Tag Archives: Average Joe SCOTUS

Average Joe SCOTUS: City of Austin, Texas v. Reagan National Advertising of Texas Inc.

Reagan National Advertising and their co-petitioners Lamar Advantage Outdoor own some billboards and shit. On these billboards, they display commercial and non-commercial messages alike.

In the city of Austin, they have a rule that differentiates whether a sign is permitted based on whether the sign is connected to the property it happens to sit on. Like, let’s say there was a billboard for McDonalds, but it’s on McDonald’s property—that’s AOK. But if there’s just some rando billboard not on McDonald’s property, yet it is advertising McDonald’s, well, it’s a fucking eyesore. Take that shit down—or in this case, if it’s not already up, you can’t put it up.

Reagan had some old style signs they wanted to convert to the new digital signs which can change messages routinely, much easier than the old wallpaper style shit we’re so used to.

Austin’s rule though, was that no new signs could be put up on a property that wasn’t the property of the people advertising on the sign, which these digital signs would violate. Old signs built and put up before the regulation were grandfathered in, though. So that meant this was an odd situation. He wanted to convert the signs, not put up new ones. Although to be fair, the conversion is effectively a new sign.

So Reagan was like, “Woah, you assholes. This violates my first amendment freedom of speech. If the people who own this business want the sign up, and we have a buyer to put messages on the sign, a rule that stifles us just because the buyer doesn’t own the property is some grade A bullshit. If the area is zoned for the sign, and the sign isn’t indecent, it fucking goes up.”

Austin was like, “We’re just trying to prevent our beautiful and weird city from a million fucking signs littering the landscape, and making it look like a shithole.”

But Reagan was like, “We already had these signs up, assholes. We’re just converting them.”

Part of the complaint here is also that, if the ruling is about whether the sign’s message is related to the premises it sits on, means that some overpaid assholes in the Austin courts will effectively have to read every fucking sign application, and become a “Supreme Board of Sign Review” as justice Kagan actually called it in a previous case, “Reed v. Town of Gilbert,” which ruled a town could not make different rules based on the messages temporary signs conveyed.

So the city was like, “You really don’t want to read every fucking sign, do you? Just give us our judgement, and let us have our ruling.”

In opening arguments, counsel for Austin explained their position pretty well.

Michael R. Dreeben

This case involves a fundamental question about the meaning of content-based regulation under the First Amendment.

The Fifth Circuit interpreted this Court’s decision in Reed to mean that any time that an officer must read a sign to apply the law, the law is content-based. That holding is wrong and should be reversed.

A law is content-based on its face when the text of the law singles out specific subject matter for differential treatment.

The law in Reed did that by distinguishing ideological, political, and directional signs. A rule regulating off-premises advertising does not.

The off-premises rule is an empty vessel that applies to all subjects and topics.

It turns on the relationship of a sign to its location, not the content of its message. The Fifth Circuit’s rigid rule does not further First Amendment values.

Austin’s law does not skew the marketplace for speech or suppress any ideas.

But the Fifth Circuit’s rule would have untenable effects.

Many ordinances can be applied only by looking at what a sign says.

Temporary event signs are a perfect example.

Strict scrutiny of such laws is unwarranted. Now Respondent offers a new theory, arguing that any sign code provision tied to the function or purpose of speech is content-based on its face.

But many neutral laws are tied to function.

Sign regulation is inherently functional.

Signs function to present information.

And the regulation of solicitation is based on the function of soliciting. So long as these rules are even-handed, they are facially content-neutral. First Amendment review still applies, but the right standard is intermediate, not strict, scrutiny.

Because the Fifth Circuit applied the wrong standard, its judgment should be reversed. I welcome the Court’s questions.

Once it was Austin’s turn, their lead counsel opened with this rebuttal.

Kannon K. Shanmugam

The City of Austin denied Respondents’ application to convert its existing signs to digital signs, and it did so on the ground that the signs advertised off-premises activities. Under this Court’s decision in Reed, Austin’s distinction between signs advertising on-premises and off-premises activities is content-based. That distinction turns on the subject matter, function, and purpose of the content of the messages on the signs, and it has the effect of prioritizing certain messages from certain speakers and limiting, if not prohibiting, others. The fact that Austin’s regulation does not prohibit speech on an entire subject and that the application of the regulation depends on a factor in addition to the sign’s content does not render it content-neutral.

