Archive for June, 2007

The Supreme Court On Drugs (June 25, 2007)

Posted in Drugs, Law, Society, Supreme Court on June 25, 2007 by

“This is your Supreme Court.  This is your Supreme Court on Drugs.”  In Morse v. Frederick, 551 U.S. ___ (2007), some members of the Supreme Court revealed that they are on drugs.  The facts in the case are inane.  An undisputed adult (over 18 years of age) in Juneau, Alaska raised a vacuous sign to attract attention to him while some parade came through town.  How distinctly American.  DON’T TREaD ON ME or BONG HiTS FOR JESUS or something like that.  What it says isn’t exactly clear.  The Jesus reference must mean that it is a protected religious statement.  “Big whoop,” was the typical reaction of most of the kids.  The school principal reacted by over-reacting.  Let the motivated lad experience his 15 seconds (or 1.5 seconds) of fame.  Go on with life.

Not in America.  Roberts is the fellow who employed a Republican baseball analogy when he bamboozled the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearing.  He talked about playing the role of an umpire and neutrally calling balls and strikes.  He lied.  In another decision issued today that involves the rights of the wealthy to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections, Umpire John announced that when the “First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker,” Federal Election Comm’n v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. ___ (2007) (slip op., at 21) and that “when it comes to defining what speech qualifies as the functional equivalent of express advocacy…we give the benefit of the doubt to speech, not censorship.”  ( Id. at 29).  The tie, if it was even close, should have gone to the speaker in Juneau.  Thomas makes some compelling statements about the lack of order, respect and discipline in schools today, but the observations have nothing to do with the case.

The Court expresses solicitude for the kids and their vulnerable adolescent sensitivities.  What some of the Supremes are unable to fathom let alone even comprehend is that kids in their teens are especially sensitive to hypocrisy and dishonesty and condescension and arrogance in adults.  Hypocrisy and dishonesty are among the very traits that define adulthood in America.  The case allowed a few Justices with far too few life experiences to write essays revealing their fears and demons and anxieties.  Dope is not good; booze is far, far, far worse.  Don’t confuse the issues.  It was a simple First Amendment case.  Don’t be hypocritical and dishonest and condescending and arrogant.  You are not paid by the word.  The Ninth Circuit decision could have been upheld in a few paragraphs.  The principal should have been afforded qualified immunity under the circumstances; running a school is a thankless task.  The Court’s new First Amendment test is two-fold:  1) who is making the expression and 2) what is being expressed.  That is not what the Founding Fathers intended.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Celebrate the right to give offense

A Suit Over A Suit (June 18, 2007)

Posted in Law, Society on June 18, 2007 by

A suit over a suit.  Not by Bobby Bork this time.  By an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia who raised an issue in the courts that he should have taken up with his therapist.  He brought a much publicized suit over losing not his shirt but his pants.  He took the pants to be pressed and they were lost or mislaid.  The matter should have been resolved in a few minutes with a few dollars.  Something is wrong when the civil legal system cannot resolve matters in a much more just, speedy and inexpensive way.  Roy Pearson, the troubled fellow, is likely to do the American thing and appeal.

In the Scooter Libby trail, a dozen individuals allowed to teach at profitable law schools in America were paid handsomely by the Republican Party to say that Scooter is a hip White guy who should be allowed to go on the lecture circuit pending appeal and a pardon by Bush.  In his order allowing the boys to share their thoughts, Judge Reggie Walton notes in a footnote:

“It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the court on behalf of a criminal defendant.  The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics’ willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of this nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.”

The Dirty Dozen include our friend Bobby Bork, Alan Dershowitz, Vikram Amar, Randy Barnett, Viet Dinh, Douglas Kmiec, Robert Pushaw, Richard Parker, Gary Lawson, Thomas Merrill, Earl Maltz, and Robert Nagel.  They should be appointed to handle the appeal for the Chungs pro bono.  However, that is the rub.  These boys will say or do anything, but they must be paid.  Appoint them anyway and hold them in criminal contempt if they fail to handle the matter.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Get a life

Et tu, Bobby? (June 11, 2007)

Posted in Law, Society, Supreme Court on June 11, 2007 by

Et tu, Bobby?  Bobby Bork filed a frivolous lawsuit?  Tell me it isn’t so.  It is so.  So hypocritical and dishonest and unseemly.  His frivolous lawsuit is even a matter of public record.  In print.  In black and white.  You could look it up.  He actually filed a lawsuit in federal court.  And demanded to mulct the defendant for punitive damages.

There he was making the big bucks on the lecture circuit discussing the number of frivolous lawsuits filed in America each year.  Bork claims in his frivolous lawsuit that when he tried to approach the lectern, he found no stairs to climb onto the dais which was of “unreasonable height.”  The sneer quotation marks are his.  That’s a no brainier, as they say.  If it is unreasonable to act, don’t act unreasonably.  Don’t mount the dais.  Everything that happens from that time forward is Bob’s fault.

Bork was defeated for the Supreme Court twenty years ago.  He is one of the darlings of the Federalist Society which believes that too many frivolous lawsuits are filed each year.

The federal judge handling his case should show Bobby the respect he does not appear to show himself.  Put him out of his misery and shame.  Dismiss the lawsuit and address serious matters.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Stop Frivolous Lawsuits

Public Housing For Paris And Scooter (June 4, 2007)

Posted in Prison/Criminology on June 4, 2007 by

America warehouses far too many Americans, particularly Black and Brown citizens, in prison.  However, there are some White hooligans who should be afforded some publicly-financed down time.  Sending a Black (or Brown) kid to prison has a negligible deterrent effect on the kid and on other young Black (or Brown) kids.  By contrast, sending one White guy to prison has a tremendous deterrent effect on the individual and on White society.  Sending a corporate executive, politician, lobbyist or inside trader to prison triggers tremendous fear, anxiety and reflection in the White community.  The sentence dominates conversation on the links and in the locker room.

Paris, the amateur porn star and celebrity who is famous just for being famous, earned a spot in the pokey.  Scooter is scheduled to be scooted off to the hoosegow, although Bush will pardon him.  Charles Colson, one of Nixon’s buddies, left prison committed to serious prison reform.  Perhaps the “Paris and Scooter Foundation” may undertake much needed prison reform in America (

While we are at it, Sandy Berger also should have done some down time for his theft of documents, but he too is White and well connected and well above the law.

Bumper sticker of the week:

If you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime