Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Russian intelligence, Congressional injuries, and price transparency.


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

New on the Bound By Oath podcast: inhumane jail conditions and the Supreme Court's debunked justifications for qualified immunity.

  • In an effort to improve price transparency in the healthcare sector, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has directed hospitals to post certain price information online. D.C. Circuit: These "factual and uncontroversial" compelled disclosures do not violate the First Amendment. The hospitals argue the information won't actually be useful to consumers, but the Secretary found otherwise and we don't require "evidentiary parsing" to uphold disclosure requirements.
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Tweet? After a U.K. financier tweets that a D.C. resident is a "Russian intelligence asset" and "Russian GRU officer," the alleged Russian spy sues the financier for defamation in federal court in D.C. D.C. Circuit: On the current record, we're not sure if the U.K. financier's contacts with the District are sufficient to subject the financier to the jurisdiction in D.C., so we'll remand for some jurisdictional discovery.
  • In 2013, the feds leased the Old Post Office building, which now houses a luxury hotel, to the Trump Organization. The lease explicitly prohibits any federal elected officials from benefiting from it, and, upon President Trump's election, certain members of the House Oversight Committee seek records from the feds to determine how much the president is benefiting. D.C. Circuit: Federal law says the members are entitled to the documents; the feds have withheld them; that's enough of an injury for standing. Dissent: Federal law says the legislature has been injured, not individual legislators. Allowing a handful of members of the minority party to harass the executive branch with information requests is sure to be ruinous.
  • Following SCOTUS's lead, the Second Circuit applies strict scrutiny to Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 orders that single out religious gatherings for "especially harsh treatment" in New York.
  • Plaintiff: The government, invoking an arms-control statute, says it might punish me for publishing certain publicly available information without a license. This violates the First Amendment! Second Circuit: First Amendment, Schmirst Amendment. The statute already says the government can't do that, so you should all just go home.
  • Naval officer goes to get his kids lunch money from a Newport News, Va. ATM. He's shot to death in his car. Turns out his wife, who was set to get half a mil in death benefits and life-insurance proceeds, was having an affair (one of several secrets she kept). She and her paramour arranged for a friend to stage a robbery gone bad at the ATM. All three are convicted, and the triggerman is sentenced to death. The Fourth Circuit, with three judges and three opinions, sends the case down for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the triggerman's attorney was deficient in not investigating the man's brain damage and potential mental illness.
  • People arrested for criminal offenses in Dallas County, Tex. are taken for an initial hearing before a county magistrate judge, who considers whether to release the arrestee and sets bail from a discretionary schedule. Plaintiffs: Cash bail can only be required after an individualized finding that it is necessary despite someone's inability to pay. Alas, the Fifth Circuit won't go so far. After weaving its way through a procedural maze, the federal court enjoins the imposition of prescheduled bail amounts, requiring instead that a hearing be held within 48 hours of arrest to evaluate whether any bail amount need be paid or if another condition might suffice.
  • Allegation: After third-grader commits suicide, his parents learn that Cincinnati, Ohio school officials downplayed, misled, and failed to inform them about numerous incidents where he was attacked by classmates. In an incident two days before his death, the boy was knocked unconscious by a classmate; officials told the boy's parents he fainted. Sixth Circuit: The principal and assistant principal are not entitled to governmental immunity under Ohio law. The parents' state law claims can proceed.
  • In which the Seventh Circuit reminds Sidney Powell that Clash of the Titans did not end well for the Kraken (featuring the doctrine of "laches" in the role of Medusa's severed head).
  • Plaintiffs challenging denial of social security benefits must file suit within 60 days of receiving notice of the denial, which is presumed to have been received five days after it was mailed unless the plaintiff makes a "reasonable showing" that notice was late. Plaintiff: Here's a signed declaration from me, my lawyer, and his secretary that none of us received notice. Gov't: That's not enough. Ninth Circuit: If that's not enough, nothing would be. Case un-dismissed.
  • The Ninth Circuit would like to congratulate Seila Law on its victory in the Supreme Court. They still have to respond to a civil investigative demand from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but they can rest easy knowing that the person running the CFPB can be fired without cause.
  • In 2019, the feds adopted new regulations­ concerning the treatment of accompanied and unaccompanied minors subject to immigration detention. Ninth Circuit: Some of the rules—including requiring the minors to request a bond hearing (instead of providing one unless they opt out), limiting the circumstances in which accompanied minors can be released, and holding families in facilities licensed by ICE rather than a state—run afoul of a 1997 consent decree and are enjoined.
  • Attorneys for Stanislaus County, Calif. access juvenile records without a court order, which violates state law. But does it also violate the Constitution? Ninth Circuit: No need to say; the only case on point is too vague to clearly establish a right to privacy in the records. The county's lawyers get qualified immunity. Judge Hunsaker, concurring: We should take this en banc to consider in earnest whether there is a right. (In the meantime, the case against the county itself proceeds in the district court.)
  • Man pleads no contest, is sentenced to four years for, per the criminal information, "pushing and stricking (sic)" two Bethany, Okla. police officers. Can he sue those officers for excessive force? District court: No, not since he pleaded no contest to fighting them. Tenth Circuit: Case un-dismissed. The officers allegedly tased him and put him in a chokehold after he'd been subdued. That claim can go to discovery.
  • Twitter personality—who famously handcuffed herself to Twitter's offices after the company banned her account—sues Twitter, a Muslim civil rights group, and the group's Florida chapter over the ban. Eleventh Circuit: Nope.

