Tag Archives: logical libertarian

Average JOE SCOTUS: San Antonio v. Hotels.com, L.P.

So the history of this case, is that San Antonio loves their taxes. Online travel companies (OTCs) will help you book a hotel room, then charge you a small fee for arranging everything. San Antonio has a tax on occupancy fees, which basically means, that you have to pay a tax on the hotel’s fee if you stay in a hotel room.

However, San Antonio was also applying that tax to the OTCs fees. So the OTCs were like, “WTF, San Antonio?” Aren’t you part of Texas, the land of the free and lower taxes? Why you fucking us up the ass like this? Our fees are brokerage fees, not fees for them occupying a hotel room.”

So the OTCs sued, and won, and San Antonio was no longer taxing their fees.

In America, if you go to court, it’s generally assumed that you pay for your attorney, and I’ll pay for mine. Well, the OTCs were like, “We’re glad you sided in our favor and all, but we racked up millions of dollars in legal expenses fighting this shit, and we think you should have to pay that too.”

Within this framework is Federal Rule 39. As laid out by SCOTUSBLOG, it says:

Subsection (a) describes who should pay the costs, explaining in relevant part that “unless the law provides or the court orders otherwise … if a judgment is reversed, costs are taxed against the [losing party].” Subsection (e), in turn, provides that “[t]he following costs on appeal are taxable in the district court for the benefit of the party entitled to costs under this rule,” and then lists four types of costs that are available: costs of preparing the record, costs of preparing the transcript, the fee for filing the notice of appeal, and premiums associated with any bond pending appeal. Posting an appeal bond allows a defendant who loses in the district court to prevent the plaintiff from executing on the judgment while the appeal is pending.

The original costs and filing fees were $350k, and San Antonio agreed to pay that. But then, the OTCs dropped $2M in premiums on the appeals, and San Antonio was like, “Wait a fucking minute, we ain’t paying that.” Based on the rule above, even though the district court kinda saw San Antonio’s points as valid, as to why they shouldn’t be on the hook for that two million, they felt the rule dictated they had to award the OTCs. It does say “taxed against the losing party” after all.

These arguments are petty and procedural at best. San Antonio is arguing that “Hey, long ago, rule 39 had mandatory wording that said, “Shall be taxed” but now the wording is “taxable” which seems to indicate they meant to leave it up to the court’s discretion.

But the OTCs argue that this language merely means that the district court is where the tax should be applied.

In a unanimous decision, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hotels.com. Let freedom fucking ring. Texas is on the hook for all these fees. Rule 39 allows appellate courts to determine the costs for appeals, and so they did. Which means that they were within their power to make Texas pay for the costs they determined were reasonable for Hotels.com to claim.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.


Average JOE SCOTUS: Minerva Surgical Inc. v. Hologic Inc.

Ever heard of something called “Patent Assignor Estoppel (PAE)”? Well, neither have I. But that’s what this case is about. It goes like this.

Dr. Csaba Truckai invented procedures and devices called NovaSure to help women with abnormal bleeding during menstruation. He filed for a patent, so that means he argued at that time, that what he did was a valid patent claim. He owned a company called NovaCept when he filed for the patent, thus why it’s NovaSure.

Since then, he sold off NovaCept, presumably because he blew all his money on hookers and blow, and eventually founded Minerva Surgical. NovaCept is now owned by Hologic Inc.

Dr. Truckai, while at Minerva, basically came up with the same basic shit he had when he was at NovaCept, and so new owners Hologic were like, “Hey, we fucking own this patent. You can’t be doing that shit, pal. We paid good money for this.”

This is where it gets fun. According to long held SCOTUS precedent, “patent assignor estoppel” basically says, if you filed a patent years ago, you fucking argued in your heart of hearts, that it was a justifiable example of something deserving of a patent, and you were awarded one. So you can’t come back years later, when you no longer own the fucking patent, and act like it’s bullshit, since you were the same motherfucker who argued it was legit years ago.

