Tag Archives: Average Joe SCOTUS

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: 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.

Average Joe SCOTUS: Kahler v. Kansas

Oof, this one is hard to swallow. This piece of shit Kahler was married with two children. His wife eventually had an affair, and Kahler reacted to this information by going down a hole of depression and anger, which is to be expected.

Kahler went to see several mental health professionals who diagnosed him, and prescribed medications to help him deal with the rage he was feeling, but Kahler didn’t take them.

Eventually, Kahler went to his wife’s mom’s house, where they were visiting, and murdered everyone. The wife, two kids, and the grandmother.

He was found guilty and sentenced to death. I’ll save my opinions on the death penalty for a separate post sometime, but if anyone ever deserved it, he made a strong argument that a needle in his arm wouldn’t be a bad societal outcome.

Kahler’s lawyer, doing her level best to help his client, opted to use an insanity defense. But Kansas doesn’t allow an insanity defense in the traditional sense you have to know right from wrong. In Kansas, you’d have to show you didn’t even know you were killing someone.

So since Kahler and his lawyer are trying to get him out of being executed, here we are at SCOTUS to determine if Kansas has a right to abolish the insanity defense in regards to the 8th and tenth amendments.

His lawyer, in her brief, tried to show how he was insane. In one oddly humorous exchange:

John G. Roberts, Jr.

The things that I think are underlying a lot of the debate is the expansive notion of what counts as evidence.

In your brief, you say the defendant in this case was—this is evidence to support his insanity claim, was described by some as a tightwad who would, for example, borrow rather than purchase tools. And in the same page, again, this is evidence that you selected in the — to put in your brief of his mental disorder, that he thrived on self-importance, community prestige, and being perceived as having an ideal or perfect marriage. Now, maybe that’s not the best way to order your life, but if that’s what you mean by insanity, you can understand why that might cause some reservations.

Sarah Schrup

Your Honor, Mr. Chief Justice, let me just tell you why those facts are in there and why they’re not — why they’re there and that will shed light on it. What we know is that Mr. Kahler had a major depressive disorder.

He had a qualifying mental illness.

Those facts are in there to show that there was an entire other category of evidence that, in combination with that major depressive disorder, could have been been developed.

John G. Roberts, Jr.

But that he —

Sarah Schrup

But it doesn’t —

John G. Roberts, Jr.

— borrows tools instead of purchasing them? That sounds like the reasonable option. (Laughter.)

During arguments for the respondant (Kansas), Justice Breyer asked:

Stephen G. Breyer

I know these are words, you see, I want it looking for something in terms of criminal law or legal purpose or human purpose or whatever that would treat the two — why treat them differently? One answer you’ve given, you said it’s so hard to figure out.

I agree it’s hard to get a definition.

That’s going to be true in both cases. You say criminal, corporate criminal liability, and regulatory offenses.

I agree with you, you’d have to carve out exceptions and that is not easy to do.

Okay? I’ve got those points. But I’m looking for something different between the two defendants.

The dog, there he is, the dog, he told me to do it.

They are both crazy. And why does Kansas say one is guilty, the other is not guilty?

There was an exchange, but eventually Kansas’ argument was as follows.

Toby Crouse

So — and I apologize for not getting to the answer of your question.

I think that the problem is that states have grappled with this and they’ve made different moral judgments as to who is morally responsible or not.

And this Court’s cases allow the state legislatures or federal Congress to determine whether that person should be or should not be held responsible. What Kansas does is it identifies those who intend to commit a crime, punishes those.

I think it’s a spectrum as to what the states believe is appropriate. In Delaware, for example, my understanding is that individual would not be convicted, whereas in Illinois that person could be convicted because they know that shooting a human being is legally wrong.

After Toby Cruise completed his arguments for Kansas, co-counsel said the following in response to Breyer’s question.

Elizabeth B. Prelogar

So these are obviously difficult questions, Justice Breyer.

They’re ones that societies have wrestled with for centuries in trying to balance the medical and moral and legal judgments that go into crafting an insanity rule. This Court has long recognized that states have principal responsibility to do that. And I think that there are various ways states could decide that they want to distinguish between those two defendants. For one thing that cognitive incapacity test which focuses on whether the individual thinks that the person he shot was a dog, might be an easier inquiry for juries to undertake.

It might be a more readily-observable sign of mental illness and less likely to lead to confusion about what was actually in the defendant’s mind and whether he was considering right versus wrong. A jurisdiction might also think that looking at considerations of individual culpability, they don’t want an on/off switch for criminal responsibility but, rather, want to shift those considerations to the sentencing stage where a judge can take evidence and make a more nuanced determination of individual culpability.

When Kahler got their chance to rebut, they were clear they believed these “dog” arguments by Kansas were completely arbitrary, and therefore bullshit.

There’s a phenomenal video from The Federalist Society you can watch that explains this principle here.

Anyway, back to SCOTUS. 6:3 in favor of Kansas. It may, within the framework of the constitution, apply it’s own unique test on an insanity defense. Breyer, Sotomayor, and Ginsburg however felt that Kansas’ law effectively eliminated the core of the insanity defense, and therefore shouldn’t be allowed. But no one cares, because they’re in the minority.