Can California stop kindly ladies from talking to the dying and their families about how to hold a (perfectly legal) funeral in a private home? A federal judge in California just said no, issuing a preliminary injunction protecting the free-speech rights of end-of-life doulas. The state funeral bureau cracked down last year on Full Circle of Living and Dying, a shoestring nonprofit run by retired grandmothers who teach families how to care for deceased loved ones themselves. The bureau forbade these grandmothers from teaching and giving advice because they are not state-licensed funeral directors. But the First Amendment doesn't have an exception for occupational licensing, and so the doulas will go into 2021 to secure a final victory for themselves and everyone else who earns a living by speaking. Click here to read the order.

NEXT: S Novym Godom, S Novym Schastyem -- "To the New Year, to the New Happiness"

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  1. Gas stations are required to post prices visible to a car out on the street, so of course hospitals should remain a secret. Keep it all in Latin, so we have as hard a time understanding things that matter as when dealing with lawyers.

    1. “Gas stations are required to post prices visible to a car out on the street,”

      Are they actually required to do so by law? Or do they do so in an effort to compete with other stations?

      Cite required.

      1. Checked the law in my state. Yes, gas stations are required to post prices “in a conspicuous place, most accessible to the public at his or her place of business, and on every pump from which delivery is made.” However, no, this does not have to be on a sign visible from the street.

      2. The Santa Cruz California municipal code, for example, requires facilities offering motor vehicle fuel to have “at least one sign, banner or other advertising medium which is clearly visible from all traffic lanes in each direction on such [adjacent] street or highway” and that sign must “indicate thereon the actual price per gallon or liter, including all taxes, at which each grade of gasoline or other motor vehicle fuel is currently being offered for sale, sold or otherwise dispensed, if at all, at said facility on said date.”

        Interestingly the stated purpose of this requirement is not to protect the consumer but rather “to avoid the traffic congestion and hazards created by vehicles moving from one station to another in order to ascertain the price of motor vehicle fuels.”

  2. The case involving the third grader is something.

    1. The idea that you don’t tell parents their kid was knocked unconscious by a bully is amazing. Guess they never heard of concussions needing medical checks.

      1. Yep I agree. I thought it was common knowledge now that you treat potential concussions very carefully because long term impact can be awful, especially if received at a young age.

      2. If there’s a problem at the school, it threatens the money. If the school keeps quiet, there will be a new crop of kids next year. You’re thinking of Gabriel Taye like he was a person instead of a bundle of money.

