“Adding extra penalties to a crime based upon the offender’s motive or prejudicial statements is an unconstitutional abridgement of free expression. … Proponents of hate crime laws have attempted to compare the need for hate crime laws with the need for laws against discrimination. On the other hand, some have noted that civil rights laws target discriminatory behavior, not the prejudice behind the behavior.” (Encyclopedia of American Law)
I owe the reader a precision. The first sentence has been cut to express my full endorsement of the idea and this is not the current state of the law. The original sentence is “Critics of hate crime statutes argue that adding extra penalties to a crime etc.”
One Repeal to Freedom: Terminating the Civil Rights Acts
The most conspicuous, when the Acts are repealed, is that nothing will be changed. The fair employment section has not desegregated the workplace and the fair housing act has not desegregated neighborhoods–as far as those for whom these acts were allegedly passed, the Negroes, are concerned.
“Civil rights are statutory protections against discrimination, enacted by legislative bodies to regulate activities in the private sector. … Civil liberties are the rights we have against the state, that is, against government.” (S. Kennedy & D. Schultz, American Public Service, 2011)
The Threat of Standing Armies
(Completes The People in Arms in Law 14.)
The second amendment has three functions: (1) To defend against a tyrannical government
Assuming a tyrannical government is what Scalia calls “public violence” in the phrase (protecting oneself against) “both public and private violence,” and that to defend against it is to defend against its army, can it be done by the militias as known from the statutes?
The National Guard is “under the dual control of the state governments and the federal government”: If one of the two controlers is the tyrannical government, the National Guard cannot act as a defense against it unless it splits from the tyrannical controler. If the two controlers are together, the National Guard can do nothing.
State Defense forces are under state control. They cannot defend against a tyrannical government if the state in question supports said government or is the tyrannical government.
These are not militias but integral parts of the governments that the Constitution suspects of possible “public violence” and tyranny, and therefore the legislative acts are best described as maneuvers to empty out an important constitutional object.
Why did the Founders fear standing armies? Standing armies are made of the scum of society (Montesquieu already said so, why would it be different today?) so in the final analysis what you’ve got is a scum bureaucracy and a political lobby of the scum, which is gathered in a mass and thus can develop a scum class consciousness (contrary to tertiary sector workers, completely atomized). Add police to this brutish illiterate organized element and, beside big business (Delaware Inc. [see below]), you’ve got the most prominent political lobby in the state.
The Republican Party is their mouthpiece now –them plus small business. What blue collars? The jobs are outsourced in China– which platforms therefore ask both for small government and large armed forces: a banana republic.
So much so that, seeing this farce, some true conservatives have been forced to flee to a third party, the Libertarians, even though, as I wrote elsewhere (Law 10), a two-party system is better than a multi-party system.
The Republican Party’s platforms vindicate both small government and large armed forces. Small business, bosses and employees alike, the former due to their opposition to red tape, the later out of resentment against functionaries’ entitlement, calls for small government. The praetorians call for large armies.
The Democratic Party’s platforms are dictated by the technostructure, which is compounded of big business and state bureaucracy.
When this or that politician emphatically declamates that the army is the most desegregated institution in the states, it’s a bloody sarcasm on racial minorities. More desegregated is only… prisons. What is it they gloat over?
In my opinion professional soldiers should never be called veterans. It must be reserved to drafted civilians.
The figures of military outsourcing in the U.S. (Titan Corporation etc) are now staggering and these companies’ employees most probably never get called veterans no matter where they go.
Biden has spent his career making it difficult to wipe out debt via bankruptcy. Biden is from Credit Card Company-run Delaware. (Patrick Howley, journalist)
Oh Biden is from Delaware… Recently I read this on Delaware:
“Most American corporations are incorporated in Delaware and … most Delaware cases of corporation law are done in front of professional judges [Delaware Court of Chancery, an equity court], not jury laymen.” (De Geest, American Law: A Comparative Primer, 2020)
I apologize for putting Howley’s “credit cart company run-Delaware” description in its true light, which is that it’s not even half the picture, since “Most American corporations are incorporated in Delaware and … most Delaware cases of corporation law are done in front of professional judges, not jury laymen.”
