Category Archives: SCOTUS For The Average Joe

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Sineneng-Smith

Shady ass lawyer, Evelyn Sineneng-Smith, was an immigration attorney, who helped mostly Filipino’s who came to the U.S., got jobs, but were here illegally, try to obtain a green card based on their working here honorably.

You see, there was a labor certification process that the U.S. used to use to allow immigrants to stay here if they were productive workers in the country. But that program expired all the way back in 2001.

Sineneng-Smith absolutely knew this shit, but she was like “Fuck it” and kept telling her clients she could help them, citing this process.

Federal law prohibits encouraging people to come here or stay here illegally. So this case hinges on whether she was in violation of said law by bullshitting her clients. Or, if the 1st amendment’s guarantee of free speech allows her to encourage her clients to stay here, even on a bullshit premise.

At one point, Justice Roberts even asked if the law would effectively prosecute a legal immigrant grandma here in the U.S. from encouraging her illegal immigrant daughter to stay here in the U.S. in defiance of immigration law, because she’s been a big help to her.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS decided against Sineneng-Smith, but seemed more concerned with the ninth circuit’s ruling for Sineneng-Smith, than they did with the arguments at hand. They cited that the ninth circuit who previously ruled on this case, had abused their discretion in making their ruling. That neither party had argued what the ninth circuit ruled, and therefore, neither party had a right to that ruling.

There’s a “party presentation” rule that basically says, if party A makes one argument, and party B makes another, the court is supposed to rule on which argument is better, and not make up it’s own third argument and rule for that instead.

Hear oral arguments, or read about the case, here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Atlantic Richfield Co. v. Christian, et al.

So these Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) peeps sure do like SCOTUS, they’ve been here three god damn times, completely unrelated to each other.  Not important, just thought I’d point that out.

Anyway, ARCO bought up Anaconda Smelter back in 1977. Anaconda Smelter had been in business for nearly 100 years making copper and shit. As a result, they used a lot of harsh-ass chemicals, which they conveniently disposed of in ways that would have environmentalist’s heads explode. They just dumped that shit into the ground.

ARCO ended those operations three years later. However, the people who live in that area, have some fucked up ground water and shit, from 100 years of smelting by Anaconda. And now that Anaconda is owned by ARCO, they want paid.

ARCO has seemingly been pretty cool in this. They didn’t fight the argument from the people that Anaconda had done them wrong, and were largely willing to pay damages. They also worked hand-in-hand with the EPA to clean up the site as best they could according to EPA guidelines.

But, people see a big energy company on the ropes, they see dollar signs, and they want money always. So they decided to go after ARCO for “restoration” damages as well, which basically means they want money to fix up their land, which was damaged by Anaconda, over and above what ARCO was doing with the EPA.

So ARCO was like, “Hold on you motherfuckers. We’re working with the EPA to get your shit cleaned up, and they set the rules. Whatever it is you assholes want from us over and above what we’re doing with the EPA is your own personal bullshit. We have nothing to do with that, and we aren’t responsible for it.”

ARCO also argued that complying with the wishes of these selfish assholes would violate the EPA’s rules, putting them in a position where they’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

The people in Montana however, who are suing, are like, “Fuck the EPA, this is our land, not theirs. Who the fuck do they think they are to tell us what’s best for our land? Is this America or Communist Russia?”

Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA)  is a law passed by congress for shit just like this. And it largely gives the EPA authority on how to handle such shit, so ARCO was basically saying that the EPA is the arbiter here, not the courts. But the people want paid, and as usual, the courts cannot agree, so here we are at SCOTUS to sort this shit out.

SCOTUS, in a 7-2 decision, decided that the Montana Supreme Court fucked up arguing that landowners were not potentially responsible under CERCLA, and didn’t need the EPA to approve shit for them to act.

SCOTUS also decided unanimously that it had the authority to review the Montana Supreme Court’s judgement, since that judgement can be considered to be a final judgement.

They also decided that CERCLA, a federal regulation,  doesn’t strip Montana Supreme Court of their jurisdiction in the matter. So it should have made a fucking decision, and not wasted SCOTUS’ time.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Kelly v. United States

Back in 2013, Fort Lee New Jersey’s mayor Mark Sokolich, a Democrat, refused to endorse outspoken (a nice way of saying he’s a prick) then Governor of New Jersey, Republican Christ Christie. Since they’re not even in the same fucking party, kinda makes sense.

Well, two grade A assholes William E. Baroni, Jr. and Bridget Anne Kelly, who worked for the Port Authority in New Jersey, which manages the George Washington Bridge, and who also worked for Christie, decided that they’d get revenge against Sokolich, in the most petty, but kinda humorous way possible.

You see, the bridge has three lanes during rush hour, that are segregated off for people from Fort Lee to use, as part of the interstate agreement between New Jersey and New York.

Kelly and Baroni decided they’d close those lanes, claiming they had to do a traffic study, which backed up traffic for hours for the people of Fort Lee. At one point, a 911 call led to an ambulance getting stuck in this jam, and having to get out and walk to the call. So that’s not cool. But aside from that, it is kinda hilarious.