      3. In many (all?) states, there’s also required reporting of child abuse. I think the school personnel failed here. I need to read the opinion to see what the teacher did and if the teacher was complicit in the cover up.

  3. Everyone should read the account of how a government school trapped a young kid and forced him to keep going back to be victimized over and over with no way to escape. He finally got away from the school by taking his own life.

    It’s long past time we changed the system that traps kids like that.

    Please stop thinking we like power and money from the union and it doesn’t affect our kids because we live in a nice neighborhood and our school is nice. Please.

    And don’t think you can engineer a scheme where nothing ever goes wrong because you’re smart and here’s your 3 really smart suggestions. Just give people an easy way to escape instead of trapping them in one of your really smartly-designed schemes. Things can always go badly when people are involved in them, no matter how smart you are.

  4. Under the funeral director / free speech logic, what’s the situation with respect to practicing medicine or law without a license, if all you do is listen, examine, and give advice? (All without claiming that you have a license.)

    CA Business & Professions Code 2052 prohibits “diagnosing” without a license.

    CA State Bar says that giving legal advice is illegal if you’re not an attorney. (Though, interestingly, there does not seem to be any statutory definition of “practice law”.)

    I assume that other states have similar laws.

    1. I have always thought that the licensing or “professionalizing” of law has been a detriment to rights and freedoms. We have offloaded any regular person’s interest (and eventually with licensing effectively walked off) in law and their rights. We created a cabal of technocrats who operate in black boxes to determine how the justice system operates. If regular people were involved more we would see pressures within the system to have it operate on ideas of plain justice that the average person “gets.” Instead we get things line Wickard v Filburn or the Kelo ruling and nearly every citizen alive has never heard of them. Civil asset seizures, qualified immunity… things that happened because we allowed technocrats to play the game unmolested by “we the people.” Does that mean I think the guy at the end of the bar deep into his Budweiser is the next Clarrence Darrow or Thurgood Marshall? No… but a system that operates for and in accordance to the norms of the people would, I think, be better even if not perfect.

      1. I should be able to have any assistance I want, whether in legal cases, medical cases, or anything else. Requiring state certificates seems wrong.

        If the state wants to certify people for legal or medical or other matters, the state ought to take some responsibility when their certified people screw up; and I ought to be able to handle malpractice charges on my own, without depending on the state to validate my charges, or relying on the state to handle the punishment. Rerouting all this through state bar associations in nonsense.

        David Behar makes a lot of noise on here about the lawyer racket, and he’s not total wrong. But his crusade will never get results.

        1. Pro se criminal defendants outperformed public defenders in verdict outcomes. These lawyers can be replaced by email service. they just hand carry plea offers to innocent people and bully them into accepting them, to avoid doing any work.

        2. If the state creates a certificate of competency, fine, I guess (not really their business but if they did that instead of one of the millions of other things they do I would take that trade). But that should serve only as a “seal of approval” rather than a permission slip. If you need a lawyer, the Gold Star might help ease your mind knowing you are hiring someone who has passed the bar. But if Johnny down the street spends all his free time studying law for fun, and knows his stuff… there is a real chance he may be better than the person the state has signed off on as a “true professional” and if that is who you want to hire… go for it.

        3. Yes, you should be able to get any assistance you want. But how will you separate the wheat from the snake oil salesmen?

          While licensing offers no such guarantee, either, it’s light years beyond all fools with the gift of gab.

  5. “After third-grader commits suicide, his parents learn that Cincinnati, Ohio school officials downplayed, misled, and failed to inform them about numerous incidents where he was attacked by classmates. In an incident two days before his death, the boy was knocked unconscious by a classmate; officials told the boy’s parents he fainted. Sixth Circuit: The principal and assistant principal are not entitled to governmental immunity under Ohio law. The parents’ state law claims can proceed.”