Delaware is the incorporation state of “most American corporations” so they can avoid litigation via popular juries.
Therefore, the item Howley lays down from Biden’s record (making it difficult to wipe out debt via bankruptcy) must have a more accurate reason, which is, in my opinion, that Delaware is the state of big corporation interests and it’s small business owners who need accommodating bankruptcy laws. Big corporations have an interest in holding small business by the throat.
The Mexican Flag As Gown
North Carolina student denied diploma after wearing Mexican flag over graduation gown.
Here’s the story.
“Livestreamed video footage from the ceremony shows the principal ask him to take the flag off. After an unsuccessful attempt to take it off, he was handed his diploma holder, which the other students also received. But after walking across the stage, he was denied his actual diploma.”
“This incident is not about the Mexican flag,” the school said, adding they “strongly support [their] students’ expression of their heritage.” But “school dress code allows decoration only on graduation cap.”
Then, “In a statement to ABC News on Sunday, … High School said that Lopez’s diploma has been available for pick up since Friday and that an apology has never been requested, expected or required.”
With title “North Carolina student denied diploma after wearing Mexican flag over graduation gown,” the author of the paper seemingly intends to make of this story a civil liberties issue, whereas it is a dress code issue, and when you read till the end, of course the student’s got his diploma: he can pick it up at the school and the school has not even asked for an apology for the decoration day’s dress code breach.
The facts: E. Lopez wore the flag of Mexico over his graduation gown at decoration day. The principal who was to hand the diploma asked him to remove the flag because it was a breach of the school’s dress code for decoration day, upon which demand Lopez tried to comply but had difficulty removing the flag, so the principal handed the diploma nevertheless, finding Lopez’s wish to comply compliant enough. However, someone else from the school staff, after he had walked across the stage, thought differently and took the diploma back. This caused some outrage and a small demonstration took place in the next days. The school explained that the sanction had nothing to do with the flag but with a breach of dress code, that the diploma was available at the school for Lopez to pick it up, and that the school was not asking him an apology. The sanction was therefore simply that his diploma was withheld a few days by school officials, which seems quite fair and the school could have asked for an apology in the bargain without making a disproportionate demand, I find.
A paper was released (attached to a video from decoration day) with title “North Carolina student denied diploma after wearing Mexican flag over graduation gown.”
I wonder whether the word “denied” is not misleading and I would really like to know how other readers interpreted it. The diploma was retained a few days, does it justify the use of the word “denied”? On the other hand, Lopez did not get his diploma that day so he was denied the diploma that day, sure; still, he was not denied the diploma more than a few days…
The first thing that came to my mind when reading the headline (I’m not an American citizen and for a moment I overlooked the narrower meaning of the word diploma in English) is that E. Lopez was denied his degree, that is, the school authorities canceled his studies because of his wearing a foreign flag on his gown at decoration day, as if they had found it a seditious act. We all know the issue with flags is sensitive, Republicans tried to make burning or otherwise defiling the Stars and Stripes a criminal offense (the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional, so they tried to amend the Constitution, no less), so for a moment I thought school authorities had reacted in a hugely disproportionate way (the Supreme Court grants school authorities extensive prerogatives so why not?). I had been reading about Mexico’s President Vicente Fox urging, in his times, Mexican migrants to keep Mexico’s interest at heart when they vote in the U.S., so perhaps the climate in the school was marred by ethnic tensions and the authorities would have seized the opportunity and used the power that is bestowed upon them to make an example, treating the case as sedition and canceling the kid’s study years in a snap.
After I cooled down I knew it was only about the paper document, but still to “deny” Lopez this document, like forever, would have been disproportionate.
Then I found out the document was only withheld a few daysand I think it is all set (and the school could even have asked for an apology in my opinion). I said this was a mere dress code issue and not a civil liberties issue but this is not accurate: a dress code issue may well be a civil liberties issue, as is known since Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969): “The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, did not permit a public school to punish a student for wearing a black armband as an anti-war protest, absent any evidence that the rule was necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others.”
The school authorities may have been quite lenient with Lopez because they had this Supreme Court’s decision in mind and not only because of possible diplomatic consequences or out of political correctness.
