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Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Bridge malefactors, mandatory blank reports, and a leaky judge.

Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court considered Timbs v. Indiana, its first Excessive Fines Clause case in two decades. During oral argument, Indiana's solicitor general admitted that if the Clause didn't apply to state civil forfeitures, then the government could forfeit Bugattis caught speeding. Reporting from One First Street for Forbes.com, IJ's Nick Sibilla has more.

  • High schooler wins 2016 congressional art competition; his painting is displayed in Congress alongside winners from other districts. But police unions object; the painting shows a pig in police uniform pointing a gun at a Ferguson, Mo. protester. It's taken down. A First Amendment violation? D.C. Circuit: All the winning art from 2016 has been taken down. The case is moot.
  • Remember "Bridgegate"? The Third Circuit does, and it affirms the conviction of two former New Jersey officials for wire fraud, based on emails they sent to jumble the traffic patterns on the George Washington Bridge (thereby defrauding the Port Authority of the use of its toll booths and employee labor). The malefactors were wrongly convicted, however, on additional counts of conspiring to violate commuters' constitutional right to intrastate travel. The right to intrastate travel is a bit murky, says Third Circuit, so we can't say the officials violated any "clearly established" constitutional rights.
  • Pro-tip for the attorneys: Don't neglect your continuing legal education requirements. Even if you fall just one credit short, you might get administratively suspended, fired by a client for failing to proactively inform them of your suspension, admonished for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, and lose out on your 35 percent contingency fee, as the Third Circuit illustrates.
  • Two photographers file similar copyright suits against same company, both in the Third Circuit. Trial Judge #1 holds one case must instead go to a different circuit; Trial Judge #2 holds the other does not. Third Circuit: Trial Judge #1 was wrong, and Trial Judge #2 was right. But since this is here on mandamus—a special expedited appeal for addressing extraordinary circumstances—the one case will proceed elsewhere. Judge Roth (partially dissenting): Let's not be slave to technicalities. We shouldn't permit "opposite results in two consolidated cases with the same legal issues and the same factual background."
  • Developer spends years, many millions of dollars to acquire 540 acres and the rights to develop it. Yikes! Montgomery County, Md. officials rezone the land and impose a series of requirements that, according to the developer, reduce the land available for development to just 93 acres. The developer sues in state court; the county removes the case to federal court. Fourth Circuit: "Resolving the routine land-use disputes that inevitably and constantly arise among developers, local residents, and municipal officials is simply not the business of the federal courts." If you want a case to stay in state court, don't raise federal claims.
  • Houston police receive 911 call about black man breaking into a Toyota Corolla. Officers stop, handcuff (black?) man cleaning the window of his Mercedes-Benz. They search his wallet, run a warrant search, and use his keys to open the car and search it. They release him after about 20 minutes. Did they unlawfully detain or search him? Maybe to both, says the Fifth Circuit. The cops knew shortly after cuffing him that he owned the car and should have released him then. The man's (pro se) suit can proceed.
  • Count the twists. Defendant shanks prosecutor in court during trial. Michigan state judge leaks the security footage to the press. And then the sheriff investigates the judge for the leak. And then the press reports on the investigation. So then the judge sues the sheriff for investigating her. Certainly a mess—but does the judge have a First Amendment retaliation claim? Sixth Circuit: She does not. Leaking the footage might be speech about courtroom security, and that's a matter of public concern. But there's no evidence the sheriff was retaliating for the leak; he was investigating what he thought might be obstruction of justice.
  • Ohio bloggers: We're worried that state harassment laws prohibit us from using "invective" and "ridicule" to make political points. Sixth Circuit: Come on. No one's going to prosecute you for political speech. So you don't have standing to challenge the laws as overbroad.
  • In 1988, Wisconsin man makes $800 in fraudulent credit card charges. He spends the next 25 years on probation or imprisoned for probation violations. Yikes! Turns out his sentence legally ended in 1995. Seventh Circuit: The man can absolutely sue about that. Because he couldn't sue for damages while he was under supervision, his claims are timely now. And a jury could find that some of the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his illegal sentence.
  • Woodbury, Minn. hotel room party becomes hostage situation when a guest whips out a gun. A teen flees the room; police shoot him dead. District court: Qualified immunity. Eighth Circuit: Reversed. There's a factual dispute about whether the victim failed to comply with the officers' commands—giving rise to a reasonable belief that he posed a threat—or whether (as one officer suggested immediately afterward) he was shot while lying on the ground and complying fully with the officers' orders. We need a trial to sort that out.
  • Missouri man starts a one-person nonprofit, on behalf of which he meets with legislators to talk about policy issues. He receives no payment and makes no expenditures but is still required to register as a lobbyist and file disclosure reports. A First Amendment violation? Eighth Circuit: Not at all; besides, the disclosures will be easy since he has nothing to report. Dissent: What possible interest could the government have in forcing this guy to file blank reports?
  • Arkansas state trooper activates his lights; woman driving with her daughter (a minor) declines to pull over in the dark, unlit area but does slow down to 35 (in a 55). After less than a minute, the trooper rams the woman's car; she crashes into a cement culvert. Excessive force? The Eighth Circuit says no; there's no case on point clearly establishing that an officer can't run someone off the road in these circumstances, so the trooper is entitled to qualified immunity.
  • Wisconsin resident makes $100 contribution to his brother-in-law, who was running for the Alaska state House in 2015. Uh oh: In 2006, Alaska adopted a $3,000 limit on contributions a candidate may receive from non-Alaska residents, and this candidate had already hit that limit, so he has to return the check. Ninth Circuit: Limiting contributions from non-state residents violates the First Amendment. Dissent: In Bluman v. FEC, then-Judge Kavanaugh upheld a prohibition on non-U.S. citizens making contributions in federal elections; this is no different. (N.B.: IJ submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Bluman.)
  • Allegation: 15-year-old water polo goalie is struck in face by ball, continues playing in tournament throughout the day despite demonstrating concussion symptoms, taking more shots to the head. Yikes! She's diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, has to withdraw from school. Was the national water polo governing body negligent in failing to implement concussion protocols? Ninth Circuit: Might could be.

Last year, a Wisconsin judge struck down a state law banning the sale of home-baked goods, making the world a little freer for the three home bakers represented by IJ. But what about other similarly situated people? Did the ruling benefit them? Thanks to the wonders of social media, we were able to survey 79 Wisconsinites who operate home-baking businesses. Ready to Roll: Nine Lessons from Ending Wisconsin's Home-Baking Ban tells how bakers' newfound income helps them pay their bills, buy lessons for their kids, and even afford health insurance. These results demonstrate the near-immediate impacts of positive legal and policy reforms. Click here to read the report.

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  • mad_kalak||

    "Sixth Circuit: Come on. No one's going to prosecute you for political speech. So you don't have standing to challenge the laws as overbroad."

    Wanna bet on that one 6th Circuit?

  • Toranth||

    That was my reaction - after the laughter died down a bit.

