Category Archives: SCOTUS For The Average Joe

Average Joe SCOTUS: Florida v. Georgia

Firs things first, this looks like the title of a college football game. But it’s not. Instead, this is about good ole water.

The Chattahoochee river flows from Georgia, and eventually merges with the Flint River to form the Apalachicola river which meanders its way to Florida.

The Army Corps of Engineers manages some dams that control these waters, based on direction from a master manual which was drafted in 1958. Yeah, you read that right, that shit’s been in force and largely unchanged for over 60 years.

So Florida is like, “Hey, those assholes in Georgia are taking way too much of that water. Shit’s changed in 60 years, and we need more of it.”

So that’s really all that’s being argued here. Florida wants more fresh water, and Georgia wants them to go pound sand up their ass. Both states have increased water demands, but the rivers aren’t flowing any more water. So SCOTUS is basically being asked to decide on whether this manual should change, or they should just keep dividing it up based on guidance from about the same time Leave it to Beaver hit the airwaves.

Florida tried to argue that Georgia’s substantial consumption caused severe harm to their downstream mates in Florida, and that if they let more water flow, it wouldn’t harm Georgia in any way.

Justice Breyer pushed back on some of the harm claims, specifically about oyster bed collapse. He asked about overharvesting of oysters in Florida, which has nothing to do with water shortages.

But Florida’s counsel argued that the science doesn’t support that the harm to Florida’s oyster bed is from overharvesting, but instead, because of water shortages.

Florida wrapped by arguing that they’re not asking for a greater percentage from Georgia, but instead, they’re asking Georgia to just stop being such wasteful twatwaffles. His closing arguments were:

Gregory G. Garre

Thank you, Your Honor. I guess I would say in closing it’s hard to imagine New England without lobsters or, say, the Chesapeake without crabs, but, in effect, that’s a future that Apalachicola now faces when it comes to its oysters and other species.

And yet, just to be clear, no one is asking or saying to Georgia farmers, sorry, you can’t grow your crops anymore because there’s no water left for you.

Under the decree Florida is requesting, all farmers could continue to grow their crops.

A decree would simply require them to prevent outright waste and adopt more efficient measures to save water while still irrigating.

That’s hardly asking too much. As this Court stressed in its prior decision, Florida has an equal right to the reasonable use of the waters at issue.

Georgia has never disputed that Florida’s use of the water to replenish an irreplaceable ecological treasure is reasonable.

And yet, if the Court accepts the Special Master’s recommendation, that right will be extinguished, and the Apalachicola, not to mention the communities that have fished and depended on it for centuries, will be lost. Thank you.

Clarence Thomas hit right between the eyes with his opening question for Georgia, though. He asked:

Clarence Thomas

Mr. Primis, do you agree that there has been a reduction in the flow of water into the Apalachicola over the years?

Craig S. Primis

Comparing the pre-reservoir, pre-Army Corps operations, and post-Army Corps operations, the answer to that question is yes, Justice Thomas.

Clearly trying to ascertain if Georgia is just taking more for itself, and leaving less for Florida. Or if there’s another reason why Florida is having water issues that have nothing to do with Georgia activities.

Georgia argued back:

Craig S. Primis

Certainly.

The water is not disappearing.

The first point I would make is that Florida is making a completely inapt comparison by comparing the ACF basin prior to the building of the dams and reservoirs and the Army Corps operations post. The Army Corps has the overriding influence in the amount and timing of flow from Georgia into Florida, and the reason that there were more days closer to 5,000 is because the Army Corps is controlling those flows in a way that did not exist previously.

So it’s not disappearing.

The water — it would be in reservoirs. But it’s compounded by the fact that there have been three back-to-back droughts that did not exist in the historic record, and the rain — lack of rainfall accounts for the reduced flows as well as the change in seasonality.

So the water’s not disappearing. There’s just less of it.

And the Army Corps is intervening.

He went on to argue that areas which had been overharvested, were the only ones that were fucked up. The other areas were fine. So Florida’s argument it isn’t from overharvesting was bullshit.

In a unanimous decision for Georgia, they felt Florida had failed to make any demonstrable claim that Georgia was was taking more than their fair share. Florida, needs to figure out how to deal with it’s oyster problem some other way. They don’t get to force Georgia to do shit.

Read about the cases here at Oyez and/or SCOTUSBlog

Average JOE SCOTUS: AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission

Scott Tucker, a loan-sharkish scum bag piece of shit, by any reasonable account, was in the business of making misleading high-interest loans. In the loans, the paperwork cross referenced several other documents and such, making it nearly impossible for consumers to really know WTF they were agreeing to.

Imagine you came to this motherfucker for a $300 loan. He’d charge you $90 in interest. So then, you come back to pay the fucking $390, you think you’re done, right? Wrong. In the paperwork you signed, you’re on the hook for another loan unless you opt out, so you are lended $300 again whether you fucking want it or not, and have to pay another $390 back. Shady AF, right?

Eventually, the FTC caught wind of this, and dropped a $1.27 billion hammer on him, citing §5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (FTCA), which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce.” They made him get the fuck out of that business, and give back his profits from the scheme, which is a little bit of a stretch, since he probably deserves some of the profits he’d have earned if he wasn’t such a snake in the grass.

