In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Supreme Court (thankfully) ruled in favor of Jack Phillips, the baker who declined to be forced to bake and decorate a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding. The ruling was based almost completely on the documented religious hostility of the members of the Civil Rights Commission, and thus there is concern that in the future the Court would allow government to force bakers and other service providers to support same-sex weddings over their religious objections as long as the bureaucrats pretended to be neutral to the baker’s religious views.

There are a few fig leaves in the decision that an optimist could take as good news, such as Justice Kennedy saying “the religious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and in some instances protected forms of expression,” and that “government has no role in deciding or even suggesting whether the religious ground for Phillips’ conscience based objection is legitimate or illegitimate.” And at least he conceded that “a member of the clergy who objects to gay marriage on moral and religious grounds could not be compelled to perform the ceremony without denial of his or her right to the free exercise of religion.”

The path to the case, if not necessarily the decision, in Masterpiece Cakeshop, is an easy one to follow.  It started back in 2003 with Lawrence v. Texas, which found a constitutional right to Liberty as exemplified by homosexual sodomy in that particular case (although Justice Kennedy, in his majority opinion explicitly refused to declare that homosexual sodomy itself is a constitutional right). Justice Scalia correctly predicted the path in his dissenting opinion, noting that the decision “leaves on pretty shaky grounds state laws limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples.”

The next step in the chain was United States v. Windsor in 2012, which ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Justice Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts both pointed out that this Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion would inevitably lead to the Court declaring same-sex “marriage” to be a constitutional right, which of course it did in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 (also authored by Kennedy). This is where Justice Thomas presciently predicted that the decision “threatens the religious liberty our Nation has long sought to protect.” And here we are.

A lot of the analysis of Masterpiece Cakeshop centered around whether baking a custom wedding cake counted as “speech” for the purposes of the Free Speech clause of the first amendment. And was Phillips really discriminating against the gay couple when he offered to sell them anything else in the store, or to create a cake for any other occasion? The answer is obviously “no” and therein, I think, lies the solution to this conundrum.

As I have said before, no one has a right to force someone else to provide a good or service. If Phillips had refused to sell a pre-baked cake to the gay couple, that would have been discriminatory since he had already invested his time and talent to create the cake and it was already available for purchase by the general public. This would be the same as if a gay couple tried to by a photo print from a studio where the photographer was displaying his images for sale. But in either case, the gay couple does not have the right to force the baker or photographer to participate in a gay wedding if the vendor’s religious beliefs prevent him from doing so. So the government could not force the photographer to attend the ceremony, document the event and then produce the images, all of which require him to devote his time and talent to an event that violates his religious views.

This rule would also apply to the Arlene’s Flowers v. State of Washington case currently being petitioned to the Supreme Court.

If Mrs. Stutzman had refused to sell a floral arrangement available to the general public to a gay customer, she would be guilty of discrimination. But she had sold flowers to the gay couple – whom she considered friends – for years without a problem. It was only when she refused to be forced to design the flowers for their wedding, which involves not only creativity on her part, but also the nuts and bolts of getting the flowers to the ceremony and arranging them there, that she supposedly discriminated against them. Clearly, this is an infringement on her first amendment rights to free expression and freedom of religion.

Justice Kennedy’s reasoning in all of these cases seems to be rooted in the infamous “Sweet Mystery of Life” passage from Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in which he wrote “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.”  As Justice Scalia correctly pointed out, this is “the passage that ate the rule of law,” but is nonetheless central to Justice Kennedy’s jurisprudence. A person’s religious views, by definition, define his or her “own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Why is a religious person’s liberty, which is expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, worth less than a gay person’s?

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by baldilocks

And how rare is that?

Many people cited a lone reason to vote for the presidential candidate that was Donald Trump: to keep Hillary Clinton out of the Oval Office. As it turned out, that was the sole reason that I voted for him. But there were other very good reasons.

Like this one.

Of course, we remember that the president nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme court early last year to take

It’s fun to imagine Scalia giggling after facing a Higher Court.

the place of Antonin Scalia – who died in 2016. Justice Gorsuch was confirmed by the US Senate and took the oath of office last April. Conservatives seem to be pleased with his decisions so far.

But, according to the piece, the Left is afraid that all of its signature issues will be overruled by the high court – especially if President Trump gets to nominate another potential SCJ.

Republicans are working with Trump to make a record-breaking number of appointments to federal courts. These new, mostly young, white men will be in a position to rule on legislation that could change America for years.

But the most contentious appointment would be a second nomination to the highest court in the land. The supreme court has over decades delivered landmark decisions on issues from abortion to affirmative action and same-sex marriage. The potential for Trump to install another justice on the nine-seat bench, some legal experts argue, could have profound consequences on issues ranging from women’s reproductive health to LGBT rights.

