Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Contretemps, surface-to-air missiles, and physical injuries.

|

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

Friends, please join us on Zoom from 12–2 pm ET next Tuesday, April 20, as we wish Section 1983 a happy 150th birthday. The symposium will feature a splendid array of scholars and litigators discussing the past, present, and future of the nation's most important civil rights law. Register now!

  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Tweet (redux)? After previously remanding for the district court to determine whether a U.K. financier could be subject to personal jurisdiction in D.C. for tweets alleging that a D.C. resident was a "Russian intelligence asset," a panel of the D.C. Circuit now reconsiders—and decides to certify some questions to the D.C. Court of Appeals instead.
  • Dr. Pepper may be the world's best soft drink (it's a fact), but the drink's manufacturer had less success in this D.C. Circuit labor-law appeal. While the company claimed that a union should not be certified for positions it had already announced plans to eliminate, that argument fell flat given that the company had announced similar plans multiple times before and never followed through.
  • This week on "Judge Selya's vocab quiz": contretemps, encincture, interstitial, pellucid, and vel non.
  • The pension fund for Virgin Islands government employees faces a $3 billion (with a "b") shortfall. Third Circuit: The district court correctly found the Virgin Islands government liable for $18.9 million (with an "m") in delinquent contributions, but improperly ordered the government to cover the entire shortfall. An island of 106,405 persons simply cannot cover these amounts. Concurrence: While we find the government liable for that smaller amount, we do not (and cannot) actually compel the government to pay anything at all.
  • Lawful permanent resident, ordered deported after a controlled substance offense, obtained a full and unconstitutional unconditional gubernatorial pardon. So he gets to stay, right? Third Circuit: Nope.
  • "Is there anything materially deceptive or misleading about a debt collection letter that accurately itemizes a debt as including '$0.00' in interest and fees when the debt cannot accrue interest and fees?" Tell us, Third Circuit; the world needs to know! Third Circuit: That accurate statement obviously is not deceptive or misleading.
  • In 1995, a Pittsburgh, Pa. teenager allegedly burned down his home to get the insurance proceeds. In responding to the blaze, three firefighters died. Local, state, and federal prosecutors form a joint prosecution team to try the alleged arsonist in state court, and he's convicted. The state courts eventually grant him a new trial because witnesses at the first trial received money from the feds for their testimony. The state (yes, yes "Commonwealth") then dismisses all charges. Whew! But wait, now a federal grand jury has indicted him for federal crimes relating to the fire. Man: Double jeopardy! Third Circuit: Nope. The original state-court case was set aside because of a trial error, so double jeopardy doesn't enter the picture.
  • An alien may seek to avoid deportation by showing a clear probability that, if deported, he will be persecuted because of his membership in a "particular social group." El Salvadoran citizen: my particular social group is "former Salvadoran MS-13 members." Board of Immigration Appeals: Not good enough; that group is too "diffuse." Fourth Circuit (over dissent): Even applying Chevron deference, that's wrong. On its face "former Salvadoran MS-13 members" provides clear benchmarks for the boundaries of the group. Case remanded to the Board of Immigration Appeals (which may well deport the man on different grounds).
  • After a woman spoke out against a city employee at a public meeting, she was publicly shamed and followed home by the police. None of which, says the Fifth Circuit, is nearly scary enough to amount to a First Amendment retaliation claim.
  • A Louisiana man invents and trademarks "Metchup," a blend of mayonnaise and ketchup (except sometimes when it's instead a blend of mustard and ketchup). Did Heinz infringe his trademark by briefly displaying a picture on its website featuring "Metchup" as a user-suggested name for its own mayo-ketchup blend? Fifth Circuit: Yeah, no. But we remand for fact-finding to see whether the Metchup impresario (who has sold some 60 bottles of marvelous Metchup over the past decade) should have his trademark canceled outright.
  • An intoxicated man walks into a Dallas County jail lobby, where he eventually dies while being violently restrained. Fifth Circuit: There's clear video of the whole thing, and all the force used was reasonable. Qualified immunity.
  • In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that settlements where a drugmaker pays a would-be generic manufacturer to delay entry into the market can sometimes violate antitrust laws. In the first case it reviewed after that decision, the FTC ruled that this particular settlement was totally illegal. And, says the Fifth Circuit this week, it was well within its rights to say so.
  • The Fifth Circuit milks the udderly mooving story of the beef between two ranchers that—no bull—led to a high-stakes prosecution for modern-day cattle rustling. Held: 70 months is kosher.