But, Dr. Truckai, apparently incapable of any more original thoughts, really wants to do this procedure he invented years ago, so he’s trying to say the whole concept of Patent Assignor Estoppel is bullshit, because the patent act says, invalidity “shall be” a “defense in any action involving the validity or infringement of a patent.” As such, he thinks that means, the whole PAE thing is wrong, and he should be free to challenge that shit if he wants.

As you may recall, we also discussed “Stare decisis” (pronounced star-ay), which is also a SCOTUS top ten hit. It means,  “to stand by things decided.” This means that in order to maintain consistency in the law, SCOTUS tends to not do something one way, then do it different another day. So once they set a precedent, they stick to it, unless they REALLY think it’s wrong.

So that basically means Dr. Truckai is unlikely to win this shit.

Minerva also claims that back in 1969, case Lear, Inc. v. Adkins ended a similar precedent, patent licensee estoppel, which basically prevented a licensee to challenge a validity of something it licensed.

Third, they contend that Hologic broadened the scope of the patent, and therefore, he’s challenging that broader scope, not the original patent he filed.

Basically, he’s throwing the whole book at them, and hoping one of them sticks, because again, apparently, he’s a one hit wonder and he knows it.

In a surprisingly 5:4 decision, SCOTUS sided with Minerva Surgical. They argued that claims can be barred to estoppel, but don’t have to be. Basically, if this dipshit argues a wholly new reason for invalidating his own patent, that he couldn’t have or wouldn’t have known when he argued for the patent, he is OK to make that argument.

The dissenters basically were like, “You fence riding motherfuckers are rewriting this decision without invalidating the other precedents from before. Well done, you fucking cowards. If you want to invalidate the precedent, just fucking do it. Don’t dance around it like this.”

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.


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.


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


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


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


Average Joe SCOTUS: National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston

OK, folks. This is the one everyone is talking about. Back in 1984, the Supreme Court in NVAA v. Regents of the University of Oklahoma struck down a TV deal the NCAA had, arguing it was a monopoly. Within that ruling, according to SCOTUSBlog, they stated that “NCAA rules that are reasonably related to preserving amateurism in college sports” promote competition and should be “upheld against antitrust challenge”

So the NCAA allows students to be paid via scholorships, and other modest rewards, but they may not get an actual paycheck, cash, expensive gifts, etc.

However, the players, who are often offered money, and by rule aren’t allowed to take it, filed suit, in which they said, “Fuck that!” Specifically, they argued they’re being denied fair-market compensation, which is, in their view, also an antitrust situation.

The NCAA of course, argues this will destroy competition, as the richer schools will end up destroying the lesser schools by offering the best athletes more money to come to their school. Without a salary cap and a draft such as what exists in the NFL, it’s probably a fair point.

The NCAA also colorfully argues that the NCAA (are you sitting down) isn’t a commercial venture at all, but instead, merely an association designed to promote sports as a means of bettering education for many who may not otherwise get the chance to go to college. I’m curious how they can say this with a straight face, since they generate a billion in revenue.

They support this by saying, “Look at the way we require schools to have specific sports, many of them they don’t even fucking want, and cost them way more money than they generate in revenue.” We here at Logical Libertarian give them the creative writing award for this.

The athletes of course, write a billion dollars on a piece of paper and were like, “Not a commercial venture, huh? That’s what they make. You know anyone who makes a billion dollars that isn’t a commercial venture?” *mic drop*

In arguments for the NCAA counsel Waxman was asked by Justice Thomas whether there was a limit to coaches income, since they’re also technically in “amateur” sports. But Counsel Waxman advised that there had been a separate 10th circuit case, Law v. NCAA, which ruled that coaches are professionals, like professors and shit, and not amateur student athletes, and therefore, their salaries may not be limited without having anti-trust issues.