The FTC intended to take the money, and do their best to make customers as whole as possible, that took it in the ass because of Tucker.

But, Tucker’s lawyers, attempting to be creative, tried to argue the law gives the FTC power to make him stop doing this shady shit (an injunction), but that making him pay $1.27 billion isn’t an injunction, and therefore is outside the scope of the law as specified in section 13, which allows for the FTC to issue a “temporary restraining order,” a “preliminary injunction,” and a “permanent injunction.”

Section 5 however provides for “other and further equitable relief” and Section 19 allows for “the refund of money or return of property.”

But Tucker’s (and his partners AMG Capital) lawyers argue that section 13 does not allow for them to demand monetary relief, without going through an administrative process first, so SCOTUS is being asked to affirm this, despite the fact that the FTC has done this since inception, and courts have always upheld it. Basically, the FTC is not “passing Go,” but still collecting $200.

It seemed like Tucker would need a miracle to win this one, and praise Jesus, a miracle has landed. In a unanimous decision, no less. SCOTUS agreed that the  FTCA does not provide the FTC in 13B with the authority to seek monetary damages. They divide relief into prospective (preventing future harm) and retrospective (remedying past harm) relief. Justice Breyer who wrote the opinion, argued that 13B is entirely prospective in nature.

The court’s opinion was that the FTC has other methods of seeking monetary relief, or it could ask congress to rewrite the bill. But as the law is written, what the FTC is doing currently, is fucking wrong, and they need to stop it. As you might guess, the statists in congress are already looking to rewrite the law, and accusing SCOTUS of siding with scam artists…all nine of them…including the left wing justices. Instead of admitting they just wrote a shitty law, which they’re incapable of doing.

Read about the case and hear oral arguments here from Oyez.com.

Additional information is here at SCOTUS Blog

Also here at National Law Review

Average Joe SCOTUS: City of Chicago v. Fulton

Robbin Fulton got his ass busted for driving without a license. As a result, the tyrants at the city of Chicago, decided they’d take his car until he paid his fucking fine.

Fulton wasn’t just an idiot for driving without a license, he’s also broke AF, and had to file for bankruptcy. In that bankruptcy, he named the city as an unsecured creditor. Unsecured just means he owed them money, but didn’t put anything up for collateral with them, which makes sense since it was a fine, and not a loan. If you finance a car or home for instance, that’s secured since the bank can come and take the car or home.

So then, the Chicago Gustapo decided, “Fuck it, we’ll call ourselves a secured creditor, and keep this prick’s car.”

The bankruptcy court told Chicago, “That’s cute, now give this douchebag his car back, and stop being assholes.”

But the city of Chicago are persistent tyrants. They really wanted to keep Fulton’s hooptie. So the went to a federal district court, who were like, “Stop wasting our time with this shit. You were told to give the car back, now give it back.”

So then Chicago, still not convinced that they’re the assholes here, went to the Seventh Circuit, who were like, “Really Chicago? What the fuck is wrong with you? Give Fulton his piece of shit car back, already, and stop wasting everyone’s fucking time. It’s not even a nice fucking car. Why do you want it so much?”

But tyrants will tyrant, and now Chicago is here asking them if they can keep the car.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided Chicago was surprisingly AOK, here. Chicago retaining the property of Fulton and others isn’t akin to Chicago repoing it, and selling it to someone else, like a bank might do. So long as they don’t take ownership of the car, they can hold it until the owner exercises provisions in 11 U.S.C. § 542(a), which then allows them to get their cars back. Basically requiring them to sue to get their cars returned, as opposed to a rule that requires the city to automatically return them once a bankruptcy is filed, without any action needed by the vehicle owners.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v New York

Back in July, Trump had the grand idea that the census which is used to determine congressional districts and such, should exclude illegal immigrants in their count used for this. Which seems pretty fair on the face of it, since illegal immigrants are criminals by definition, and not American by definition, thus shouldn’t be represented in Congress.

The census doesn’t even ask this fucking question though, but somehow he wanted them to take their full number of people, and figure out some way to get a tally of illegal immigrants, and remove those fuckers from that total. As usual, Trump is big on ideas, but short on ways to actually do it, and this is no different. So Trump just instructed the Secretary of Commerce to figure it out.

As you can imagine, a bunch of bleeding hearts who know that illegals tend to vote for them more, filed suit to block this order, saying it was unconstitutional, which is a colorful argument at best. Basically, they were saying that the Constitution defines how the census is used to determine the number of house reps, and trying to change that proportion based on a number coming from something other than the census, was contrary to the constitution’s scheme.

A federal district court agreed, so here we are at SCOTUS after Trump challenged it. So now SCOTUS is being asked to determine if the states can even challenge this, since it’s a federal rule. And if so, is Trump’s directive unconstitutional.

