Category Archives: SCOTUS For The Average Joe

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.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Carney v. Adams

James Adams is a Delaware resident, and a member of the state’s bar association. He applied for a judicial job, but the job required he be Republican, and Adams is apolitical. This rule is part of Delaware’s effort to make the courts balanced.

Adams, being a lawyer, decided to do what lawyers do best. Sue some people. He argued the provision in the Delaware Constitution that allows such a requirement of political affiliation is some bullshit.

There is precedent in rulings on Elrod v. Burns and Branti v. Finkel which allows policy makers to have partisan rules for hiring other policy makers. But Adams is arguing that judges aren’t policy makers, since they don’t write laws or regulations, they merely interpret them.

A district court sided with Adam’s argument, and the U.S. Court of Appeals agreed, although they argued that Adams lacked standing for some reason.

So now, Carney thinks this is some bullshit, and has challenged the decision for Adams here at SCOTUS.

So now SCOTUS is being asked to determine if this rule violates the first amendment. Many of the justices brought up the point that other parties such as the Libertarian or Green party aren’t represented, yet they might bring even greater balance. But Carney is essentially arguing that his interest is in balance, and not necessarily making sure all parties are represented.

Carney also argued that there were other judicial positions open, that he were qualified for, and that Adams is merely trying to make a name for himself by going after this one he’s not.

Justice Gorsuch questioned:

Neil Gorsuch

The major party provision prohibits Independents from service, serving as judges.

That’s quite a sweeping rule.

As I understand you, you’ve indicated that you’d agree that that violates the Equal Protection Clause as applied to elected positions. But you indicate that it’s somehow very different with respect to appointed positions. And I guess I’m not clear why, given the absence of any historically-rooted tradition along these lines with respect to the major party requirement. I understand your argument that it serves as a backstop for the bare majority rule, which does have historical antecedents, plenty of them, but, near as I can tell, none of those has ever included this backstop before.

This is a novel thing.

And it does prohibit a great percentage of the population from participating in the process.

Justice Kavanaugh went on to ask:

Brett M. Kavanaugh

Why can’t Independents even better serve the goal of a balanced judiciary nonpartisan/bipartisan judiciary?

In a 8:0 decision, SCOTUS decided they didn’t give a fuck about Adams claim, saying it’s none of their fucking business. They said that Adams couldn’t even sue because he wasn’t even ready to become a judge if he won. It’s like he was suing in case he decided to try.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v. Mazars

So we all know, the DNC controlled House of Representatives not only hates Trump and are working hard day and night to remove him from office legislatively, if not at the ballot box. As a libertarian who dislikes Trump immensely, even I am put off by the amount of effort going into this by Democrats who are playing politics at the level of full-blown hatred, instead of just accepting that this is our current situation with Trump, and they should only make efforts to win in 2020.

Well, here’s another instance of them abusing their authority. Despite having no credible evidence of a crime, Congress has demanded Trump’s personal financial records, in hopes to uncover some wrongdoing. They’ve presented it as they need this info to consider how to draft new law.

Meaning they’re acting as though they aren’t looking to convict him of anything, they just want to be able to write good law, and his financial records will somehow help them. Is there anyone who believes this bullshit one iota? I hope not. Congress wouldn’t even elaborate on what law they’re looking to write.

So despite congress’ assertion, let’s assume they’re lying political hacks, because they have a good record of being exactly this. Let’s also assume that they’re using this in hopes to find an impeachable offense in the records, because they also have a record of this.

Here’s a couple of issues with this.

First: If the professionals at the IRS who most assuredly audited him didn’t find anything worthy of indicting him on, it is unlikely congress will either.

Second: Any write-offs he took advantage of, that the assholes in congress passed in the first place, will be used to argue Trump is just a greedy rich asshole, instead of that they passed a shitty law, favoring some of their favorite assholes, which Trump was able to exploit too.

Third: And this is most important, in a free country, my personal financial records should be none of anyone’s fucking business ever. EVER!!! The fact we have an income tax which penalizes people for success, instead of a consumption tax which merely takes a fair cut of commerce, is disgusting.

Fourth: We don’t subpoena records to see if there is a crime in them potentially, which is what congress is doing. We have evidence of a crime occurring, and then subpoena records that would confirm or exonerate someone of that crime, based on the evidence suggesting that the crime which occurred has evidence in those records.

Anyway, enough of my own personal opinions, let’s talk about this case.

Trump sued his accounting firm to prevent them from complying with his subpoena. That’s why it’s argued as him against them as opposed to Trump against the government.

Trump is claiming that this is an undue burden on him. But the respondent is arguing that Trump literally doesn’t have to do anything. The subpoena is for his accountant, and doesn’t require any work at all.

However, in this testy exchange, Justice Alito clearly saw through this shenanigan of an argument.

Stephen G. Breyer

Yes, you emphasized it goes to a private person and it’s for tax returns.