With speculation mounting over the possible retirement of supreme court justice Anthony Kennedy, Trump could have a lasting impact on reshaping America’s most important court.

Honestly, I think that the worst thing that advocates of LGBT rights (translation: same-sex marriage), abortion, etc. would have to worry about is that most such issues would revert to the state legislatures where they belong. That’s why the tenth amendment exists.

But it’s always good to keep the Left afraid. Just keep your eyes open.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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via the trump impeachment

4th Doctor: Evidence, EVIDENCE? You couldn’t hang a hat on that.

Doctor Who The Leisure Hive 1980

There seems to be nothing here in terms of a grand conspiracy to change the election. You are talking minor rallies, buying megaphones, tweets and facebook groups and the spending of THOUSANDS of dollars in web ads.

If this is the big conspiracy there seems to be a lot lacking, particularly any kind of link to the actual Trump campaign. I suspect this will not stop the MSM to spin this as proof of the big link to the Trump campaign to sway the election.

This doesn’t even reach the level of small potatoes, and anyone who tells you any different is a liar trying to spin you.

DatechGuy Reads the Mueller Indictment Some Fun Facts (expect Updates) Where’s the Beef Feb 16 2018

When the Mueller indictments came out there was a lot of commentary concerning it, some like me thought it was small potatoes (with apologies to small potatoes which had more substance than this) but the left particularly the media insisted that this showed that there were actual laws being broken to elect Donald Trump.

However there was one thing that both left and right agreed on, that these indictments would lead to nothing as the case would never go to trial as those charged were a bunch of Russian nationals and a few suggested at the time that for Mueller this was a feature not a bug.

When prosecutors are serious about nabbing law-breakers who are at large, they do not file an indictment publicly. That would just induce the offenders to flee to or remain in their safe havens. Instead, prosecutors file their indictment under seal, ask the court to issue arrest warrants, and quietly go about the business of locating and apprehending the defendants charged. In the Russia case, however, the indictment was filed publicly even though the defendants are at large. That is because the Justice Department and the special counsel know the Russians will stay safely in Russia.

Mueller’s allegations will never be tested in court. That makes his indictment more a political statement than a charging instrument. 

Well unfortunately for Mueller all of us turned out to be wrong about that bit:

Lawyers for Russian company Concord Management and Consulting, LLC, formally entered a “not guilty” plea in federal court Monday in a case special counsel Robert Mueller probably never thought would happen.

Mueller generated headlines with the February indictment, safe in the knowledge the 13 Russians were beyond U.S. jurisdiction. Therefore, there would be no trial — only sensational Russian collusion accusations.

Yup they decided they wanted their day in court and given that they had been out of their reach of justice you might think Mueller and company were delighted to get them into court.

You’d think wrong:

The prosecution team sought the delay on the grounds that it’s unclear whether Concord Management formally accepted the court summons related to the case. Mueller’s prosecutors also revealed that they tried to deliver the summonses for Concord and IRA through the Russian government, without success.

“The [U.S.] government has attempted service of the summonses by delivering copies of them to the Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia, to be delivered to the defendants,” prosecutors wrote. “That office, however, declined to accept the summonses. The government has submitted service requests to the Russian government pursuant to a mutual legal assistance treaty. To the government’s knowledge, no further steps have been taken within Russia to effectuate service.”

Yes you read that right, the prosecutors of Mueller’s team went to court to say that they didn’t properly serve the defendants so they shouldn’t go to trial yet.

I’ve heard of defendants dodging service to avoid court but I’ve never heard of a prosecutor trying to dodge a court case that way.

Needless to say, Mueller’s team is not happy about this development since this is not a case they figured on having to prosecute to anything more than a successful press conference. So, they have sought delay on the astonishing ground that the defendant has not been properly served — notwithstanding that the defendant has shown up in court and asked to be arraigned.

Understand, service of process is simply the means by which a party seeks what Mueller has already got: the opposing party’s appearance in the lawsuit. But Mueller’s argument is so priceless we can’t let it go unstated: In order to serve the defendants in a criminal case in which Mueller alleges that Russia is an adversary government that conducted espionage operations against the American election, the Justice Department sought the assistance of . . . yes . . . the government of Russia. I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but DOJ says Russia never got back to them.

The court however was having none of it:

On Saturday, a federal court rebuffed special counsel Robert Mueller’s request to further delay a court hearing in the alleged Russian “troll farm” case. This is the one where the Internet Research Agency, Concord Management, and Concord Catering—along with 13 of their (Russian citizen) employees—were charged for spreading so-called “fake news” during the 2016 U.S. elections. A scheduled Wednesday arraignment of Concord must go forward, ruled U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich.