    Have those judges never read any history - or even current newspapers? Blogs? Heck, articles like this one?

  • croaker||

    Apparently not until such a case reaches their desks.

  • James Pollock||

    "'Come on. No one's going to prosecute you for political speech. So you don't have standing to challenge the laws as overbroad.'
    Wanna bet on that one 6th Circuit?"

    Well, if they're wrong, then the defendants would have standing to challenge the law, as-applied, and that lawsuit can proceed.

    If they're right, then the courts, collectively, don't have to deal with it.

    So if the Sixth Circuit is wagering, they're in the position where they might win, but the worst they can do is push.

  • mse326||

    Arkansas state trooper activates his lights; woman driving with her daughter (a minor) declines to pull over in the dark, unlit area but does slow down to 35 (in a 55). After less than a minute, the trooper rams the woman's car; she crashes into a cement culvert. Excessive force? The Eighth Circuit says no; there's no case on point clearly establishing that an officer can't run someone off the road in these circumstances, so the trooper is entitled to qualified immunity.

    Really? I thought it was pretty well settled force needs to be proportional to the danger posed? Where is that danger here?

    Even beyond that many here, rightfully, complain about the QI rulings. But dear god the actions of some of these officers even if it wasn't "clearly established" is mind boggling.

  • ||

    That's because police officers are largely sociopaths who enjoy using force. They don't see it as a necessary evil, but something fun to relish in.

  • James Pollock||

    And the public tolerates this, because the cops will go deal with people they (the people, collectively) would rather not.

  • ||

    Pretty much.

  • Noscitur a sociis||

    By clicking on the words "Eight Circuit" in the case summary, you can read the judges' explanation for their decision. If that's too much work, here's the relevant discussion:

    Quick decided to use a PIT maneuver from the right side of Moore-Jones's car, avoiding the dangers to her and other drivers from her car potentially spinning into the parallel interstate. He waited until after the last exit before the nearest city, which had space on the right shoulder for the maneuver.

    The issue is whether existing precedent put the reasonableness of his decision "beyond debate." See Mullenix, 136 S.Ct. at 308, quoting al-Kidd, 563 U.S. at 741, 131 S.Ct. 2074. Moore-Jones identifies one case, Marshall v. West, 559 F.Supp.2d 1224 (M.D. Ala. 2008) ... The Marshall case implies that after adequately identifying himself, an officer might be justified in using a PIT maneuver on a non-compliant motorist....

    Other cases show that PIT maneuvers can reasonably be used....

    The circumstances here are somewhere between the Marshall case and the other cases above. Taken together, they suggest Quick's actions were in the "hazy border between excessive and acceptable force." Mullenix, 136 S.Ct. at 312, quoting Brosseau v. Haugen, 543 U.S. 194, 201, 125 S.Ct. 596, 160 L.Ed.2d 583 (2004) (per curiam). The district court erred in concluding Moore-Jones's right was clearly established. Quick is entitled to qualified immunity.
  • tkamenick||

    "avoiding the dangers to her"

    Um...

  • mse326||

    I read it. There reasoning is absurd. Especially their reasoning of the Marshall case. It's interesting that you decided to cut all the parts of that case to just put they way they chose to absurdly interpret it.

    There is also nary a discussion on common sense which is required to. This is not even close to the hazy border, it is clearly excessive.

  • mse326||

    *Their.

    This site needs and editing function.

  • Ben of Houston||

    Sorry, but to engage in willful destruction of property and risk to life on such flimsy pretext is absurd. She should have pulled over, yes. However, the implications of her actions, that she did not feel safe pulling over at that point, is not unreasonable. The officer's actions cannot be justified given what we know.

  • James Pollock||

    "The officer's actions cannot be justified given what we know."

    But that's not the question. The question is, can the officer's actions be justified given what he knew, at the time he took them.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    There is nothing he could have possibly known that would have justified what he did.

  • James Pollock||

    You had a person who was evading a lawful police stop. One of the tools in the policeman's toolbox for dealing with people who are evading a lawful police stop is PIT. PIT is used to avoid endangering people outside the vehicle being pursued. PIT is appropriate to end a chase, if it can be done with minimal risk to others. There was minimal risk to others, except for the minor in the car, who was also at risk if the chase were allowed to continue.

    Which of these facts do you find false?

  • croaker||

    QI needs to die. Pretty much all immunity needs to die, as government agents have demonstrated they cannot be trusted.

  • Rossami||

    Well said.

  • Naaman Brown||

    A few years ago we had a rapist who used a Crown Victoria equipped with flashing lights to make women think they were being pulled over in remote, dark places by an undercover cop. Women were advised by local police to drive to a safe lighted place.

    It is mind boggling to me what police do in some parts of the country, and what some judges let them get away with. The majority of police I have known would not initiate lethal force (ramming with a vehicle without a defense of self or others justification is a crime FCOL).

    The "public" should not tolerate this. I don't think it would be tolerated here.

  • James Pollock||

    " The majority of police I have known would not initiate lethal force"

    The point of a PIT maneuver is to end a high-speed chase, because high-speed chases create dangers for people who are unaware of the chase who can't get out of the way. Given a choice between PITting a car in a rural area, before other vehicles are encountered, and PITting a car in a suburban or urban setting with other vehicles in the area, the cops will choose the first over the second.

    Now, the question is, does this series of events give the cop reason to believe that a high-speed chase is occurring, or its occurrence is imminent?
    Is it the case that people who decline to stop for lights and siren, but instead proceed at low speed, tend to eventually pull over of their own accord, or do they get faster and faster as they get more desperate to evade pursuit?

    That, to me, is a question of facts, which means it should go to the jury to determine.

  • santamonica811||

    Agreed...it's a question of fact.

    For me (having dated a cop, way back when), my approach would be: Has this driver done anything inconsistent with being willing to pull over, once he/she finds a safer place? So, if a driver is slowing down and then speeding up, or suddenly switching lanes repeatedly, etc...that seems a clear signal of intent to evade/escape. But if a driver is going slowly and is NOT ever speeding, then it sure seems to be what the police always tell drivers in general, "Pull over as quickly as possible, BUT ONLY where it's safe to do so." If the woman's driving is not a question for a jury/factfinder to decide, then I'm not sure what would be.

  • James Pollock||

    "if a driver is slowing down and then speeding up, or suddenly switching lanes repeatedly, etc...that seems a clear signal of intent to evade/escape."

    So does passing up several safe places to pull over.

    " if a driver is going slowly and is NOT ever speeding"

    Driving 20 mph UNDER the speed limit is almost as dangerous as driving 20 over.

    The question is whether or not PITting this particular vehicle was reasonable at the time it was done, knowing (only) what the policeman knew at the time. I'm inclined to believe it was, based on what I think I know about the incident... if you run from the police, even at 35 in a 55 zone, they may take steps to stop you beyond lights and siren. Spike strips and PIT are part of the toolbox, if the cops decide letting you continue to drive is a danger to yourself or others. There's room to argue that they weren't trained properly... either in carrying out the task, or in deciding to use it. But when they use it and your excuse was "I was GOING TO stop, when I felt like it", you should expect to lose. Get a dashcam, and a cell phone.

