with this question:
Now Heller relied on the right to defense as a basis for its reading of the Second Amendment, or that was its reading. Now I would think that arises in more populated areas.
If you’re out in the woods, presumably, it’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to run into someone who’s going to rob you on the street.
On the other hand, there are places in a densely populated city where it’s more likely that that’s where you’re going to need a gun for self-defense and, you know, however many policemen are assigned, that, you know, there are high-crime areas. And it seems to me that what you’re saying is that’s probably the last place that someone’s going to get a permit to carry a gun. How is that, regardless of what we think of the policy of that, how is that consistent with Heller’s reasoning that the reason the Second Amendment applies a direct personal right is for self-defense?
~Chief Justice Roberts
Counsel Underwood argued:
Well, and the other thing is that these regulations are all an effort to accommodate the right, to recognize and respect the right of self-defense while regulating it to protect the public safety.
And in areas where people are packed densely together, as the questioning that just happened displays, the risks of harm from people who are packed shoulder to shoulder, all having guns, are much more acute.
Justice Roberts, realizing this argument was weak, countered with:
What if it’s one of these crime waves, whether it’s a celebrated spate of murders carried out by a particular person, I don’t know who that is—you know, the Son of Sam or somebody else? Is that a good reason to—a atypical reason? Is that a justification? Some random person is going around shooting people.
I’d like to have a firearm even though I didn’t feel the need for one before?
~Chief Justice Roberts
Justice Alito, not to shy away from this line of questioning, pushed Underwood further by asking:
Could I explore what that means for ordinary law-abiding citizens who feel they need to carry a firearm for self-defense? So I want you to think about people like this, people who work late at night in Manhattan, it might be somebody who cleans offices, it might be a doorman at an apartment, it might be a nurse or an orderly, it might be somebody who washes dishes. None of these people has a criminal record.
They’re all law-abiding citizens.
They get off work around midnight, maybe even after midnight.
They have to commute home by subway, maybe by bus.
When they arrive at the subway station or the bus stop, they have to walk some distance through a high-crime area, and they apply for a license, and they say: Look, nobody has said I am going to mug you next Thursday.
However, there have been a lot of muggings in this area, and I am scared to death. They do not get licenses, is that right?
How is that consistent with the core right to self-defense, which is protected by the Second Amendment?
Counsel Underwood’s arguments in response again were that basically, a lot of people crowded together with guns, is inherently an unsafe situation, and thus why NY should have the right to prevent such a situation. An argument not supported by any evidence, but commonly argued as justification for restricting gun rights.
Justice Alito really went after her in this exchange:
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
There are — there are a lot of armed people on the streets of New York and in the subways late at night right now, aren’t there?
Barbara D. Underwood
I don’t know that there are a lot of armed people.
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Barbara D. Underwood
I think there are people —
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
How many — how many —
Barbara D. Underwood
— there are people with illegal guns if that’s what you’re —
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about.
Barbara D. Underwood
— referring to. Yeah.
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
How many illegal guns were seized by the — by the New York Police Department last year? Do you — do you have any idea?
Barbara D. Underwood
I don’t have that number, but I’m sure there’s a — it’s a substantial number.
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
But the people — all — all these people with illegal guns, they’re on the subway —
Barbara D. Underwood
I don’t — I don’t —
Samuel A. Alito, Jr.
— they’re walking around the streets, but the ordinary hard-working, law-abiding people I mentioned, no, they can’t be armed?
Barbara D. Underwood
Well, I think the subways, when there are problems on the subways, are protected by the — the — the transit police, is what happens, because the idea of proliferating arms on the subway is precisely, I think, what terrifies a great many people. The other point is that proliferating guns in a populated area where there is law enforcement jeopardizes law enforcement because, when they come, they now can’t tell who’s shooting, and the — the — the — the shooting proliferates and accelerates.
And, in the end, that’s why there’s a substantial law enforcement interest in not having widespread carrying of guns in densely —
As you can see, NY’s laws are common among anti-gun legislators, that the people should rely on government to protect them, as she points out the transit police. While it may be a compelling argument to people who don’t like guns, it’s antithetical to the principles this country is founded on.
Justice Kavanaugh, took issue with her underlying premise that the state can and should be able to restrict guns in densely populated areas because that’s inherently dangerous, arguing:
Has that happened in those states? I mean, can you make a comparative judgment? Because it seems like before you impose more restrictions on individual citizens and infringe their constitutional rights based on this theory, you should have to show, well, in those other states that have shall issue regimes, actually, there is a lot more accidents, crime.