    I see the premises security liability for the batteries. The intentional act of the plaintiff makes his suicide is an unforeseen intervening cause. It is highly unforeseen, since suicide is highly unlikely in children even those with mental illness. Two days passed between the incident in school and the suicide. Discovery should seek prior acts of self injury. If such are found, the parents failed to supervise the victim adequately.

    1. Your claim that it is highly unforseen is dead wrong.

      From the decision:

      As this
      Court explained in Tumminello v. Father Ryan High Sch., Inc., however, “if a school is aware of a student being bullied but does nothing to prevent the bullying, it is reasonably foreseeable that
      the victim of the bullying might resort to self-harm, even suicide.”

      1. There is a denominator problem from fifth grade math. Lawyer math stops at the fourth grade, that needed to count money. I have made the point that know nothing lawyers are making decisions about technical subjects. The denominator is 20% of all children are bullied. How many commit suicide? Tell me which ones are going to commit suicide in 2 days.

        As of today, suicide is not foreseeable, even in highly suicidal adults with prior attempts.

        Beyond the fifth grade math word problem, foreseeing the future is a supernatural power. Even the Catholic Catechism from which this accident doctrine said, God could foresee the future and prevent accidents. Not even the Church of the 13th Century said man could predict the future. The foreseeability element is Catholic, and violates the Establishment Clause. Setting aside the Catechism view of accidents, predicting the future is not possible. You are more like to win a lottery than to predict the suicide of a child.

        1. I tend to agree that pinning the suicide on the school is wrong. It may be the legal precedent, but one I would think should be changed. Doesn’t mean the school has clean hands by a long shot… but unless the school can be shown to be actively encouraging the child to commit suicide, I don’t see how you can reasonably put that specific claim at their feet.

          1. The school failed to report his serious head injury to the police or to child welfare authorities. They are mandated reporters. They may have a negligence per se problem.

            They also had numerous reports of his getting attacked. I don’t know if the premises security jurisprudence can be applied to a school. That would be a useful comment from one of the lawyers here.

        2. predicting the future is not possible

          False. For instance: you are going to post something really stupid in the comments section of the VC in the future.

          1. David. How is your comment in any way lawyerly? Can you make yourself useful, and review the subject of premises security liability in government owned facilities? That would be useful, if you have access to Westlaw, and are still in business.

        3. As of today, suicide is not foreseeable, even in highly suicidal adults with prior attempts.

          You are mixing different things. The successful suicide of a child may not be foreseeable. The successful suicide of an adult may not be foreseeable. That someone has a significantly elevated likelihood of attempting suicide based on specific circumstances is very observable. Among other red-flags, repeated bullying is linked to increased suicide attempts. That the school hid bullying & assaults from the parents is criminal, as is the fact the school did not take appropriate action to stop the behavior (such as moving them to different classrooms). The school failed to provide safety to the child.

          1. Pg 16 of the opinion.
            Despite their knowledge of the continued harassment and physical harm Taye suffered at school, Jackson and McKenzie maintain that Taye’s suicide was not a foreseeable risk. As this Court explained in Tumminello v. Father Ryan High Sch., Inc., however, “if a school is aware of a student being bullied but does nothing to prevent the bullying, it is reasonably foreseeable that the victim of the bullying might resort to self-harm, even suicide.” 678 F. App’x 281, 288 (6th Cir. 2017).

            1. But that is not true. 20% of children are bullied. Should 11 million bullied children be placed on continual suicide watch?

              1. Assuming the 20% number is true, we’re still talking two different things. 20% of children might get bullied once or more per year. What percentage get bullied to the point of physically assault? Because that’s what we’re talking about here. We’re not talking about teasing & verbal comments, we’re talking about out-right assault.

    2. It’s reasonably likely that something tragic is going to happen in that situation. Maybe a kid brings a gun to school to protect himself. Or a knife. Or maybe he runs away from home and gets hurt. Or he finds the bully after school and is killed or seriously injured. Or he commits a crime. Or gets a stress-related illness. Or just skips school and ruins his future.