In a brief moment of levity, when counsel Waxman responded to Justice Thomas, he said, “Well, Mr. Chief Justice…” to which Clarence Thomas replied, “Thank you for the promotion, by the way.” As they were laughing about the mistake, counsel Waxman decided to brown nose a bit, and state he was sure Justice Thomas would be quite good at that. But not to be excluded from the party, the actual Chief Justice John Roberts chimed in, “There’s no opening, Mr. Waxman.”

In the decision heard ’round the country, SCOTUS unanimously sided with Alston (the student athletes). These restrictions do violate anti-trust laws, and therefore must be struck down. So these students are about to get paid, and I suppose time will tell if it ruins colleges, collegiate sports, and all the other grand claims made by the opposition. Grab a beer and enjoy the show.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.


Average Joe SCOTUS: Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation

You like drama? Well, here’s some drama. Back in 1971, trying to do something to be nice to native Americans, Congress enacted the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). This law created Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). The ANCs are for-profit companies, within the native American community, that exist to help native Americans. But, they are not a tribe with a recognized government.

In 1975, congress created the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA). The purpose of this, was to give power back to the Native American’s to manage their own fucking affairs, instead of Uncle Sam doing it for them. Since Native Americans and Uncle Sam have a troubled history, seems like a nice thing to do.

Within the ISDA, it defines an “Indian tribe” as “any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation as defined in or established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688), which is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians.”

So then along comes COVID, and it’s myriad of government actions to help people out, including native Americans. Within that law, they set aside money to help any Native Americans as defined in the ISDA.

In 1994, congress passed a List Act, forcing the Bureau of Indian Affairs to publish an annual list of tribes eligible for special benefits set aside for native Americans.

Here’s the drama part. ANCs aren’t in that definition above. You could creatively argue they are, but the text doesn’t really say they are.

So, since it’s a limited resource, all the other native tribes are like, “Hey motherfucker, the ANCs are not fucking tribes, and therefore they shouldn’t get a slice of our pie. They’re for-profit companies who are already making bank. They don’t need this money, but we do!” Basically, they’ve got beef with ANCs because they’re corporations to help the native American tribes, not the tribes themselves.

But the ANCs are like, “Dude, seriously? This is relief meant for native Americans, we’re native Americans, and the text is pretty easy to argue it includes us, even if we’re not specifically named. So go fuck yourself.”

A district court sided with the ANCs, despite them traditionally not being considered a tribe, since the text seems to pretty clearly include them, even if not explicitly listed. But then the DC Court of Appeals was like, “the text is the text motherfuckers. If congress had wanted to help the ANCs in the Cares act, they should have fucking mentioned them specifically.

Counsel for the government, who wants to help the ANCs, was like, “In that definition above, they say ” including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation,” and then go on to say, ” recognized as eligible for the special programs.” We agree that the ANCs aren’t typically recognized as tribes. But if we’re to believe these dumb cunts across the aisle, they’re saying congress included us in the first part of that definition, only to exclude us in the last part of it? Give me a fucking break! How fucking dumb to you have to be to come to that conclusion?”

During Breyer’s questions, he struggled to understand how ANCs were included, since they typically are not considered tribes. But counsel Guarnieri pointed out that in other laws, when congress has mentioned the ISDA definition, it has went on to exclude the the ANCs, which only makes sense if they believe the definition included them by itself. Otherwise, why exclude them if they’re not included in the first place? Justice Breyer was like, “thanks bro, makes total sense now.”

Justice Sotomayor decided to have a completely separate issue. Apparently worried about rocking the boat, she asked:

How do we rule in a narrow way that affects only the CARES Act and not the many other acts that are involved where ISDA mentioned the Johnson-O’Malley Act, the Snyder Act, which I think is now the Indian Health Improvement Act, and the Transfer Act?

Basically she was like, “If we side with you, this will affect like a million other laws and shit, because we’ll be redefining what the fuck qualifies as an Indian tribe for the purposes of all federal legislation.

In a non-partisan 6:3 decision, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Yellen (Secretary of the Treasury). As such, the ANCs are Indian Tribes under ISDA, and entitled to those benefits.

Hear oral arguments or read about the case here.