“Not liberty, but Dominion”
« (President John Quincy Adams) continued, America “goes not abroad in search of enemies to destroy.” If America embarked upon such a course she would “involve herself beyong the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” In prophetic words, Adams added, “The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force … She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.” Adams summed up America’s achievement in these words: “(Her) glory is not dominion, but liberty.” » (Claes G. Ryn, America the Virtuous, 2003)
“Not dominion, but liberty,” President Quincy Adams said. Now it seems that Americans are going to have “not liberty, but Dominion” (Dominion Voting Systems).
The very word Dominion should be abhorrent to Americans, for two reasons.
1/ In this major presidential speech from 1821 (the “not dominion, but liberty” speech) President Adams was reaffirming the tradition, set up by Washington in his farewell address, of avoiding entanglement in international relations, of avoiding it for the very sake of America’s greatness.
2/ Pursuant to the same ideal, America advocated nations’ right of self-determination in a time when the British and other European countries had world empires with dominions, allegedly “self-governing” colonies. That is to say the word dominion runs into the idea of self-determination.
The Faceless Against Hate
Justin Trudeau: Freedom of expression isn’t “freedom to hate.”
That’s the true state of Canadian law, where faceless bureaucrats (of whom Trudeau is but the mouthpiece) decide what is hate and what is not, and what citizens, writers, intellectuals, journalists are allowed to say.
That a few states be added to the territory over which the Union is sovereign, is long overdue. If the U.S. does not consider it seriously or keeps accepting such a sham, such a parody of democracy at his border, then the Union will not be able to maintain its freedoms for long because its sense of freedom will be eroded by the deceptive idea that a country can be mocking and trampling liberties as Canada does and still be a legitimate model of Western democracy.
Before the internet people had no idea, but I fear the internet is not going to make Canadians ask for the same freedoms as their neighbor and rather that American faceless bureaucrats will press Congress and courts to curtail American freedoms, legitimized by the Canadian example.
I fear the internet is not going to make Canadians ask for the same freedoms as their neighbor, precisely because their system is locked up. People do not decide what subjects are open to debate, Canadians are not allowed to ask “freedom to hate,” that would be, as the faceless bureaucrats construe it, to stand against the state, that would be sedition.
You might say Trudeau is the face of the “faceless,” after all. As much as a conservative prime minister would. They are called faceless no matter who is “in charge” because, in a lockep up system, the people cannot look at bureaucracy as in a mirror. Their dictates are promises made to lobbies behind closed doors; and while they hardly ever show up on political platforms, yet repressive laws are piling up.
Flag Desecration Amendments Galore
Whereas in most countries flag desecration is a criminal offense punishable with prison, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a statute prohibiting burning and otherwise defiling the Stars and Stripes.
Therefore, since Texas v. Johnson, 1989, in order to make it a criminal offense like elsewhere U.S. lawmakers need a constitutional amendment.
« There have been several proposed Flag Desecration Amendments to the Constitution of the United States that would allow Congress to enact laws to prohibit flag desecration:
Douglas Applegate (Ohio) in 1991
Spencer Bachus (Alabama) in 2013
Steve Daines (Montana) in 2019
Robert Dornan (California) in 1991
Bill Emerson (Missouri) in 1991, 1993, 1995
Randy Cunningham (California) in 1999, 2001, 2003,
Jo Ann Emerson (Missouri) in 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013
John P. Hammerschmidt (Arkansas), 1991
Orrin Hatch (Utah) in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2013
Andrew Jacobs Jr. (Indiana) in 1995
Joseph M. McDade (Pennsylvania) in 1989, 1995, 1996
Clarence E. Miller (Ohio) in 1991
John Murtha (Pennsylvania) in 2007
Ron Paul (Texas) in 1997, but he opposed any federal prohibition of flag desecration, including his own Flag Desecration Amendment which he proposed only as a protest against proposals by his Congressional colleagues, such as Emerson and Solomon, to ban flag desecration through ordinary legislation instead of by Constitutional Amendment.