None of the indicted firms or citizens were expected to play along with the U.S. legal proceedings, but lawyers for Concord Management unexpectedly came forward in April. Politico says “the move appeared to be a bid to force Mueller’s team to turn over relevant evidence to the Russian firm and perhaps even to bait prosecutors into an embarrassing dismissal in order to avoid disclosing sensitive information.” So far, Concord’s lawyers have asked for “a slew of discovery requests demanding nonpublic details” about Mueller’s special investigation.

If the evidence is as weak as the indictment then the last thing Mueller wants to do is show that like the emperor in the fairy tale, he has no clothes but what will the MSM do if the drops the charges that they declared so big?

The surest way to put an end to this unwelcome turn of events would be to dismiss the indictment — or at least drop the charges against the three businesses so Prigozhin and the Kremlin can’t use them to force Mueller’s hand. Of course, that would be very embarrassing. But as all prosecutors are taught from their first day on the job: Never indict a case unless you are prepared to try the case.

And if this was all about pursuing actual crimes might have done so.

But as I’ve said before, the Mueller investigation is all about helping Democrats politically so any decision Mueller makes concerning it will be driven exclusively by how it helps the left on election day.


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Dusty: Jo! Bill! It’s coming! It’s headed right for us!
Bill: It’s already here.

Twister (1996)

It actually started in the earliest of special Congressional elections in 2017, though as the Republican Party candidates won their expected seats anyway, the drop-off from President Donald Trump’s vote percentage was barely noticed, if it was noticed at all. Even when the Virginia and New Jersey Republican Parties were effectively wiped out, that was dismissed as expected. The defeat of Roy Moore in the Alabama US Senate special election, as historic and unexpected as it was, was written off as a “one-off” loss because of an extremely poor candidate, even though he ran as “Trump before Trump”. The unexpected Democrat win in Wisconsin’s 10th Senate District earlier this year caused Governor Scott Walker to declare it an alarm bell, but as it was only one of 33 districts, and sufficiently close to Minnesota’s Twin Cities for some to say that it was simply Minnesota spillover, few heeded it.

That led us to Tuesday. For the first time in 23 years, the liberal candidate won an election for an open seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, and it wasn’t even close. Milwaukee County Judge Rebecca Dallet defeated Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock 56%-44% for the seat that Justice Michael Gabelman will be retiring from at the end of July.

One cannot blame Trump, certainly not directly, for this disaster. Even though Dallet did run a single anti-Trump ad, it was her opening ad during the three-way primary, and, at least in my corner of the state and in my limited exposure to the airwaves, that was the only time he was brought up.

Some of my fellow pundits want to blame Screnock for running a bad campaign. Not only was this his first run for office (he was appointed judge a couple years back), but as is typical in Supreme Court races, he didn’t have much money. Further, for most of the campaign, the right-of-center groups that would serve as his proxy remained silent. One of these groups, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the group that is typically the most-active on the right, did finally cut a single ad, but by that time, Dallet and her allied groups, both in-state and out-of-state, had flooded the airwaves.

Typically, JoAnne Kloppenburg notwithstanding, any overtly-political shots are taken by the allied groups and not the candidates themselves. Indeed, other than the aforementioned anti-Trump ad, Dallet positioned herself as the “moderate” between two “extremists”, with Madison lawyer Tim Burns very much openly campaigning as a hyper-partisan Democrat who would use the bench to destroy Walker and the GOP.

A “funny” thing happened after the primary, where Screnock, with 46% and Dallet, with 36%, moved on to the general election. Dallet assumed the Burns position, going so far as to travel to San Francisco and tell her donors there that she wanted to bring San Francisco values back to Wisconsin.

After 7 years in the Wisconsin wilderness, the Democrats finally got their first scalp, and it was done in a big way. The liberal/Democrat candidate got 80% of the Dane County vote, which cast the most votes of any county even though Milwaukee County is far larger and just as Democrat-controlled (though not as liberal in non-partisan elections), in a “competitive” statewide election for the first time since 1982. That is surprising given that it contains the People’s Republic of Madison. J. Miles Coleman of Decision Desk HQ ran the numbers by Congressional district and found that Dallet took 4 of them, including the 8th (held by a Republican), and nearly took the 7th (also held by a Republican). Despite the race being narrowed to 2 people, Screnock got a full percentage point less of the vote than he did in the primary.

This all came after 7 years of reforms (though most of those happened years ago), the winning of the bidding war for Foxconn and the introduction of a new manufacturing sector to the US, and record-low unemployment with one of the highest labor force participation rates in the country. It also came despite what had been an effective campaign strategy, though underfunded this time.