A district court felt the city of Austin had indeed made a decent argument, as they don’t want to deal with this shit day after day after day, and ruled in their favor. But the 5th circuit was like, “Maybe y’all aren’t familiar with the first amendment, so let us help you. The fact that you’re saying what is on the sign matters, means its content-based, and thus…well…first amendment. Overturned, bitches!”

In a 6:3 apolitical ruling however, SCOTUS sided with Austin. They ruled that they weren’t limiting content in their ruling, which would be a violation of free speech. Instead, this was merely limiting where you could put a fucking sign or not, based on whether what the sign was advertising, was related to the property it was on. Essentially saying a business has a right to put up a sign on their property, but fuck those billboard assholes who want to put signs up everywhere, that shit is hideous.

Justices Thomas, Barrett, and Gorsuch dissented, arguing that this rule from previous case “Reed” is being misinterpreted. At first, it was purely about content. Now you assholes are making it about some new standard that can be fudged about however courts see fit. What the fuck was wrong with “content-based” in a very literal sense? We can’t even…with you assholes.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case at the links below.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-1029

Average Joe SCOTUS: Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C.

In a case where counsel for the petitioner appeared to be high AF (He seemed confused and talked slow through almost everything), self-important entitled deaf and legally blind woman, Jane Cummings went to Premier Rehab, a Texas rehab clinic that receives federal funds, looking for assistance with her fucked up back. Because she can’t hear shit, and can barely see shit, she asked them to provide an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter for her.

I’m curious how she’s using an ASL person, if she’s also legally blind, but I guess maybe she just wears some thick ass glasses or something. Either way, mother nature dealt her a pretty shitty hand, I’ll give her that.

Premier was like, “Hey, we’re happy to help, but we can’t just eat the cost of an interpreter like this, and we don’t have enough deaf customers to justify such an expense. You can lip read, write notes, or hire an interpreter yourself to bring to the sessions, but otherwise, you can take your Bernie Sanders entitled bullshit right the fuck out of here.”

So Cummings took her business elsewhere like a spoiled brat, but she said the new place she went to sucked balls, and didn’t really help her. Presumably because they wasted all their money on an ASL interpreter, and not a good physiotherapist. So now she’s back to being mad at Premier, since they’re good at what they do, but wouldn’t give her the interpreter she wanted.

Cummings being a persistent, self-important entitled piece of shit, wasn’t done yet though. She sued Premier under the Americans with Disabilities Act (AWDA), The Rehabilitation Act, and the Affordable Care Act, as well as citing Texas Human Resources Code. Hell hath no fury like a deaf, self-important, entitled woman scorned, apparently.

A district court heard her complaint, and argued her damages were bullshit. She was maybe a little humiliated, frustrated, and upset, but for fuck’s sake, you can’t fucking sue over that. In America we have a right to be assholes, and you getting your feelings hurt isn’t cause for damages. You have no right to demand a company hire someone special just to serve you, because you have a condition. Stop being such a self-important entitled piece of shit.

She then rolled up on the fifth circuit, telling them the district court had been mean to her, but they also told her to eat a bag of dicks.

So now at SCOTUS, they’re charged with determining if emotional distress is cause for compensation under these myriad of acts designed to protect those with disabilities. The fact that Premier receives federal funding is at issue, since such recipients, under the law, may not discriminate based on disability. Although, I’d argue there’s a difference between discrimination, and not hiring a special person just for you. One is an order not to do something, the other is an order to do something.

Think of it like rights. The right to free speech, religion, bear arms, etc., orders government not to infringe upon them. No one has to do anything, or incur any expense for those rights to be preserved. But when people argue health care is a right, that’s forcing people to do something—, it does cost money, and force people to do work, and therefore is not a fucking right.

In a partisan 6:3 split, SCOTUS ruled that Cummings was being a self-important and entitled piece of shit. Emotional distress isn’t cause for compensatory damages, as she didn’t lose any fucking money in the situation—her feelings were hurt. But for fuck’s sake, the fact that this is even a case is gross. How dare she feel that a company must hire or contract an employee specifically to serve her. Essentially she’s arguing if they might go out of business, that’s fine by her, as long as she gets her help first.