  • santamonica811||

    "...Driving 20 mph UNDER the speed limit is almost as dangerous as driving 20 over..."

    Untrue. Or, to be more accurate: Yes, it's generally true. But NOT in the facts of this case. If there is a police car behind you, with its lights flashing, it is not particularly dangerous to slow down. That gave other drivers (who were coming on to the location) lots of advance notice, so the usual danger--that you're zipping along and suddenly come upon a crawling car going well under the speed limit--just would not be there.

    What she was doing was not without any risk, I acknowledge. But at least in my city (greater Los Angeles), cops tell the public, "If a cop flags you--especially at night--it's fine to proceed to a well-lit area. And if you're on the freeway, you absolutely can take an off-ramp, rather than pull over to the shoulder of the freeway."

    This may not apply to other states. (Or to other cities in California, for all I know.)

  • James Pollock||

    " cops tell the public, "If a cop flags you--especially at night--it's fine to proceed to a well-lit area. And if you're on the freeway, you absolutely can take an off-ramp, rather than pull over to the shoulder of the freeway.""

    Which is fine, if the cops all know that this is what's being told to the public, and the public knows that the cops all know this.

    But this is a case where that understanding is not in place. (If it is, then there's a deficient-training argument/lawsuit to be had with the police agency).

    The point is still that all the cop knows is that he's signaled this person to stop, and the person knows this and has chosen to continue on. Maybe that's a reasonable "I was going to drive to the police station", maybe it's "I'm deeply impaired and shouldn't be on the road". Maybe it's I'm going to run as soon as I see streets that look familiar".

    It would be nice if the cops had an instant, accurate, tool they could use to see into the future, and see how dangerous a person actually is, instead of having to judge from a few minutes or even a few seconds of interaction.

  • James Pollock||

    "Last year, a Wisconsin judge struck down a state law banning the sale of home-baked goods, making the world a little freer for the three home bakers represented by IJ."

    But... and this is the ONLY issue some people are concerned with... do they have to make cakes for gay people who may or may not want to get married?

  • ||

    I don't have an issue making a cake for a gay couple, whether it's for a wedding or not. What I have an issue with is the deviant act they engage in when they get home. I have an issue with them doing that unmarried as well, and with heterosexuals doing it. NOBODY, gay or straight, should be allowed to insert one's penis into another person's butt. It spreads disease, and offends nature and society.

  • mse326||

    Homosexual activity is not confined to humans. So obviously it doesn't offend nature. As for society, that has changed. The majority support people being able to engage in same-sex sex if they choose. So it doesn't offend society, it offends what you want society to be.

  • ||

    Did you not read my post?

  • mse326||

    Same point. Anal sex occurs in nature, and the majority of society has no problem with two consensual adults, homo- or heterosexual, engaging in whatever sexual behavior they choose. So your claim of it offending nature and society are demonstrably false.

  • Krayt||

    Even if one grants it offends nature, whatever that means, and assuming that isn't crypto for the religious belief of God designing humans, is not offending nature AKA peoples' sensibilities something government should be doing?

    No, and that's why laws against horse eat and dog meat are similarly wrong.

  • mse326||

    It also doesn't inherently spread disease any more than vaginal penetration.

  • James Pollock||

    "It also doesn't inherently spread disease any more than vaginal penetration."

    Shaking hands does, though. And kindergarten spreads more disease than anything else.

  • mad_kalak||

    It does, because one was evolutionarily designed to get f*cked and the other wasn't. This causes micro skin tears, where a certain kind of virus enters the bloodstream.

    I am still waiting for prostitution to be legalized via Lawrence's precedent.

  • James Pollock||

    "It does, because one was evolutionarily designed to get f*cked and the other wasn't. This causes micro skin tears, where a certain kind of virus enters the bloodstream."

    Only if that certain virus was present in the first place. If any of these "certain viruses" isn't present, you can have as much sex as you like without spreading any disease. (In other words, the core of the problem isn't the type of sex you're having, it's who you're having it with.)

    And there are diseases (cervical cancer) that are spread by vaginal or even oral sex, with a person who has an HPV infection, but not spread by anal sex.

    Evolution is a bad argument. Evolution gears the human organism, but it also gears the pathogens.

  • mad_kalak||

    Evolution is a perfectly acceptable argument and it's telling that you don't accept it. Use your imagination as to what it tells the rest of us.

    Millions of years of evolution have led the female reproductive organs to be, how shall we say it, "receptive", while the end of the colon is used for getting rid of waste.

    Now, it's perfectly understandable that a hammer can be used as a paperweight, but that's not what hammers were designed for, now is it?

    Delve into the facts of HIV spread if you desire in all its bloody details, but in short, it's caused by using a hammer for a paperweight.

  • James Pollock||

    "Millions of years of evolution have led the female reproductive organs to be, how shall we say it, "receptive""

    Yes, and millions of years of evolution have led pathogens to attack the female (and male) reproductive organs, because they're, how shall we say it, "receptive".

    "Delve into the facts of HIV spread"
    Why would I want to move the goalposts from "diseases" to "HIV", when the number of cases of HIV infection are dwarfed by the number of cases of other diseases...

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm not sure moving the goalposts is really necessary, given that male homosexuals act as a disease reservoir for basically every STD, not just HIV.

    Note, the same can't be said of female homosexuals, it really IS the act of anal penetration that's at issue, biologically, combined with promiscuity.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm not sure moving the goalposts is really necessary"

    You must have thought I'd miss it when you moved the goalposts from "diseases" to STDs, then. Nice try.

    "Note, the same can't be said of female homosexuals, it really IS the act of anal penetration that's at issue, biologically, combined with promiscuity"

    The problem is indiscriminate promiscuity, and not even sexual... Just being close, and careless, is enough to spread disease. Nothing spreads disease more effectively than kindergarten.

  • mad_kalak||

    JP, you consistently show the rest of us that you're not open to anything that doesn't fit into your preconceived notions. Sad.

    I never moved the goalposts, I euphemistically referred to HIV in my first response. eh?

    It's embarrassing for me to publicly have to educate you on this, but the anus doesn't give lubrication like a vagina (you know, biology is evolution in action). Lubrication prevents the micro skin tears associated with anal sex, not to mention the fact that there are often microskin tears on the anus already because people wipe sh*t off of it routinely. This is the avenue in which HIV spreads directly into the bloodstream from host to host. Of course there are other STDs spread vaginally, but anal sex is particularly dangerous because of the skin tears.

    And talk about moving the goalposts; the diseases (vaccines aside) that are spread in kindergarten don't kill people. F*cking people in the ass without a condom does spread a disease that kills people, which is why so many gay men have HIV.

  • James Pollock||

    "I never moved the goalposts, I euphemistically referred to HIV in my first response. eh?"

    So, your claim is that you didn't move the goalposts, because you moved the goalposts from the beginning?