      Any very specific thing is unlikely. But tragic consequences are foreseeable.

      School is mandatory and the government decides where a kid goes and who is around him. The school shouldn’t be able to escape the consequences of the situation they forced everyone into.

      1. I think there is a difference between saying the school failed in its reporting duties, and that it failed to protect the child while in their care. Those are not small failures. But I do think it would be wrong to blame them for the suicide. Like you said… any number of sad outcomes could occur. But to knowingly be responsible for a particular one because it should have been predicted? That’s too far, imo. Like I said above… the schools hands are not clean. But that doesn’t mean we can put just any blame on them… but only things they are justly guilty of and nothing more.

        1. I’m going to toss in a few things from the case here. Based on my interpretation of it, the school employees were not taking any action to stop not just the bullying but also the physical assaults. At some point, the employees effectively become complicit in the behavior.

          Injured on a playground resulting in loss of two front teeth.
          Multiple assaults by another student (no attempt to notify parents). No indication the attacker was punished in any way.
          School prevented mother from reviewing security camera footage of multiple the incidents during which the child was injured (and in at least one case clearly assaulted).
          Lying to the mother about the cause of injuries (claiming horseplay/accident) and covering up an assault where two attackers were suspended.

          I’ll just copy and paste the final incident verbatim from the opinion:

          At 12:11 p.m. on January 24, 2017, two days before Taye’s death, a student identified as P.A. [primary aggressor] began violently attacking three boys in the school bathroom. P.A. punched one boy so hard he fell to the floor and curled up. Taye walked into the bathroom as P.A. was attacking the other boys. P.A. grabbed Taye’s hand and yanked him toward the wall, causing Taye’s head tocollide with something. As Taye collapsed to the floor, the surveillance footage shows P.A. celebrating Taye’s fall. As he lay on the floor unconscious, more than a dozen students passed through the bathroom, taunting and kicking Taye as they came and went

          The school appears to have been intentionally covering up incidents of bullying.

          Pursuant to O.R.C. § 3313.666, Carson Elementary is required to semiannually report the number of bullying incidents that have occurred at the school. Despite the aforementioned incidents recorded in the school’s student behavior log, the school reported zero incidents of bullying for the fall semester of the 2016–2017 school year

          Forget civil lawsuits, these people belong behind bars.

          1. I shared your concerns in my comment. Lawyer question. Are government owned facilities subject to premises security liability?

            The failure to report to child welfare authorities or a crime to the police may make these mandated reporters negligent per se.

            1. I’m not a lawyer, but due to multiple different groups I have volunteered with, I feel like have taken about every child protection training course in existence. I do not know about Government owned facilities as a whole, but Schools are subject to security liability of the students. This is due to child welfare/abuse laws & mandatory reporting laws.

        2. I don’t think they should be in prison specifically for murder. But they created a situation that was reasonably likely to end in tragedy, and it ended in tragedy, and they should face some very harsh consequences.

          Overlooking an incident or two isn’t the same as putting a victim in harm’s way over and over and over with no escape.

  6. In which the Seventh Circuit reminds Sidney Powell that Clash of the Titans did not end well for the Kraken (featuring the doctrine of “laches” in the role of Medusa’s severed head).

    Has any court actually ruled on the merits of the fraud accusations rather than dismissing the cases outright?

    1. Here is what one judge had to say. (emphasis added)

      In this action, the Trump Campaign and the Individual Plaintiffs (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) seek to discard millions of votes legally cast by Pennsylvanians from all corners – from Greene County to Pike County, and 1 Doc. 125. 2Id. Since the filing of the initial complaint, there have also been several intervenors and amicus petitioners. Case 4:20-cv-02078-MWB Document 202 Filed 11/21/20 Page 1 of 37
      – 2 -everywhere in between. In other words, Plaintiffs ask this Court to disenfranchise almost seven million voters. This Court has been unable to find any case in which a plaintiff has sought such a drastic remedy in the contest of an election, in terms of the sheer volume of votes asked to be invalidated. One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption, such that this Court would have no option but to regrettably grant the proposed injunctive relief despite the impact it would have on such a large group of citizens. That has not happened. Instead, this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations, unpled in the operative complaint and unsupported by evidence. In the United States of America, this cannot justify the disenfranchisement of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most populated state. Our people, laws, and institutions demand more. At bottom, Plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Therefore, I grant Defendants’ motions and dismiss Plaintiffs’ action with prejudice.