And I don’t see any real evidence of that.
He clearly felt her justification was based on dubious, if not an entirely fabricated premise. While she responded with generalities that she seemed to thing we should just accept as true, no data was provided.
The United States (The Biden Administration and their merry band of assholes) had an amici also argue, but again, Justice Roberts wasn’t having any of his bullshit. He fired this salvo:
John G. Roberts, Jr.
I mean, what is the appropriate analysis? I mean, you sort of — we — we, I think, generally don’t reinvent the wheel.
I mean, the first thing I would look to in answering this question is not the Statute of Northampton, it’s Heller, and Heller has gone through all this stuff and, obviously, in a somewhat different context, although that’s part of the debate, self-defense at home.
You know, this is different. But I still think that you have to begin with — with Heller and its recognition that the Second Amendment, you know, it — it has its own limitations, but it is to be interpreted the same way you’d interpret other provisions of the Constitution. And I wonder what your best answer is to the point that Mr. Clement makes in his brief, which is that, for example, if you’re asserting a claim to confront the witnesses against you under the Constitution, you don’t have to say I’ve got a special reason, this is why I think it’s important to my — my defense. The Constitution gives you that right. And if someone’s going to take it away from you, they have to justify it.
You don’t have to say when you’re looking for a permit to speak on a street corner or whatever that, you know, your speech is particularly important. So why do you have to show in this case, convince somebody, that you’re entitled to exercise your Second Amendment right?
Brian H. Fletcher
So let me start with the general question and then get to that specific point for Mr. Clement. As to the general question about Heller, we agree completely that the Court ought to apply the method from Heller, which we, like I think all the parties, take to be look to the text, history, and tradition of the Second Amendment right, and we’re applying that now to a somewhat different issue with the benefit of somewhat broader materials. Now, as to the question about why you have to have a showing of need, I think the problem with Mr. Clement’s formulation is that it assumes the conclusion. If you had a right, the Second Amendment conferred a right to carry around a weapon for possible self-defense just because an individual wants to have one available, then, obviously, you couldn’t take away that right or make it contingent upon a discretionary determination. But the whole question is whether the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms confers that right to have a pistol with you for self-defense even absent a showing of demonstrated need.
John G. Roberts, Jr.
Well, I’m not sure that’s right.
I mean, you would — regardless of what the right is, it would be surprising to have it depend upon a permit system.
You can say that the right is limited in a particular way, just as First Amendment rights are limited, but the idea that you need a license to exercise the right, I think, is unusual in the context of the Bill of Rights.
A district court and the Second Circuit in New York, being sympathetic to New York’s tyrannical scheme dismissed NYSRA’s claims, but luckily for New Yorkers, SCOTUS think those courts are basically idiots.
In a 6:3 split partisan decision, where Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor dissented, arguing that states should have the necessary powers to reduce gun violence, even if it involves violating fundamental rights, Justice Thomas laid down the law. New York State’s law violates the 14th amendment (the one that guarantees equal protection and shit), denying some people their second amendment rights. He rightly points out, as was argued, no other right has this burden, so why is the second amendment special? Justice Alito added that a right is a right, whether you intend to lower murders by gun is fucking irrelevant.
Roberts and Kavanaugh agreed, but pointed out that background checks, mental health checks, and other checks to make sure someone is the type of person we agree shouldn’t carry are fine, but that has a foundation in that it’s a right until you prove you’re not someone who should be allowed to exercise that right, where as what NY did, was say you don’t have the right, until you prove you need it, and this shit just ain’t OK.
Hear oral arguments and/or read about the case here.
Do you remember hearing something about a case a long time ago, I think it was called Roe v. Wade? I hear it’s kinda famous. Well anyway, ever since, people rolling around with a Jesus fish on their car, have been on a crusade to do something about that. Especially the ones rolling around in Texas.
In Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS recognized you have two competing rights. A female’s bodily autonomy, versus the life of a fetus. But a fetus has never really been legally ruled as a life with constitutional rights, although it’s never been ruled out either. So back in the day, SCOTUS came up with a trimester system, where the first trimester, a woman’s bodily autonomy was the prevailing right, the second trimester they were somewhat equal, and the third trimester, the fetus had the prevailing right. Seemed fair to any fair minded person, but still the war rages on.
The latest battle on this front took place in Texas, and their fancy new SB8 abortion law. Knowing they couldn’t directly contradict Roe v. Wade’s precedent, Texas went for the most inventive shit ever. They passed a law that said, if you received an abortion, or were the physician who performed one, you could be sued by anyone in the great state of Texas. So they didn’t make it a criminal action, which was their way of not going against the Roe precedent, but they made it so it could cost people so much money, they wouldn’t do it.