  • Ohio prohibits doctors from performing an abortion when they know that the woman's reason for the abortion is that her fetus has Down syndrome and she does not want a child with Down syndrome. Which is constitutional, according to the en banc Sixth Circuit. Eleven opinions span 111 pages addressing a host of arguments, including originalism, eugenics, and whether Ohio's law burdens a woman's right to abortion at all.
  • Wisconsin governor holds press briefing previewing the major initiatives to be unveiled in his budget address later that evening. Open only to invited members of the media, two reporters are turned away. Turns out they're not on the media list because the governor's staff doesn't deem their think-tank-funded news service sufficiently newsy—an exclusion the reporters deem ideologically motivated. Seventh Circuit: Nah. The governor's staff examines neutral factors in considering whether to include a particular media outfit on its list, and there's no evidence of viewpoint discrimination.
  • At sentencing for a felony murder conviction, the defendant's attorney says only: "Judge, I'm going to defer to [the defendant] if he has any comments. I don't have anything to add." The man gets the maximum sentence—130 years in prison. Seventh Circuit: There's inadequate assistance of counsel, and then there's a total breakdown by counsel so profound that the defendant need not prove prejudice to get habeas relief. Dissent: He still needs to show prejudice.
  • From late one night in Chicago comes the bizarre case of a man suddenly firing a gun into the air outside a nightclub. An off-duty officer responded by shooting the man. When the man's friend picked up the fallen gun, the officer then engaged in a standoff with the friend, using the injured but living original gunman as a human shield, sometimes pointing a gun to his head. Is this reasonable under the Fourth Amendment? You can decide for yourself by watching the security footage here. But the Seventh Circuit won't. Qualified immunity!
  • Springfield, Ill. man and accused drug dealer is in the back of a squad car when he swallows 3.5 grams of heroin (which your editors understand to be an awful lot). When he wakes up at the hospital, he says some incriminating stuff to the cops. The district court finds the statements voluntary and admits them, and the man is convicted. Seventh Circuit: Sure, the statements weren't coerced. But the man still might not have waived his right against self-incrimination if he hadn't been (in technical terms) super-high. Please sort that out on remand.
  • Only lawyers can take a sordid tale of smuggled body armor and surface-to-air missiles and turn it into a dispute about venue and waiver. In a related story, here's a Ninth Circuit opinion about venue and waiver.
  • Allegation: Social workers lied in order to get a court to order medical examinations of minor children without their parents' consent. Ninth Circuit: And it's clearly established you can't do that. No qualified immunity.
  • Defendant: I can't be charged with extortion because the only thing I did was threaten to bring a meritless lawsuit against a "well-known singer-songwriter." (pssst … it was some guy named Andy Grammer, whom your 40-something summarist has never heard of.) Ninth Circuit: Did you miss the word "meritless" in there?
  • In 2007, federal prosecutors reached a secret agreement with Jeffrey Epstein under which he would not be prosecuted for sexually abusing more than 30 minor girls. Did the agreement, and the steps prosecutors took to conceal it, violate the victims' rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act to be treated with fairness and dignity and to confer with the prosecutor? Eleventh Circuit (en banc, 185 pages of split opinions): No need to answer that. The CVRA does not allow victims to file a stand-alone case to assert their rights in the first place. Even though that was the only way they could have asserted their rights here. Because the non-prosecution agreement was hidden from them. (We discussed the original panel holding on the podcast.)
  • Eleventh Circuit (sitting en banc): Prisoners can, in fact, recover punitive damages even in the absence of physical injury.
  • In not-going-en-banc news, five judges dissent from the Fifth Circuit's refusal to reconsider whether the Department of Health and Human Services can delegate certain questions to the private Actuarial Standards Board.
  • And in some-people-think-it-shouldn't-be-going-en-banc news, a rare dissent from a grant of en banc review in the Sixth Circuit.

Once again, officers have seized property from someone engaged in perfectly legal behavior—flying with cash. And when Jerry Johnson went to court to fight for the return of his $39,500, which Jerry planned to use to purchase a used semi-truck at auction for his trucking business, the judge held that Jerry could not challenge the state's forfeiture because he hadn't proven his innocent ownership of the seized property. This week, IJ appealed Jerry's case to the Arizona Court of Appeals, arguing that requiring Jerry to prove his own innocence flips the law on its head and undermines our most basic constitutional guarantees. Fox News 8 has the story.

