Tag Archives: logical libertarian

Average Joe SCOTUS: BP P.L.C. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore

Back in 2018, the mayor of Baltimore, being the ambitious fuck that he is, decided that he was going to make his stand on climate change, and sue the major oil companies for damages he claims are their fault, as a result of climate change.

Such issues like sea-level rise, heat waves, and a ass-ton of rain, in his mind, are all these horrible oil manufacturer’s fault.

Never mind the fact that the biggest producers of climate change are actually animal farms with cows belching like your mom after her seventh beer on a Friday night. When there’s politicking to be done, and points to be scored with how woke you are to the left, going after “big oil” will make you a hero.

(For the record, the Logical Libertarian wholeheartedly concurs climate change is real, and is largely due to man-made activities. I just think politicians like this are being attention hounds, and aren’t actually doing anything worthwhile to make positive change)

Anyway, Baltimore sued in state court (Maryland), and the oil companies were like, “Woah, asshole. A lot of our work is done via agreements with the federal government, and therefore, we want this shit heard in federal court, not your punk ass little state court. Is Maryland even a fucking state? I’ve taken shits that were bigger than Maryland.”

But Baltimore, knowing the federal government is likely much less prone to put up with this dipshit’s political grandstanding, is fighting tooth and nail to keep that shit in Maryland.

So now SCOTUS has to decide who gets to hear this shit. State courts, or federal, and effectively rule on when such cases can be removed to federal courts vs. staying in state courts. They don’t even give a fuck about the beef these two assholes have.

In a 7:1 decision, where Sotomayor dissented, and Alito abstained, SCOTUS sided with BP. A federal appellate court can review an issue from a district court, and decide whether it should be removed from state court or not.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-1189

Average Joe SCOTUS: Lange v. California

Arthur Gregory Lange is an odd motherfucker. Dude got crazy fucking drunk, like 0.245% fucking drunk, got in his car, and decided to have a rock concert on the drive home. Cranked his tunes up, opened the windows for all to enjoy, and even honked his horn randomly, so he could feel like he was part of the band.

Well, in comes detective Aaron Weikert, apparently not a music lover, who thought Lange’s behavior might be a little suspect. He was right. Did I mention this dumb fuck blew a 0.245%? That’s over three times the legal limit!

Anyway, Weikert followed this idiot, eventually flipped on the blues and twos, and attempted to pull Lange over. Lange, being drunk out of his god damn mind, didn’t even fucking notice Weikert, pulled into his driveway, opened the garage door, and pulled on in, Weikert in his drive way behind him, pretty confident at this point that Lange was ten kinds of fucked up.

So as Lange went to close the garage door, Weikert tripped the garage door detector with his foot, so it wouldn’t close, and walked into the garage to confront Lange. He noticed immediately Lange’s breath smelled like he drank all the alcohol on the west coast. So he took him to a hospital, where they obtained his blood alcohol level.

At the heart of this challenge, is whether Weikert had the right to step into Lange’s garage. At the time he did, Lange was listening to music loudly, and honking his horn at literally no one. Both are minor infractions, and not necessarily cause for an officer to enter someone’s home. So Lange and his attorney, doing their level best to protect Lange from being convicted of a felony he absolutely committed (drunk driving), by making a colorful argument that the officer didn’t have any lawful reason to enter his garage. I say colorful, because let’s not forget, Weikert flashed his lights and shit at Lange well before he got to his garage, and Lange was fucking oblivious to it. So Lange essentially has to prove it was reasonable he wouldn’t notice a fucking cop on his tail with lights and siren going, and thus wasn’t fleeing arrest, which would be a felony, and thus would be cause for the officer to follow him into the garage to affect an arrest.

Lange’s attorney tried to argue officer’s should have let him close the door, and simply knocked on the front door and confronted him in that way, versus entering his garage.

Roberts, being unimpressed by this argument, responded:

Mr. Fisher, I’m trying to figure out, going back to what Justice Alito was saying, what circumstance where there is a genuine hot pursuit do you think would not justify a police officer, just on the basis of the pursuit, believing that the person was trying to hide something, trying to perhaps destroy evidence, whatever the cause, why wouldn’t that justify a — wouldn’t the nature of the pursuit itself create a sense of urgency?