Anyway, their shenanigans were uncovered, and these mildly comedic assholes were sentenced to prison for the federal crime of fraud.

The argument being, they violated the property rights of the Port Authority doing what they did, because that bridge was the Port Authority’s property to use at that time.

Baroni, Kelly, and their ambulance chaser of a lawyer argue however, that while what they did was petty and immoral (and hilarious), they don’t feel it meets the definition of fraud, because if that’s true, any official who lies about a reason for doing something that would otherwise be perfectly legal, they’re guilty of fraud.

It’s a stretch, but when you’re looking at 18 months of hard time, you’ll say anything I guess. They also argue that the federal government is sticking it’s nose into state government issues, which is counter to the “state’s rights” mantra of most law in the United States.

They also argue, that no fraud was committed. They merely allowed usage to go to a different group of people, they didn’t deny use of the property as a whole. To expand on that, they were basically saying, if they diverted the bridge in such a way, as to use it for personal gain, then they agree they committed fraud. But if you just make a regulatory decision that diverts usage from one citizen to the other, and not for personal gain, that can’t be fraud, otherwise every regulatory decision is potentially fraud if it’s determined the decision for that regulation was one that people felt was wrong.

If all those arguments weren’t ballsy enough, they actually argued that they did in fact do a traffic study. Sure the reasons for doing it were politically motivated, but they did in fact do the damn study. So it can’t be fraud, because they really did do the study. They just did it for petty political reasons. This should win the case for them for no other reason than it’s fucking hilarious.

The United States argument is, that just because they did a study, doesn’t make that shit legit. No one commissioned the study, and the study wasn’t performed in the state’s interest, it was made up for political reasons, for fuck’s sake. Even if there was some sort of data obtained from the study, that doesn’t negate the motive behind it.

SCOTUS heard all these arguments, and unanimously decided that not all corruption arises to the level of a federal crime. They decided that these two assholes are just assholes and not felons. Judgement for Kelly and Baroni.

Read about the case and hear oral arguments here.

Associated Press reported on the decision here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York

The Socialist Republic of New York State hates guns. We know that, right?

Well, these serial rights violators have a law on handguns that requires you to get a permit in the city which you’re applying, to even own a handgun, nevertheless carry it around with you (carrying being a separate permit).

We’re not addressing the “carry” issue with this suit. This is about possessing one. The issue at hand, is that the petitioners wanted to take their gun to either a gun range, or their other home, outside of New York City, the city in which they have a permit. But doing so, is a violation of the restrictions of New York City’s own stupid fucking law. To be clear, they weren’t talking about carrying a loaded gun, they’re talking about transporting it, unloaded, in the trunk maybe, where they don’t have access to it.

Seeing that this is the biggest 2A violation that ever violated, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA) took the State of New York to court, and lost years back. They lost mostly because they were still in the state of New York, where they don’t give a fuck about your 2A rights.

The New York court argued it’s a mild burden at best, and therefore not a violation of said rights. Because not being able to take your gun to go practice with it, or even take it to your 2nd home, is “no big deal.” New York is seriously a joke, y’all. Like can’t we just send the Coast Guard in and wipe that whole New York government out?

Anyway, once NYSRPA were granted certiori by SCOTUS (that means SCOTUS agreed to hear their case), the city of New York knew they were fucked since the left-wing minded justices are in the minority, and backed off on the prohibition of taking it to a range outside NYC or to a second home. You might think they did this because they knew they were wrong, and were trying to right their wrong, but fuck no they weren’t.

Instead, they were attempting to “moot” the case with SCOTUS, meaning they were hoping it would make it irrelevant, and therefore SCOTUS would drop it. If SCOTUS dropped it, it meant their law would be unmolested to their liking as much as possible. But these fucking weasels in NYC amended that provision after certiori was granted, to allow for “continuous and uninterrupted travel” to such things.

Meaning, you had to go straight to the range, and straight home. Don’t stop to piss, get a coffee, or say hi to your mom. They acted like they’d consider such “reasonable and necessary” (their words) stops to be OK, but the fucking law isn’t written that way. So NYSRPA was like, “Fuck you fucking weasel assholes, you didn’t moot shit. You fucking made a weasely provision like the fucking weasels you are.

So now we’re at SCOTUS trying to determine if this bullshit law will stand or not.

Sadly, the majority decided to punt it, and render the case moot, since these new provisions were not part of the original suit, and the components that were, were indeed rendered moot.

Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch (as well as Kavanaugh who rode the fence like it was a horse) disagreed with punting it, and felt a decision should have been handed down, because those commie pricks in New York are not honoring the Heller decision outside the home, when they believe it does in fact protect your rights outside the home as well as inside it.

My own personal opinion: May NYC legislators choke on a big old bag of dicks.

Read about the case, or hear oral arguments here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr

Colombian Pedro Pablo Guerrero-Lasprilla came to America legally back in 1986. But in 1998, his dumb ass got busted for a felony drug charge, and was told to get the fuck out.

In 2014, Matter of Abdelghany was decided by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and now Pedro was convinced this decision would offer him a chance for relief on the decision to remove him. So he filed a petition to get that relief in September of 2016.