    " Of course there are other STDs spread vaginally, but anal sex is particularly dangerous because of the skin tears."

    Yes, lots more of them. Which would be relevant if the topic of discussion were which behaviors spread more diseases. Which, I suddenly notice, has been the topic all along. How about that.

    "And talk about moving the goalposts; the diseases (vaccines aside) that are spread in kindergarten don't kill people."

    Yes, adding the condition that the only diseases that count are the ones that kill people would be moving the goalposts. (We'll let slide your claim that influenza doesn't kill people, for now.)

    " F*cking people in the ass without a condom does spread a disease that kills people,"
    True enough. With whom are you arguing this point?

  • James Pollock||

    To review:
    This is the original claim:
    "It [anal sex] also doesn't inherently spread disease any more than vaginal penetration."

    From this point, you want to limit the discussion to only fatal diseases, specifically, HIV. I am addressing the claim, as stated. From this, you've determined that I "consistently show the rest of us that you're not open to anything that doesn't fit into your preconceived notions. Sad."

    Yes, you tried to move the goalposts, several times. That somehow shows you that *I'M* not open to anything that doesn't fit my preconceived notions.

    Care to expand on why this doesn't ALSO show that you are lazy, and intellectually dishonest?

  • mad_kalak||

    Is all you got is saying I'm moving the goalposts? Again, sad, because you knew exactly that I was talking about HIV is my first post as evidenced by your response. I was trying to be polite, which with you is a waste of time.

    So let's get down to brass tacks. Which would you rather prefer to do, if given no choice, as it pertains to level of danger? Engage in unprotected anal sex with a stranger or playing with a bunch of strange kids in a kindergarten. One could kill you, one might get you a cold.

    That's really what it comes down to. Sorry.

  • James Pollock||

    "Is all you got is saying I'm moving the goalposts?"

    It's going to get mentioned every time you try to make the goalposts move. If having it pointed out to you that you're trying to move the goalposts, maybe stop trying to move the goalposts.

    "Which would you rather prefer to do, if given no choice"

    I'd prefer not to argue with someone who thinks false dichotomy is "what it comes down to".

  • mad_kalak||

    Shorter JP: From a risk perspective, anal sex is no different than playing toys with little kids.

  • James Pollock||

    I accept your concession that you had no counter-argument to what I actually said.

  • James Pollock||

    "I NOBODY, gay or straight, should be allowed to insert one's penis into another person's butt"

    Here's the deal. You get to decide what to do with yours, and other people get to decide what to do with theirs. Trying to tell other people what to do is a disease, and offends freedom.

  • ||

    Fine with me provided that I don't have to pay for the health care costs of anyone who contracts HIV or any other disease that way. If you insist society pay for $100k/year PrEP, then it's society's business.

  • bernard11||

    So you don't smoke, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, never drive too fast, etc.?

  • ||

    Correct on all of those.

  • mse326||

    With how many women have HIV I can only assume that their willingness to engage in butt stuff is far more likely than I have been led to believe

  • ||

    75% of new HIV cases are among men who have sex with me, so your premise is wrong.

  • James Pollock||

    The truth emerges.

  • santamonica811||

    "ActualRightWingPatriot|12.2.18 @ 7:55AM|#

    75% of new HIV cases are among men who have sex with ME, so your premise is wrong." [emphasis added]

    Okay, it's obviously a typo. But still, it's--unintentionally--the funniest comment so far in 2018.

  • DumbLuck||

    Freudian slip?

  • James Pollock||

    "Fine with me provided [...]"

    You weren't being offered a choice in the matter. You get to decide what you do with your penis, and other people get to decide what to do with theirs. That's just the way it is. May I suggest to your the Serenity Prayer?

  • Eddy||

    There are people baking in the privacy of their own home, wouldn't the right to privacy protect their decisions of whom to bake for?

  • Eddy||

    Look, we're talking about consenting adults deciding whom to have commercial relations with in their homes.

  • Eddy||

    One could even argue that

    "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."

    Even if someone's concept of existence involves an outdated definition of marriage.

  • James Pollock||

    I'm going to point to the fact that you thought that joke was worth composing three separate replies, drop the mic, and walk away.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Foo! I was waiting for episode four.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    You have a minor typo in your comment.

    composing -> composting. :)

  • Eddy||

    At least you can count correctly, for once. And you didn't even have to take off your shoes and socks this time, so I suppose congratulations are in order for your newfound mathematical abilities.

  • James Pollock||

    Eddy, you're babbling. Ask the orderly to tell the doctor you need your medication adjusted.

  • James Pollock||

    Guess the medication is OK now. Good.

  • Drewski||

    "the government could forfeit Bugattis caught speeding"

    Who would the government forfeit them to? Itself? Seems wasteful but constitutional.

    Which is to say, let's not make "forfeit" the new "literally" and use it to mean the opposite of what it traditionally does. Use "taking" to mean "receiving forfeitted property" and we'll get along just fine.

  • James Pollock||

    "receiving forfeitted property"

    you mean "receiving forfeit property", I assume. And then you have the problem of describing what, exactly, the person is doing who buys, at auction, a car that was previously forfeit to the state.

  • Drewski||

    Yeah, the adjective is definitely better than a misspelled past tense. But no, I don't see why that creates a problem describing such a purchase. Probably less of a problem than it would be in a world where "forfeit" can mean to lose or gain property depending on context.

  • James Pollock||

    "Forfeit" means that somebody has surrendered something, without recompense. It doesn't necessarily turn up again in somebody else's possession, though that is usually the case. But if it DOES turn up again in somebody else's possession, it can have a long line of subsequent possessors, including the original.

    You can talk about receiving a forfeit. Example: If you're in a tournament, and the other team doesn't show up, you receive the forfeit.

    "I don't see why that creates a problem describing such a purchase."
    Do you see a difference between "taking a car" and "buying a car"? Because "receiving forfeit property" defined as "taking" makes both apply to the same transaction.

  • Naaman Brown||

    I make an effort to avoid buying stolen property.

    In my book stolen includes property taken by the state on suspicion of crime without proof and conviction on the accusation.

  • James Pollock||

    "I make an effort to avoid buying stolen property."

    So... you only rent?

  • bernard11||

    Probably less of a problem than it would be in a world where "forfeit" can mean to lose or gain property depending on context.

    The usage should be sanctioned.

  • Voize of Reazon||

    Bernard, I wanted to reassure you that at least one reader got it. Nicely done.

  • RobinGoodfellow||

    Thank you. I had the same issue with this formulation and it took me a few seconds to get at the meaning.

  • ||

    Regarding Bridgegate, it's absurd to argue that there isn't a Constitutional right to use public roadways and not be hindered from doing so because of some petty revenge that the agent is trying to exact.

  • Eddy||

    If you do something so sociopathic that no official thought to do it before, then there's no precedent against your behavior, hence the wrongness of your act isn't "clearly established," QED.

  • ||

    Seriously.