They argued that they concede the first six weeks of pregnancy, but opponents argue six weeks can be nearly impossible to have cause to think one is pregnant, and give them the time needed to make the decision and have the procedure. One would basically need to take a pregnancy test shortly after each time they had sex to do all that within the time frame Texas set forth.
In steps Whole Women’s Health (WWH), a Texas abortion provider who submitted a petition to SCOTUS, that just said, “WTF is this bullshit?”
Originally, they asked SCOTUS to block the law, but they declined to do so. So now that it’s in effect, SCOTUS is hearing the case on their normal merits docket. So the question facing them is, can government pass a law that violates precedent, if the precedent pertained to criminal law, and this new law is merely civil litigation?
This particular case hinges around state officials who were sued by abortion providers for violating their constitutional rights as outlined in Roe v. Wade, and Mark Dickson, who most abortion providers consider to be a Jesus freak and all around asshole. They expect him to be the overzealous douchebag suing people left and right over this.
The government officials were like, “We have sovereign immunity, or whatever the fuck you call it. You can’t be suing us like this.”
Also interesting to note, when they asked SCOTUS to put the law on hold, SCOTUS declined to do so, because they were like, “you’re asking us to prevent the government from enforcing the law, but the way this fucktwats wrote it, they don’t enforce it, the people do, by suing providers. So we can’t force them to stop doing something the law doesn’t have them doing in the first place.” This of course supports Texas’ creativity in passing this in the first place.
Counsel for WWH came out swinging, and declared shenanigans. Counsel flat out accused them of blatantly violating Roe v. Wade precedent, then trying to be clever and using the whole civil litigation scheme to get around it.
When questioned by Justice Roberts about this scenario where people are being sued trying to exercise a constitutional right, counsel for Texas argued that there was precedent for this. People are sued for lawful possession of a firearm all the time, and they’re just trying to exercise they’re 2nd amendment right. So what’s the big fucking deal suing people for trying to exercise their constitutional right to bodily autonomy as identified in Roe v. Wade.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with Whole Women’s Health. They they can in fact proceed to a pre-enforcement challenge of this ridiculous law. Furthermore, Justice Roberts, along with Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor were like, “What the fuck is even the purpose of our judicial review if punks like these assholes in Texas can just skirt our rulings with creative bullshit like this. We need to nip this shit in the bud right meow.”
As was mentioned in Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson, Texas’ SB8 Heartbeat Abortion Bill is being questioned in this case, also. Who doesn’t love a good abortion debate, right? Clearly SCOTUS, does, because they took on two of them.
This one is merely to decide whether the federal government can sue the state of Texas in federal court to stop them from enforcing a law that they deem is unconstitutional.
While the law was passed while Donald “The Chosen One” Trump was president, giving Texas a friend in the Whitehouse, Joe “Brandon Brown” Biden is president now, and he’s all about what women want, as long as he can smell their hair later. So he was like, “Look how fucking woke I am, all you hot bitches, I’ll sue Texas for you.”
Originally, they asked US District Judge Robert Pitman to put the law on hold, and he was like, “Sure dude, I’ll pump the brakes on that shit for you.” He was like, “Texas, this is the shadiest fucking scheme I’ve ever seen to prevent judicial review. I admit it’s creative, but seriously, fuck you.”
Texas was like, “Fuck that guy,” so they went to the 8th circuit, and complained Pitman hurt their feelings. The 8th circuit was like, “Awww, sorry Texas, you need your woobie? Here, have a sucker. Also, we’ll tell Pitman to get fucked for you.” With that, the law was back on track.
While all this shit was happening, Biden and team went to SCOTUS and were like, “Seriously, this is getting ridiculous, can you please step in?”
SCOTUS was like, “We’re not halting the halt of the halt. Fuck you. But fine, we’ll fast track these fucking cases at least, and resolve this petulant bullshit once and for all.
Counsel for Biden’s team launched a scathing opening salvo, arguing:
Elizabeth B. Prelogar
Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: Texas designed S.B. 8 to thwart the supremacy of federal law in open defiance of our constitutional structure.
States are free to ask this Court to reconsider its constitutional precedents, but they are not free to place themselves above this Court, nullify the Court’s decisions in their borders, and block the judicial review necessary to vindicate federal rights. As this case comes to the Court, there are three principal questions: First, is Texas responsible for this law? Second, can the United States sue to hold Texas to account? And, third, is the injunctive relief available? And the answer is yes down the line. Texas is responsible for the constitutional violation here.