But the subpoenas that I’ve seen go far beyond that.

They apply to 15 Trump-affiliated entities.

They ask for all documents related to opening of accounts, due diligence, closing, requests for information by other parties, et cetera. Now that’s a lot of information, and some of it’s pretty vague.

And if somebody subpoenaed you for that information or subpoenaed your tax accountant or subpoenaed somebody in your business, wouldn’t you at least want to know what was being turned over? Wouldn’t you want to ask them? And might that not take time? And might that not take effort? So my problem is there may be burdens here, third-party or not, and not just political burdens.

The job of the House and Senate, in part, as the President, is politics.

That doesn’t bother me. But the Clinton v. Jones information does bother me.

And the fact that what I hold today will also apply to a future Senator McCarthy asking a future Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman exactly the same questions, that bothers me. So what do I do?

Douglas N. Letter

Justice Breyer, I fully understand that concern.

None of the subpoena recipients have complained about burden.

The reason these subpoenas go back a ways is because, as you know —

Stephen G. Breyer

I’m sorry to interrupt you.

I’m not talking about their burden.

I’m talking about the President’s burden in having to monitor, decide if there are privileges, figure out what his answers are to all those documents you are requesting which go, in my opinion, way, way, way beyond just tax returns.

SCOTUS is now charged with determining if Trump must comply with these unreasonable and clearly dishonest requests from congress.

SCOTUS opined that they understand this shit had deep political implications, and potentially opens the door for congresses of the future to go after any sitting president they dislike.

The president argued that congress should demonstrate a specific need, and SCOTUS said, “Nah, dawg.”

But the House argued that that they only needed to have a valid legislative purpose, and SCOTUS said, “Nah, dawg” to that, too, fearing it opens the door for a malicious congress to harass a president.

SCOTUS instead, decided to write their own rules for this.

  1. The courts have to prove only the president’s records will help, and not some other asshole’s
  2. Courts can’t make this shit any broader than is needed for what they’re doing
  3. Courts should review it, to make sure it’s legit, kinda like a warrant
  4. The courts should determine if the president is being harassed, or the subpoena is legit.

Thomas said Congress should simply not have the right to ask for private and unofficial documents from anyone, in his dissent. Alito felt like the House hadn’t met the burden of the test laid out by SCOTUS above. The rest sided with Mazars.

 

Average Joe SCOTUS: Mathena v. Malvo

So if you’re old enough, you’ll remember the D.C. sniper shootings back in 2002. It was all over the fucking news. Well, it was two assholes, Lee Boyd Malvo (then 17 years old) and John Allen Muhammad. Muhammed was an adult, tried, convicted, and sentences to death, that all around piece of shit was executed in 2009.

When SCOTUS, in 2012, decided Miller v. Alabama, they decided that it was cruel and unusual punishment to give a minor mandatory life in prison without parole. In a later ruling in  Montgomery v. Louisiana they decided that Miller must be retroactive as a matter of constitutional law. So Malvo, didn’t get a mandatory sentence, but he did get life without parole. So Malvo’s cheeky counsel is creatively trying to say that the ruling was about life, not about it being mandatory, and asked for relief.

Petitioner Mathena, chief warden of Virginia’s high-security Red Onion State Prison on the other hand, thinks this whole thing is some bullshit. Malvo is a first class scumbag, and at 17, certainly knew WTF he was doing, and deserves the sentence he got. It wasn’t mandatory, it was the sentence the jury came to. So Miller and Montgomery don’t fucking apply here.

The case was dismissed, being withdrawn by Malvo, due to a passage of new legislation which passed in Virginia on February of 2020 saying that if someone is given a life sentence under the age of 18, they are eligible for parole after 20 years.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania

We all remember the Affordable Care Act, right? The gift that keeps on giving? Anyway, part of that monstrosity, is a provision for women’s health which states that women should get preventative health care, such as contraceptives, because somehow the rest of us should pay for others to enjoy pleasure. This is after all to prevent pregnancies, and the two people have sex, are only doing so for pleasure, if they are not trying to get pregnant.

Anyway, initially the rule stipulated non-profit religious organizations had to file an exemption form, if they believed in some overarching theism that said every sperm is sacred. If they did, they could be exempted.

But then, Hobby Lobby came along in 2014, and were like, we may not be a fucking church, but we still believe every sperm is sacred up in this bitch. We think we deserve such an exemption, too—SCOTUS agreed.

Then also in 2014, in Wheaton v. Burwell, SCOTUS ruled that you don’t have to file for an exemption, because that’s an undue burden. You just have to notify Health and Human Services (HHS) you’re exercising your right to object.

But it gets better. In 2017 in Zubik v. Burwell, these fuckers decided that just having to notify HHS they intended to abstain was too much effort, and were like, “First amendment, assholes. We don’t have to tell you shit.” But the court was unimpressed, and told them to fuck off.