The wave is real. The only good news, such as it is, is that despite the high turnout in Democrat strongholds like Dane County and the unexpectedly-low conservative vote totals in places like the Fox Valley, turnout was only a fraction of what a typical off-year general election is. However, if things don’t change, and change in a hurry, we’re looking at another 2006, both at the federal level and at the state levels.

Via Deviantart

While it was very nice of Retired Justice John Paul Stevens to give this in-kind contribution to the efforts of the GOP to keep the house, the fact that one of the leading Jurists in the nation choose to write a piece so divorced from reality demands a proper fisking and I’m just the Sicilian to do it.

For those unfamiliar with “Fisking” my comments on the Justice’s writing will appear in Bold red italics within the NYT piece.  Here goes:

Rarely in my lifetime have I seen the type of civic engagement schoolchildren and their supporters demonstrated in Washington and other major cities throughout the country this past Saturday.  Really?  I seem to recall particularly over the past 6 years Tea Party Groups get engaged civically by the millions.  I’m pretty sure you were alive then, or perhaps you didn’t notice them?

These demonstrations demand our respect.  Not when the leave behind a giant mess for other people to clean at the Taxpayer’s expense they don’t   They reveal the broad public support for legislation to minimize the risk of mass killings of schoolchildren and others in our society.  Funny, every single year a group many times larger than these folks turn up for the actual March for Life, yet for some reason neither the justice nor the NYT finds that as proof of broad public support for legislation to minimize the mass killings of children from abortion.

That support is a clear sign to lawmakers to enact legislation  As opposed to the tea party and march for life protests that were not a clear sign for anything at all and much be ignored at all costs  prohibiting civilian ownership of semiautomatic weapons, increasing the minimum age to buy a gun from 18 to 21 years old, and establishing more comprehensive background checks on all purchasers of firearms. Really, given the signs we saw it and the inability of those present to even define an “assault weapon” it seems to me the only clear sign that the “demonstrators” had was:  “elect liberal democrats” But the demonstrators should seek more effective and more lasting reform. They should demand a repeal of the Second Amendment.  I’m sure many of them would agree but not in public.

Concern that a national standing army might pose a threat to the security of the separate states led to the adoption of that amendment, which provides that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”   It wasn’t just concern for a standing army.  The colonists had direct experience with a tyrannical government trying to take their weapons away, see Lexington and Concord, they also were plenty on the front lines of the Indian wars and those not on the front lines had living memory of being so.  Today that concern is a relic of the 18th century.  Tell the people in countries like Cuba, North Korea, Venezuelan, Nigeria, Syria South Africa and many other places without the 2nd amendment that concerns of a tyrannical government or other various groups threatening violence aren’t a concern

For over 200 years after the adoption of the Second Amendment, it was uniformly understood as not placing any limit on either federal or state authority to enact gun control legislation.    As I recall it also believed for over 200 years after the adoption of the constitution and for centuries before that Homosexuality was wrong, that marriage was between a man and a woman and that transsexuals were mental ill, oddly enough that didn’t stop the Supreme Court from declaring these things constitutional rights.  In 1939 the Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress could prohibit the possession of a sawed-off shotgun because that weapon had no reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a “well regulated militia.”  And in 1896 a 7-1 majority ruled “separate but equal” was just fine in Plessy v Ferguson does that mean we should believe the same today?

During the years when Warren Burger was our chief justice, from 1969 to 1986, no judge, federal or state, as far as I am aware, expressed any doubt as to the limited coverage of that amendment.  And during that same period no federal judge to my knowledge expressed any doubt that such a thing as “gay marriage” existed. When organizations like the National Rifle Association disagreed with that position and began their campaign claiming that federal regulation of firearms curtailed Second Amendment rights, Chief Justice Burger publicly characterized the N.R.A. as perpetrating “one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime.”  Oddly enough Chief Justice Taney had some very strong public opinions on negroes descended from African Slaves in the 1850’s.  By your standard those opinions should be cited in arguments about race today,

In 2008, the Supreme Court overturned Chief Justice Burger’s and others’ long-settled understanding of the Second Amendment’s limited reach by ruling, in District of Columbia v. Heller, that there was an individual right to bear arms.  And Brown vs Board of Education overturned long-settled understandings on race?  Did that make it illegitimate?  I was among the four dissenters.  You lost an argument, it happens.