In a partisan split, SCOTUS sided with Trump, and essentially said that the lower courts no jurisdiction to give an opinion on this case, and that it was essentially too early for them to sue anyway, since a plan on how to do what Trump wanted to do, hadn’t even been finalized yet. They stated it was, “riddled with contingencies and speculation that impede judicial review.” Basically arguing, you can’t challenge it before he’s even decided how it would work. Besides, Trump’s directive to exclude illegal immigrants may require the use of estimates, which the Constitution doesn’t allow, meaning they could win on that, if Trump doesn’t figure out a plan for solid numbers.

Their ruling leaves an opening for it to be challenged later once Trump’s plan to do this is finalized, which of course is now likely moot since Trump’s dumb ass lost the election.

So while this seems like a win for Trump, it effectively changes very little, and it’s clear that Trump, had he won, could still ultimately lose the ability to do what he hoped to do.

The left-leaning justices dissented because they basically wanted to put an end to Trump’s agenda on this before he went any further.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Facebook v. Duguid

We all hate robocalls, right? Well, this is about a robotext. You see, Facebook has been sending messages to Noah Duguid that someone was trying to access his account. But Noah doesn’t even have a fucking Facebook account. This poor bastard got texts for like ten months.

So finally, Noah was like, “I’m suing these motherfuckers to make them leave me alone.”

He sued using the Telephone and Consumer Protection Act of 1991, which forbids robocalls, even though he was getting texts, not calls.

Well, in the statute, it defines a robocaller as a device with the capacity “to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator.” But the Ninth circuit opted to ignore that last sentence, arguing it doesn’t care if they use a random number generator, if it stores and calls numbers automatically, it’s a violation.

So here we are at SCOTUS to decide whether it has to use a random number generator to be in violation of the law.

In a unanimous decision, written by Justice Sotomayor, Facebook gets the nod. Section 227(a)(1) defines an autodialer as “equipment which has the capacity to store or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator; and to dial such numbers.” They argued that English works like this. Because the “using a random or sequential number generator” part of that text clearly modifies both “store” and “produce’ in the first part of the sentence, otherwise they’d have written it differently. Since Facebook’s software neither stores, nor produces numbers using a number generator, they’re in the clear.

On a side note, hold on to your hats, because this largely means that you’ll be getting a lot more calls of this nature, since it now limits the scope under the law, to only calls that were done randomly, and not specifically aimed at you.

Read about the case, and hear oral arguments at Oyez.com, or read about it at SCOTUSBlog or National Law Review.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Briggs

Back in 2005, scumbag Michael Briggs, while in the Air Force, “after an evening of heavy drinking” went to the room of one of the junior members of his squadron, and forced her to have sex with him, despite her repeated efforts to say “no” and get away from him.

Eight years later, the victim was able to provide evidence and get this asshole convicted. However, in normal law, there’s a five year statute of limitations on rape where the person isn’t murdered, but Briggs wasn’t made aware of such, and the judge at the military trial didn’t advise him as such since the military doesn’t have that limitation.

So on appeal, he brought this shit up in order to try to overturn his conviction, instead of being decent, accepting he did the fucking crime, and therefore he should do the fucking time.

The issue here is that in the military, there’s no statute of limitations for rape. They describe it as an offense punishable by death, as they consider it a more problematic crime for them over when it’s done in civilian life, because it puts missions and teams at risk. But on appeal, the court said that if Briggs had been told about the statute of limitations, he would have asserted it, and therefore would’ve had his case dismissed, completely ignoring the fact that the military doesn’t have a statue of limitations on rape.

There are two other similar cases of scumbags raping people in the military, and the state of limitations issue being at question.

Two precedents being considered here are the Supreme Court’s 1977 decision in Coker v. Georgia and its 2008 decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana. Essentially these removed the capital punishment possibility from any crimes that didn’t result in death, which includes rape.

So here we are at SCOTUS determining who’s the bigger idiot. Briggs (and others), or the U.S. Court of Appeals. Does the military rules that don’t apply a statute of limitations apply, or does the 8th amendment as argued in those cases take precedent, and these scumbags get to go free?

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided against Briggs and ruled that there is no statute of limitations on rape, and they he and other assholes like him, will have their convictions reinstated.

Average Joe SCOTUS: FNU Tanzin v. Tanvir

A trio of Muslims, Muhammad Tanvir, Jameel Algibhah and Naveed Shinwari, are here in the U.S. legally, but not natural born citizens, so they’re either citizens or green card holders.

The FBI in their campaign on the war on terror, sought to have Tanvir and company inform for them against other Muslims who may be involved in terrorist activities. Tanvir and company told the FBI to go fuck themselves, and as a result, were put on a No-Fly List by the FBI.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) basically prevents government from harassing people based on their religion, unless the government can show that there’s a compelling government interest in doing so, such as preventing a terrorist attack. RFRA also allows people to sue federal agents if they violate those religious freedoms wrongly.

So Tanvir and his merry band of Muslims are suing the federal government officials who put them on the list for doing so, after they refused to rat out their fellow Muslims. But the government is arguing that the RFRA doesn’t allow these guys to sue individual agents, it only says they can seek appropriate relief.

So now SCOTUS must decide if the RFRA allows individual federal agents to be sued under the law.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided that the FBI assholes were completely out of line, and can be sued for damages by the three Muslim men, paving the way for future suits against other lawless pricks operating in law enforcement.