Average Joe SCOTUS: Mitchell v. Wisconsin

Fourth Amendment

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Facts of the case

So this drunkard Mitchell was being a total piece of shit, driving under the influence. In Wisconsin, the legal limit is 0.08% blood alcohol level. This motherfucker was 0.222, nearly four times above the legal limit.

This motherfucker was so drunk in fact, he passed out in the squad car, so the cops had to take his dumb ass to the hospital instead of jail.

At the hospital, he passed out again, so the cops had the hospital take a blood test to determine how drunk this motherfucker was. The astute of you will say, “Hey, that’s a non-consensual search without a warrant.” You’d be right. But Wisconsin has a law that says if you obtain a driver’s license, you automatically agree to such a search.

Anyway, Mitchell thinks this is some bullshit end-run around the 4th amendment. So after trying his level best in Wisconsin court to get them to drop the results of this search, they were like “fuck you, you drunk motherfucker. We need to get your drunk ass off the streets.”

While SCOTUS acknowledges the exigent-circumstances rule allows for a blood test when someone is unconscious, it would have to be a situation where they needed to do so to prevent destruction of evidence, or to save a life. But in this case, the police did have time to get a warrant. So 5:4 decision for Mitchell.

While Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor dissented, they argued that the exigent circumstances rule shouldn’t apply to this bullshit rule in Wisconsin. That the state can’t create a law that basically exempts them from the limits in the Constitution. So they seemed to weirdly side with Mitchell, while still dissenting from the majority opinion which allows the rule, but requires a warrant be obtained in this case, since they had time to do so.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

 

A Libertarian View on Vaping

When non-libertarian people think of libertarianism, the first thought they tend to have, is usually the idea we want to let bad people do bad things as libertarians sit back and watch the world burn. You can probably blame Hollywood’s portrayal of anarchy for this, and the V for Vendetta fans with their creepy Guy Fawkes masks.

As the CDC recently reported here,  an outbreak of lung injury is forming from the use of vaping products, the majority of which are related to products containing THC, which are presumably illegal, and not made under any regulated control.

It’s easy to believe that because libertarians are vehemently against laws recently passed in multiple states banning vaping, that libertarians are happy to watch people get injured or die—that is the impression we have after all. But this is a gross mischaracterization of libertarianism.

The problem lies at the heart of conflating a desire to not legislate away people’s right to do things, with the encouragement of people to do those things.

Libertarians know that vaping is bad for you. And we suffer like anyone else when a family member is injured or killed as a result of using such products. So how would we prevent it?

First, you must know with the failed alcohol prohibition nearly a century ago, and the continued rampant illegal drug use of today despite current prohibitions, that vice bans simply aren’t efficacious for preventing use. Yet, legislators continue going to the dry well of “banning,” hoping it will miraculously produce water this time.

So how do our ideas of removing legislation, and allowing free markets to do what they’ll do help?

  • A free market quickly weeds out inferior quality products, and removes them from the marketplace. Companies go out of business all the time. It would be ridiculous to think that companies who are harming their customers, or selling bad products are thriving, while great companies with superior products are dying. The cream always rises to the top in a free market.
  • A free market ensures investors will invest in the quality of the product, because they aren’t worried about government shutting them down and destroying their investment.
  • A free market drives more people to enter the marketplace with the idea of building a better product in the first place.

How does allowing people to be free help?

  • It removes the allure of doing something forbidden. Just like people all want Cuban cigars, despite the fact Dominicans which are equally good, and perfectly legal, removing bans takes away that excitement of doing something illegal.
  • It removes the risk of an encounter with law enforcement that could end in death, a la Eric Garner, after police attempted to enforce a simple cigarette tax.
  • It allows the usage to be done in a safer place. For instance, you have an issue at a bar that serves legal alcohol, the bar calls 911, an ambulance shows up, and you’re hopefully saved. But if a problem arises at an illegal crack house for instance, they’re probably not calling 911 to come get you from there, tipping police off to the location of the crack house in question.
  • It allows for freer discussions when help is needed. I’m far less likely to ask for help from others, if I fear I’ll go to jail for the actions I’ve taken.

We libertarians do believe you own your own body, and should be free to care for it, or destroy it, however you see fit.

While we want all people to avoid things that may harm them, we don’t want to authorize police to shoot them, or courts to prosecute them, for doing it. Any issues surrounding your health should be between you, and the people you choose to share that information with, such as your doctor, your family, or your friends.