Gerald B. H. Solomon (New York) in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997
Floyd Spence (South Carolina) in 1991
David Vitter (Louisiana) in 2009 »
(Wikipedia: Flag Desecration)
To think that lawmakers are so obstinate, they must have plenty of time to waste. But this is no surprise; as I always say, it takes independent judges tenured for life to defend free speech, whereas elected officials are always against free speech.
The People in Arms
(Completes the section Second Amendment of Law 13.)
When one reads in the Second Amendment that militias are necessary to a free state, these are strong words and one cannot read it as “a standing army is necessary to a free state,” especially because the Constitution also has measures about the army (Article I, Section 8, clause 12) and the amendment does not mention the army but militias.
In fact one should read the Amendment thus: “Militias are necessary to a free state, even more so when there is a standing army in the state.”
In other words, in “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state” (letter of the amendment) the emphasis is on “necessary to a free state” rather than on “necessary to the security,” because if the emphasis were on the latter, then yes the army and the state-controlled police forces may be enough and there would be no need of militias, but the Framers intended to emphasize the role of militias as against a standing army, because standing armies were the arm of absolutism in Europe and they wanted to make a free country.
As the second amendment talks about militias and not the army, I do not understand it when a statute (Dick Act, National Defense Act…) calls the military reserve a militia, because the military reserve is the army and obviously the second amendment isn’t about the army (which is named elsewhere in the Constitution but not in the second amendment). This is a statutory misnomer with huge consequences because lots of people look askance at citizen militias, which are the true second amendment militias contrary to the national guard or any other military reserve corps, which are the army_period.
An army may be “necessary” to the “security” of a “state” but according to the second amendment it is not “necessary to the security of a free state,” that is to say, again, the emphasis is on “free.” Without militias a free state would lack something necessary. And as it would not lack security if a standing army can provide it, it must be that said state would lack first and foremost being a free state.
And it should be clear by now that the militias of the amendment are not and cannot be the army nor any reserve corps of the army, however muddled the situation is made by the statutes.
The idea of a “collective right within the context of a militia,” which was cogently discarded by the Supreme Court, is, I believe, partaken by many of those who also look askance at citizen militias. Not only can they not accept an individual right to bear arms but also and perhaps even less can they accept a militia except in the muddled sense of a military reserve.
In fact they read the Second Amendment in light of the militia statutes (rather than the statutes in light of the amendment) and thus read it as meaning “an army being necessary to the security etc.”
But this is completely nuts on two grounds (beside all the already said).
1/ If the amendment were about the army, it would literaly name the annex (the reserve) rather than the main body as “necessary to the security” of the state. It would stress the necessity of the annex without even mentioning that of the main body, which is absurd.
2/ If the amendment were about the army, the amendment would be a big non sequitur: “An army being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The Framers would have found it necessary to secure a right to bear arms because the state needs an army, but such a reasoning would be a puzzle to everybody, and indeed as about all countries in the world, even sh*thole countries, have standing armies and yet most of them deny their citizens the right to bear arms, the idea that a standing army necessitates a citizens’ right to bear arms is something unheard of, and it would have been great had the Framers explained their idea a little bit. Obviously it’s absurd and the Framers of the second amendment are just not talking of the army.
One simply cannot read the amendment in light of the statutes, and this makes the statutes’ constitutionality dubious.
I also object to the organized vs unorganized typology because not only does it derive from said statutes (“organized” militias are organized by legislative acts) but also because the amendment talks of “well regulated” militias and the typology gives the impression that “unorganized” militias must be outside the scope of “well regulated” militias, which is probably what most if not all half-informed Americans (those among Americans who are half-informed) think.
Oddly, if you read the opinions of the Justices of the Supreme Court (or their summaries), you’ll find that my viewpoint is closer to that of dissenting Justice Stevens than to the majority opinion by Justice Scalia. Although I had read the summary before, I wasn’t conscious of this while writing the previous lines. Here is J. Stevens’s dissenting opinion in J.R. Vile’s words:
“The primary purpose of the Second Amendment was to underscore the Founders’s fear of standing armies. The amendment makes no mention of hunting or self-defense. … J. Stevens argues that the Second Amendment was designed to prevent Congress from disarming state militias: ‘When each word in the text is given full effect, the Amendment is most naturally read to secure to the people a right to use and possess arms in conjunction with service in a well-regulated militia.’ The term bear arms was an idiom designed to refer to those who served in militias; to keep arms further described ‘the requirement that militia members store their arms at their homes, ready to be used for service when necessary.’”