Any empathy I feel for her disability was lost when I read the premise of this case. Fuck her and every self-important entitled piece of shit like her.

The left justices however, were of the opinion, that such discrimination laws, when violated, would cause emotional distress first and foremost, and therefore, logic dictates that such issues should be compensated. Bestill their bleeding hearts. Clearly, they have no clue what it takes to run a business, and instead would just run it into the ground in the name of wokeness.

Average Joe SCOTUS: United States v. Vaello-Madero

You know that shit that comes out of your paycheck every time called Social Security? Well, it’s available to people living in all fifty states, Washington DC, and for some odd reason, the Northern Mariana Islands, which the US owns.

For some reason, they apparently didn’t give a flying fuck about Puerto Rico, because those motherfuckers don’t get a damn thing.

Jose Luis Vaello-Madero, a Puerto Rican dude, found his way to New York back in 1985, and presumably, started paying into Social Security plan. In 2012, he got sick as balls, and couldn’t work anymore. As such, he started receiving his SSI benefits, which again, he would have paid into.

In 2013, he went back to Puerto Rico to help care for his wife, who was also experiencing health problems, while continuing to receive his SSI benefits.

The greedy pricks in our federal government eventually found out he was living in excluded Puerto Rico, and were all like, “Slow your roll, dude. Why are you collecting benefits when you’re living in Puerto Rico? Not cool man, not cool. Also, we found out you moved there years ago. So guess what, you’ve gotta pay all that shit back you received while you were living in Puerto Rico. Capiche?”

Jose, was like, “Wait a fucking minute, I paid into this program, you merry band of cunts. This is my fucking money. Also, have you ever read the fucking fifth amendment that says I deserve equal protection under the law? Well, the whole idea you exclude us Puerto Ricans, who belong to your asshole country, violates that. So I’m suing YOU motherfucker! Also, how the fuck did the Marianas negotiate benefits, but somehow Guam, Puerto Rico, and others were left out? You just hate people who speak Spanish, don’t you?”

Justice Sotomayor, seemed pretty inclined to agree with Jose. She questioned:

Sonia Sotomayor

All right.

So let’s look at the plus of that.

This program is fully funded by the federal government, fully administered by the federal government.

There’s no cost to Puerto Rico.

There’s no cost to any state.

And so I don’t understand what the different relationship with Puerto Rico has to do with this program because there’s no cost to the government. It’s not as if it could take this federal money, Puerto Rico, and distribute it in some other way or put this money to use in some other way because the money’s going directly to the people, not to the government.

So I don’t see how that can be a plus with respect to the self-governance of Puerto Rico.

Call me crazy, but when I look at my paycheck, Social Security is one tax taken from my paycheck, federal taxes are completely separate. So Sotomayor’s question makes zero sense to me, since it WOULD in fact cost the govt, since Puerto Rican’s don’t currently pay into the system. It’s as if she doesn’t understand they’re not currently taxed for that.

But maybe she’s just like, “let the pay in like everyone else, and get their fucking benefits.”

A district court, and the 1st Circuit Appellate court were both like, “Jose, you clever son of a bitch. We think you make a good fucking argument.” But the United states, not quick to let go of money they can potentially steal, we’re like, “Fuck you lower-court clowns, we’ll take this shit all the way to SCOTUS.”

In an 8:1 decision, where only Justice Sotomayor dissented, SCOTUS ruled for the United States, deciding Jose’s argument wasn’t so clever after all. They argued that because Puerto Ricans don’t pay into the system, they have no right to expect benefits down the road.

If a Puerto Rican makes their way to the 50 states, and pay into the system, they can receive benefits back out of it. But as soon as they leave, and go to Puerto Rico, Timbuktu, or bumfuck Egypt, benefits end there.

Sotomayor dissented, calling all her cohorts, and the congressional twats who wrote this rule, some racist assholes.