NEXT: Where Biden Has Fallen Short on Immigration [Updated]

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Ok, I am fairly pro-immigrant, but
    “An alien may seek to avoid deportation by showing a clear probability that, if deported, he will be persecuted because of his membership in a “particular social group.” El Salvadoran citizen: my particular social group is “former Salvadoran MS-13 members.” Board of Immigration Appeals: Not good enough; that group is too “diffuse.” Fourth Circuit (over dissent): Even applying Chevron deference, that’s wrong. On its face “former Salvadoran MS-13 members” provides clear benchmarks for the boundaries of the group.”

    No sorry that’s just stupid. This entire social group requirement is stupid. I would have said that the immigrant lawyer who proposed such a ridiculous argument ought to have been disbarred but shockingly it seems to have worked??? Is this really the only way to avoid deportation one can come up with?

    1. Particularly absurd when you consider the evidentiary issues. The immigrant says they’re a former member of MS-13, which the government is supposed to disprove… how? It’s not as if MS-13 has records we can look at to see if this person is being truthful. This guy sounds legitimate, but those seeking entry are definitely aware of our case law. If this stands, then there’s going to be a lot of “oh I used to be in MS-13” refugees headed our way.

      1. “The immigrant says they’re a former member of MS-13, which the government is supposed to disprove”

        Is the burden on the government or on the asylum seeker?

      2. “Particularly absurd when you consider the evidentiary issues. The immigrant says they’re a former member of MS-13, which the government is supposed to disprove… how?”

        You look at his tattoos. Are the MS-13 ones covered up or has someone tried to turn them into something else?

    2. It’s not a novel argument, it’s in the immigration statute. The statute doesn’t allow for removal if the noncitizen can show that their “life or freedom would be threatened . . . because of . . . race, religion,
      nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” The case is about what “membership in a particular social group” means.

      What I don’t get and kept thinking about while reading that opinion is, how do these gangs seem to immediately be able to find people who have returned? If the gang is so big that it can track you all across the country, then how are they tracking every single low-level member who leaves? And if they aren’t that big, then why can’t they be avoided? Like if a gang was coming after me, I’m pretty sure I’d have an easier time moving across the country to some sleepy small town than if I left the country entirely.

      1. That’s in federal law because the same phrase is in the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Unfortunately, the intent — to prevent things like the Holocaust from ever happening again — has been seriously twisted by a very broad, arguably too-literal, reading of the phrase “membership of a particular social group”.

    3. I’m anti-immigrant. We don’t need more unskilled, violent mestizos from El Salvador.

      1. Somebody’s embarrassed to report that he cannot compete with unskilled, violent mestizos from El Salvador.

  2. “Dr. Pepper may be the world’s best soft drink (it’s a fact)”

    Yeah but which one. The one you get in the store, or the one they make in Texas.

    1. While the company claimed that a union should not be certified for positions it had already announced plans to eliminate, that argument fell flat given that the company had announced similar plans multiple times before and never followed through.

      Classic example that if you keep on pulling the same scam enough times, judges are going to get sick of you.

      1. But the Court has to trust them—they’re a doctor! Although maybe Joseph Epstein would disagree because I never saw a soft drink deliver a baby and what kind of doctorate is that anyway?

        Now I have to post a link to this classic too—

        https://youtu.be/9bFgIAtVwhA

        TGIF!

        1. “But the Court has to trust them—they’re a doctor!”

          No, they’re a Dr — look more closely at the logo. They do not claim to be “Dr. Pepper”, they call themselves “Dr Pepper” and the advertising tagline is “I’m a Pepper, too.” Perhaps a reference to the film version of “Yellow Submarine”?

    2. It seems weird to end so confidently with “it’s a fact” when you (not buckleup, the OP) start so equivocally with “may be”. I would jettison the latter.

      1. Objectively, the world’s best soft drink is water. There’s no version of fizzy sugar water that is “the best”.

  3. “obtained a full and unconstitutional gubernatorial pardon”

    would have been a tougher case with a full and unconditional gubernatorial pardon.