    "Well, we previously ruled that a prison guard couldn't shove a broomstick in an inmate's butt, but we never ruled that he couldn't do so with a screwdriver. Not clearly established. Qualified immunity!"

  • James Pollock||

    "Regarding Bridgegate, it's absurd to argue that there isn't a Constitutional right to use public roadways and not be hindered from doing so because of some petty revenge that the agent is trying to exact."

    Does this mean people can sue the government and various officials because the road maintenance activity was scheduled for Friday, when they wanted to leave on a vacation, while OTHER people can sue because the potholes aren't being fixed until Friday?

  • ||

    No. It doesn't mean that, and you're surely smart enough to know the difference between closing a road because it needs to be maintained (even if not done in the most efficient manner) and closing it to exact retribution on a political enemy.

  • James Pollock||

    The point wasn't that the road was closed, the point was WHEN it was closed. Since every time to close it is inconvenient for SOMEBODY...

  • bernard11||

    The point is it was closed for no good reason.

  • Ben of Houston||

    At the very least, this qualifies as harassment and various anti-corruption laws concerning using power against political opponents.

  • Naaman Brown||

    It was the motive that made the closing a crime. What became of crime victim's rights?

  • Seamus||

    I missed the part of the constitution where it says, "nor shall any dick move be taken without good reason."

  • James Pollock||

    "I missed the part of the constitution where it says, "nor shall any dick move be taken without good reason.""

    That comes from the "time, place, and manner" jurisprudence. The Constitution's first amendment is written as a flat prohibition, but there are times where a compelling state purpose requires them to slightly infringe on people's rights, and the courts have allowed this when they agreed that there WAS a compelling purpose for the restriction in question, and that there was no other way of achieving the compelling purpose without making an even bigger infringement for someone else. So, you have a right to speak freely in public places, but not to use power amplification to drown out the legislature at work. You have the freedom of the press, but not to make your own $20 bills.
    The requirement is a compelling government interest, a narrow tailoring of the restriction, and no non-infringing way of achieving the compelling interest.
    If we could get a "no dick move" amendment, it would be fun to watch the parties unravel

  • Krayt||

    If the choice of Friday, or not-Friday was due to petty revenge, sure, why not?

  • Krayt||

    If the choice of Friday, or not-Friday was due to petty revenge, sure, why not?

  • James Pollock||

    Does it have to be petty revenge? What if it's grand revenge, instead?

  • Krayt||

    More reasons to throw supervillains in jail.

  • Toranth||

    So can unplanned protests - like we've seen so many of since the 1960s - have their members arrested on Federal fraud charges? They are interfering with the usage of the roads, most of which belong to organizations that receive federal funding.
    If the protest was organized online or using phones, that adds conspiracy and wire fraud charges, too.

    While it seems like there should be something illegal about deliberately blocking roads for personal purposes, it certainly seems to me that it isn't a Federal matter, and certainly isn't a civil rights matter.

  • mse326||

    There is no fraud there because there was no relationship contractual or otherwise between the protesters and someone else. The government officials were under contractual relationships between the NJ Gov't and the Port Authority

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    What makes you think protest and assembly are not civil rights. What makes you think use of a public road for transport (legal and all, but not a constitutional guarantee), trumps use of a public road for public assembly, which is guaranteed?

    I get that public assembly has long been treated as the redheaded stepchild of the 1A. I'm asking if it makes sense to a libertarian to do that?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    What makes us think use of a public road for transport trumps use of a public road for public assembly?

    Because the right to peacefully assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances isn't a right to assemble any place you feel like, or do anything that strikes your fancy while assembling.

    You can't break into somebody's home, and get off on breaking and entering because you held a protest there. You can't protest by smashing windows and burning cars, and claim your 1st amendment right as a defense.

    You can't break laws of general application just to assemble and petition for redress. It's the right to peacefully assemble.

    The laws against blocking public roads, especially limited access roads, are not pretextual, intended to obstruct 1st amendment exercises. It is, quite justifiably, illegal to block a public road. That you protest while committing this crime is no defense. Go protest someplace where you don't block traffic.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The original concept of civil disobedience was that you would publicly violate a law in order to protest that law. Gandhi protested a law prohibiting Indians from making their own salt by quite publicly going to the sea, filling a pan with water, and letting it dry. Rosa Parks protested a law mandating that she sit in the back of the bus by sitting in the front.

    The idea here is that you force the government to publicly enforce a law which violates the public conscience, and so generate pressure to overturn the law.

    That isn't how civil disobedience is understood today. Today you go out and break an utterly unrelated law, just to be sufficiently obnoxious that you can't be ignored, and get some press coverage. You chain yourself across a gate, but not because you're protesting people being able to walk through the gate. You block traffic, but not to protest people being able to drive on the road. (Maybe you even do it in an effort to deny somebody ELSE the ability to peacefully assemble!

    Why the change? Well, the original concept of civil disobedience did sort of require that the public conscience agree with you about the law in question. The new approach? Not so much. It's more extortion than persuasion...

  • James Pollock||

    "Why the change? Well, the original concept of civil disobedience did sort of require that the public conscience agree with you about the law in question. The new approach? Not so much. It's more extortion than persuasion.."

    I don't think there's been as much change as all that. For example, the people who go camp in trees to protest the trees being sold to lumber companies. (Yes, there are other protesters who spike the trees or vandalize equipment... because making it more expensive to log than to not log is effective against capitalist entities... but those are things in addition to, not instead of, civil disobedience.

    The practice of creating "free speech zones" near campaign gatherings has more to do with the change than anything else, in my opinion. The rights of individuals to gather with like-minded individuals? Undisputed. The right to support the political candidates as a group? Also largely undisputed. The right to do so without hearing any disagreeing opinions? Non-existent.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "The practice of creating "free speech zones" near campaign gatherings has more to do with the change than anything else, in my opinion."

    That's why I went to the trouble of pointing out that laws prohibiting blocking public roads, or even walking around on limited access roads, are not pretextual. They're laws of general application which are easily justified, both on the basis of public safety, and enabling the purpose of the roads.

    Which makes them very different from "free speech zones", which actually are intended to suppress protest rather than achieve any legitimate purpose.

    I also think that "free speech zones" are a more recent development than the deliberately obnoxious uncivil disobedience, but I don't see the causality running either way there; Free speech zones were intended to prohibit peaceful, lawful political expression, they weren't a response to violent protest.

  • James Pollock||

    "That's why I went to the trouble of pointing out that laws prohibiting blocking public roads, or even walking around on limited access roads, are not pretextual."

    They're selectively enforced, though. And the issuance of permits to block traffic introduces an additional level of complexity in the analysis.
    The only protest I have personal experience with that intentionally blocked roads, was Critical Mass, and involved a substantial group of bicyclists riding on public roadways to protest the general unsafety of doing so individually. When you live out in the country, you don't see a lot of protests first-hand.

  • Soronel Haetir||

    I'm sorry but I would have to say the water polo case simply sounds like an assumption of risk issue. People choose to engage in moderately risky activities and it should not be the duty f others to interfere with those choices.