It enacted a law that clearly violates this Court’s precedents.
It designed that law to thwart judicial review by offering bounties to the general public to carry out the state’s enforcement function, and it structured those enforcement proceedings to be so burdensome and to threaten such significant liability that they chill the exercise of the constitutional right altogether. The United States has a manifest sovereign interest in suing to redress this violation.
S.B. 8 is a brazen attack on the coordinate branches of the federal government. It’s an attack on the authority of this Court to say what the law is and to have that judgment respected across the 50 states.
And it’s an attack on Congress’s determination that there should be access to pre-enforcement review in federal court to vindicate federal rights.
The United States may sue to protect the supremacy of federal law against this attack. Finally, the injunction is a proper response to Texas’s unprecedented law.
If Texas can nullify Roe and Casey in this manner, then other states could do the same with other constitutional rights or other decisions of this Court that they disfavor. Federal courts are not powerless to craft relief to stop that intolerable threat to our constitutional hierarchy.
When counsel for Texas came to the table with his creative arguments, the justices were quick to point out, what would happen if a communist state like New York or California decided that guns weren’t an individual right, and passed similar laws to hold gun owners civilly liable for exercising their 2nd amendment right?
Justice Kagan even went on to ask:
I mean, if that’s right, you know, and we say that, we would live in a very different world from the world we live in today.
Essentially, we would be inviting states, all 50 of them, with respect to their un-preferred constitutional rights, to try to nullify the law of — that this Court has laid down as to the content of those rights. I mean, that was something that until this law came along no state dreamed of doing. And, essentially, we would be like, you know, we’re open for business — you’re open for business.
There’s — there’s — there’s — there’s nothing the Supreme Court can do about it.
Guns, same sex marriage, religious rights, whatever you don’t like, go ahead.
The response from Texas’ counsel was full-blown legalese. I read it three times, heard it audibly, still don’t have a fucking clue what he’s trying to argue. I don’t think Justice Kagan was impressed either.
After listening to both sides, SCOTUS was like, “We can’t even…” and just dismissed the case entirely, saying, “We never should’ve bothered with shit in the first place, and we can’t be bothered to write an opinion. You’re all assholes. As such, the application to vacate the stay that was applied was denied.
David Wilson was elected to the board of trustees of the Houston Community College District (HCC) in 2013. After a few years, Wilson found that the other eight members of the board were assholes of the highest order. Specifically, he argued they were taking bribes and shit like that.
Wilson decided to shout that shit from the mountaintops, but that landed his ass in some hot water. You see, a board is composed of nine members who vote. If one member, calls the other eight corrupt mother fuckers, and they take it to a vote, eight people are going to tell Wilson to shut the fuck up. And so they did.
Their feelings were so hurt by Wilson’s accusations, they publicly censured him, and took away his travel privileges.. They even called him “reprehensible.” The nerve of those vindictive little scumbags.
As is usual, this is a court dispute. Wilson was so pissed off by this censure bullshit, he sued in a state court, that his 1st amendment rights had been violated. But the court sided with HCC. Their argument was that a censure is just them calling him a whiny little bitch, but all publicly and shit. It doesn’t violate his first amendment rights. He can still do his job, and say whatever the fuck he wants. They weren’t hurting him at all, and thus he has no reason to be suing them. Seems they were awfully quiet about the $20,000 fine they laid on him, which I think we all agree, could be called “damages.”
But then the 5th circuit was like, “Whoa, hold on a minute you little state court punks. This dude does have cause to sue. So fuck your little piece of shit ruling—you’re a bunch of idiots. Who the fuck even gave you a gavel? They punished the man in a public manner and official capacity, for calling those corrupt fucks out. That qualifies as “cause” in our opinion.”
HCC was like, “Hey, wait a fucking minute. By trying to block the censure, you’re denying us our first amendment rights to call this asshole an asshole.”
So now, we have two people who have diametrically opposed first amendment rights, trying to get SCOTUS to determine who gets to say what and when.
In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with the HCC. Not that they were promoting their corrupt bullshit, but just the censure itself isn’t a violation of Wilson’s free speech. While Wilson can’t be thrown in jail for saying what he said, the courts can censure him if they wanted to.
So, remember 9/11? Al Qaeda and those merry band of assholes who flew planes into places planes aren’t supposed to be flown, and killed a lot of innocent people? Well, if so, you probably also remember they were lead by the king of all assholes, Osama Bin Laden.
