You’re supposed to know all this BEFORE you run for President, Bobby…or Governor, for that matter.
The Westboro Baptist Church has threatened to picket the funerals of the victims of the Lafayette theater shooting.
Governor Jindal, an alleged Presidential candidate, thinks that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them, despite a well-publicized Supreme Court decision to the contrary. “If they come here to Louisiana, if they try to disrupt this funeral, we’re gonna lock them up,” Jindal said on “Face the Nation.”. “We won’t abide by that here…Let these families grieve in peace.”
Hmmmm. Appealing to ignorant voters. Grandstanding. Pandering. Abuse of power. Talking as if the Constitution doesn’t exist. Threatening to break the law. Sounding like an idiot blowhard.
Just the guy to give Donald Trump a run for his money.
Let us stipulate that trooper Brian Encina behaved unprofessionally and atrociously by any standard in his handling of the vehicle stop of Sandra Bland in Prairie View, Texas, on July 10, setting into motion a series of events that led to Bland’s death by apparent suicide in a jail cell three days later. The police work shown by the dashcam video is unforgivable, and could be used in officer trainings on how not to handle a traffic stop.
That does not make him responsible for Bland’s death, however. He was not responsible for an incompetent bail system that had this woman in jail for three days, apparently because it was a weekend, and if she did take her own life (agreed: since her family has no reason to trust authorities at this point, nothing is likely to convince them of that no matter what the evidence, and also agreed, the suicide verdict looks mighty shaky at this point), that is, by law and logic, an intervening cause that exonerate the officer in Bland’s death. Activists will make the obvious Freddie Gray comparisons, but in this case there is no reason to believe that the officer, no matter how wrongful his conduct, either intended or contributed to her death. At worst, Encina is guilty of bad policing and using excessive force. This is not the Freddie Gray case, unless there was a dark conspiracy of frightening proportions.
Once again, however, a black citizen is dead after a confrontation with a white cop. For many pundits, civil rights advocates and black racists as well as irresponsible elected officials, that’s evidence enough that this was a racial incident. It isn’t evidence enough, however. The racial identities of the participants do not mean race was a factor, and absent some other facts that we have not learned about yet, any effort to suggest otherwise is nothing but the Zimmerman con, assuming racism unjustly to advance a political agenda. Let’s see if the Justice Department launches a civil rights investigation this time….again, assuming nothing more suspicious turns up. That would be the smoking gun evidence of this DOJ’s bias. I wouldn’t bet against it happening. Continue reading
“That’s your justice system, and mine: a consequence of our culture of servility towards to police and prosecutors.”
—Former prosecutor, current lawyer, and epic blogger Ken White, summing up the outrageous misconduct of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in its attempt to subpoena Reason’s commenter’s identities for potential prosecution, specifically the use of a gag order to prevent the publication from communicating.
Ken White has been following this story, which is a frightening example of how power can be, and is perverted in a supposed democracy that respects a free press. The short version (you can read the posts about this here and here, which link to Ken’s more intense and thorough commentary) is that libertarian publication Reason found itself ordered to reveal the identities of some mean commenters on its website who made obviously hyperbolic and facetious “threats” about a judge, including suggesting that she be Steve Buscemied…
From the Washington Post:
Efforts to lure the Washington Redskins back to the District have come up against a potentially insurmountable challenge: the Obama administration’s objections to the team’s name.Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser this spring that the National Park Service, which owns the land beneath Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, was unlikely to accommodate construction of a new stadium for the Redskins unless the team changes its name.
Jewell oversees both national park land and America’s trust and treaty relationships with Native American tribes.Her decision not to extend the District’s lease of the RFK land badly hinders Bowser’s bid to return the Redskins to D.C. — and boosts efforts to lure the team across the Potomac to Northern Virginia.
It is also a blatant abuse of government power and an insult to the spirit and intent of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Continue reading
Come on, John, I know you’re out there….
Even if one believes that the refusal of Sweet Cakes to make a wedding cake for a gay couple was a dubious exercise of religion as well as a mean and petty one, the astounding punishment levied on the now defunct bakery’s owners must be condemned as an abuse of power.
Having already lost their bakery business due to mob action online by Gay Marriage Advocate Furies, Aaron and Melissa Klein were walloped by former Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian with a $135,000 judgment for “emotional damages” to the couple. He also issued a gag order on the ex-bakers that forbids the Kleins from explaining to potential customers of Sweet Cakes their anti- same-sex wedding policies.
UPDATE (7/9): This is, I have learned, an overly simplistic description. Ken at Popehat explains what’s really going on as far as the “gagging” goes.
Of course—I guess I can’t really say “of course” if such a travesty can occur—no state can order anyone not to talk about anything in such a situation. The unconstitutional gag order is essentially moot, since to violate it the Kleins would have to still own a bakery and they do not, but it still acts to intimidate others and chill freedom of speech. It must be challenged and overturned. The fine is also unconscionable, and effectively makes villains out of the originally aggrieved couple if they don’t immediately agree to waive it. There is a duty in law to mitigate damages: the couple could and did minimize the harm of their cake request’s rejection by obtaining a wedding cake elsewhere. The Kleins didn’t stop them from getting married, and any harm that came to them from the publicity of their humiliation by the bakery was exacerbated by the couple’s own actions, not the Kleins’. $135,000? That’s beyond punitive. That’s vengeance. Continue reading
In a legal ethics seminar I taught this week for government attorneys, the vast majority of them voted that Marilyn Mosby’s vainglorious announcement of charges against six officers in the death of Freddie Gray was prosecutorial abuse, and a blatant violation of professional ethics rule 3.8, which directs that (this is the Maryland version)…
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;
(e) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent an employee or other person under the control of the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.
Of course it was a breach of ethics, and an outrageous one. Her statement, which I discussed here, not only overstated her justification for bringing the charges, which were rushed and announced before a careful investigation was completed, it also stated that the officers were guilty, and worse, that the charges were being brought because the demonstrating and rioting protesters has demanded it. Mosby’s words suggested that she stood with the mob. Continue reading
The detestable abuse of power represented by the U.S. Government seeking to prosecute blog commenters for obviously hyperbolic criticism of the government was noted in this post, not that it aroused half as as much interest or comment as, say, Caitlyn Jenner’s come-hither glance on the cover of Vanity Fair. Nor did much of the blogosphere take notice, and if any national news media took heed, I missed it. For how can the Obama Administration chilling free speech and harassing a libertarian blog that frequently condemns its contempt for basic rights compete with the secret guest list of the Obama’s 500 closest friends invited to dance a night away to the music of Stevie and Prince?
Now Ken White, the libertarian lawyer/blogger/free speech warrior who honors Popehat with his wisdom has uncovered a further outrage: he believes, and has good reason to believe, that the government has slapped a gag order on Reason, thus stopping the website from alerting the public and the world regarding our government’s unethical and probably illegal conduct. Continue reading