    1. Or a full and constitutional pardon.

      1. Or an empty, but unconditional one.

  4. Lawful permanent resident, ordered deported after a controlled substance offense, obtained a full and unconstitutional gubernatorial pardon.

    I think you meant “unconditional”.

  5. At sentencing for a felony murder conviction, the defendant’s attorney says only: “Judge, I’m going to defer to [the defendant] if he has any comments. I don’t have anything to add.” The man gets the maximum sentence—130 years in prison. Seventh Circuit: There’s inadequate assistance of counsel, and then there’s a total breakdown by counsel so profound that the defendant need not prove prejudice to get habeas relief.

    It really is. You have to at least try. Charles Manson, Timothy McVeigh, and Sirhan Sirhan all had defense lawyers who pleaded for mercy. It’s really the least we can ask of defense lawyers.

  6. OT, but I wonder if that OLC opinion in the CA3 case is really correct w.r.t. Presidential pardons. Maybe it’s unlikely to come up in practice anyway, but the opinion seems a little suspect.

  7. “Judge, I’m going to defer to [the defendant] if he has any comments. I don’t have anything to add.”

    The right to counsel doesn’t make much sense without the right to counsel who actually has some incentive to succeed.

    1. I think this lawyer wins the first annual Potted Plant Award. The whole point is that the *client* defers to the lawyer’s expertise on legal matters. Otherwise the lawyer might as well have stayed home and just let the client be pro se for the hearing. It is literally depriving the client of any conceivable value that counsel might provide.

      It’s depressing but not surprising that Brennan dissented. You know you’ve staked out an extreme position when even Sykes is on the other side in a case like this.

      1. What gets me about it is that there’s at least SOME argument for mercy you can make with any defendant. “He’s capable of reform.” “He’s had a hard life.” “He was abused growing up.” “He recognizes the harm that he did.”

        This is far from the most difficult task for a defense lawyer. I suspect any person of normal intelligence can come up with arguments in favor of mercy. They might not convince the judge or the jury, but they would at least be plausible and colorable.

        It’s just inexcusable that a defense lawyer would fall down on this aspect of the job.

        1. What about the trial judge letting him get away with that.

          Doesn’t the trial judge have an obligation to make the defense attorney do his job or replace the defense attorney?

          1. I absolutely think the trial judge should had called a recess, brought the lawyers into chambers, and indicated to the defense lawyer that while the Court would of course hear from his client if he wished, the lawyer’s responsibility as an advocate and under the Sixth Amendment required that he go out there and argue the case.

  8. I’m confused about the abortion law. Is this for an otherwise legal abortion but for the specific reason given? That seems weird to me.

    Did I say it was because of Down Syndrome? My bad, I meant it was to fulfill a personal promise to Satan.

    Oh, okay, you’re good then.

    1. It’s a fine idea. Someone beat you to it though.

      https://thesatanictemple.com/pages/texas-lawsuit

  9. The Down´s Syndrome abortion ruling creates an inter-circuit split. I wonder if the plaintiffs will seek certiorari. Given the composition of SCOTUS, doing so would be fraught with peril.

    1. What case is on the other end of the purported split? It may be mentioned in the CA6 decision, but given the length I think I have a valid excuse for not hunting it down…

      1. The Seventh Circuit in 2018 invalidated an Indiana law that banned women from having abortions because of the gender, race or disability, including Down’s syndrome, of their fetuses.

        https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-abortion-indiana/u-s-appeals-court-blocks-indiana-selective-abortion-law-idUSKBN1HR01R

        1. Oh right, thanks for reminding me!

          I would assume they seek cert anyway. If we’re being realistic, I would imagine most of the Justices pretty much know where they stand (or sit?) on this kind of issue already; the creation of a split doesn’t change that fact. Also, even if they don’t seek cert, they can’t stop the other side from creating a vehicle for appealing all the way to SCOTUS in some other jurisdiction. So you can’t really put off the day of reckoning. Not to mention Ohio is a populous state and these clinics potentially serve a lot of women, so they’d be leaving them in the lurch.

          On the merits, I’m not sure it’s quite as perilous as you posit. Only Thomas (right?) is on record so far endorsing this approach. Even if he can also get Barrett, Alito, and Gorsuch on board too—TBAG!—I’m not sure he can totally count on either Roberts or Kavanaugh or both. Admitting privileges are one thing, but this is a direct frontal attack on the procedure, albeit just a subset. Maybe the closest analogy is Gonzalez, but that was (1) a federal statute, so more deference to Congress and (2) easier to carve out (no pun) the specific procedure at issue. Here it’s just a handful of states and if they let this go, I don’t see much limiting principle to banning the procedure entirely.