Hear oral arguments and/or read about the case below.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-303

Average Joe SCOTUS: Federal Bureau of Investigation v. Fazaga

Three Muslims from California, Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, Ali Uddin Malik, and Yasser AbdelRahim, were going to their normal religious proceedings at their chosen Islamic Center. They found out that the FBI, via an informant, had been watching their asses for over a year during a program weirdly called “Operation Flex.” Presumably on some tip or notion that these men were up to some terrorist shit.

Craig Monteilh, some former fitness bro rolled up into local California mosques, claiming he wanted to become all Muslim and shit. While there, he gathered names, license plates, and any other info he could from the local attendees.

He also recorded many conversations, sometimes even leaving the recorder behind to capture convos that ensued after he’d left. Monteihl was obviously looking for terrorists, so he wasn’t shy about starting some “death to America” conversations to see if there were any sympathizers. He was apparently so offputting, that the people he was actually trying to catch as terrorists, reported his dumb ass to the FBI themselves.

Eventually they found out he was an informant and they threw every law and constitutional argument they could at the FBI, claiming they had been violated like a prostitute at a college frat party. One specific law cited was the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). This lays out what is and isn’t illegal surveillance for the FBI and other government agencies to do.

However, there’s also the State Secrets Act (SSA) which allows government to keep their mouths shut, if any testimony could harm the security of the United States. When the government invoked the SSA, a district court agreed, and told these three to fuck off.

However, the contrarion left wing 9th circuit assholes, as usual, were like, “Not so fast! We’re basically the ACLU here, and we think the SSA doesn’t trump FISA.” They reversed the district court’s decision, and Fazaga and company were back on track.

In opening remarks, counsel for the United States even pointed out that the 9th circuit agreed the info in question fell under the SSA. As such, they believed the 9th circuit is making up a new rule that FISA rules invalidate SSA rules, if the FISA rules are broken.

Section 1806(f) of the FISA allows for a judge to hear in camera procedings to determine of the info in the suit would harm national security. If so, they can grant SSA protections, but if not, then the people can sue the FBI accordingly. But the US government is essentially arguing that the FISA cannot trump the SSA in this manner.

The FISA was set up to determine whether or not such surveillance was legal, it was never set up to override the SSA, nor does any of the text say as much, according to counsel for the US and the FBI.

Fazaga and friends argue that they couldn’t counsel their paritioners like a proper religious leader, because they feared, rightfully so, that their conversations weren’t private. So let’s say a person came in, and was having “death to America” thoughts, and wanted to talk to their Imam about it, they’d be afraid to here him and counsel him, because the FBI would be up his ass with a microscope.

So SCOTUS is charged with determining if FISA rules trump SSA protections. And in a unanimous decision, SCOTUS offered Fazaga and company to eat shit and die. The SSA is not subject to the whims of FISA rules. Nothing in FISA’s language even fucking mentions the SSA, which the court ultimately decided, meant they didn’t attend for it to change anything about SSA protections for the government.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2021/20-828

And here

Average Joe SCOTUS: Unicolors Inc v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz LP

Unicolors Inc makes clothing decisions and shit. Like any company, they copyright their design. Back in 2011, they created a design they, with all the imagination they could muster, called EH101.’

Along comes H&M, a clothing company, who made their equally creatively named design called Xue Xu.

Both are seen here:

Having a hard time seeing a difference? Well, so was Unicolors. So they were like, “Hey, H&M, you copyright violating mother fuckers, that’s our design! What the fuck is wrong with you?”

H&M, apparently incapable of making a fair argument that this actually wasn’t a straight up copy, tried a more creative approach. H&M was like, “Hey, these assholes at Unicolors use a single copyright for 31 different designs, and that’s bullshit. One design gets one copyright.

A district court however, was unimpressed with this creative logic, telling H&M to shut their mouth now about this “31 designs” shit. They have a copyright, it’s valid unless the copyright office says it isn’t, and you’re a merry bag of assholes.

The district court stated that unless there’s an intent to defraud, the copyright can’t be invalidated, and as such, H&M doesn’t have license to violate it.

In steps those contrarian assholes at the ninth circuit who were like, “Wait a fucking minute. Where the fuck did you district court assholes read any ‘intent to defraud’ language in copyright law? You made that shit up. You know you assholes should’ve just referred the matter to the copyright nerds, and had them look into the potentially errant copyright.”