In 2017, Trump and his merry band of misfits amended the rules, allowing for a “moral” exemption, making it yet again easier to get out of this shit.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey challenged these rules, arguing it was some bullshit discrimination, and a district court agreed.

So here we are at SCOTUS to determine if the federal government was allowed to exempt such people, and if the Little Sisters peeps have standing to sue here.

Ginsburg questioned the idea that the exemptions outside of churches exist at all, because that’s not how the law was written. But the petitioner argued that the law was written to give HHS discretion on whether to require contraceptive care. So since the HHS is run by the executive branch, they get to decide on that rule, which Trump did.

In a 7:2 majority, where Ginsburg and Sotomayor dissented, SCOTUS decided that the executive branch, which directs the Dept of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has the authority to write its own rules, and so they did. They ruled that the rules only required “additional preventive care and screenings,” and the ambiguousness of that statement leaves the door open for DHHS to write it’s own rules within that framework.

Ginsburg and Sotomayor agreed they were allowed to write their own rules within that framework, but this was negating it altogether, which the ACA would not allow.

 

Average Joe SCOTUS: Trump v. Vance

Related to the Trump v. Mazars case, where the House of Representatives are trying to subpoena Trump’s financial records, here is a case where some douchebag New York county prosecutor is trying to go after Trump, and issued a subpoena for his tax records from Mazars as well.

Trump is again suing to quash the subpoena, the issue at play being whether he has executive privilege of such information, and therefore a right to not comply.

Whereas the house was arguing these records were requested to help draft legislation, this county prosecutor is more honest, claiming that they have reports of illegal activity by the Trump organization in New York County over the last ten years, and these subpoena’s are to aid in that investigation.

Again, it seems we have a situation where there’s no evidence of a crime, but the government just believes he’s a bad guy, and are hoping to find evidence of something they can prosecute. This is not me being a political hack. If Trump did commit a crime, I want his ass to pay for it. But no party can or has reported an actual crime that occurred that they are investigating.

I think Trump’s petitioner summed it up quite nicely.

Jay Alan Sekulow

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. Let me start with this, and there’s some agreement.

The New York district attorney, New York County district attorney, acknowledges that their subpoena implicates Article II issues and burdens.

They also agree that there is harms that could arise to the presidency.

We say those harms have actually existed. The other aspect of this is the ordering, who carries the burden here.

That seems to be the issue that’s left open.

This Court’s decision in Cheney answered that very clearly, that said that the exacting standard is carried by the party requesting the information. So it would be carried by the Respondent in this particular case. There has been no showing and no findings of heightened need standards being met here.

That — and I think it’s again also important to remember — and I think this came up in the context of earlier questioning — there’s a different stigma that attaches to criminal process than civil litigation.

And I don’t think that stigma should be ignored in a case like this. But the irony of all of this is that the House of Representatives and the district attorney issued essentially the same subpoenas to the same custodian for the same records. The House said it wants the records so it can legislate, not for law enforcement reasons.

The district attorney says he wants the same records for law enforcement reasons; he has no legislative authority. But what’s really happening here could not be clearer.

The presidency is being harassed and undermined with improper process that was issued, in our view, for illegitimate reasons.

The copying of the subpoena speaks to that. The framers saw this coming, and they structured the Constitution to protect the President from this encroachment. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

In a 7:2 decision where Alito and Thomas dissented, agreeing that a president is not above the law, but Thomas saying that in situations such as this, they felt a sitting president should potentially receive relief from an overzealous prosecutor, and Alito believed that the prosecutor should have a higher burden to go after a sitting president.  SCOTUS determined that there’s nothing in the Constitution what increases the burden on a county prosecutor when pursuing criminal action against a president.

They also decided that there is nothing unreasonable to ask a president to provide evidence in the pursuance of a criminal investigation.

It’s also worth noting that the two dissenters were NOT Trump’s two appointees, Kavanaugh and Gorsuch. So if there was a concern of them being biased towards the person who appointed them, I guess you can through that shit in the trash.

Average Joe SCOTUS: McGirt v. Oklahoma

Pretty simple case here. Native American grade A scumbag Jimcy McGirt got busted molesting a kid. However, this act occurred on land reserved for Native Americans by the federal government.

So Jimcy, trying anything imaginable to beat this heinous act, is trying to argue the state of Oklahoma doesn’t have jurisdiction here, since it occurred on federal lands. As such, state laws such as the one he’s accused of violating, do not apply to him on the reservation.

So now SCOTUS gets to decide if states can prosecute Native Americans committing major crimes on land reserved for native Americans by the federal government.

In a 5:4 majority (Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Gorsuch), SCOTUS ruled that the Major Crimes Act gives the federal government the sole right to prosecute assholes like McGirt. That McGirt committed his crimes on federally-reserved Creek Nation land. That just because it wasn’t initially called a reservation, doesn’t mean it isn’t, and that Congress can’t just take away their land.