      1. The ruling you link to was not on fraud claims. It was on whether the equal protection clause was violated when PA counties disenfranchising voters by not notifying them & allowing them to cure their ballots as other jurisdictions in PA did.

        So I’ve still yet to see a court case where a court ruled on the merits of the fraud accusations.

    2. The trick is that other than the Kraken litigation, the Trumpkin lawyers were generally minimally competent/ethical enough not to allege any fraud.

      But, yes, in Michigan the courts ruled that the so-called “fraud” was not, that untrained observers were simply whining about things they didn’t understand.

    3. You’ve heard of Andrew McCarthy? Former DoJ US Attorney, strong conservative, strong Trump supporter. Writes for the National Review and has provided some of the most credible defenses of Trump and attacks on the Mueller investigation.

      In December, McCarthy wrote an article yesterday on Wisconsin decision on another Trump team lawsuit, by conservative Federal District Court Judge and Trump appointee, Brett H. Ludwig. Judge Ludwig rejected the defense argument of lack of standing, and said he’d run the trial based of the merits of each side’s argument including any evidence Team Trump wished to introduce.

      This is exactly what Trump defenders have been wanting, so let’s I’ll let McCarthy explain what happened—here are the core paragraphs:

      Publicly, the Trump campaign has been claiming there was extensive vote fraud and law-breaking. Specifically with respect to Wisconsin, President Trump tweeted on November 28: “The Wisconsin recount is not about finding mistakes in the count, it is about finding people who have voted illegally . . . We have found many illegal votes. Stay tuned!” The campaign further maintained that the recount it demanded would “show somewhere around 100,000 illegal ballots in the two counties that Biden carried” (i.e., Milwaukee and Dane).

      This is in addition to the innumerable times the president and his surrogates have asserted that they were being systematically prevented from proving massive fraud and illegality. The courts and state officials, we’ve been told, have invoked legal technicalities, such as the supposed lack of standing to sue, in order to stop the campaign from calling witnesses and introducing voluminous documentary evidence.

      Judge Ludwig denied the state’s claims that the campaign lacked standing. Instead, he gave the campaign the hearing they asked for — the opportunity to call witnesses and submit damning exhibits. Yet, when it got down to brass tacks, the morning of the hearing, it turned out there was no actual disagreement between the Trump team and Wisconsin officials about the pertinent facts of the case. The president’s counsel basically said: Never mind, we don’t need to present all our proof . . . we’ll just stipulate to all the relevant facts and argue legal principles.

      In the end, after all the heated rhetoric, what did they tell the court the case was really about? Just three differences over the manner in which the election was administered — to all of which, as Ludwig pointed out, the campaign could have objected before the election if these matters had actually been of great moment.

      There was no there there. Despite telling the country for weeks that this was the most rigged election in history, the campaign didn’t think it was worth calling a single witness. Despite having the opportunity of a hearing before a Trump appointee who was willing to give the campaign ample opportunity to prove its case, the campaign said, “Never mind.”

      And that’s what’s happened every time Team Trump has had the opportunity to introduce evidence. They won’t argue in court, the things they say to Fox, Newsmax, and OANN.

      To read the whole thing (and it’s well worth the time), search on:
      A Stunning Passage from the Latest Court Rejection of Team Trump
      December 13, 2020 5:28 PM

      1. Once again, I read through a court decision, and the article too. Once again, I find that it is not about accusations of fraud. Instead it is about whether the issuing of absentee ballots was handled in accordance with Wisconsin law.