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-18

What I find most interesting in this, is that Lange is 100% guilty AF of what the officer suspected—that is inarguable. The officer, by any account, acted in a way I think most people would if they were a cop, and ran into this situation. But, as a libertarian, you have to worry a little about cops just walking into a part of your home without a warrant.

Lange’s attorney’s argument isn’t ridiculous though, if there was a dangerous situation, such as he was driving drunk, it ended when he parked in the garage. So the danger was over. Now the question was whether a crime was committed, and how may the cop investigate it. Basically saying, once he parked, and the immediate threat was over, it’s time to get a fucking warrant.

Justice Gorsuch offered up some rather libertarian thoughts:

Neil Gorsuch

Good morning, counsel.

I think my colleagues have kind of pointed out two difficulties with your argument.

First, Justice Breyer points out that different states have different rules about what a felony is and what a misdemeanor is, and it would seem odd that the Constitution would—in its meaning, would depend upon the happenstance of positive state law.

And, second, we live in a world in which everything has been criminalized. And some professors have even opined that there’s not an American alive who hasn’t committed a felony under some state law. And in a world like that, why doesn’t it make sense to retreat back to the original meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which I’m going to oversimplify but generally says that you get to go into a home without a warrant if the officer sees a violent action or something that’s likely to be—lead to imminent violence? That’s vastly oversimplifying, but why isn’t that the right approach?

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-18

Justice Roberts wasn’t through questioning the limits of what officers can do. He went on to ask a philosophical question as to whether a cop who sees what they presume is a teenager drinking a beer outside with his bros, the budding alcoholic decides to skidaddle when the fuzz comes on scene, and then runs into the house before the rozzers get to him. Can the cop bust into the home to verify he is both a teen, and it was in fact alcohol he was drinking?

The heart of his argument being, how bad must the thing the person is doing be before a cop can justify warrantless entry. So he gave a very benign example of a misdemeanor being broken, an d a severe example of a cop busting down the door, hoping for the counselor to offer some sort of line where it’s OK, if they’re to argue it’s ever OK. We all know that a felony could give probable cause, but at the point the officer followed Lange, remember, all he saw was that he was rocking out, and playing his horn to the beat. Which, let’s be honest, is probably a fair sign the person is drunk, but still. Not obviously, so.

Justice Thomas was curious as to whether this “Meandering pursuit” as he called it, qualified as a “hot pursuit” under the law, which then invokes the hot pursuit rule, which would have allowed the officer to enter the home. But Counselor Rice was adamant that this still qualified as hot pursuit. When Justice Breyer also pushed her on this, she responded:

Amanda K. Rice

Hot pursuit only allows officers to enter a home, Justice Breyer, when the suspect makes the decision to bring a public encounter inside a home.

So a suspect can always avoid any intrusion into a home by deciding not to flee inside, particularly in these sorts of silly cases.

I think, as Chief Justice Roberts suggested, if the suspect nevertheless decides to flee into a home, those might be the very cases where something worse is actually afoot.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-18

Curiously, she’s arguing Lange chose to flee, even if it was at a snail’s pace. But that assumes he knew the cop was there and chose not to stop (you’ll occasionally hear that referred to as mens rea, knowing you’re doing something wrong, or your state of mind), when it seems he was fucking oblivious because he was hammered like a cheap prostitute.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS ruled for Lange. Pursuit of a fleeing misdemeanor suspect doesn’t create exigent circumstances that allow an officer to enter someone’s home without a warrant.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-18

Average Joe Scotus: Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee

In Arizona, people can vote in person or do early voting by mail-in ballot. Forget the mail-in ballots for a minute, we don’t give a fuck about those. The issue here is in-person voting.

You see, in Arizona, counties can decide between two different in-person voting systems. Precinct-based, or voting-center based. What’s the different you may ask?

In voting center based counties, you can go to any voting center in your county and vote, and you’ll be good to go. But in precinct-based counties, you have to go to your particular precinct to vote. So if someone shows up to the wrong precinct, they can cast a provisional vote, but if it’s later determined that this is the wrong precinct, your vote will be tossed in the trash can, even if you live in that county, are a legitimate eligible voter, and made a legitimate vote.

