Tag Archives: legal mumbo jumbo


Do the Mother Jones Videos of Mitt Romney Violate Florida Wiretapping Laws?


One traditionally views wiretapping as the illicit recording of private conversations, or, at least, of conversations with respect to which the parties have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Recording a phone call without obtaining the consent of the party with whom you are speaking? That’s wiretapping. Placing a device on a party’s phone to record phone calls that the party has with third parties? That’s wiretapping. Downloading software onto your computer so that you can record someone on Skype or GoogleTalk? That’s wiretapping. Placing a recording device in a room and recording the conversations that occur in that room? That’s wiretapping.

Recording a speech at a “closed to the public” campaign fundraiser, even at a private home? Eh. That’s questionable.

At first blush, it seems the Florida statute applies to the Romney videos. The Florida statute states that it is a punishable offense when a person:

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In Wake of Voter ID Ruling, Pennsylvania Dumps Online Initiatives to Boost Voting [updated]

Gee whiz, it’s almost like they’re trying to make it really hard for “some people” to vote in Pennsylvania:

HARRISBURG – On the same day a judge cleared the way for the state’s new voter identification law to take effect, the Corbett administration abandoned plans to allow voters to apply online for absentee ballots for the November election and to register online to vote.

A spokesman for the Department of State said county elections officials told the agency that implementing the new online initiatives as well as voter ID requirements was too much to handle less than three months before the election.

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Zandar’s Morning Read: Great Vengeance And Furious Anger

Earlier this week, Bon talked about the story of Lexington teenager Savannah Dietrich, the 17-year-old sexual assault victim who faced a six month jail sentence for contempt of court for tweeting the names of her attackers after the pair of young men who assaulted her (and circulated pictures of that, by the way) cut a plea deal in juvenile court.

Yet now it’s Dietrich who is in hot water. She was angry at the order stating she couldn’t speak of the juvenile hearing. Her attackers were given protection because they are minors, despite the fact that she is one as well and they attacked her, not the other way around. She unleashed her feelings on Twitter, which led to the defendant’s attorney calling her out on violating the order.

Dietrich admitted freely that she was violating the court order, but faces up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $500. The remarkable thing is that the defendants in her case admitted guilt and took a plea bargain that got them a sweet deal. Now she may be the only one who does jail time over her own assault.

Well, it turns out the outcry here in Kentucky and across the country was so raucous that the contempt motion has been dropped.

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Bush-Appointed Judge Finds DOMA Unconstitutional! Huzzah!

Again with the arc of justice.

 This afternoon, Bush appointee Judge Jeffrey White (Northern District of California) struck down DOMA as unconstitutional under the equal protection clause. (You can read the opinion here.  Read it.  It’s not every day that a court order cites a case from 1896!)

Noting that neither the Ninth Circuit nor the Supreme Court has determined what level of scrutiny should apply, the court determined that heightened scrutiny1 should apply to classifications based on sexual orientation, citing the following four factors: Continue reading


A Texas-Sized Surrender

Now this is very good news if it plays out the way The Hill seems to think it will:  Texas Republicans are basically looking to settle their redistricting case with the DoJ, which would have to include approval by the minority representation groups that are the plaintiffs, that would give the state a number of new districts that would be won by Dems.

“They’re backed up against the wall and have to come to some agreement and it’ll be awfully favorable on our end,” said one of the plaintiffs in the case.

Another plaintiff agreed.  “It’s clear they know they’re in a vulnerable position and that’s why they want to settle,” he said.

Any settlement would need to get the multiple minority group plaintiffs on board, and would create more majority-Hispanic and majority-African American congressional districts. Two of the plaintiffs predicted that an agreement will be reached early next week.

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Birthers Stuck On Endless Loop

Whether you believe that the Republicans will self-destruct in November or not, the Birther component of the anti-Obama campaign will never, never end unless the people who continue to spew this nonsense are actually made to pay a price.

A judge has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court in Atlanta for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen and can’t be president.

It’s one of many such lawsuits that have been filed across the country, so far without success. A Georgia resident made the complaint, which is intended to keep Obama’s name off the state’s ballot in the March presidential primary.

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Pardon The Interruption: Race, Justice, And Unfinished Bush Business

Dafna Linzer’s year-long ProPublica investigation into the factors surrounding supposedly color-blind presidential pardons from 1998 to 2008 is certainly one of the more important articles of the year.  The bottom line is that white pardon seekers were four times more likely to be granted a pardon than blacks.