  • Tatil Sever||

    She is a minor. There is a long list of moderately risky activities that she is not allowed to partake in.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm sorry but I would have to say the water polo case simply sounds like an assumption of risk issue."

    Even where there is implied assumption of the risk (not all states permit this), there's still a difference between negligence and gross negligence.

  • mse326||

    But the question is who was negligent. The league for not having a policy in place or the coach for not removing an injured player? Why are head injuries different than other injuries in whether we hold the league accountable?

  • bernard11||

    Agree.

    Concussion protocols or not, where was the coach?

  • James Pollock||

    " Why are head injuries different than other injuries in whether we hold the league accountable?"

    They aren't. You can contract away your right to sue for negligence. In some cases, you must explicitly do so, and in other cases, the activity you choose to partake in is so inherently risky that it can be assumed that you knew the risks when you chose to participate.

    Water polo is a vicious sport, played in a hazardous environment. To take part in the activity, you have to accept some risk. But... the intercollegiate athletics organizations are SUPPOSED to have taken steps to minimize those risks. So if you decide to play without protective gear on, that's on you. But if you've got an injury and the coach leaves you in the pool... that's gross negligence, and wouldn't be covered by assumption of the risk.

  • ScottK||

    That Eighth Circuit dissent, yikes! A form that has zeroes on it is certainly not a blank form, and there could be significant legal consequences if the zeroes are not factual.

  • Eddy||

    I would speculate that it's people who conceal actual nonzero donations who are the intended target of the legislation, not people who have literally nothing to hide.

    Though I have my doubts about "disclosure" legislation in the first place, given the way it can be used to harass people who donate to the "wrong" campaigns and causes.

  • James Pollock||

    The idea is to match up A) what people are reporting they gave money to, and B) what money is reported as showing up there with their name on it.

    If I say I donated $200 to this nonprofit, and he says he received $0, something needs investigating. If I say I donated $200 and he doesn't turn in a form... even if he didn't turn in a form because all the numbers would have been 0's, that's a problem.

    Back in the old days, you could claim a dependent on your taxes by writing down the kid's name. Then the IRS changed the rule to require the kid's name AND SSN, and that year over 500,000 American children disappeared.

  • Eddy||

    "If I say I donated $200 and he doesn't turn in a form..."

    Then that is evidence that the person didn't report a donation. And the evidence turned up even though he didn't turn in a form - which in this hypothesis he was supposed to do because he got a nonzero amount.

  • James Pollock||

    " which in this hypothesis he was supposed to do because he got a nonzero amount."

    Odd that you consider 0 to be "a nonzero amount".

    Man, I hope you have someone else do your taxes.

  • Eddy||

    I don't even know what you're talking about here, or what it has to do with anything I said.

    Of course, you could consider the possibility that you misunderstood something I said, but I doubt you're going to take that way out, you're just going to double down.

  • Eddy||

    Here is what I thought you hypothetical situation was: A donor gives $200 and reports it. The donee doesn't report getting the money, though he's required to report nonzero amounts, and $200 is a nonzero amount.

    Are you going to spend post after post trying to double down on your "misinterpretation"?

  • James Pollock||

    "Are you going to spend post after post trying to double down on your "misinterpretation"?"

    You did.

  • James Pollock||

    "I don't even know what you're talking about here"

    Well, I quoted you referring to 0 as "a nonzero amount", and then pointed out that you referred to 0 as a "nonzero amount". Since this is apparently too complicated for you, I guess that pointing out that 0 is the only non-"nonzero amount" will ALSO be too much for you.

    "Of course, you could consider the possibility that you misunderstood something I said"

    I quoted you accurately, did I not?

  • Eddy||

    You can't tell the difference between $200 and zero?

    I said you'd be doubling down, and there you go.

  • James Pollock||

    "If I say I donated $200 and he doesn't turn in a form... even if he didn't turn in a form because all the numbers would have been 0's"

    " he didn't turn in a form - which in this hypothesis he was supposed to do because he got a nonzero amount."

    So... he got 0, and you think he should have turned a form because he got a nonzero amount.

    "I said you'd be doubling down, and there you go."

    Yes, I'm doubling down by pointing out your mistake every time you repeat it.

  • Eddy||

    No, I was using a more realistic version of your hypothetical, where the donor accurately reported giving $200, instead of falsely claiming a $200 donation as your original ridiculous hypo required.

    I didn't even dignify your retarded hypothetical with a response, I worked on the assumption that if the donor reported a $200 donation the recipient got $200. I used ellipses to eliminate the retarded parts of your hypothetical, and good riddance to them and you.

    I'm certainly not going to play Monopoly with you if you can't tell the difference between $200 and zero.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'm certainly not going to play Monopoly with you if you can't tell the difference between $200 and zero."

    An odd complaint, coming, as it did, following two paragraphs of you explaining why you considered 0 to be = 200.

    Do not pass Go. Do not collect $0.

  • Eddy||

    So you're going to blame other people for the hypothetical which you, not I, used.

    You're not getting any Free Parking on this one. Not even a tenant at Baltic Avenue would fall for your spiel.

  • James Pollock||

    So your plan was to pre-emptively complain about post after post doubling down, then put up post after post doubling down?

    You said something stupid, got called on it (repeatedly), and refuse to admit it.

    That's only Presidential when the President does it.

  • Eddy||

    You're dimmer than a broken light bulb in a coal scuttle, and I'm sure you are as beautiful as you are wise.

  • James Pollock||

    You said something stupid, got called on it (repeatedly), and refuse to admit it."

    And on top of that, your charming insecurity turns to insults when you can't bluff your way out it.

  • gormadoc||

    You explicitly said that he got $200. That's nonzero. I don't know why this is so hard.

  • James Pollock||

    "You explicitly said that he got $200"

    I explicitly said that he got $0. That's zero. I don't know why this is so hard.

  • James Pollock||

    "You explicitly said that he got $200"

    There's literally no point in the hypothetical where anyone gets $200.

  • Eddy||

    Well, I'd like to offer you a Get Out of Retardation Free card, but there's no Chance that you'd use it.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'd like to offer you a Get Out of Retardation Free card"

    I've got no use for it, so I'd have had to just give it back anyway. Use it. Please.

  • Eddy||

    Repeating back an insult because you're not clever enough to think up one of your own is the sign of a great wit, or at least half of one.

  • James Pollock||

    "Repeating back an insult because you're not clever enough to think up one of your own is the sign of a great wit, or at least half of one"

    Whereas it takes no wit at all to resort to insults when a debate is lost.

  • gormadoc||

    "If I say I donated $200 to this nonprofit, and he says he received $0, something needs investigating. If I say I donated $200 and he doesn't turn in a form... even if he didn't turn in a form because all the numbers would have been 0's, that's a problem."

    I'll post it again, just so you can understand.

    "If I say I donated $200 to this nonprofit, and he says he received $0, something needs investigating. If I say I donated $200 and he doesn't turn in a form... even if he didn't turn in a form because all the numbers would have been 0's, that's a problem."