Apparently, 90ish% of the counties in Arizona use the precinct-based system, which hurts the feelings of the DNC. Their argument is that this precinct-based system that discards legitimate votes because they were merely cast in the wrong precinct violates the Voting Rights Act, because it will disproportionately affect minorities, such as the large Native American, Hispanic, and black communities in Arizona.

If I may wax philosophical for a moment, isn’t this pretty fucking racist from the DNC? It effectively argues that these communities are too stupid and pathetic, compared to their white counterparts, to know how to properly cast a vote. I’ve always found this shit insulting AF, even if there is some observational evidence supporting it.

Going REAL abstract, I tend to think this is more about the economic class of the voter, not the color of their skin or their ethnicity. If you’re poor, you’re likely to be less involved in the political process, because you’ve got other shit to worry about, like how you’re going to pay fucking rent.

Since history has not been kind to many minorities, they tend to disproportionately fit into the “poor” category, which then leads to the data to suggest they’ll be the ones getting their votes tossed more. But that’s not racism, that’s a social status issue.

Anyway, there’s a second part to this shit—Arizona HB2023. You see, in Arizona, there were groups who might pick up your ballot, like if you were older than the Grand Canyon, and couldn’t really go to a polling place or drop off location. Republicans, in 2016, passed this bill to criminalize people from picking up your votes for you (except family members, caregivers, mail carriers and election officials), with a two-year stint in the pokey, and a $150,000 fine on the table if someone does it, arguing fairly that it would just make it easier to tamper with people’s votes, since there’s now a more complicated chain of custody.

There was no evidence this occurred in Arizona, mind you, Republicans were just afraid it would. So this leads the racists in the DNC to argue the Republicans are racist (classic diversion tactic), which is probably true on both counts more often that it should be.

So SCOTUS is being asked to decide if the precinct-based system which tosses ballots, and HB2023 violate the Voting Rights Act.

Michael Carvin for the state of Arizona (and the GOP) was asked by Kavanaugh about his brief, where he claims “ordinary” regulations don’t violate the voting rights act. Carvin was quick to paint the Democrats as essentially arguing minorities couldn’t possibly be asked to leave their house, or it’s an unfair and biased ask, which of course is ludicrous, and he was hoping the justices see it that way.

Brett M. Kavanaugh

Your brief says, “Ordinary race-neutral regulations of the time, place, and manner of voting do not violate Section 2.” And that, of course, will put a lot of pressure on the word “ordinary.” Can you tell us how courts are supposed to distinguish ordinary regulations from extraordinary regulations?

Michael A. Carvin

Well, I think the way the Court has done it countless times in the Anderson/Burdick line of cases and in Crawford, what are the usual burdens of voting? This is not some mystery.

We have a long history of about how people go about voting. They show up at precincts and they cast a ballot.

That requires you to leave your house, but that’s not an ordinary burden of voting — that’s a usual burden of voting. Whereas the other side says, you can never have a system which requires anybody to leave their house.

They claim that they can’t find the precincts because of socioeconomic disparities. They claim that they can’t get to mailboxes because of socioeconomic disparities, which means that the state needs to allow partisan operatives to go collect the ballots.

Well, if that’s true, of course, that means that the only system that would satisfy their test is something where the government is sent house to house to collect the ballots. And I’m just saying that that can’t come with any rational definition of the usual burdens of voting, which is you register and you go cast your ballot.

And that is not a very difficult burden, and it’s certainly not a difficult burden here when 99.8 percent of minorities were able to find the right precinct.

In a 6:3 partisan vote, SCOTUS sides with Brnovich (Republicans), which I suppose was somewhat predictable. They deemed such precinct-based voting policies do not violate the Voting Rights Act, as they are not race based in any way, even if the DNC colorfully argues it will affect minorities more.
They also rejected the notion this creates some unusual burden to ensure they go to the right precinct. We live in an age where everyone has a smart phone or access to the internet, or at least access to someone who has the internet. Figuring out where to go in order to vote properly, is not some crazy difficult law.

The dissenters of course feel the majority essentially made a decision based on semantics, with no regard to ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to vote.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here
https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-1257

Average JOE SCOTUS: United States v. Arthrex, Inc.

Here’s a fun one. Imagine you’re applying for a patent, your patent will be reviewed by a team of Administrative Patent Judges (APJ). These people are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce, and and approved by the Director of the US patent office, similar to how the president appoints SCOTUS justices with review by the Senate. This was created as part of the 2012 America Invents Act.

