First Amendment Issues are NOT (necessarily) Free Speech Issues

All freaky, kinky, queer women are human beings.

Not all human beings are freaky, kinky, queer women (more’s the pity).

So how is that related to the first amendment? The First Amendment (FA) protects more than just speech. It protects a total of 5 separate rights. Let’s take a look at the full text and then break it down:

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Fascist Policing: Pinellas County Edition

As long as I’ve been doing stories on fascist policing, I’ve been clear that one vital element of fascist policing is that the people who do the policing are unaccountable to the people they police. Despite the occasional officer arrested for sex abuse of a relative or stealing and reselling shipments of drugs, law enforcement officers in the US are almost entirely unaccountable for the things that they do in the process of enforcing the law, even when those actions are patently illegal.

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The Incivility Spreads

As you probably know, the staff of Maryland-based Capital Gazette were victims of a shooting attack, not to say mass murder or even terrorism (we much prefer “targeted attack”). CNN’s Anderson Cooper had two of the surviving victims on his show 360, both Gazette journalists, one named Selene San Felice the other Phil Davis. Both made important statements, but in response to the myriad thoughts and prayers sent in the direction of her and her surviving colleagues, the man and the woman who had just witnessed someone killed before their eyes had some pretty uncivil things to say:

Selene San Felice: I’ve heard that President Trump sends his prayers. … We need more than prayers. I appreciate the prayers. I was praying the entire time I was under that desk. I want your prayers but I want something else.

Phil Davis: … I was praying when he started reloading that shotgun that there weren’t going to be more bodies. And you know what? If we’re going to have a position in society where all we can offer each other is prayer then where are we?

San Felice: This is going to be a story for how many days? Less than a week? People will forget about us after a week unless, y’known, we keep tweeting. I don’t really care about tweeting right now. … I don’t know what I want right now, right? but I’m gunna need more than a couple days of news coverage and some thoughts and prayers. Because it’s…. Our whole lives have been shattered. And so, thanks for your prayers but I couldn’t give a f*ck about them if there’s nothing else.

While Fox News and conservatives generally are going to give San Felice and Davis a lecture about how their incivility caused their colleagues murders in yet another proof of the dictum pre hoc ergo propter hoc, lets give San Felice and Davis something different than blame, something better than lectures, something more than just thoughts and prayers.

If you’re a US citizen living anywhere or anyone living legally in the US, call your House Rep and your Senators and express yourself on what you think are appropriate government (and especially legislative) responses to mass murder.

 

 

Don’t Be This Wrong: Salon Spreads Serious Misinformation

In an article criticizing trump as a Sadist, Salon writer Chauncey DeVega writes a supposedly-factual introduction to what is later a very opinionated piece in such a way as to screw up a very, very important basic fact:

The United States Constitution grants President Donald Trump many powers. They include being the Chief Executive, Chief Legislator and Commander-in-Chief of the military. Not to be content with such powers, Donald Trump has also taken on other roles as well. Donald Trump is the Sadist-in-Chief of the United States of America. Cruelty and meanness are his modus operandi.

Did you catch it? DeVega would have you believe that Trump is constitutionally empowered to be the United States’ “Chief Legislator”.

No. That’s just wrong. It’s so very, very wrong it’s hard to communicate. If you’re from the US or went to grade school here (or even if you just know how to read between the lines of subtle slogans like “No More Kings”), you know that placing primary legislative powers in the hands of the chief executive is exactly what the constitutional framers did not want.

The President cannot set the congressional schedule or call a committee to order. The President cannot introduce a bill before congress or propose language revisions for an existing bill. The President cannot vote in either the House or the Senate. The President cannot amend or authoritatively interpret legislation. The president cannot employ a veto to reject parts of a bill while retaining the effectiveness of other parts: the president must accept all of a legislative act or none of it.

The President is not a legislator and Congress is not a parliament.

We are sufficiently Freuded already without giving Trump even more power. Don’t for a moment concede that the constitution gives Trump any kind of legislative power.

Holy Freuding Freud, Alabama: Your Court Elections Are Partisan?

First off, have I mentioned that I love The Root generally, and Michael Harriot specifically? Well, it and he have a new article up about the man republicans have nominated to run for Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama.

The focus?

The man who could replace Roy Moore as the next chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court is a lot like Moore—only more racist and homophobic.

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The Real Victim in the Brock Turner Rape Case: Aaron Persky

Aaron Persky, the judge who gave Stanford athlete Brock Turner 6 months after Turner was convicted of rape in a trial before Persky’s court, is facing a recall election today. As someone who cares deeply about the rule of law, I hope to fuck California voters throw him the hell off the bench. And while he deserved to be removed for his behavior from the bench, behavior dating back years, I couldn’t wait to comment until after the election because of the new interview in which he paints himself as the victim of uninformed masses who advocate mob rule in place of justice, starting with his own recall.

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Switzerland’s Pension Funds: Kill Your Spouse, Get Free Money!

Oh, look, another way that old attitudes towards domestic violence persist: Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger (the Daily Anzeiger?*1) is reporting in German that despite Swiss law requiring that spouse-murderers not benefit financially from their crimes, the laws of Switzerland (presumably Vital Records laws or similar) are not structured in a way that pension funds are informed whether a death is from natural causes or not. RTS amplified the Tages-Anzeiger in a small french-language article. (Content Warning: if you play the accompanying news video, they have a portrayal of a fictional domestic-violence murder. I have no idea why.)

Le droit suisse prévoit qu’une personne puisse être déshéritée si elle a intentionnellement tenté de provoquer la mort du légataire.

Pourtant, les caisses de pension ignorent souvent si la mort est naturelle ou non. “Ces cas non signalés sont difficiles à découvrir”, affirme le secrétaire général de l’Association prévoyance suisse Emmanuel Ullman pour expliquer cette situation.

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Churches Complicate Everything

So Oregon has a new case that, while pretty much terrible for all concerned, is very interesting from a law geek’s perspective.

As someone who participated in law-drafting exercises while in law school with adjunct professors who took back the class’ collective work to the provincial legislative assembly, I’ve had about the most minimal input into drafting law that could still be truthfully, if technically, called input at all. Nonetheless, even if my input was minimal, my work with these two professors was significant and they have spent their entire careers drafting legislation. It’s a topic I took to eagerly and (if they weren’t just puffing me up) well. And, it turns out, I know just enough to know that I’d be in way over my head trying to address a recent issue that came up with respect to non-discrimination law in Oregon.

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