While I entirely agree with most of this, the only conclusion I find to suit it is that the Court was right to decide as it did and I hardly understand how this opinion can be a dissent.
The Founders’ fear of standing armies is the crux, what does Justice Stevens make of it? The U.S. has a standing army now, so what then? Is everything LOST and we should abide by a reality contrary to the will of the Founders while everything we keep saying in the legal domain is informed by the Constitution they framed? What absurdity is this? Clearly the Founders’ vision was that of a people in arms rather than standing armies, the arm of absolutism in Europe and of Empires elsewhere. They knew their history books and the stories of great nations plagued by praetorian intrigues. Yet, probably out of pragmatism, they also made room for an army, but if the nation were to create such an army, then the Constitution documents that it is a necessary evil–not unlike the government itself, in fact, and in the same way that that necessary evil that is the government is made as innocuous as possible by checks and balances, so must a standing army be dealt with, and the checks and balances here are the people in arms, the militias.
This was the starting point for all I wrote, which, to sum it up, is that an individual right to bear arms is enclosed in the prefatory clause about militias as the premise whence the right follows by necessity (provided one does not limit one’s understanding of militias to that of later, likely unconstitutional statutes).
To rephrase it, in my opinion you can’t have a collective right without an individual right. I believe in grassroots militias, bottom-up, so individuals must be armed if they want to form or join a militia. It’s not the governor or the Pentagon calls them and arm them, which is probably Stevens’s idea of militia, but I think he’s right that the amendment underscores the Founders’ fear of standing armies, due to which fear–a fear not at all irrational!–they wanted the people armed. The people must be armed and that means individuals must be armed.
Now when Scalia says (in the commentator’s words) “The Second Amendment was developed in reaction to fears that the government would disarm the people, and was patterned on state provisions that were designed to protect individual rights,” this is right also and I don’t see any contradiction between the two quotes because obviously if the government intended to disarm the people it would be because in the government’s idea a standing army would empty out a right to bear arms. A standing army makes militias useless (except as an annex or as local battalions of the army) so it makes the right to bear arms useless. But the Framers said–this is the very letter of the Constitution–that militias independent from the army are necessary even if the Union were to create a standing, permanent, professional army.
Then, when one reads (majority decision) “The Amendment is divided into a prefatory clause and an operative clause. There must be a link between the two, but ‘apart from that clarifying function, a prefatory clause does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause’,” it smacks of taking liberties with the letter, which I disagree with in constitutional analysis (and Scalia has often blamed others for taking liberties). In my eyes there was no need to resort to such intricacies: the prefatory clause is the premise, the operative clause is the consequence, and the consequence is an individual right.
I wouldn’t insist too much on the English heritage, as today “In the United Kingdom, access by the general public to firearms is subject to some of the strictest control measures in the world” (first sentence of Wikipedia page Firearms Regulation in the U.K.), which means the U.S. would be more faithful to the heritage than the Britons themselves, and this after breaking with them. There is no justification to this: Why would or should the Americans be more faithful to the English heritage than the English?
Then Scalia goes on talking about the “pre-existing right,” which he calls a “‘natural right’ that encompassed that of protecting oneself against ‘both public and private violence’.” The majority in McDonald v. Chicago (2010) said Heller “recognized self-defense to be a basic right that applied to handguns.” To the best of my knowledge there is no country in the world where the laws say you must accept that someone kills you without trying to defend yourself, namely, a country that does not acknowledge exculpatory circumstances for homicide. This being said, the U.S. is rather unique with its constitutional right to bear arms. As a matter of fact, in other countries too you’ve got the right to use a gun in self-defense, only it turns out you don’t have a gun, because you had to ask for a license, justify your demand etc, so arguably, yes, these countries make fun of the basic right that is self-defense.