We should all know that freedom is in direct opposition from security. You could be locked up in a padded room, so you’re never able to be harmed or harmed yourself. But it’s a miserable existence for any animal. So we choose freedom instead, and accept the risks that come with it. It may lead to more bad outcomes, but it also leads to many greater outcomes, too.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Rehaif v United States

So this dumb motherfucker Hamid Mohamed Ahmed Ali Rehaif from the United Arab Emirates came to the United States to study at the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) on a student visa. I say dumb, because FIT dismissed him for academic achievement issues, which loosely translates to “he was a dumb motherfucker.”

Once he was sent packing from FIT, he was no longer a student, and thus no longer eligible for a student visa, and it was revoked accordingly by the government. We’ll assume he was not notified in any way, because that’s the crux of this case.

During his time here though, Rehaif embraced his inner American, because he headed to the shooting range for a little good ole American shoot ’em up, rented a gun, and bought some ammo to do so. So while the 2nd amendment guarantees a right to bear arms to all Americans, it doesn’t guarantee such a right to immigrants, especially for ones who’ve overstayed their visa.

The statute 18 U.S.C. § 924(a)(2) in question uses the term “knowingly” to charge someone with the crime of possessing a firearm, and doing so while being here illegally. It says:

Whoever knowingly violates subsection (a)(6), (d), (g), (h), (i), (j), or (o) of section 922 shall be fined as provided in this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.

So the argument at hand, was this action of going to a shooting range, which is otherwise a perfectly normal thing to do here, all of a sudden a ten year crime, and if so, does the United States have to know Rehaif both know he had a gun and/or ammo on his possession (That sounds silly, but someone could have left one in his home for instance, without him knowing), and he knew his visa had been revoked.

SCOTUS opted to say knowingly means just what the fuck you think it means—the government has to have evidence he knew he was in the wrong, and did it anyway. Or contrary to what cops say when you get a ticket, ignorance is an excuse.

7:2 Decision for Rehaif’s ignorant and stupid ass. Alito and Thomas dissented, arguing that ignorance isn’t an excuse. A crime is a fucking crime.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media

We all know about food stamps, right? I know it’s called SNAP now, as the government tries to rebrand it in such a way as to make users in the program not be made to feel bad about taking from other taxpayers, when they absolutely should.

Well, these hacks at Argus Media were presumably writing some story about people using the SNAP program, and submitted a FOIA request for information about the program, which included how much money individual stores were getting from the program.

At first, the USDA who manages SNAP declined to provide the requested information based on FOIA exemption three, which says they cannot disclose info that’s prohibited from being disclosed by federal law. But the lower courts were like, “What fucking law, exactly?”

So since they knew that was some bullshit, they went for exemption 4, which protects:

Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.

The courts had told the USDA to give over the information, and the USDA was all set to comply, but then these assholes at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), believing they’d be harmed if this information was released, filed the appeal to block the information accordingly.

So here we are at SCOTUS trying to literally determine WTF “confidential” means.

First, SCOTUS decided that FMI had standing to sue, since they could incur damages if their competition found out the information being requested. Then they decided as such, the assholes at Argue didn’t need to know this information, and told them to get fucked. Confidential means something that company A has a legit purpose in hiding from company B, which this information would be.

6:3 judgement for FMI, with Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissenting on how they defined “confidentiality” while still siding to protect FMI.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Fort Bend County Texas v. Davis

Lois Davis worked for Fort Bend County in Texas. Her boss at the time, we’ll call him Scummy McScummerson, apparently fancied her, and decided to go for it. But Lois wasn’t having that shit, and filed a sexual harassment claim.

After an investigation Scummy McScummerson resigned, and Lois was assigned a new boss. Her new boss, being friends with Scummy, decided to put Lois in the cross-hairs, and get rid of her.

One day, Lois needed the day off for a religious event, applied for the day off, and her new asshole boss declined. But Lois was like, “Fuck this shit, I’m going.” So she straight up ghosted those motherfuckers and went to church.

So then her new asshole boss was like, “Bingo, I can fire this bitch now.”

But Lois ain’t no pushover. She took their asses to court, and now dropped a new bomb on them, the “religious discrimination” bomb, that is.

Here’s the thing. There were outlined procedures in place for Lois to follow in appealing her termination and shit, but she didn’t pass Go, and didn’t collect $200. She went straight to court. So the assholes in Fort Bend tried to say she circumvented the process, and therefore had no case.

