Writing Law Is Hard; Unwriting Even Harder

It’s anticipated that the Supreme Court will hand down its decision in the trio of Title VII sex discrimination cases any day now, Zarda, Stephens and Bostock, involving two gay men and a transgender woman. The cases involve the meaning of the word “sex” in a law written in 1964 that no one seriously argues was intended to relate to sexual orientation and, despite repeated efforts to expand the language over the past few decades, has been rejected by Congress time and time again.

Had Congress chosen to amend Title VII to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a phrase that was never uttered when the law was enacted, it would not only reflect the valuable growth in our societal norms, but could have been amended in such a way as to address the myriad unintended and/or collateral consequences of the change. But Congress, being Congress, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do its job, preferring to leave it to the courts to do its dirty work. Continue reading

Tuesday Talk*: Enjoined, For Their Own Good

One might reasonably believe with all the passion one can muster that no rational person would choose to be homeless, to live under a freeway overpass, to risk contracting coronavirus and to prefer their own choices to being compelled by the state to live in a shelter. And indeed, many, if not most, would take a roof over their heads.

But would all? Would they want to be marched at the end of a gun if they tell the cop, “Why thank you officer, but I’m fine right here. Have a nice day”? Who represents their interests?

Therefore, to protect the homeless individuals camping near freeway overpasses, underpasses, and ramps—and the general public—the Court hereby ORDERS that these individuals be humanely relocated away from such areas. As part of this humane relocation effort, and to promote the underlying public health and safety goals, the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles shall provide shelter—or alternative housing options, such as safe parking sites, or hotel and motel rooms contracted under Project Roomkey—to individuals experiencing  homelessness. Continue reading

All or Nothing, It’s All About Believing

It was pointed out to me the other day, when I wrote about how the Big Lie relies upon the acceptance of a series of smaller foundational lies. The phrase, hashtag, mantra, slogan, whatever characterization you prefer, “Believe All Women” was “a strawman.” I sloughed it off, as it was neither factually true nor a difference with a distinction.

If this was the mountain upon which pseudo-feminists wished to die, that was their choice.

Filipovic is a lawyer, which suggests she would be modestly cautious about making assertions that can be completely disproven within seconds. But then, she’s also a “third-wave feminist,” so any rhetorical sophistry that appeals to her tribe is good enough to manufacture an excuse. Continue reading

Does College Owe You A Refund?

It’s (mostly) a joke when it’s suggested that a person who says something particularly dumb should call their law school and demand a refund. But for Mark Shaffer, it’s a cause of action.

When my daughter was deciding where to go to college, we were persuaded by George Washington University’s promises of an extraordinary on-campus experience. The school’s recruiting materials tout a dazzling array of opportunities — to engage one-on-one with renowned faculty, join more than 450 clubs and organizations, or explore passions in high-tech labs, vast libraries and state-of-the-art study spaces. The university promises that living at the school opens the door to “world-class” internships, lifelong friendships with neighbors and roommates, and the chance to “become a part of the nation’s capital and make a difference in it every day.” In exchange, GWU expects around $30,000 per semester.

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Kidnapping Or A Mother’s Hysteria?

About once every three months, some twit or Facebook post will go viral. It will be from a mother who tells the story of how her lil’ darling was almost kidnapped, be it at the Walmart toy aisle or the parking lot of the Piggly Wiggly. It will put other mothers on high alert. It will raise fears. It will generate thousands of validating twits about how brave the mom was, and how wondrous a parent must be to use her eagle-eyes to spot the predator who almost kidnapped her sweet child.

The key word here is “almost,” because none of these tales involve the creepy guy in the white van offering candy to a child if they come close enough to snatch. They involve some guy who looked creepy. Maybe he did or maybe creepy looking is a by-product of paranoia. Maybe the mom’s tale is correct, that he was eyeing the child with bad intent, but no one will never know because it didn’t happen. It almost happened. Continue reading

The First Scratch

It was a warm, sunny beautiful day at Casa de SJ, so the time was right to do the ceremonial spring washing, cleaning and SU dash pot polishing on the Healey. As I worked my way through the car, my daughter came out to say that she wanted to wash her new Mini Cooper. It was bought just before the winter and this would be its first wash.

“Let’s do it,” I proudly exclaimed, and upon completion of the Healey, she pulled the Mini into the place of honor. But then, as she began to assess the winter’s ravages, she saw something else. There, on the hood, were the unmistakable marks of someone putting a package down and pulling it off, leaving a scrape in its wake.

It was easy enough to fix with a bit of compound, but she was astounded and outraged. “What sort of animal would do such a thing,” she cried in anguish. I felt her pain. It had to be some woman at the supermarket. They don’t care about anything but themselves. Continue reading

The Big “Believe All Women” Lie That Sits Atop All the Little Lies

If cognitive dissonance made a person’s face turn purple, there would be a lot of faces matching their hair these days. Now that Tara Reade has put the question to Joe Biden, one of the primary perpetrators of the “Believe All Women” delusion, the newly nuanced “explanation” of what they meant all along is we don’t mean believe all women, but take all women’s accusations seriously and then investigate.

It’s a good spin, and while there may be some who are sincere in their post hoc rationalization that the words “Believe All Women” don’t mean what the words say, but what they now say they mean, it’s a lie. Continue reading

Judge Sullivan’s Hot Bench

There are two ways to approach an open question. The first is to ask the straightforward question: Can this be done? It’s not only an honest approach, but one designed to get an answer, if an answer can be given. There isn’t always an answer, of course.

The other way is to ask the “begged” question, where the premise is presumed to be true and, upon that premise, the questioner challenges the answerer to explain why it’s wrong. This is the question that is not only dishonest, but so insufferably entangled in its own fallaciousness that undoing the false premise could require a tome (plus a depth of understanding that the questioner can’t possibly acquire). Only then does the answerer reach the point of addressing the negative synergy of the challenge of why it doesn’t produce an outcome that need not bear any connection, causal or otherwise, between premise and challenge. Continue reading

Seaton: Sheriff Roy and the iPhone Pervert

Arlo Craddock was in a good mood, and nothing could change that.

He smiled as he drove a grey Toyota sedan along the highways and byways of Alabama. The windows were down so Arlo could smell fresh air, and Skynyrd was on the radio. Ironically, the song currently playing was “Freebird.”

Fortune hadn’t been kind to Mr. Craddock in recent days. He’d been in county because of some pictures he took of women. They weren’t even dirty pictures. All Arlo did was take out his camera phone, zoom in on the lady parts, and hit the picture button. Continue reading

ACLU, The New American Prosecutor

On the road from civil rights organization to, well, what it is today, the ACLU took smallish steps to show its spirit animals and financial backers that it was part of their tribe. First, it shifted from defending free speech in Skokie to defending free speech, but only when the targets were of the proper race, gender or ideological persuasion. It was still good at defending speech, just not for those who made its younger staff, its executive director and its supporters feel icky or outrage.

Then it used its legacy platform as staunch defenders of constitutional rights to make adjustments, modifications and a tweak here and there when the rights at issue served the wrong kind of people. Oh sure, historically, it proudly recognized that rights are defended when the worst among us was challenged, but that was when the ACLU had the stomach for the worst. Now they want to punch them, and to represent them would make their staff and supporters demand puppy rooms. Continue reading