If the letter of the second amendment stresses, as I claim, defense against “public violence” rather than against “private violence,” (these are Scalia’s words) this is only out of conciseness: there was no need to expatiate on an individual right to self-defense because it is, if you like, a “natural right” (Scalia again) and it goes without saying that, when, a militia being necessary, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, individuals may use in self-defense the weapons they have the right to keep and bear.
The reference by Scalia to “public (vs private) violence” is interesting. What is it he has in mind? Is it not the possible use of the standing army against the citizenry? If this is so, then obviously the making of militias a something inside the army, dependent on the same organs, is an obstacle to the militias playing any role against public violence. So possibly Scalia has the same conception as that laid down here by me, but on the other hand I also have doubts about it: I wonder whether, like others, he might not think that this talking about militias in the Constitution is antiquated and irrelevant in the times we’re living.
That there be antiquated clauses in the Constitution is perhaps admissible, but that there be antiquated clauses in crucial matters is strictly impossible.
Immunity For Botch
South v. Maryland (1855) and the public duty doctrine say “there is no tort liability to an injured party resulting from the non-malicious failure of a law enforcement officer to enforce the law,” but also “It is a public duty for neglect of which an officer is amenable to the public, and punishable by indictment only.” Thus the absence of tort liability does not rule out all form of responsibility or I’m missing something.
You can charge an officer for failure to protect if you are feeling foolish, but the case will almost certainly get rejected by the judge, and even if it isn’t the appeal will side with the officer. … I don’t think threats of a frivolous indictment by an overzealous prosecutor can be interpreted as a duty for an officer to endanger their life. It is just legal politics and rhetoric designed to win the court of public opinion (the mob). (MrM)
For the sake of learning, I quote the definitions:
“Public duty rule: a doctrine in tort law: a government entity (as a state or municipality) cannot be held liable for the injuries of an individual resulting from a public officer’s or employee’s breach of a duty owed to the public as a whole as distinguished from a duty owed to the particular individual called also public duty rule. See also special duty doctrine.
Special duty doctrine: an exception to the public duty doctrine that imposes liability for injury on a government entity when there is a special duty owed to the plaintiff but not to the public at large called also special duty exception. NOTE: The special duty doctrine applies when the duty owed to the plaintiff arises by statute or when the plaintiff has justifiably come to rely on the government’s assumption of that duty.” (findlaw)
Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzalez (2005) is a confirmation of DeShaney v. Winnebago County Department of Social Services (1989). It may be worth stressing that both involve children being victims of their father’s violence, so these rulings may be found to run into the parens patriae doctrine, actually.
Parens patriae “refers to the public policy power of the state to intervene against an abusive or negligent parent, legal guardian, or informal caretaker, and to act as the parent of any child, individual or animal who is in need of protection. For example, some children, incapacitated individuals, and disabled individuals lack parents who are able and willing to render adequate care, thus requiring state intervention.”
You’ll note the phrasing “requiring state intervention.” The conclusion “We are all responsible for our own personal safety, whether we like it or not” (Barnes Law) sounds odd when applied to the situation of a little child vis-à-vis his father, especially when the state knows the child’s helplessness, so much so that it adopted a parens patriae doctrine.
So I can’t agree with DeShaney v. Winnebago Social Services.
The mother was let down by the social services. In the books I find “this clause [the due process clause] was designed ‘to protect the people from the State, not to ensure that the State protected them from each other.’” This is not true as far as the parens patriae doctrine and the situation of a helpless child is concerned, but I fear to understand that it is no constitutional guarantee and instead a castle in the air. People demanded foster homes, same as they demanded a 911 line for help, and states provided the services, as it was not found unconstitutional, but only for the people to be told then that whether the services are provided in a satisfactory or botched fashion is none of the courts’ business. In other words, the Supreme Court is telling people they rely on the state at their own risk, and in reality they cannot rely on it at all.
“The fact that the state at times took temporary custody of Joshua [DeShaney] did not make the state his personal guardian after it released him.” No but the fact that it released him to an abusive father several times shows a clear misunderstanding of the situation, all the while the mother was thinking the child was in good, prudent hands.