That decision — which I remain convinced was wrong and certainly was debatable A perfectly valid opinion on his part and one of the few statements in this piece that is solid.  He has the right to his opinion and dissent. — has provided the N.R.A. with a propaganda weapon of immense power.  You know I don’t remember anyone arguing Roe v Wade was about “propaganda” for Planned Parenthood.  Nor do I recall anyone ever claiming that about either the Lawrence decision or Brown vs Board of Education etc.  Apparently decisions are only “propaganda” if they disagree with Mr. Justice Stevens rulings. Overturning that decision via a constitutional amendment to get rid of the Second Amendment would be simple Simple?  Really?  There is a reason why there are so few amendments to the constitution because it’s HARD to do.   and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.  Actually such an attempt is more likely to swell the NRA’s ranks and anything close to success in such an effort is very likely to cause a new actual shooting civil war than any other issue.

That simple but dramatic action would move Saturday’s marchers closer to their objective Of electing democrats and virtue signaling? than any other possible reform. I dispute the use of the word “reform” here but he’s telling the truth because the real goal of the folks behind the march is firearms confiscation.  It would eliminate the only legal rule that protects sellers of firearms in the United States — unlike every other market in the world. You know the United States is also been the strongest, richest and most robust large county in the history of history as well, might that unique status have something to do with the freedoms the Justice wants to remove.  It would make our schoolchildren safer than they have been since 2008   Have our children become less safe?  The stats suggest otherwise, unless you live in a place like Chicago where the gun laws have been written by the very same people leading these marches that isand honor the memories of the many, indeed far too many, victims of recent gun violence.  How would disarming law abiding Americans who had nothing to do with a crime “honor” the victims of violent crime?  If you want to honor those folks you could then actually schools with the same armed guards that protected you as a justice, rather than using dead kids a political prop, of course that doesn’t help elect Democrats does it? 

You know what’s really scary about this piece, the fact the realization that a person this out of touch was deciding the laws of this nation for decades.


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We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal conditions are adequately presented in the materials before this court and argument would not aid the decisional process.

US court of Appeals For the 4th District handing Bret Kimberlin another defeat yesterday.

I swung over to Hogewash today and along with the news of the latest blow to the cause of Kimberlin vs the conservative blogging world spotted this Team Kimberlin Post of the Day where Mr. Hoge notes some tweets from Commander Strax Bill Schmalfeldt suggesting that Mr. Hoge has “less than nothing” in terms of legal avenues to pursue against him.

Based on today’s court ruling the “less than nothing” seems to be aptly applied to the ability of the Kimberlin crew’s credibility although for myself I find the fact that the Kimberlin cases are still before the courts years later a bit sad.

While there may be merit in legally finishing off the Kimberlin crowd, who made some real trouble back in the day, to set an example for the next one, given their lack of utility for the left and their legal impotency against the right I can’t get myself all that excited about them.

I’m sure it’s likely the legal trail they have left would put them in jeopardy you would need a person with time, money and the tenacity of an engineer to pursue it to the end and people like Michelle Malkin, Robert Stacy McCain, Lee Stranahan, Aaron Walker, Patrick Frey, Ace of Spades, James O’Keefe, Ali Akbar and Erick Erickson between family and work simply have too much going on to spend precious time finishing off Kimberlin and company.

That’s why they should be worried about Mr. Hoge.

As a retired widower with the children long out of the nest he has the time all of those other lack. As an engineer trained in attention to detail he has the meticulous malicious nature necessary to research the openings that the mendacity of his foes have exposed and most important of all as someone whose expertise is still sought after and compensated accordingly for it, he , even in retirement, has the funds to jump though the various legal and financial hoops to get to the finish line.

In short Mr. Hoge in addition to the truth, facts, law and right on his side, he the time, the money the patience and the tenacity to follow all of this to the end coupled the temperament to do it with a smile.

Murum aries attigit

Update: Thanks to commentator nobody Atall who spotted the spell checker turning “meticulous” which it should be to “malicious” which it should not. Bill Hoge is not malicious in the least

I understand the sentiment behind this post suggesting Amazon choose St. Louis for their second corporate HQ

A particularly compelling pick, according to my extremely nonscientific “what’s good for America” metric, might be St. Louis — a once-great metropolis fallen on hard times, the major urban center for a large spread of Trump country, the geographic center of the country and the historic bridge between East and West.

and I agree with the idea that it would be a good idea to get out of deep blue America and the mindset therein.

But why on earth would any company like Amazon decide to put itself in a city that is becoming riot cental and make it self a target for those from Mizzou to Ferguson in the Black Lives Matter mob who want to go after the system?

After the spasm of violence ended, a reporter for The Associated Press found at least half of the businesses on one side of the street with broken windows along a two block area.

Sam Thomas, who was helping his friend clean up the glass from the shattered windows of his business, OSO, a clothing and accessories boutique, said he understands why people are angry. The U.S. justice system is broken and needs to be fixed, he said.