A judge told Pedro to get fucked. “You had two fucking years, Pedro. TWO FUCKING YEARS!”

Pedro was like, “Listen you assholes, I had to wait for those dickheads in the fifth circuit to decide  Lugo-Resendez v. Lynch, 831 F.3d 337 (5th Cir. 2016).

The legal term in play here is “equitable tolling.” We all know there are statutes of limitations, right? So equitable tolling basically says, that if you can make a reasonable argument as to why you were prevented from filing within that statute of limitations, then equitable tolling is an argument you can use to not get rejected for your relief you’re seeking because of the statute.

So Pedro is trying to colorfully argue that because he was waiting on the “Lugo” decision, he deserves relief under the premise of equitable tolling. But the 5th circuit argued that in Penalva v. Sessions, 884 F.3d 521, 525 (5th Cir. 2018), equitable tolling is a simple matter of fact, not a matter of law, and therefore, none of their fucking business. So they told Pedro, they didn’t have time for any of his bullshit.

So here we are at SCOTUS, for his last ditch effort to stay in America, and Pedro is doing his level best to argue he does deserve equitable tolling relief, because this is a matter of law for the courts to decide, and that the 5th circuit are a bunch of morons.

SCOTUS sided 7:2 for Pedro. That “questions of law” in the code, which would give him relief, includes the establishment of certain facts, such as the equitable tolling in question. Thomas and Alito dissented.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Allen v. Cooper

Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

So this dude Frederick Allen owns this company called Nautilus Productions. He was hired to document Blackbeard’s treasure from the 1700’s, and that’s what he did. For twenty fucking years he took pics and video of that shit.

So then, in 2013, the state of North Carolina, presumably to attract tourists, started posting some of Allen’s photos and shit on their website, which were copyrighted.

So Allen was like, “What the fuck, North Carolina? Do we have a contract? Did I give you permission to use those photos asshole?” The state, realizing it fucked up, agreed to settle, to pay Allen, and stop using his shit.

So you want to hear some shady shit? After they complied with Allen, these motherfuckers in NC posted that shit again, and then had the balls to pass “Blackbeard’s Law” which then declared Allen’s work public domain by North Carolina decree, effectively telling Allen he didn’t own fucking shit, now.

So when Allen sued again, North Carolina cited the 11th amendment (above) as their reasoning for getting a dismissal.

Allen on the other hand, was like the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA) says “any State, any instrumentality of a State, and any officer of a State or instrumentality of a State acting in his or her official capacity” can be infringers. So fuck you, North Carolina. Tell your people to meet my people in court.

So a district court was like, “Allen, good fuckin’ argument, bro.” But then the 4th circuit was like, “Allen, shit fuckin’ argument bro.”

So now SCOTUS is asked to determine if the Copyright Remedy Clarification Act (CRCA), which is federal law underpinning Allen’s argument, is allowed to trump North Carolina’s shady ass Blackbeard’s law. Basically, some state’s rights bullshit.

Sadly for Allen, he was ordered to take it in the ass. Unanimous decision for Cooper (North Carolina). The states have power over the federal government, and therefore CRCA is trumped by any applicable state law.

Average Joe SCOTUS: CITGO Asphalt Refining Co. v. Frescati Shipping Co.

The time is 2004. CITGO ordered some oil from Venezuela to be delivered to New Jersey, and Frescati owned the dingy that was supposed to bring that shit there.

As Frescati’s piece of shit boat made it’s way through a section of river near it’s destination, it hit an abandoned anchor on the floor of the river, and it opened up a huge hole in the boat, dumping a fucking shit ton of oil in the river.

So here’s the deal. The section it passed through is monitored by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE), and occasionally dredged, so as to catch any stray fucking anchors and other shit that might be lying around, and fuck up a boat, just like this one. But the ACOE aren’t required to do that shit preemptively to look for anchors and shit, they just do it every so often.

So Frescati and Uncle Sam basically split the cost of the spill, and CITGO wasn’t deemed liable by a lower court, since they hadn’t been in control of the oil at that point, and no one could fairly argue it was their fault. But then, an appellate court found that CITGO had provided a “safe berth warranty” which basically means CITGO told Frescati that shit was safe AF to cruise through that shithole river, and therefore Frescati had no reason to think they’d fucking stumble into a loose-ass anchor lying around. So they determined CITGO may be liable. But, and here’s the fun part. They argued the government had basically told CITGO, “Nah man, the shit’s all good. Sail on through. That river’s clean.” So CITGO’s warranty was issued based on the government’s clearly bullshit claims. So they made CITGO only liable for half.

So now SCOTUS is left determining if CITGO is liable because of their warranty or not.

CITGO cleverly made the argument that the ship insured itself and its cargo. So clearly, they knew they were liable for the safety of their ship. If they thought CITGO was liable, why would they insure it separately?

SCOTUS sided 7:2 in favor of Frescati, holding CITGO liable, since they gave their safe-berth warranty. Thomas and Alito however, dissented, saying that the safe-berth clause has no language guaranteeing safety.