“If the state has a financial obligation to Joshua, it must be democratically ascertained through protection of state tort (personal injury) law rather than through the due process clause.” Not true with regard to the public duty doctrine. Thus, while South v. Maryland barred a tort suit leaving indictment open, DeShaney v. Winnebago Social Services bars a due process clause suit claiming to leave open a tort suit that is not open. Of course in both cases the courts felt the need to leave some recourse open, as otherwise the notion arises of duty without responsibility, which is, to say the least, hard to chew.
“Justice Sonia Sotomayor has noted a “disturbing trend” of siding with police officers using excessive force with qualified immunity, describing it as “sanctioning a ‘shoot first, think later’ approach to policing.” She stated: “We have not hesitated to summarily reverse courts for wrongly denying officers the protection of qualified immunity in cases involving the use of force…But we rarely intervene where courts wrongly afford officers the benefit of qualified immunity in these same cases.”” (Wikipedia page Qualified Immunity)
This is the topic of qualified immunity, with which I wish I were more familiar because I guess that’s part of what is knowing one’s rights…
THE NASA Psychic
How many Americans know Apollo was a psychic program?
“Jonsson is most notable for his long-distance telepathy experiment during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. Four psychics on earth were chosen to receive telepathic signals from astronaut Edgar Mitchell in space.” (Wikipedia page Olof Jonsson)
Are we supposed then, according to NASA, a federal agency, to believe in extrasensory perception (ESP)? Obviously yes because one does not fund a “long-distance telepathy experiment” if one does not believe in short-distance telepathy. Think of it: a federal agency funding a long-distance telepathy experiment between space and the earth while it was not convinced that telepathy occurs here on earth. Does it make any sense?
Likewise, the fact that the experiment was, as the Wikipedia page adds, a “complete failure” cannot by itself disprove ESP but only, if anything, “long-distance” ESP. Therefore, without an express statement to the contrary by NASA, it must be said to endorse ESP.
Canada: Conservatives’ attempts to protect platform users’ speech online is blocked. A bad result for free speech in Canada.
Let’s face it: Canada never was a free-speech country. U.S. envoys never pressed it to become one and how would they when their bosses at home had rather have the same anti-free speech policy at home too? I told you already, for that it takes independent judges tenured for life. Among politicians it’s always the opposition that defends free speech, but when it gets to governement there’s no more of that bullsh*t, it’s censorship bills one after the other, all of them. Prove me wrong.
Given the basic fact that Twitter and Facebook censor all opponents of the Democratic Party, this censorship is state action in all states and localities governed by Democrats, and the platforms are amenable to courts for abridgment of First Amendment rights by the inhabitants of these states and localities. The ideological nexus is obvious. The U.S. federal government being currently under a president of the Democratic Party, these platforms’ censorship is now state action in all the territory of the Union.
The Botched Law of Racially Restrictive Covenants
In what is perhaps an unprecedented instance in the history of American legislation, a statute, the Fair Housing Act of 1968, was needed twenty years after the Supreme Court intended the same as the Act, in its notorious decision Shelley v. Kraemer of 1948 which eviscerated the enforcement by courts of private restrictive covenants barring blacks from buying real estate.
In the 6-0 decision Chief Justice Vinson explained that “restrictive covenants drawn up by private individuals do not in themselves violate the Fourteenth Amendment. As long as they are completely private and voluntary, they are within the law. Here, however, there was more. Through their courts, the states aided in the enforcement of the covenants. Indeed, if it were not for the courts, the purpose of the agreements would not be fulfilled.” (Vile, 2018)
Thus we were to learn, en creux, from the Supreme Court that covenants whose purpose would not be fulfilled by courts are a legal object–a legal UFO to this very day. Commentator Vile adds, for those who could not believe what they had just been reading: “Shelley dit not invalidate private restrictive covenants but only state enforcement.” State enforcement rings a bell to those familiar with constitutional law: one reads state action. That judicial action is state action is perhaps not to be denied but then, as courts, one or the other, are competent about everything, the decision means that state action is everywhere (and everybody could be sued for “discrimination”: you could be sued for failing to invite blacks at your wedding, for instance)–and at the same time whites who refused to sell estate to blacks through restrictive covenants would maintain the practice undisturbed, as long, that is, as blacks did not trick them and acquired the estate anyway, or perhaps as long as black squatters did not occupy the premises, and if a black (or, for that matter, any) squatter occupied a house belonging to a white owner to which house a restrictive covenant was attached, perhaps the owner had no legal recourse against the squatter?