“I’m not saying this is the right way to fix it,” he said of the damage.

Just as Mizzou and other colleges are discovering that people don’t want to invest tens of thousands of dollars to put their children in the middle of a social justice nightmare, no company with any sense will put itself in a city where the potential to be extorted or threatened with violence if they don’t play along with an agenda (even one endorsed by the owner) is present and no workforce will be all that anxious to head to the area when even the suburbs are being targeted:

Demonstrators shouted slogans such as “black lives matter” and “it is our duty to fight for our freedom” as they marched through West County Center mall in the city of Des Peres, west of St. Louis. A group also demonstrated at Chesterfield Mall in the suburbs and at a regional food festival.

Organizers took their grievances to the suburbs Saturday to spread the impact of the protests beyond predominantly black neighborhoods to those that are mainly white.

“I don’t think racism is going to change in America until people get uncomfortable,” said Kayla Reed of the St. Louis Action Council, a protest organizer.

Well Kayla your achievement is unlocked, your heckler’s veto will guarantee that the people at a company like Amazon will be too uncomfortable to move jobs an infastructure anywhere near you, particularly when there are other worthy alternatives that would meet the goals Mr. Douthat is suggesting.

Closing thought directed to the BLM rioters: While your attacks and riots will produce less jobs, less business less investment and consequently less of a chance for the young men in your community to overcome the disadvantages they have, you can be take comfort in the fact that your actions will definitely produce more votes for conservatives all around the nation in every level of government.

That’s our veto.


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The World’s End 2013

Have you ever heard of the term:  A Lawsuit waiting to happen:

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office has instructed prosecutors to think twice before charging illegal immigrants with minor, non-violent crimes in response to stepped up immigration enforcement by the Trump administration.

Am I reading this right?  Is the State Attorney’s office actually instructing prosecutors to use a double standard when it comes to prosecuting crimes?  Jazz Shaw comments:

For these purposes they want to focus on “minor, non-violent criminal cases.” One could imagine that might include petty theft or any burglary which doesn’t rise in value to the grand theft arena. Perhaps passing bad checks? These are the sorts of things most any of us would wind up in front of a judge for. We might not go to jail, but would probably at least be paying a fine and possibly some sort of probation. But if you happen to be an illegal alien residing in Baltimore, congratulations! You’ve pretty much got a free pass after this. Snatch all the purses you like because even if you get caught there won’t be any consequences.

We’re talking about officers of the court who are charged with upholding the law. And they are seriously cautioning the staff to consider not prosecuting people who are suspected of these crimes on the basis of the fact that they are already committing a crime by being here illegally. If you are a citizen or lawful immigrant living in Baltimore you should be outraged by this.

Well “yes” and “no”.  If you are a law abiding citizen who cares about the rule of law, you should be outraged by this, but if you are a native born person who is a criminal a passer of bad checks, a purse snatcher, a drunk driver, a drug dealer, a vandal or any one of the many people who either have a history of or plan on a career which include the risk of being subject to “minor, non violent criminal cases” your ship has just come in.

This is prima facie evidence of discrimination and even more important it’s discrimination that’s directed against a population that is 63% African American.  Or to put it another way.  If your city has a population of 600k with more that 350K black residences and you have a 1 in 20 chance of being a victim of a property crime,  (let alone the serious stuff like murder)  that suggests an awful lot of black people arrested for such crimes.  In 2005 for example:

that year, the city’s police made 100,000 arrests, among a population only six times that.

You don’t have to be Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson to see the potential here.  If it’s the policy of the State attorney’s office to let illegals skate but to prosecute native born blacks, then if you are an enterprising criminal or a lawyer looking for a huge class action score against the city, your ship has just come in.

Alas this might be hard to prove, after all it’s not as if this policy was in writing or something oh wait:

Chief Deputy State’s Attorney Michael Schatzow, in a memo sent to all staff Thursday and obtained by The Baltimore Sun, wrote that the Justice Department’s deportation efforts “have increased the potential collateral consequences to certain immigrants of minor, non-violent criminal conduct.”

“In considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case, please be certain to consider those potential consequences to the victim, witnesses, and the defendant,” Schatzow wrote.

Yes you’re reading that.  He, Michael Schatzow, the guy whose picture from the Baltimore state attorney office site is to the left.  This lily white deputy state attorney for Baltimore, for the sake of tweaking Donald Trump, put in writing a policy that says one should consider the consequences to an illegal alien when “considering the appropriate disposition of a minor, non-violent criminal case” but doesn’t suggest any such consideration for a black, native born legal Baltimore resident.

