Category Archives: SCOTUS For The Average Joe

Average Joe SCOTUS: Badgerow v. Walters

Denise Badgerow worked as a financial advisor for REJ properties, run in part by the respondent Greg Walters, in Louisiana. As a condition of her employment, she agreed to arbitration for any disputes with the three principals of her employer (including Walters), but not her employer itself.

Eventually, after a couple years, she was fired. She claims it’s because she was a woman, which is kinda odd, since they presumably knew this when they hired her. But she also claims they were engaging in securities fraud, and she blew the whistle on that shit.

Badgerow was persistent as hell, going to the EEOC to complain about their gender discrimination, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority to complain about their business practices, and a federal district court.

All three of them found Badgerow to be out of line, and a bit burdensome, dismissing all her claims entirely and ordering her to arbitration as she agreed to. Her employer asked the federal court to confirm the decisions. While that was going on, Badgerow sued the three principals of the company in state court, saying the decision they got was obtained by fraud.

This has to be the most confusing, and boring case I’ve ever read, bar none. But essentially, SCOTUS is being asked if the federal courts have jurisdiction to rule on an arbitration award, just because a federal question was in play. The question being, in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), it gives federal courts jurisdiction to hear a case if the matter at hand is a federal issue, which this isn’t. However, if they’re merely confirming, vacating, or modifying a previous ruling, no such jurisdictional issue is mentioned.

In an older SCOTUS case, Vaden v. Discover Bank, the court ruled that a federal court may “look through” an arbitration petition, to see if the beef the two parties have, is even their jurisdiction. So that’s what the federal court did. They “looked through” this case, and decided they did have jurisdiction, despite the fact that the issue was not a confirm/vacate/modify (CVM) issue.

See, pretty fucking boring, right?

In an 8:1 decision, where only justice Breyer dissented, SCOTUS determined the federal courts do not have jurisdiction because the jurisdictional rule isn’t in the section of the FAA regarding CVM issues.

Justice Breyer, the retiring curmudgeon, felt that going so literal with the FAA’s wording, is overly complex and confusing, apparently being a big friend of the federal courts.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here

Average Joe SCOTUS: Houston Community College System v. Wilson

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.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Texas

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:

Elena Kagan

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.

Listen to oral arguments or read about the case here. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/21-588

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Zubaydah

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.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Brown v. Davenport

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.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here. https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-826

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.