Davis was like, “Fuck you, and your process. I’m taking your trifling asses straight to court anyway.”

As usual, multiple federal circuits have two different precedents for the same god damn law, because every fucking law is simply not black and white. Most are grayer than gray.

So SCOTUS listened to all the arguments, and were like, “We’re the courts. We don’t give a fuck about your piss ant procedural rules. Fuck you. If someone wants to ask our opinion, they can come on in and do it. Any court that disagrees, well fuck you, too. Do as your told bitches. Thug SCOTUS life!”

Unanimous decision for Davis.

Hear oral arguments, or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Davis

OK, y’all. Let’s talk about an important legal principle. The idea of constitutionally vague. The “Vagueness Doctrine” is simply a principle that says because of the 5th and 14th amendments which guarantee due process, the vagueness doctrine require that citizens be given enough information to clearly know what could get their dumb ass landed in jail. You can’t write a law that “might” land you in jail—that’s bullshit. You and I need to know the line we cannot cross and expect to be safe from punishment, and that line should be clear and understandable.

This was famously the argument against Wade, in Roe v. Wade, along with many others, and now it’s what this case is all about. You see, this douchebag Maurice Lamont Davis, and his douchebag buddy Andre Levon Glover decided to rob several Texas gas stations. To make it even more fun, they even took cops on a high speed chase after one robbery.

Firearms law 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), which addresses the penalty has two parts. An elements clause and a residual clause. The case focuses on the residual clause which says:

(B) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.

So, because some of their convictions were in part, due to this clause, they believed that saying there was a substantial risk, is not clearly defined as violence. You’re asking a jury to ask what the offender might have done, versus asking what they did do. And thus, they think that’s vague AF.

SCOTUS gave it a listen, and in a mixed 5:4 majority, with Gorsuch siding with the the left-leaning justices, Davis was given the nod. He’s still going the fuck to jail—his scumbag ass deserves it, but at least it won’t be as bad.

On a side note, Sotomayor mentions congress has a redraft of this statute on the docket. So clearly, even they know they wrote this law shitty AF. But in the meantime, SCOTUS sees fit to tell them they fucked up anyway.

Hear oral arguments, or read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: McDonough v. Smith

This case is the ugly side of politics at its finest folks. Two election officials in Troy New York, LeTorno and McDonough, were indicted in 2009 on election fraud charges. It didn’t look good, y’all. They were handcuffed and everything. People were forging signatures, and giving them to these two ass-clowns, who then submitted them accordingly. If they knew they were forged when they accepted them and submitted them, they were guilty. But it appears, they were just ignorant AF, and didn’t have a fucking clue.

They were eventually acquitted on all charges, and it appeared that the prosecutor Youel Smith engaged in his own level of corruption by trying to prosecute these ignorant fucks, when they were clearly just dumb-asses who knew nothing.

Either way, after McDonough was acquitted, he filed a Section 1983 claim (basically suing the government for bad acts against the people) against Smith, for malicious prosecution. So heres where it gets even more fun. Because there was a mistrial and shit initially, this whole process of going after McDonough took a while. And a 1938 malicious prosecution has a 3-year statute of limitations (SOL), Smith’s defense decided to say that three years had passed since they knew about whatever evidence they had showing malicious prosecution, and therefore, they were too fucking late.

But then McDonough’s team was like, “Listen mother fucker. We were wrapped up in a criminal trial because of your corrupt ass. We had to deal with that shit first, before we could come after you with a 1938, because we can’t run two trials at the same fucking time. We’re not Superman.

The district court agreed to dismiss based on the statute of limitations argument, and the second circuit agreed. But they were like, “We know other circuits have decided that SOL starts when the trial in question ends, to give you time to prepare accordingly, but we don’t give a fuck. We agree with the district court, so fuck off, McDonough, you corrupt motherfucker. You got away with this shit—be happy about that. Now get out of here.”

McDonough not being impressed with their bullshit argument, took it to SCOTUS, and they were asked to resolve it accordingly.

SCOTUS was less impressed with Smith’s argument, the district court, and the second circuit. They sided 6:3 with McDonough, and wished Smith good luck on his upcoming lawsuit.

On a side note, I’m also pretty fucking sure Smith’s petitioner Thomas J. O’Connor was drunk or high AF when he argued this. Just listen to it. I’ve had bowel movements argue more coherently than this mother fucker on this day. Jesus H. Christ! No wonder he lost. Like seriously, listen to that shit below.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

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

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