If I’m Al Sharpton I’d think I had died and gone to heaven.

Prosecutors declined to discuss the memo.

I’ll bet they did.  It’s an easy enough lawsuit as it is, no prosecutor in his right mind is going to comment on this even if they are a liberal democrat looking for elected office in the state.

Now it’s possible the Sharptons. Jacksons or even Black Lives Matter crowd might balk at going after a Black run city or a deputy State Attorney who works under Marilyn Mosby no matter how big the potential payoff, Jazz Shaw again:

who thought this up? The article cites the Deputy State’s Attorney as having written the memo but you know this didn’t happen without the seal of approval of Marilyn Mosby. (The actual State’s Prosecutor of Freddie Gray fame.)

And I admit with DaTipJar lagging a bit there is a little bit of Sicilian in me that says if I’m willing to go though the hassle of going to Baltimore, committing a crime, getting caught and then filing suit the score would be six figure or more.  Sure it might take years but the lawsuit and settlement might be worth it, but then I’m thinking even if I was willing to cross that line for the money, long before I got there an enterprising lawyer would have no problem finding a potential client or even a group for a class action ready and willing to collect on the jackpot that Baltimore is offering to them, in writing.

Who says crime doesn’t pay?


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Olimometer 2.52

If you are not in the position to kick in your funds we’ll always accept your prayers.

IDOT facility, Northfield, IL

By John Ruberry

You’ve heard of “Deep State,” right? If you haven’t, it’s the powerful yet anonymous cadre of senior bureaucrats within the federal government who are toiling to undermine President Donald J. Trump. They are “the swamp” Trump wants to drain.

In Illinois, where I live, we have Deep Corruption.

Last week in my own blog I reported on Deep Corruption when former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett received a 4 ½ year prison sentence for wire fraud for her role in a bribery scheme with a former employer, a contractor. Her old boss there likely engineered her hiring as the boss of CPS.

In 2014 as Illinois’ financial situation was clearly dire–it has gotten worse since then–a political hiring scandal broke at the Illinois Department of Transportation. Over 200 unqualified people were hired as “staff assistants.” The title sounds innocent enough, but staff assistants in Illinois government are supposed to be policy-making posts, which makes those positions exempt from anti-patronage rules. Most of these so-called policy makers were hired during the six-year term of so-called reformer Pat Quinn, then the Democratic governor of Illinois. But candidates with backgrounds such as managing an ice cream store, laying bricks, and working for the Democratic Party were hired as staff assistants at IDOT. Well, these hires were diverse that’s for sure. Once on the state payroll, naturally these unqualified employees were given duties that matched their modest skill set. Many of them now hold new titles and are exempt from being discharged–except for extreme indiscretions–because of union rules.

Meanwhile, Illinois has the worst credit rating and the worst-funded public pension system of the fifty states. It currently has $11 billion in unpaid bills.

But under Quinn money was available to place political cronies on the state payroll.

Last week a court-ordered monitor issued her report on the political hiring scandal, or what should be called the Hack Pol Job Fair. The unqualified candidates of course had one thing in common: connections, often family ties, to a Democratic politician.

Rauner: Shake Up Springfield, Bring Back Illinois

Fed up Illinois voters threw Quinn, out of office in 2014, replacing him with Republican Bruce Rauner, who eliminated the staff assistant job classification but has been largely stymied in his attempt to “Bring Back Illinois” and “Shake Up Springfield” by state House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Seven staff assistants with Madigan ties were hired by IDOT.

Chicago talk radio host and onetime gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft likes to say “Illinois isn’t broken–it’s fixed.” True, very true.

Quinn’s office was the clearing house for the IDOT job scandal and this episode should finally destroy his undeserved reputation as a reformer. In 1996 a prominent Illinois Democratic politician accused Quinn of being a ghost payroller for the Dan Walker administration. You probably never heard of Walker, but he’s one of those Illinois governors who later served time in federal prison. Public pensioner Quinn now says he’s working on ending gerrymandering in Illinois, yet he approved the current disgraceful gerrymandered map that created supermajorities for the Democrats in the General Assembly.

Who was that politician who called Quinn a ghost-payroller? It was US Sen. Dick Durbin. And the senior senator from Illinois’ office tried to get “Candidate 5” a job “with various state agencies.” And after pressure from Durbin’s office, “Staff Assistant 47” was hired at IDOT.

There is some good news in regards to this scandal, besides its exposure. Honest Illinois state employees alerted authorities of these abuses.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

And those were illegal abuses, I’d like to add. Who will be indicted for these crimes?

