The 100 Thousandth Comment

About ten days ago, SJ hit a landmark, the 100,000 thousandth comment by the commenter who had gone by the handle “El Professor Presente” until he got tired of typing all those letters shortened it to the erudite “el pee pee” (let that be a lesson). And as promised, a copy of Nathan Burney’s Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law went out in the post.

I asked only one thing in return, that EPP send back a pic of him upon receipt, because (you know) without pics, it didn’t happen.

It happened. He’s cuter than I imagined.

Short Take: It’s Not Easy Being Right

Tina Fey was beloved for her comedic ridicule of the right until she wasn’t. Over a sheet cake and not wanting to violently attack people when the mob demanded violence. Oh, to be adored on the pedestal of social justice one minute and a she-devil the next. So exhausting.

But if you think that’s exhausting, it’s nothing compared to the heavy lifting demanded of the New York Times editorial board, faced with the impossible task of explaining away the “armed militias” of the right. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of what happened in Charlottesville was that no one fired a bullet. But no one did.

Even before violence erupted in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend, city residents and the police anxiously watched the arrival of self-styled militias — swaggering gangs of armed civilians in combat fatigues — standing guard over the protest by white supremacists and other racist agitators against the removal of a Confederate statue.

Armed swaggering gangs sounds ominous, indeed. Of course, the marching protesters for bad purposes were forewarned that they would be met by counter-protesters bent on violence. Arms can be used to attack or to defend. No bullets were fired. If someone swung a bat at your head, there could well be legal justification to use deadly force to defend oneself, swagger or not. But no bullets were fired. Continue reading

Always Skeptical, Never Cynical

A cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing.

–Oscar Wilde

What distinguishes a cynic from a skeptic is the former impugns the motives of others, while the latter is inclined to require evidence before believing. Usage over time has conflated the words, which is unfortunate. Maybe the liquid is the cure for what ails ya. Maybe it’s snake oil. Until you know, you don’t know, and believing the person selling it isn’t a particularly effective way to find out.

At the Puddle, it was noted that there was one (count them, one) practicing lawyer in attendance at the International Legal Technology Association 2017 conference. For about a decade, we’ve been informed by the unduly passionate that tech would change everything. To say that it hasn’t is an understatement. Remember how the futurists were going to Reinvent Law? Except it never happened.

When I attended the last Reinvent Law, I enjoyed the presentations greatly, but fully realized that wrapping cool gadgets and apps in glowing adjectives to the thrill of the tech-loving audience wasn’t going to cut it. There was one thing missing, that none of this had anything to do with what lawyers actually did. The truth was that they wanted nothing to do with lawyers, who wouldn’t clap enthusiastically at the way Google Glass would change trial forever. Continue reading

Short Take: Cato Says What?

Not being a libertarian, it’s quite possible that there’s a nuance here that eludes me. But it sure seems as if this is a contradiction in terms.

It is not enough to be passively “not racist.” We must be actively anti-racism.

A call to arms, certainly, but what does it mean? Cato’s Jonathan Blanks offers a beautifully written post:

Many of the oppressions America has foisted upon its citizens, particularly its black citizens, indeed came from government actors and agents. But a large number of offenses, from petty indignities to incidents of unspeakable violence, have been perpetrated by private individuals, or by government with full approval of its white citizens. I would venture that many, if not most libertarians—like the general American public—haven’t come to terms with the widespread, systemic subversion of markets and democracy American racism wreaked on its most marginalized citizens. Consequently, libertarians have concentrated rather myopically on government reform as the sole function of libertarian social critique without taking full reckoning of what markets have failed to correct throughout American history.

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Trust Me, I’m From The ABA

It’s really quite a brilliant gambit. After all, it worked for the Southern Povery Law Center when they became the media’s go-to site to find out which groups were “hate groups.” That it was often disingenuously based solely on who didn’t share their dogma didn’t seem to bother the media. The SPLC became the trusted experts, though they were anything but trustworthy.

So now, the American Bar Association, desperate to bolster its membership rolls which are comprised of law students with freebie memberships, lawyers sucked in with a free year who drop out when the bill arrives, and otherwise held captive by progressive academics and lawyers of the left, has come up with its own stroke of genius to return itself to a place of relevance in the legal world.