          1. Wouldn’t aborting a disabled fetus because it’s disabled violate the ADA?

            /sarc.

            1. You joke, but it actually occurred me too, so maybe it’s not far fetched. I wonder if one could argue the ADA preempts the law.

            2. The basic reason not is that the court’s precedents, and hence the law, regard a fetus as more akin to a potted plant than a human being. The ADA soesn’t cover disabled potted plants.

              1. “The basic reason not is that the court’s precedents, and hence the law, regard a fetus as more akin to a potted plant than a human being.”

                Unless you count, say, Roe v. Wade, which established that a fetus does have rights and the government is permitted to act to preserve those rights. Details, details.

  10. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled that settlements where a drugmaker pays a would-be generic manufacturer to delay entry into the market can sometimes violate antitrust laws. In the first case it reviewed after that decision, the FTC ruled that this particular settlement was totally illegal. And, says the Fifth Circuit this week, it was well within its rights to say so.

    Keep in mind some companies could start cranking out generics precisely to be thrown money to shut back down, if not get bought out entirely, with no reql intention to produce the generics.

    I recall the price of one drug collapsing, as it had a generic equivalent. Then two months later it went way back up. The pharmacist said the drug company bought out the generic company.

    See also people who throw up buildings in the path of proposed highways and fill them with junk machinery that must be eminent domained, too.

    1. Yeah, I’m not going to go into all the details, but it’s a little more complex than what you’re proposing.

      1. I was outraged that happened, then started wondering if that wasn’t the intent all along.

  11. “Lawful permanent resident, ordered deported after a controlled substance offense, obtained a full and unconstitutional unconditional gubernatorial pardon. So he gets to stay, right? Third Circuit: Nope”

    Question, if he got a full presidential pardon, wouldn’t the answer be obviously yes? Pardons work like we sort of ignore the fact that the offense happened, which, if we do here, the person gets to stay.

    So why doesn’t a gubernatorial pardon serve that same purpose?

    1. Because: FYTW.

    2. It only pardons you from state law, not federal. Presidential pardons are the opposite. Not sure about “as of it never happened”

      1. The federal law expressly authorizes states to trigger deportation by successfully pursuing a criminal conviction against the defendant.
        The reason that the state pardon isn’t effective is because the governor can only cancel the state’s pursuit of criminal penalties, and the feds aren’t bound by the decision because dual sovereign.

    3. The case answers all those questions and it’s barely over 8 pages (with yuge margins too), so there’s really no excuse not to just take the plunge.

      But per the above, I don’t agree that even a presidential pardon would necessarily do the trick where the statute doesn’t expressly provide for it.

      1. There are supreme court precedents going back to Ex parte Garland that the only limits on the scope of a Presidential pardon are those found in the Constitution itself, and that its effect is to remove all federal disabilities including the restoration of civil rights as of its issuance. The §1227 waiver language affirms that a Presidential pardon prevents removal, but it would almost certainly have that effect anyway.

        Limitations that do survive are that a Presidential pardon doesn’t extend to impeachments, can’t impose unconstitutional conditions or increased punishments (e.g. a commutation of life without parole if the sex offender recipient agrees to castration), doesn’t erase the conviction, doesn’t entitle the recipient to compensation for pre-pardon consequences of their conviction, doesn’t affect state actions unless state law provides that it does, and doesn’t affect the rights of third parties in civil proceedings.

      2. “But per the above, I don’t agree that even a presidential pardon would necessarily do the trick where the statute doesn’t expressly provide for it.”

        The fact that the President commands the Executive branch, of which immigration enforcement is a component, should settle the hypothetical of “what if the immigration bureaucracy wants to pursue deporting a person who has been pardoned by the President?”

    4. Because the court has long held that extratteritorial aliens have no constitutional rights, the decision whether to admit one or not is analogous to the question whether or not to terminate a fetus. The difference is that instead of making a decision in wach case individually, Congress has decided to set rules which administrative judges then apply.