  • tkamenick||

    I think the confusion here is over whether the first person is lying when they say they donated $200 to the NFP. If the person is telling the truth, then in fact the NFP's form would NOT "have been 0's" and James is right. If the person is lying, then in fact the NFP's form would "have been 0's" and Eddy is right.

  • James Pollock||

    "I'll post it again, just so you can understand."

    I'm not sure why you think repeating it somehow changes anything to fix your mistake.

    There's no part of the hypothetical where anyone gets $200. You can repeat it as many times as you like, and there will still be no part where anyone gets $200.

  • Wanderer||

    50000 children disappeared ?

    That's genocide. #Bring back our babies ! Who would think of the children ?

  • James Pollock||

    #America'sForgottenBabies

  • JeffR24||

    It's difficult to argue that a right to intrastate travel isn't implied by the right to interstate travel, which is probably the most concrete right included in the Tenth Amendment. (It was present in the Articles of Confederation, free ingress and regress, but not in the corresponding section of the Constitution, and, at a bare minimum, the 10th was passed to make certain that no individual liberties were lost between the change of governing documents.)

  • ||

    In any case, the travel was ultimately interstate. The ramp that was closed led to the George Washington Bridge, which goes from New Jersey to New York.

  • Toranth||

    But traffic wasn't blocked. Traffic patterns were adjusted, deliberately causing confusion and backups. However, each and every person who wanted to could, eventually, perform their travel. It just took longer.
    If traffic delays are a Federal issue, how could anyone ever schedule repairs or construction on roads and bridges between states? The very act of delaying traffic by closing a lane would become a "civil rights violation".

    In fact, it doesn't seem that causing a delay in travel should be a Federal issue. A state level charge for abuse of authority, or misuse of office, or such seems right.

  • Eddy||

    That's a good point, and may be decisive.

    The other side is that if there's bad faith - if government officials' very *purpose* is to obstruct people's travel, rather than making needed repairs with travel delays as a regrettable side effect...maybe that could be construed into a violation?

  • James Pollock||

    "But traffic wasn't blocked. Traffic patterns were adjusted, deliberately causing confusion and backups."

    You're contradicting yourself. If there were backups, then traffic was blocked. If traffic wasn't blocked, there were no backups.

    "A state level charge for abuse of authority, or misuse of office, or such seems right."

    I can see a federal issue lurking. If an active-duty military personnel was delayed, or a U.S. Postal Service vehicle, maybe even if a foreign diplomatic vehicle was delayed.
    The difference from routine maintenance is that there is a compelling state interest in play, whereas "I'm pissed at a Senator" isn't a compelling state interest.

  • Toranth||

    Blocked would mean not allowed to proceed at all. Delayed means they could (and did) proceed, after other cars. Forcing four lanes down to two is not blocking traffic, although it will cause delays.
    If your argument was correct, I am "blocked" by the fact that my local road has only two lanes, and the large number of cars means I frequently have to stop and wait. That isn't a useful meaning.

    "I can see a federal issue lurking."
    Hmm, individuals, doubtful. Deliberately delaying a military convoy (as in, the convoy was the target) maybe. I would think it would be an entirely different issue - not interstate travel, but interference with the post (or military).

    But if it was incidental, no way. If incidental delays of a postal vehicle were a federal crime (and civil rights violation?) then driving below the speed limit in front of a delivery vehicle, or missing a stoplight, could suddenly be a Federal issue.

    Let me put it differently: If these two guys had delayed the traffic by *personally* walking out into the roadway, would you say the same Federal issues arose? What if they stood in the doorway in front of the Senator so he couldn't enter the building?
    If these are not Federal issues, then it's a state matter - the abuse of authority, rather than the resulting traffic or delay, even if it happened near a border.

  • ||

    Except that 242 specifically covers state actors.

  • James Pollock||

    "Forcing four lanes down to two is not blocking traffic"

    Tell that to the people in the two blocked lanes. (Do it from a safe distance).

    "If these two guys had delayed the traffic by *personally* walking out into the roadway, would you say the same Federal issues arose? What if they stood in the doorway in front of the Senator so he couldn't enter the building?"

    Yes, and yes. The issues are the same.

    "If these are not Federal issues, then it's a state matter - the abuse of authority"

    It's a state matter, ALSO, not INSTEAD.

  • Toranth||

    "Tell that to the people in the two blocked lanes." Ok, I have no idea what you are trying to say here. Are you just arguing semantics because you think there is a difference, or what? In this case, traffic was not blocked from proceeding - there was no stopping the travel. Traffic was delayed - travel became more difficult.

    In the DC area, protesters, suicides, construction, and driver screwups regularly block - as in, shut down - traffic into or out of the District. According to you, those people are Federal criminals AND performing civil rights violations. BLM, blackbock/antifa, the Women's March spinoffs, even jaywalkers are all Federal felony criminals? Is that accurate?

  • James Pollock||

    " In this case, traffic was not blocked from proceeding - there was no stopping the travel. Traffic was delayed - travel became more difficult."

    The fraffic slows down ("is delayed") because cars have other cars, which are not moving, in front of them ("are blocked"). Arguing that they are not "blocked" because they can eventually get there is a dumb line of argument.

    If you're trying to go through a mountain pass, and an avalanche buries the road in 20 feet of snow, your way is blocked even if, come springtime, the snow will all melt, and you can proceed to your destination at that time.

    " According to you, those people are Federal criminals AND performing civil rights violations."

    Please stop making up interesting new strawman positions, and then imagining that I have advocated them. It makes you look stupid and wastes my time correcting you.

  • Toranth||

    Claiming that the cars are blocked because they take longer to get there is a dumb line of argument.

    And if you truly cannot see the difference between minutes of delay and months of delay or a trip measured in tens of minutes, something is not right about you.

    "Please stop making up interesting new strawman positions"
    Take a look at what you've said. You've claimed that ANY DELAY in preventing traffic from crossing a state border is a FEDERAL FELONY and civil rights violation. It's exactly the position you are advocating, but on a VA/DC bridge instead of a NY/NJ. There's no strawman here, except in your head.

    Presenting your position and asking you to confirm it (and watching you deny it) doesn't make me look stupid, it makes you look dishonest and/or incompetent. Not that that is necessary at this late a date.

  • James Pollock||

    " You've claimed that ANY DELAY in preventing traffic from crossing a state border is a FEDERAL FELONY and civil rights violation."

    I thought I asked you to STOP making weird strawman arguments, and then pretending I was advocating them. Apparently I did not. So I will do so, now. Stop making weird strawman arguments, and then pretending I advocated them. K?

    "And if you truly cannot see the difference between minutes of delay and months of delay or a trip measured in tens of minutes, something is not right about you"

    Well, since it was you that argued that if they got through, they were "delayed" rather than "blocked", I guess I'll have to conclude that something is not right about you.

  • Toranth||

    Pollock, are you an idiot, or do you just play on on Reason?