Arthrex owned a patent for some medical device, and Smith & Nephew made something similar. So Arthrex sued Smith & Nephew, and Smith & Nephew fired back, asking the panel to review whether their gadget was even patentable. So these claims were subject to inter partes review, which is basically a fancy term meaning someone other than the patent holder challenged the legitimacy of the patent.

APJs reviewed Arthrex’s patent, and decided that their shit wasn’t patentable—win for Smith & Nephew. So then Arthrex was like, “We’ll show you, motherfuckers. We’re going to challenge your right to even fucking exist!”

You see, they argued that these APJs violate the constitution since they’re federal positions, where they can only be fired if they commit a crime basically, which Arthrex argues makes the “principal officers” and thus must be appointed by the president, and reviewed by the senate.

A circuit court agreed, and severed the part of the law that protects their tenure, and does allow for them to be fired, thus making them inferior officers, and no longer violating the appointments clause of the constitution.

All parties involved seemed bothered by this, because it removed Arthrex’s objection without providing relief, Smith & Nephew were pissed because the APJ decision was vacated, and the government was pissed because the court shit all over their statute.

Smith & Nephew along with the government say these APJs were always inferior because they are managed by the secretary of commerce, and director of the USPTO. But Arthrex is like, “Hey man, their decisions are final, and only reviewable by an appellate court. So sure they have fucking bosses, but if their decisions are final, they’re fucking principal officers.”

Counsel for Smith & Nephew came out swinging, that these APJs were already inferior officers. His opening salvo was:

Mark A. Perry

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: Arthrex’s proposal for a bright-line administrative review requirement rests on a single line from Edmond noting that the military judges couldn’t render a final decision unless permitted to do so by other executive officers. The Court in that sentence was not announcing a requirement for inferior officer status.

It was commenting on the narrow scope of CAAF review, which followed its observation that the JAG could not provide advance guidance to the military judges. In sharp contrast, the PTO director can and does give substantive guidance to APJs. He also has unilateral institution and assignment power, and he can order review of any board decision. Moreover, only the director takes final actions by confirming or canceling patent claims.

APJs can’t render any decision unless the director permits them to do so.

They are inferior officers.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-1434

Justice Thomas pushed counselor Perry to define the “test” as to what makes someone an inferior officer. The exchange went like this.

Clarence Thomas

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. What would be your test for whether someone is an — an inferior officer? The — it seems to be almost a totality of the circumstances.

Mark A. Perry

Justice Thomas, the — the — the principal officers sit at the right hand of the President.

They — the only ones this Court has recognized are the ambassadors and the cabinet officers, and the heads of agencies —

Clarence Thomas

Yes.

Mark A. Perry

— are one step removed. These individuals are three steps removed.

So, you know, the Secretary definitely is.

The director may be.

The APJs definitely are not.

And that’s the chain of command that the Court has described over and over again. That would be one test. The other, the — the Edmond totality- of-the-circumstances test is supervision and control.

And these officials are supervised and controlled in everything they do.

Clarence Thomas

And how much supervision and control are you talking about? Can it be partial supervision? Can it — does it have to be absolute supervision? I don’t — it’s really difficult to discern how much would be required under your test.

Mark A. Perry

Your Honor, the — the ultimate test is whether the President and his direct reports remain accountable for the operations of the agency.

So, if the Congress were to give total free reign to a — to a sleeper agent embedded within the agency, that might be a problem. But where the chain of command is preserved and the director and ultimately the Secretary and the President bear the responsibility and accountability, that is sufficient.

And the totality of the circumstances here show that the latter is the case with respect to the Patent Office.

Perry went on to argue how they are inferior to a separate question Justice Kavanaugh by saying:

The APJs do not cancel patents. The patent in this case is still valid. The board has declared it to be unpatentable, but the director has not canceled it. So, to this day, three years later, nothing has happened because the director, the politically appointed directly accountable to the President individual, has not taken the action specified by statute. The Congress has made a different determination here, but it is absolutely consistent with the dictates of the Appointments Clause.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/19-1434

In a narrow 5:4 decision, where Thomas sided with the left justices, SCOTUS sided with the United States. These APJs are unconstitutional. As such, Chief Justice Roberts required the director of the USPTO hold the ultimate authority to review a final outcome of such proceedings going forward.