Such niceties and others resulting from the unanimous decision were so strange that eventually the legislator, twenty years later, passed the Fair Housing Act that prohibits racially restrictive covenants.
To this day no court dared link state action to the possibility of judicial litigation again, Shelley was dead on arrival, and discriminatory private ventures that are not specifically covered by antidiscrimination legislative acts are permissible. A restaurant can (absent a state or local statute to the contrary) cater to whites only, for instance, in the United States of America, that is, since other countries have bogus notions of freedom.
But restrictive covenants run with the land: “Just because these old covenants are now unenforceable, they never simply disappeared. Many continue to be passed on from owner to owner through property deeds to this day, and though real estate professionals and lawmakers alike have made efforts toward having them removed, bureaucratic red tape and legal expenses often hinder progress. Some argue that it would be too cost-prohibitive to remove the racist language from every real estate deed in the country today.” (Homelight, Sep 14, 2020)
To have made covenants which pre-existed the Fair Housing Act unenforceable was ex post facto lawmaking: “An ex post facto law is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences (or status) of actions that were committed, or relationships that existed, before the enactment of the law.”
Ex post facto laws are prohibited by the American Constitution (clause 3 of Article I, Section 9). In its purity the principle holds in criminal law only but such a construction may be argued to be unconstitutional: “Thomas Jefferson described them [ex post facto laws] as ‘equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases.’ Over the years, however, when deciding ex post facto cases, the United States Supreme Court has referred repeatedly to its ruling in Calder v. Bull, in which Justice Samuel Chase held that the prohibition applied only to criminal matters, not civil matters.” (Wikipedia) Like Jefferson I see no reason why the principle should be limited to criminal law, because 1/ the letter of the Constitution makes no such distinction as that introduced by Justice Chase (the clause reads: “No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed” and 2/ even if ignoring the principle must be particularly dramatic in criminal law such neglect is not benign either in the other legal domains.
Georgia anti-BDS law is unconstitutional: “A federal court ruled in favor of journalist Abby Martin, who was barred from speaking at Georgia Southern University after she refused to pledge she would not boycott Israel.” (shadowproof, May 24, 2021)
It’s only the fifth or sixth anti-BDS law that is declared unconstitutional by a U.S. federal court, there remain a dozen ones in other states. Apparently none of the humiliated states dare appeal the evisceration of their shameful bills to the Supreme Court?
There is that politician, Rubio, I don’t know what he’s saying about all this but he wanted a federal anti-BDS bill, the same as those. And how did he “sell” it? By exposing his total, complete and irremediable lack of constitutional knowledge. He said: What? (¿Cómo?) BDS supporters could boycott Israel but the government couldn’t boycott BDS supporters? I believe he was convinced, while tweeting this, he had found the ultimate ironclad argument to the opponents of his bill. He’s got no clue, he doesn’t know that a state boycott (by any government, federal, state or local) is state action against which boycott is protected as free speech, whereas BDS is a grassroots boycott protected by the First Amendment. Even if both were called boycotts, one infringes on free speech and the other is free speech. That’s basic constitutional law.
I’m reading “the FBI just put X and Y (movements) on the same threat level as ISIS.” Is this leaked information? Is it a leak (1) or is it state intimidation against legally constituted associations (2)? If (2), how, besides, is this not libelous? There can be no governmental immunity when a police bureau slanders and libels law-abiding citizens.
Neoconservatism: Jacobinism or Napoleonism?
According to Claes G. Ryn (America the Virtuous: The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire, 2003), the “neoconservative” influence on the American right is turning it into a new form of Jacobinism (doctrine of the French Revolution), and I’m not sure whether one should not call it Napoleonism instead, but both, blended in the doctrine of the current French state, are based on centralization, bureaucracy, flawed separation of powers (the judicial is controled by the executive), militarism (military parade on National Day: Trump wanted the same for July 4!), police state, no free speech…