Well, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn who goes by the name Abu Zubaydah was a former friend of that scumbag. And his dumb ass got caught by American troops in Pakistan. They sent him on an all-expenses paid trip to Gitmo.
While he was enjoying the hospitality of the United States military, he claims to have been the victim of enhanced interrogations at a CIA site in Poland, known as a “black site.” If you’re unfamiliar, “enhanced interrogations” is supposedly code for torture. But torture these days is more about causing distress, than physical harm, and I think being reasonable and fair, should not be considered the same as things like electrocuting someone’s balls while they sit in a bath of water or something.
Anyway, he complained and said that they were mean to him, and he felt that was cause for releasing him. He asked they compel the CIA operative in Poland at the time to come testify on what happened. But the CIA was like, “You know, there’s this thing called state secrets privileges, where we can keep our fucking mouths shut if we can clearly show the country could be harmed if we opened them.”
In opening remarks, US counsel pointed out that what happens at these sites, could cause irreparable harm to our allies, since they occurred in their countries. Further bolstering his argument about why state secrets privilege plays a roll here.
In a 7:2 decision, SCOTUS sided with the United States, Gorsuch and Sotomayor, the dissenters. This allows the United States to keep it’s secrets from Zubaydah, and everyone else, regarding a black site in Poland, because it could harm both the US and Poland if the CIA and it’s peeps were to publicly testify about it.
Gorsuch and Sotomayor were just like, “This shit happened two decades ago, the shit’s been declassified, and there’s all kinds of books and movies about it already. What fucking secret are we protecting here exactly?
I’m guessing that the majority were like, “Yeah, but if we set precedent here, we open up a whole can of worms for the future. So STFU Neil and Sonia.
Back in 2008, all round scumbag, Ervine Lee Davenport was convicted of murder. During his trial, he was restrained with shackles and shit, presumably because someone thought he was dangerous enough to require as much.
Here’s the rub. In Deck v. Missouri, SCOTUS ruled that shackling a criminal during a trial, biases the jury against the shackled person, and thus violates their right to a fair trial. So the state is required to show some reason why the dude must be shackled up, which didn’t happen in Davenport’s case.
When Davenport challenged his conviction, a Michigan appellate court argued that his shackling was harmless in biasing the jury, as he admitted he killed the person. His argument was self-defense, but prosecutors were also trying to prove premeditation, not whether he was the killer.
While Davenport’s section was curtained off in court to hide the shackles and such, the jurors admitted seeing that he was shackled, and discussing it. But they all suggested it did not affect their decision to convict.
Other precedents are involved here, though. In 1993, in Brecht v. Abrahamson, the court adopted a harmless error review, the court ruled that in order for someone to win on appeal in such a situation, they have to show that the thing in question did harm them. So like, did these jurors seeing the shackles, form an opinion they wouldn’t have, had they not seen that shit.
Years after Brecht, congress passed the AEDPA, which basically limits the “Get out of jail free” card for someone, on a technicality such as this. Even if there is some constitutional violation, like shackling a defendant for no good reason, unless they can show that it definitely poisoned the jury, that conviction stays in place.
As the case made its way to the 6th circuit court of appeals, they were like, “Woah, Michigan. Clearly, these shackles would have poisoned the jury against Davenport. That’s why there’s a case specifically about this shit. We aren’t just going to take your word that it didn’t poison the jury. Those dumb fucks were poisoned to the point of being brainwashed, and would probably say they weren’t, just so this mother fucker would rot in jail. Overturned, bitches!”
In a split 6:3 decision along political lines, the conservative justices sided with Brown though, overturning the 6th circuit’s decision. They argued that while the 6th circuit’s decision jived with the Brecht ruling, it failed the AEDPA’s standards miserably, and unless it passes both tests, no habeas relied is to be granted. As such, the 6th circuit are a bunch of dumb fucks.
The difference being that Brecht test is basically that the action must show, “substantial and injurious effect or influence on the verdict.” But the AEDPA is basically saying, “you only get relief if the decisions was either totally the opposite of what established law says, or based on some bullshit determination of the facts presented.”
In the liberal justices dissent, they argued that if it fails the Brecht test, it has to fail the AEDPA test, presumably because it it “contrary to established law” as outlined in the Brecht precedent. That’s a bit of a stretch, since precedent isn’t law.
But anyway, Davenport may continue to rot in prison, enjoying his prison food, and reading his prison books.
log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action