        So I’ve still yet to see a court case where a court ruled on the merits of the fraud accusations.

        1. OK. So why, despite Trump’s constant claims of fraud of in WI, did his lawyers not allege fraud in the complaint?

          Maybe because it was BS all along, and they knew it?

        2. Billy, I want to make sure I’m understanding you. From what I can tell, you have a foundational assumption that evidence of fraud exists. Given that, you will be satisfied only if that actual evidence is introduced and adjudicated in a court of law. Is this correct? Because that position seems to lack a certain logic.

          So let’s go back to the assumption. Might you accept, for argument’s sake, a hypothesis that the reason the evidence doesn’t exist, is that the fraud doesn’t exist? And that this might actually be the simplest, most likely reason that the evidence you want to see in “…a court case where a court ruled on the merits of the fraud accusations,” hasn’t been?

          Most people making your argument point to “Affidavits” of people claiming to have witnessed fraud in action. But if you’ve been following the relevant cases, you’ll notice that, as judges remind the attorneys that their state bars tend to frown on sworn officers of the court submitting knowingly false, unprovable, or irrelevant testimony in support of frivolous lawsuits, the affidavits have pretty much universally evaporated.

          So, if you have knowledge of what you think is actual evidence of fraud that the Trump team has actually attempted to introduce, please point that out to me. But keep in mind that it must meet the legal standards of admissibility. Specifically, evidence must be:

          1) Not just allegations, speculation, or novel statistical theories, but evidence admitted in court of law, of…
          2) Actions with a possibility if proven true, of changing an election result.

          Because, as was further explained in the McCarthy article you said you read:

          With the Electoral College meeting just days away, the Court declined to address the issues in piecemeal fashion and instead provided plaintiff with an expedited hearing on the merits of his claims. On the morning of the hearing, the parties reached agreement on a stipulated set of facts and then presented arguments to the Court.

          A “stipulated set of facts,” in this context, is an agreement between the lawyers for the adversary parties about what testimony witnesses would give, and/or what facts would be established, if the parties went through the process of calling witnesses and offering tangible evidence at a hearing or trial.

          If Team Trump repeatedly and consistently stipulates in court that evidence of fraud does not exist, you are fated to never achieving satisfaction.

        3. Once again, I read through a court decision, and the article too. Once again, I find that it is not about accusations of fraud.

          So close, and yet you manage to completely miss the point. The fact that there weren’t any fraud allegations is precisely the issue. The Trump campaign talked big about fraud to the media, but in court admitted that there wasn’t any fraud. That’s why the court did not “rule on the merits of the fraud accusations.”

  7. “The Fourth Circuit, with three judges and three opinions, sends the case down for an evidentiary hearing to determine whether the triggerman’s attorney was deficient in not investigating the man’s brain damage and potential mental illness.”

    This opinion is a rather infuriating example of two bites at the apple. The lawyer didn’t bring up mental illness, which was double-edged– might give sympathy from the jury, might make him seem more dangerous. Had it been life in prison instead, the government would be stuck with the shooter escaping execution. But, since the jury chose the death penalty, now he gets to say “but my lawyer was bad!” and try his luck a second time.

    You know what’s coming next: Had his lawyer introduced the mental illness and the jury voted for guilty, then he would have argued that it was ineffective assistance of counsel to tell the jury he was mentally ill and he’d get the same second bite at the apple.

    The government has to win at least four or five times for justice to be done here.

  8. The state funeral bureau cracked down last year on Full Circle of Living and Dying, a shoestring nonprofit run by retired grandmothers who teach families how to care for deceased loved ones themselves. The bureau forbade these grandmothers from teaching and giving advice because they are not state-licensed funeral directors.

    In the midst of a pandemic, the State of California bureucrats believe that a good use of the State’s resources is stopping this kind of advice. The term insane comes to mind.

    1. The Bureaucracy cares not for common sense or what is best for the people. The Bureaucracy is a self licking ice-cream cone that exists only to feed, sustain, and grow itself.

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