ABA rolls out new fact check website to help separate legal fact from fiction

Fact check? Like does the sun really rise in the east and set in the west? Is the earth really round? Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? That they would try to sneak it in under the guise of “facts” is the first giveaway that it’s pandering to the ignorant, as law is many things, but not fact. And it perpetuates its fallacious premise in its opening salvo. Continue reading

TAMU Doubles Down On Title IX Discrimination

Andrew Miltenberg’s complaint on behalf of a pseudonymous black male student against Texas A&M University is by no means brief.  And yet, after reading it, I was forced to ask Andrew the obvious question: Do you have any idea what “Jane Doe” alleged your client did? Even now, the answer was no, not a clue. Not only does the plaintiff not know what the allegations against him are, but no clue why his one-time dear friend and occasional hook-up over a period of years decided to destroy his life.

And make no mistake, she did some serious damage. And then TAMU heaped on a bunch more.

After receiving a report from a female student, Jane Doe, concerning sexual contact she had with John Doe approximately one year earlier, TAMU failed to conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation and hearing.

Upon being notified of John Doe’s hospitalization and subsequent admittance to a mental health treatment facility, TAMU proceeded with the investigation and adjudication process without John Doe’s participation altogether, depriving John Doe of his right to defend himself against false allegations. TAMU reached the erroneous conclusion that John Doe had engaged in misconduct, despite a lack of evidence or witness testimony to support Jane Doe’s claims.

John was a smart, hard-working student. A member of the Corps of Cadets and the marching band at TAMU, he was the guy everyone knew would make something of himself. Continue reading

King: It’s Always Justified To Punch A Puritan Or A Roundhead

There’s great power in the name Nazi and Nazi imagery. That’s why losers want to claim the identity. Through this new identity they feel powerful and meaningful. It’s not all that different from losers who join ISIS or declare themselves a martyr for a man pretending to be emperor without any of the humor of the Marx Brothers.

Through the magic of our brains, the Tiki Troopers can become feared as Storm Troopers. Though I am sure my grandfather would have no problem distinguishing between the men of the Wehrmacht, SS, the U-Boats, and the Luftwaffe and these wannabe losers. But nowadays ignorance abounds and any asshole can call themselves a Nazi, get attention, and cause fear. And our primitive need to smash a squawking irritant with a rock becomes rationalized and verbalized as the “right to punch a Nazi.”

But there’s a problem with justifying violence against people who say and think things we don’t like. It seems like an obvious problem, but Ken White was forced to state it:

This is the final hypothetical come to pass: if the state asked you to give up freedoms in exchange for a dubious promise it would make you safer, would you do it? Would you convince yourself that the state would only use the power against Them, and not you?

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Not The Punch, But The Excuse

Let’s be real, Yvette Felarca does not carry much of a wallop. It’s unlikely that she did much damage, punching as hard as she could, and under other circumstances, there’s a good chance her attempt to fight would have been laughed off with a snarky “you punch like a girl.” Then again, having thrown the first punch, she might also have learned how a punch feels when it lands on her, but the guy she punched didn’t respond in kind.

Yet, Felarca’s defense in court was that her punching the guy wasn’t a crime because she was defending herself from the person who never touched her.

A middle school teacher in Berkeley, California, accused of punching a neo-Nazi during a 2016 protest is arguing that standing up to fascism is not a crime.

Yvette Felarca, 47, was arrested last month for her involvement in a  held in Sacramento.

Felarca, who is a member of an activist group called By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), has been charged with felony assault, as well as two misdemeanor counts of inciting and participating in a riot, according to KPIX TV.

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A Hole Into Which 1.3 Million Will Fall

Much has been made of the DreamHost subpoena for everything, absolutely everything, the internet host possesses with regard to the Resistance website, Regardless of side, it’s an outrage that the government would go after such an outrageously overwhelming amount of personal information about people for whom there isn’t the slightest hint of wrongdoing.

The Department of Justice initially used subpoenas to DreamHost to seek subscriber information about who ran the site. That’s fairly straightforward. But then they doubled down. They obtained a search warrant for an extremely broad array of data related to the site, including all stored records of access to the site or communications with the site.

As written, it seems to demand data including the IP addresses of everyone who ever accessed the site and the content of every site visitor’s question or comment submitted through the site’s comment form, as well as all emails sent to or through the web site. The Department of Justice has filed a motion in the DC court where charges are pending to compel DreamHost to respond, and DreamHost has filed an opposition articulating its objections to the warrant.

There is no doubt a strong sense of relief and appreciation that DreamHost refused to acquiesce to this outrage, particularly given that others would have quietly capitulated. As the supporting affidavit is unavailable, it’s impossible to seriously challenge the basis for probable cause presented to the judge who signed off on the warrant. But the sheer magnitude of the compelled disclosure, all somehow relating to the prosecution of about 200 for allegations relating to the inaugural protest, is mind-blowing. Continue reading