Justice Thomas felt like it wasn’t for the court to solve, by making them have a boss, but instead, the court should have just ended the APJs altogether.

Average JOE SCOTUS: Cedar Point Nursery v Hassid

First things first, I fucking hate labor unions. They are the wart on America’s asshole. This case has done nothing to change my opinion of them. Nine years ago, I wrote about why I think they shouldn’t even be legal here. It’s a little dated, and I feel my writing and logical arguments are probably better know, so I should rewrite that shit. But anyway, moving on.

We all know those Californians loves them some fucking labor unions, and they have pretty favorable laws regarding those cunts (I use cunts in the British or Aussie way as a general pejorative, not the American way as a sexist attack on women. So back the fuck up off me with that noise). Well, Cedar Point Nursery owns a strawberry farm in California, and the United Farm Worker (UFW) cunts showed up on their land with bullhorns and shit, convincing some workers to come off their jobs and join protests, while most just kept on working. They are supposed to give notice ahead of the time, to let the site prepare for them, but they didn’t.

The issue here though, is that California law forces companies to allow such unions on to their property to talk to their employees, which is fucking bullshit, in a country that is supposed to have property rights, but I digress.

Cedar Point is challenging such laws under the fifth amendment, considering it an unlawful takings of property. Think of it this way, if the government can basically just tell the property owner they have no right to control who comes on their property, and can’t even charge the people money who come onto their property, the government is effectively taking control of their property.

Counsel for Cedar Point opened with:

Joshua P. Thompson

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court: An access easement that takes the right to enter, occupy, and use another’s private property effects a per se physical taking under the Fifth Amendment.

Any time limitations placed on access go towards the just compensation due, not whether a taking has occurred. The access regulation at issue in this case authorizes an easement on the property of Petitioners for the benefit of union organizers. Under the terms of the Access Regulation, organizers may occupy the businesses’ property for three hours each day, 120 days each year. This Court should hold that the taking of this easement violates the Fifth Amendment because it effects a physical taking without compensation, and the Court should so hold for two reasons. First, the appropriation of a real property interest triggers a categorical duty to compensate.

The Access Regulation authorizes the taking of a real property interest in the form of a continual right to occupy and use Petitioners’ property. And, second, at a more fundamental level, the Access Regulation denies Petitioners the right to exclude union organizers from their property.

Such an infringement on the most fundamental property right merits per se treatment. The Ninth Circuit, however, took a different tack.

It demoted the right to exclude to just another stick in the bundle and would give per se treatment only to those rare easements that authorize 24/7 occupation. Not even the Board supports that extreme rule.

But the Board offers no basis, much less a principled one, on which to distinguish access easements that merit per se treatment from those that don’t. If the government wants to take an access easement over private property, it has to pay for it.

Failure to pay just compensation violates the Takings Clause. I welcome the Court’s questions.

The Cedar Point people acknowledge that historically, such workers lived on the land, and thus, were really never able to be exposed to unions and shit, since they would never leave the property.

But now we have shit like internet and cars, and it’s pretty fucking easy for people to get info like this. Plus, most of those workers don’t live on the property anymore, presumably because others laws about being a landlord are a pain in the ass these days.

Not that I give a fuck about the California Board’s rules that support the union, but their argument is like, “Hey, we only come before and after work, and during lunch. That’s fair, isn’t it?”

Justice Barrett seemed to be willing to accept Cedar Point’s argument as absolute, when she opened this question at them.

So let me ask you this: What if California had a regulation that permitted union organizers to go onto the property of your clients one hour a day, one day a year.

Is that a taking subject to the per se rule?

Counsel agreed.

However, counsel had previously agreed that if people were living on the property, and didn’t have access to this info otherwise, he could see where such a rule allowing them onto the property could be an exception to a takings clause.  Barrett’s question was effectively saying, “I don’t even see how you allow that if you’re argument is true.”

Hard to tell if she believes in that absolutism, but if she does, I actually agree with her. Fuck those union pricks.

Once the California Board’s side stepped up, Justice Thomas had an interesting line of questioning.

