Thanksgiving Week Launch Ethics Warm-Up, 11/19/18: Turkeys

Good Morning.

1. This is weird. The Florida Supreme Court released a long-awaited decision concerning whether a judge’s Facebook friendship with an attorney should be  grounds for disqualification if the attorney is arguing a case before that judge. The 4-3 opinion holds that:

In some circumstances, the relationship between a judge and a litigant, lawyer, or other person involved in a case will be a basis for disqualification of the judge. Particular friendship relationships may present such circumstances requiring disqualification. But our case law clearly establishes that not every relationship characterized as a friendship provides a basis for disqualification. And there is no reason that Facebook “friendships”—which regularly involve strangers—should be singled out and subjected to a per se rule of disqualification. 

I could not disagree more. A friend request from a judge is inherently coercive, and creates pressure on the lawyer to accept. Who wants to tell a judge that he doesn’t want to be his friend? Other bar associations and courts have held that it is improper for judges and lawyers to “friend” each other if there is any chance that the judge will be presiding over the lawyer’s cases, and that is the wiser rule. My own preference would be for judges to stay off social media entirely, except for close friends and family. They can only get in trouble there.

2. And this is much weirder…Apparently an app, ‘Santa Call New 2018,’ briefly available for download at the Amazon Children’s Store, would place a call to “Santa”when kids pressed the ‘call’ button, and Jolly Saint Nick would reply, “Hello there. Can you hear me, children? In five nights, if you’re free, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Amazon is investigating.

Happy Holidays!

3. The Stupid is strong with this one…Nina Burleigh, currently a Newsweek reporter who also contributes to the leftist bias of academia as an adjunct professor of journalism at Columbia, actually tweeted, “Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer. Based on Twitter sample the rest of them are scarily paranoid. Get on the right side of history.” The tweet didn’t even need the added sauce of one of the laziest rationalizations currently fashionable, the shamelessly bootstrapping 1B. The Psychic Historian, or “I’m On The Right Side Of History,” to qualify as uber-dumb. Yes, I’m sure that one living as a New York City urbanite and swimming in a progressive fishbowl, the only time the most popular rifles in American are discussed is when they are misused by maniacs. Americans now own an estimated 15 million AR-15s. Mass murderers all!

Burleigh’s previous 15 minutes of fame arrived when she  stated, during Monica Madness, of the President Bill Clinton, “I would be happy to give him a blowjob just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their Presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” Later, in 2007,  she tried to explain the infamous quote, saying, “I said it (back in 1998, but a good quote has eternal life) because I thought it was high time for someone to tweak the white, middle-aged beltway gang taking Clinton to task for sexual harassment. These men had neither the personal experience nor the credentials to know sexual harassment when they saw it, nor to give a good goddamn about it if they did. The insidious use of sexual harassment laws to bring down a president for his pro-female politics was the context in which I spoke.” You know, I taught and teach sexual harassment, and knew exactly what I was talking about when I wrote and stated repeatedly that by any reasonable standard Clinton was not just guilty of it, but incredibly guilty. Now even Monica agrees with me, because I was right, and hypocrites like Burleigh were dead wrong.  She should be, in the late Justice Scalia’s words, hiding her head under a bag, and not have a platform for her nonsense, even in Newsweek.

4. Trump Tweets. The President referred to House nemesis Rep. Adam Schiff as “Schitt.” The sad part is that with President Trump it’s impossible to know if it’s a typo or not. I suspect it’s not, but he certainly has plausible deniability.

My position on judges and social media apply to Presidents as well.


15 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Week Launch Ethics Warm-Up, 11/19/18: Turkeys

  1. # 4–The T is a mere “fat-finger” miss, just NE of the F; plausibly deniable, especially for someone that’s all Id and no Super Ego when typing out tweets.

            • Point the First: I checked it, after I wiped the hot coffee and mucus off: not frozen

              Point the Second: I do not live in San Antonio. Any rumors, innuendo, or references to that fine city are the product of a misinformation campaign, for when the Progressives search Internet history for location data for targeting their harassment/execution mobs.

              (Note that this is NOT intended to throw the NSA off the scent, as they already know my true whereabouts due to their spy satellites and traffic camera assets. The good people at the NSA would NEVER dox an American citizen: says so right here on the label)

              I actually live in a small corner of [redacted in ‘the name of national security, ’cause we say so and will not tell you why’ – the NSA]

  2. Y’know, given his fondness for completely re-writing the customs of the Presidency, when I saw the headline on this post I had a vision of Trump at the annual Turkey Pardon:

    “Look at this bird. Great bird. We get great birds here at the White House. And we’ve got a lot of people coming for dinner. So this bird doesn’t get a pardon. Neither do his twenty friends. They’re going to be absolutely delicious, believe me.”

  3. Happy holidays to you and yours as well, Jack, and to all the denizens of Ethics Alarms.

    Almost every single person I’ve ever heard of with an AR-15 has been a mass murderer. Based on Twitter sample the rest of them are scarily paranoid. Get on the right side of history.

    I have always wondered what “get on the right side of history” means. Here is a woman who, by her own admission above:

    1. Knows very few people who own firearms, specifically the AR-15;
    2. Suffers from a virulent form of confirmation bias;
    3. Invents concepts like “Twitter sample.” Her sample doubtlessly is designed to capture only the opinions she wants so she can confirm her theory;

    How does she determine what the “right side” of history is? It seems to me she’s blithely disregarding over two centuries of history of American personal ownership of small arms, including civilian versions of the military small arms extant at the time. Do we have to discard all that history to get on the “right side?” It seems to me her “side” is really the opposite side of our history from the founding to the present, and I’m supposed to believe that’s been wrong all this time?

    Sorry, lady. I think most of us are already on the right side. You, however, are not.

    • It seems to me her “side” is really the opposite side of our history from the founding to the present, and I’m supposed to believe that’s been wrong all this time?

      This is a commonly held belief in progressive kant. America is flawed and the worst country on the planet.

    • Yeah….mass shootings weren’t really a thing back in the 1920s, when children could mail order a Tommy gun, when real guns were used as props in school plays, and there were no such things as background checks. Now THAT was a gun culture. Maybe by “right side of history” she means back then, because it never occurred to people in that era to just mow down dozens of random people for fun.

      The gun-control nuts are so nauseating because they’re generally the same crowd responsible for the REAL cause of our modern epidemic of mass-shootings: moral relativity, belief that life has no ultimate meaning, and complete elimination of Christianity from public life. Good job breaking it and blaming the fallout on a complete red herring. Pass all the laws you want now, it ain’t getting better.

  4. The Facebook issue is thorny. What if the lawyer sends a friend request and the judge says no – is that grounds for disqualification? The better rule is not to have social media accounts at all.

    Its not that easy however. I might pop in a judges chambers between hearings and shoot the shit for a while – probably evidencing a friendship more intimate than 90% of his or her Facebook friends. But no one will ever know about that relationship. Does that require disqualification?

  5. I can agree that it would be off on the average if they were already a judge when the request came. But how would a friend request rate if they became friends long before one became a judge? Would that change if they are friends and one is a really late facebook adopter? There could be fair conditions where it would not be cheevy. One size does not fit all…

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