So now SCOTUS is charged with determining whether the district courts should have sent this shit to the Copyright nerds or just roll with it on their own.

In a 6:3 non-partisan decision, SCOTUS sided with Unicolor Inc. That whether the courts thinks the copyright is bullshit doesn’t mean a god damn thing. If these assholes have a valid copyright, then everyone else is beholden to it, unless the copyright office decides they fucked up, and pulls the copyright.

Justice Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch felt that Unicolors lied on their application to get them to even hear this shit. They were told they were going to hear a fraud case, not some jurisdictionalesque bullshit like this. So they’re pissed off they were misled.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Whole Women’s Health v. Jackson

Do you remember hearing something about a case a long time ago, I think it was called Roe v. Wade? I hear it’s kinda famous. Well anyway, ever since, people rolling around with a Jesus fish on their car, have been on a crusade to do something about that. Especially the ones rolling around in Texas.

In Roe v. Wade, SCOTUS recognized you have two competing rights. A female’s bodily autonomy, versus the life of a fetus. But a fetus has never really been legally ruled as a life with constitutional rights, although it’s never been ruled out either. So back in the day, SCOTUS came up with a trimester system, where the first trimester, a woman’s bodily autonomy was the prevailing right, the second trimester they were somewhat equal, and the third trimester, the fetus had the prevailing right. Seemed fair to any fair minded person, but still the war rages on.

The latest battle on this front took place in Texas, and their fancy new SB8 abortion law. Knowing they couldn’t directly contradict Roe v. Wade’s precedent, Texas went for the most inventive shit ever. They passed a law that said, if you received an abortion, or were the physician who performed one, you could be sued by anyone in the great state of Texas. So they didn’t make it a criminal action, which was their way of not going against the Roe precedent, but they made it so it could cost people so much money, they wouldn’t do it.

They argued that they concede the first six weeks of pregnancy, but opponents argue six weeks can be nearly impossible to have cause to think one is pregnant, and give them the time needed to make the decision and have the procedure. One would basically need to take a pregnancy test shortly after each time they had sex to do all that within the time frame Texas set forth.

In steps Whole Women’s Health (WWH), a Texas abortion provider who submitted a petition to SCOTUS, that just said, “WTF is this bullshit?”

Originally, they asked SCOTUS to block the law, but they declined to do so. So now that it’s in effect, SCOTUS is hearing the case on their normal merits docket. So the question facing them is, can government pass a law that violates precedent, if the precedent pertained to criminal law, and this new law is merely civil litigation?

This particular case hinges around state officials who were sued by abortion providers for violating their constitutional rights as outlined in Roe v. Wade, and Mark Dickson, who most abortion providers consider to be a Jesus freak and all around asshole. They expect him to be the overzealous douchebag suing people left and right over this.

The government officials were like, “We have sovereign immunity, or whatever the fuck you call it. You can’t be suing us like this.”

Also interesting to note, when they asked SCOTUS to put the law on hold, SCOTUS declined to do so, because they were like, “you’re asking us to prevent the government from enforcing the law, but the way this fucktwats wrote it, they don’t enforce it, the people do, by suing providers. So we can’t force them to stop doing something the law doesn’t have them doing in the first place.” This of course supports Texas’ creativity in passing this in the first place.

Counsel for WWH came out swinging, and declared shenanigans. Counsel flat out accused them of blatantly violating Roe v. Wade precedent, then trying to be clever and using the whole civil litigation scheme to get around it.

When questioned by Justice Roberts about this scenario where people are being sued trying to exercise a constitutional right, counsel for Texas argued that there was precedent for this. People are sued for lawful possession of a firearm all the time, and they’re just trying to exercise they’re 2nd amendment right. So what’s the big fucking deal suing people for trying to exercise their constitutional right to bodily autonomy as identified in Roe v. Wade.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with Whole Women’s Health. They they can in fact proceed to a pre-enforcement challenge of this ridiculous law. Furthermore, Justice Roberts, along with Justices Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor were like, “What the fuck is even the purpose of our judicial review if punks like these assholes in Texas can just skirt our rulings with creative bullshit like this. We need to nip this shit in the bud right meow.”

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.

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