Clarence Thomas

I’m quite interested in how related the inspection or the opportunity to be on private property has to do with the—how related does it have to be to the business operation. For example, could you have the exact same requirement, except during non-business hours for the property to be available for training of the — of the National Guard, for example, or the state police? Since it’s — since it’s open property, just simply say for three hours a day, not more than 120 days a year, but certainly not to interfere with the business, the state police could train there?

Counsel for California was of the opinion, this was very different, and would in fact be a violation of the property owner’s rights. But Thomas, seemingly unimpressed with that load of horse shit, pressed him that if the cops can’t come and train there after hours, why can the union come and agitate their workers after business hours.

Counsel salvaged himself by saying that the union workers are there on matters related to the work being done there, and to assist the workers, as opposed to the cops just using his land for their own personal gain.

In a 6:3 entirely partisan ruling, the conservative justices ruled in favor of Cedar Point Nursery, telling the labor unions to go eat a bag of dicks. This decision makes me want to cheer loudly. Fuck those labor union pricks in the ass. Government cannot force an employer to allow union assholes onto their property. Now fuck off with that noise.

I’m not even going to dignify the minority’s opinions with an explanation. Unions don’t deserve an ounce of such respect. It’s extortion and racketeering by any other name. Good riddance.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here.

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-107

Average Joe SCOTUS: Caniglia v. Strom

This dude Edward Caniglia was a bit of a drama queen. One night, after a particularly heated argument with his wife, he grabbed his gun, and started acting like he wanted her to kill him, or he was going to kill himself.

His wife Kim was like, “This mother fucker’s crazy. I’m out!” She left, and found some other place to stay for the night, leaving him to marinate in his craziness all on his own.

The next morning, she was like, “I wonder if he really did kill himself?”

So she called the cops, and together, they headed to the house to see if “Schroedinger’s husband” was dead or alive. Not only was he alive, he was fairly chill, and nothing untoward happened when confronted by the fuzz.

He admitted to the incident, so he was taken to a hospital for a psych evaluation. In the meantime, Officer Strom, under approval from his boss, but NOT under approval by Caniglia, took Caniglia’s guns out of the home, until Caniglia’s mental health issues were squared away.

Caniglia argued that he only agreed to go to the hospital if the cops pinky-promised not to take his guns. Strom and company were like, “Dude, he never said anything like that.”

Caniglia was never admitted, and doctors essentially determined he wasn’t crazier than a shithouse rat, and let him go. But, the cops weren’t so convinced, and continued to hold the Caniglia’s guns for a few months, until they finally got sick of his bitching and moaning and gave them back.

Once returned, you’d think that would be the end of it. But oh no. Caniglia was like, “No American should suffer an injustice like I did. So I’ll do the most American thing I can do, and sue these motherfuckers for violating my constitutional rights, maybe even get a little scratch for my troubles.” And so he did.

While it might seem like a violation of the fourth amendment on the face of it, which is what he was arguing, there is a “community caretaking” exemption recognized currently, where if officers are just trying to help someone, they can’t be considered to be violating your rights. Like, let’s say they see a guy beating up his wife inside a house, they can bust in and raid her without a warrant. Or if they knock on your door, and see you lying on the floor as if you’ve passed out or died, they can come in to rescue you. Shit like that.

Well, Strom and company are essentially arguing that this is an extension of that.

Chief Justice Roberts came out asking straight forward, “Imagine some old biddy was supposed to go to her neighbor’s house for dinner, and doesn’t show up. So the neighbor calls the fuzz and asks them to check on her, because she’s more reliable than the IRS. So the cops go to the house, knock on the door and get no answer, but the door is open, so they walk the fuck on in to make sure she’s OK. But then, she’s not even home, but walks in on the officers looking for her and is like, ‘WTF are you assholes doing in my home?’ Is that a violation she can sue for?”

Fair question, that Justice Thomas also pressed on, both seemingly looking for the line that’s crossed to make community caretaking turn into something that is a violation of the person’s rights.

Counsel for Caniglia had a pretty solid argument that there was no emergency situation here, in response to Justice Kagan, who asked:

Elena Kagan

You said that the Respondents here had waived the argument that this was a true emergency. Putting the waiver question aside, why wasn’t this a true emergency?

Shay Dvoretzky

Justice Kagan, the only basis that the officers had for thinking that Mr. Caniglia was potentially suicidal was a statement that he made the night before.