      But as in the case of abortion, there no concept of guilt or innocence in immigration. There is only status. An alien is either admissable or deportable, just as a fetus is either to be carried or terminated. What the alien did or does is only relevant to that decision to tbe extent the rules say so.

      It’s also just like war. If someone is an enemy soldier, you can shoot them. It doesn’t matter if they volunteered or were drafted kicking and screaming. Their intent, their behavior, none of that matters. Only their status matters. There is no concept of guilt or innocence. You don’t shoot enemy soldiers because they are guilty of anything, you shoot them solely because your government has determined that they are the enemy. It’s the same here.

      1. The case in question is about a lawful permanent resident alien. That extratteritorial aliens have no constitutional rights is irrelevant, because the alien in question in this case is not extraterritorial.

      2. “It’s also just like war. If someone is an enemy soldier, you can shoot them.”

        Unless, of course, there are rules to warfare that cover who can be shot, and those rules were agreed to by all participating nations.

  12. “Dr. Pepper may be the world’s best soft drink (it’s a fact)”

    That is a fact, but it’s also a fact that there’s no dot in Dr Pepper.

    1. It’s amazing they foresaw the advent of the web almost half a century ahead of time (in the 50s, when the dot was removed, per Wikipedia). Can you imagine how cumbersome it would be to use http://www.dr.pepper.com in a URL?

      1. Wouldn’t be nearly as hard to set up as you seem to think it is. http://www.dr.pepper.com is a perfectly valid DNS name. It’s not currently in use, but it could be, if they thought it was worthwhile.

  13. Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner says 1983 is a dirty trick to lure victims into believing they have civil rights when they damn well don’t. I’ll pull up her comments from YT if you’d like. Gertner’s cynical comments were made at a women’s conference about how to KNOW YOUR IX and so forth. Alexandra Brodsky was there.

  14. “In 2007, federal prosecutors reached a secret agreement with Jeffrey Epstein under which he would not be prosecuted for sexually abusing more than 30 minor girls.”

    And, apparently, that in exchange he wouldn’t rat out certain public and political figures who must remain nameless.

    1. ““In 2007, federal prosecutors reached a secret agreement with Jeffrey Epstein under which he would not be prosecuted for sexually abusing more than 30 minor girls.”

      And what, exactly, would have changed if each and every one of said girls had been told about the agreement? If they had been given a copy of it in advance?

      *If* it was to protect certain public and political figures (which I agree it likely was), what do you honestly think the girls could have done about it had they known? And like with AJ Baker, don’t you think they noticed that he *wasn’t* going to Federal prison?

      1. And with all his money, why on earth didn’t Epstein go to a country without an extradition treaty and have one of his lackeys fly girls in?
        For that matter, why on earth was Ghislaine Maxwell hiding in New Hampshire of all places? She kinda had to know the gig was up when Epstein was arrested…

        Hence, *was* the CIA or someone protecting them — and did Cowboy Trump upset the applecart. Remember that both arrests were made by Trump’s DoJ — Epstein in 2019, Maxwell in 2020.

        1. “And with all his money, why on earth didn’t Epstein go to a country without an extradition treaty and have one of his lackeys fly girls in?”

          What makes you think North Korea would’ve let him in, much less allowed lackey flights with girls?

      2. “*If* it was to protect certain public and political figures (which I agree it likely was), what do you honestly think the girls could have done about it had they known?”

        They could say so, and offer some guesses as to exactly whom was being protected. (As long as they were careful to avoid making statements of objective fact that were provably false.)

  15. Why is no one asking *how* the Virgin Island’s pension fund came to be $3B in the hole — or why it should fall on Uncle Sucker to bail it out?

    Maybe this isn’t the job of a court, but you’d sorta think that someone ought to have said something in the preceding 60+ years — and/or not have offered such a good deal to VI public employees.

    And what percentage of the island’s inhabitants *are* public employees? Just thought I’d ask that as well…

    1. Who cares? I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

      “You’re elected!”

  16. “After a woman spoke out against a city employee at a public meeting, she was publicly shamed and followed home by the police. None of which, says the Fifth Circuit, is nearly scary enough to amount to a First Amendment retaliation claim.”

    Of course, if a civilian followed cops home, they’d be arrested for “threatening law enforcement” and if they were roughed up in the process, the courts would scream “QUALIFIED IMMUNITY.”

    Fuck these people.

Please to post comments