ProPublica’s review examined what happened after President George W. Bush decided at the beginning of his first term to rely almost entirely on the recommendations made by career lawyers in the Office of the Pardon Attorney.

The office was given wide latitude to apply subjective standards, including judgments about the “attitude” and the marital and financial stability of applicants. No two pardon cases match up perfectly, but records reveal repeated instances in which white applicants won pardons with transgressions on their records similar to those of blacks and other minorities who were denied.

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Libya? Lib-no? Lib-maybe?


I don't know much, but I know this guy looks fucking crazy.

Back in mid-March, I wrote a tome about the situation in Libya.  In it, I said the following:

The problem with the current debate regarding Obama’s actions in Libya is that people on the left are talking past each other. Lefties are conflating two debates: (1) a debate regarding whether or not it is proper for the United States to be mandated by treaties (which are the supreme law of the land and not subject to Congressional encroachment) to get involved in such critical humanitarian peacekeeping missions absent a polling of public opinion and absent authorization from Congress, and (2) a debate about the legality of what Obama is doing. The first debate is not a debate about Obama’s current actions in Libya; it’s a policy debate. It’s a debate about international law, and the United States’ place as a member of the international community and whether or not the UN is totally useless. As to the second debate, it seems to me that Obama is following the rules, at least as far as I can tell. If you want to complain about the rules, that’s cool. But that’s debate number 1. As to debate number 2, get off Obama’s back already. MIRITE?

Whelp, here we are three months later, still not talking about the United Nations Charter and still not talking about the role the United Nations should play in American foreign policy decisionmaking.

We are still arguing about whether or not Libya is JUST LIKE IRAQ!!!11one.  (It’s not. Not even a little – the 2003 land-invasion of Iraq was not sanctioned by the Security Council.)

We are still listening to the musings — This War Is Illegal! – proffered by all sorts of constitutional law experts like Michael Moore, Dennis Kucinich, and Eugene Robinson.

And finally Glenn Greenwald, of course, is still claiming that This War Is Illegal!, having not at all addressed any of the issues regarding the interplay between Articles 42 and 43 which I raised in my post in March in response to his out-of-hand dismissal of those arguments.1 (Indeed, as could have been expected, Greenwald made and then half-assedly backed away from an argument that the US along with Britain and France launched this war for oil.)

So, I figured I’d wade in (again) only to be ignored (again, I’m sure).

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New Stupidly-Written Law in Florida is Stupidly-Written — Bans Sex?!

People this stupid shouldn’t even be having sex.

The Florida legislature passed a poorly-written law meant to address bestiality (because apparently Floridians are shagging gators or whatever) but which seemingly bans sex between humans.

The law states:

An act relating to sexual activities involving animals; creating s. 828.126, F.S.; providing definitions; prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices; providing an effective date.

Now for those of you who paid attention in grade school science class, you know that humans are animals. You can even look it up on your computer machine:

Yes, humans are animals. The human’s phylum is Chordata (vertebrate). The human’s class is mammalia. It’s [sic] order is primate (the same as apes). It’s [sic] family is Hominidae (apes that have no tail and can gather food with their hands.) The Human’s sub-family is Homininae. It’s [sic] tribe is Hominini. It’s [sic] genus is Homo and it’s [sic] specie is scientifically named Homo Sapiens.

Accordingly, prohibiting sexual contact or conduct with an animal prohibits sexual contact or conduct with a human.


As noted by Southern Fried Scientist:

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Texas cheerleader kicked off squad for refusing to cheer for her rapist; Ordered to pay school $45,000

I hate people.

In yet another brick in the anti-women wall, last week, the US Supreme Court declined to review a case brought by a teenage girl (known only as “HS”) against her high school, after she was dropped from her high school cheerleading team for refusing to chant the name of a basketball player who raped her. (The player plead guilty to misdemeanor assault of the girl, but the rape charge was dropped.)

School officials told the young girl that she had no right to remain silent when her coaches told her to cheer.

That she was dropped from the cheerleading squad for refusing to cheer for her rapist is sickening in and of itself. But wait – it gets worse.

She has been ordered by the court to pay compensation of $45,000 for bringing the “frivolous lawsuit.”

Good times:

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