But 12 hours had passed since that statement.

He was in the home with the guns during that time, nothing had happened, and the officers said that when they spoke with Mr. Caniglia, he seemed calm, normal, and polite. Those circumstances don’t make out an emergency that requires immediate action without involving a mental health professional, a neutral decision maker, and so forth, rather than just the officer’s discretion.

His argument being, if there was an emergency twelve hours ago, he had all that time to kill himself, and didn’t do it. While the officers may have just operated under the “better safe than sorry” principle, in this instance, that’s still a violation of his rights.

Counsel for Strom, takes a very liberal view of community caretaking. Take this hypothetical from Justice Barrett:

Amy Coney Barrett

Let’s talk about how far this exception might go because, obviously, there’s a lot of concern about it being an umbrella for a lot of sorts — lots of different things. Let’s say that in a town with a high rate of COVID infections, police look through the window and they can see a lot of people gathered together that are not wearing masks. Can they enter?

Marc Desisto

Yes.

As you can see, Strom’s side is more than willing to come into your home, if they think they can imagine just about any cause which involves enforcing the law to save lives, which is frankly, somewhat scary.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS sided with liberty. The “community caretaking” exception does not extend to the home. While they agreed, officers may assist someone by entering into their home sans warrant, they can’t seize shit while they’re there, though.

Hear oral arguments and read about the case here

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-157

and here

Average Joe SCOTUS: TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez

Sergio Ramirez and his wife went to buy a car. And by buy, I mean, finance one. In order to get a loan, they of course, had to fill out a credit report. Problem for Sergio, was that his name was on a terrorist list from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). Let me be clear, Sergio himself was innocent AF, but his NAME was on a list. Presumably, some other douchebag Sergio Ramirez was the problem, not this Sergio.

As such, the banks can’t loan him shit as a matter of law. So they ended up buying the car in the wife’s name, and going on about their lives.

A day later though, Sergio was like, “WTF, man? I need to look into this.” So he obtained a copy of the report from TransUnion. Ramirez being worried this might fuck some shit up, canceled a trip he had planned to Mexico, fearing he might not be able to return.

Eventually, he got Trans Union to fix the issue, so his name was no longer flagged. But he was still pretty pissed off about the whole thing, and decided to sue in federal court, and started a class action (where a bunch of people sue as a group), as he felt this whole thing was a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).

Here’s the thing. In a previous case,  Spokeo v. Robins, SCOTUS ruled that in order to sue, you have to show damages. You can’t just sue because you’re pissed off your rights were violated. You have to show that the violation harmed you in some way. So that’s sort of what’s at issue here. Maybe Sergio can show he was harmed because he couldn’t buy a car. But all the people in the class action may have had no harm at all. They were just wrongly on a list, and once removed off that list, would be perfectly fine.

So TransUnion is saying, “Hey look at Spokeo. A lot of these assholes didn’t have anything bad happen to them. It was just an honest mistake. We don’t owe them shit, and they shouldn’t even be able to sue us.” In TransUnion’s argument, they basically said a majority of these assholes were merely sent a letter telling them of their placement on the list, which gives them an opportunity to correct it, if it’s wrong. That’s not harm being done to them, and therefore they shouldn’t be able to sue.

Ramirez colorfully argues, “We all suffered the same injury. You motherfuckers called us terrorists, when we’re not.” He’s going for a defamation argument, basically.

The US government also argued in this case, from a somewhat middle ground. They agree Ramirez and company were ass-raped. But they think the lower courts failed to consider properly how Ramirez claimed his “injuries” were typical, and thus shouldn’t be part of a larger class action. They should sue individually, based on their individual damages, and if they weren’t harmed, then they should politely go fuck themselves.

In a narrow 5:4 ruling where Thomas, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan dissented, SCOTUS ruled in favor of TransUnion. Only someone who can show real fucking damages, not some petty shit like their feelings were hurt, can sue for damages. Specifically, they have to show they suffered real harm, that the injury was traceable to WTF the plaintiff did, and that an award of damages can make fairly reward them.

Of the 8185 people in the class action, only 1853 were affected by it, and have standing to sue. The other people are in a “No harm no foul” situation, and go fly a kite.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here

https://www.oyez.org/cases/2020/20-297