On personal note, my mother passed away three weeks ago. As is natural for someone going through a parental loss, my thoughts have veered to the past of late. Years ago my mother told me about a conversation she had with my father–he’s gone now too. My dad declared to my mom that his goal was to enter politics, which of course meant Illinois politics as they lived in Chicago. “That will never work out,” she explained to him. “You’re honest.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

“A rose is a rose is a rose”

–Gertrude Stein, Sacred Emily

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

– William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

With Justice Gorsuch finally being confirmed to the Supreme Court last week, I wanted to take a moment to look back at the confirmation process and hopefully help explain why putting him on the Court was worth all the parliamentary maneuvering required and why it’s such a good thing for the rule of law. Much of the confirmation hearing was devoted to a discussion of the “Frozen Trucker Case” (TransAm Trucking, Inc. v. Admin. Review Bd., U.S. Dep’t. of Labor), in which then-Judge Gorsuch dissented in a decision to overturn the company’s decision to fire a driver for violating company policy. Since this case, and particularly Judge Gorsuch’s dissent, hinged on the concept of originalism, I present this story.

Once upon a time, there was a town whose legislature passed a law, signed by the mayor, that gave a tax deduction to every homeowner who planted rosebushes in their front yard. For the purposes of our story, it doesn’t really matter why they did this, only that the law was consistent with the town bylaws and was legally enacted. For the first few years, several homeowners took advantage of the tax break and the town derived benefit from the law by being able to market themselves as “The Town of Roses” and local businesses benefitted from increased traffic of tourists coming to see the roses.

But then something happened. Some of the citizens decided that they didn’t like the law, even if the town benefitted in a tangible way. Maybe some of these citizens were allergic to roses or maybe some just didn’t like roses, but preferred tulips instead. So, deciding that the law was “unfair,” they sued, and brought their case eventually to a panel of judges. They could have lobbied the legislature to change the law, but they thought it would be easier to convince a small number of judges than it would be to convince a majority of their fellow citizens.

The liberal judges looked at the plaintiffs, who were a sympathetic lot, and agreed with them that it was “unfair” that the town should provide benefits to the “elite” who were able to purchase, plant and maintain rosebushes in their yard while “disadvantaging” these “little guys” who, for whatever reason, were unable – or unwilling – to plant rosebushes. So these judges decided that it was unreasonable for the town legislature to limit the benefit to roses but, since it was really about beautifying the town, and tulips are also pretty flowers, the tax deduction should apply to anyone who plants flowers in their yard. And for those really sympathetic allergy-stricken citizens, they should get the deduction without having to plant anything. So, without the wording of the law having changed, the legal effect of the law was altered to something that the legislature did not intend.

Under what system governed by “the rule of law, not of men” does this make sense? Indeed, this decision explicitly goes against the law as written, not to mention the harm faced by the town in trying to market itself as “The Town of Roses and Tulips or Other Flowers” which isn’t nearly as catchy. But there was one judge who understood the rule of law, and the proper role of the judiciary.

He bravely went against his colleagues and pointed out that the judges’ job is “to apply the law Congress did pass, not to imagine and enforce one it might have but didn’t.” As sympathetic as the plaintiffs might be, the judge realized that, as much as the “Tulip Law” might be desirable, “it isn’t there yet. And it isn’t our job to write one” [both quotes from Judge Gorsuch’s dissent in TransAm Trucking v. Dep’t of Labor].  So, even if the judge wanted to find in favor of the plaintiffs, he simply could not because the law wouldn’t allow it. His personal beliefs about whether the law was a good idea were simply irrelevant.

Members of the minority party in the legislature used this eminently justified and reasonable judicial philosophy to paint the judge as some kind of monster, cruelly indifferent to the plight of the “little guy” (Sen. Feinstein, D-CA), too hung up on “legalisms” (Sen. Harris, D-CA) and “out of the mainstream” (Sen. Shumer, D-NY) to be considered for a position on the Supreme Court, because they want unelected life-tenured judges to twist laws to conform to policies that they prefer, regardless of the actual intent of the legislature when the law was passed, and regardless of the consequences. They thought it would be easier to get five liberal justices on the Supreme Court than it would be to control the legislative process, and they were right, for a while.

Justice Gorsuch and the other conservatives on the Supreme Court believe that the judiciary should be limited to interpreting laws as written. Liberals, who cannot fathom that someone with that much power wouldn’t use it to make his own policy from the bench, naturally think that a conservative Court will arbitrarily enact policies with which liberals disagree. But, as Justice Gorsuch testified at his nomination hearing, “It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives. A judge who likes every outcome he reaches is very likely a bad judge—stretching for results he prefers rather than those the law demands.” When the day comes that a majority of the Supreme Court – and the entire federal judiciary – lives by this code, then America will truly be great again.