    I asked you if two people walking out into the street and blocking traffic, or standing in the doorway of a building, would be the same federal crimes. You replied:
    "Yes, and yes. The issues are the same."

    Those are your exact words, in this same thread. You can scroll up just a little ways and see for yourself that YOU wrote those exact words.

    You are the person claiming that, independent of the actions of the office these guys abused, delaying traffic or entry into a building was the same as those charges in this case. However, when I point out that your position (which you posted, and I quoted above) would also make all sorts of other things into Federal crimes, you suddenly call it a straw man?

    Just so you know, "straw man" is not what you claim when your position is stupid and you're embarrassed you made it.

  • James Pollock||

    "I asked you if two people walking out into the street and blocking traffic, or standing in the doorway of a building, would be the same federal crimes. You replied:
    "Yes, and yes. The issues are the same.""

    No, you're misquoting yourself.
    ""If these two guys had delayed the traffic by *personally* walking out into the roadway, would you say the same Federal issues arose?"

    Thus, I answered that the same issues are present. Notice what's missing? Any assertion as to whether there are any crimes. YOU keep providing that detail, even though I have declined to do so, and (repeatedly) asked you to stop pretending I did.

    "However, when I point out that your position"
    You still decline to address my actual position, because you'd rather argue with your straw man.

    "You are the person claiming that, independent of the actions of the office these guys abused, delaying traffic or entry into a building was the same as those charges in this case. "

    No, you are the one pretending that this is an argument that I made, when it is not, and you've been (repeatedly) reminded that I did not. Yet you persist, because otherwise, you'd have to admit you've been wrong, or stupid, or both.

  • Toranth||

    The entire article - the case, the post, the discussion - is about the crimes these guys were charged with. Those are "the issues".

    If the crimes - the topic of the case, the post, and the thread - are not what you are referring to by "issues", when it is what everyone else is referring to, then what the hell do you mean by it? And why haven't you ever defined it?

    It is amazing that you are defending yourself by saying that the words you used had some different meaning you never provided, in a context completely different than what everyone else was using. At best it means you are a piss-poor communicator. More likely, it means you are a dishonest troll.

    That's not good argument. That's douchery.

  • James Pollock||

    "The entire article - the case, the post, the discussion - is about the crimes these guys were charged with. Those are "the issues""

    Srsly?

    "If the crimes - the topic of the case, the post, and the thread - are not what you are referring to by "issues""

    Here's what some loser said in the parent comment to this thread:
    "In fact, it doesn't seem that causing a delay in travel should be a Federal issue. A state level charge for abuse of authority, or misuse of office, or such seems right."

    And here's how I responded:
    "I can see a federal issue lurking" and suggested some things that MIGHT create federal crimes.

    In short, you claimed that there were no crimes, and I said there are some things that might create crimes. NEITHER OF US claimed there were any crimes, until you found it convenient to pretend that I had.

    " it means you are a piss-poor communicator. More likely, it means you are a dishonest troll. That's not good argument. That's douchery."

    And you close with psychological projection, projecting your own qualities onto others. No, thank you.

  • James Pollock||

    "Pollock, are you an idiot, or do you just play on on Reason?"

    So you concede that you have to lie and resort to straw man arguments to out-argue an idiot? Not looking good for you...

    "Just so you know, "straw man" is not what you claim when your position is stupid and you're embarrassed you made it."

    No, a "straw man" is what someone who can't make an argument resorts to, as in your case. The dishonest person substitutes an argument they can beat for the argument that the other person has actually raised. It's a sign of laziness, intellectual dishonesty, or, as in your case, both.

  • OtisAH||

    "Blocked would mean not allowed to proceed at all. Delayed means they could (and did) proceed, after other cars. Forcing four lanes down to two is not blocking traffic, although it will cause delays."

    That bit is the equivalent of you holding a finger a half-inch from someone else's nose and saying "I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you." Your strict definition of "blocked" doesn't fool anyone either. If two lanes are shut down for active construction (even if they're not working that day), then that's life. If two lanes are shut down out of some political pique, that's not.

    Besides, the entire plot was hatched so as to cause commuters, and subsequently the recalcitrant mayor, as much pain and hassle as possible. Picking nits over whether that means traffic was blocked is "pointless" and stupid.

  • BadLib||

    [...] affirms the conviction of two former New Jersey officials for wire fraud, based on emails they sent to jumble the traffic patterns on the George Washington Bridge (thereby defrauding the Port Authority of the use of its toll booths and employee labor).

    That seems to me, a layperson, like an awfully broad definition of "wire fraud". If, for example, #BLM stage a protest that they reasonably should expect to disrupt traffic via unlawful pedestrian use of freeway on-ramps and that protest is organized in part via emails and that disruption costs local and state police resources and private trucking companies additional labor, will all who sent emails in the organizing effort also get charged with wire fraud now? Trump may have an opportunity here!

    It seems that this prosecutorial strategy could be used for almost anything that involved communicating by phone, email, IM, Facebook messenger and results in inconveniencing someone.

    I think I need to go re-read Professor Volokh's The Mechanisms of the Slippery Slope piece to help figure out where we are on the slope and how fast we are sliding...

  • Jerry B.||

    "Yikes! Montgomery County, Md. officials rezone the land and impose a series of requirements that, according to the developer, reduce the land available for development to just 93 acres."

    You'd think that all developers would by now have a list of the "pay to play" counties in Maryland.

  • Krayt||

    Every time I read something like this case, up to and including multibillion dollar fines against Apple or Microsoft or Google for anti-trust, all I can think about is they didn't pay their "participation tax".

    In Google'a case, they learned the hard way in the US and indiviual EU countries but underestimated the desire of the EU government itself to wiggle its fingers behind its back.

  • ThanksForTheFish||

    "there's no case on point clearly establishing that an officer can't run someone off the road in these circumstances"

    Fuck the police.

  • James Pollock||

    "

    "there's no case on point clearly establishing that an officer can't run someone off the road in these circumstances"
    Fuck the police."

    There IS a law that says you're supposed to run yourself off the road if the police vehicle is displaying lights and siren. Oregon's, for example, can be found at ORS 811.145.

  • RoyMo||

    It doesn't say that. It says nothing about running yourself off the road.

    "Immediately drive to a position as near as possible and parallel to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection."

    Thanks for the citation though.

  • James Pollock||

    "It doesn't say that. It says nothing about running yourself off the road."

    You mean, aside from the part you quoted?

  • ReaderY||

    A difficulty with the high school art contest case is the consequences of the plaintiff winning. How can the First Amendment forbid government from preferring particular political positions, yet not prohibit it from prohibiting particular artistic ones? If the plaintiff is entitled to have his entry considered free from any consideration of whether it represents good or bad politics, surely the other contestants would be equally entitled to have their entries considered free of any consideration of whether they might be good or bad art. How can government be prohibited from censoring for bad political taste, and yet be few to censor For bad artistic taste? How can artistic taste not be protected by the First Amendment?

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