Archive for category State Law

Courts Gags Divorced Father

An interesting case highlighted by Eugene Volokh at the Volokh Conspiracy: a court bans a father from making any comments about his ex-wife in a public forum.

If the father says anything about the mother in public, he could be sent to jail for contempt of court. The order isn’t limited to banning libelous statements (though I think even such a much narrower ban would itself pose constitutional problems, especially under Pennsylvania law), nor is it even limited to statements about minor children (though even that sort of order strikes me as constitutionally impermissible). Rather, the court order categorically orders the removal of a Web site, and prohibits all public statements — factually accurate or not — by one person about another person.

I guess in Pennsylvania the First Amendment doesn’t count for much anymore.

An archived version of the site that started it all can be found here.

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ACORN and Voter Fraud

An executive of the Nevada Branch or ACORN has plead no contest to conspiracy to commit election fraud. From the America Spectator:

ACORN executive Amy Busefink has pleaded “no contest” to conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud in Nevada, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting. Sentencing is set for Jan. 10. Read the rest of this entry »

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16 Million Award Upheld for Father Framed for Child Molestation

This case is rather disturbing, but very interesting, regarding legal issues, police procedures, and not to mention some social commentary as to what kind of people these are. Eugene Volokh at the Volokh conspiracy has a rather in-depth review of the case (most of which consists of quoting the decision, to tell the truth), which  is worth reading if you’re in to this kind of thing.

The case is White v. McKinley (8th Cir. May 17, 2010), and the damages award was $14 million in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages against the plaintiff’s ex-wife, and $1 million in punitive damages against the police officer who was the ex-wife’s secret lover; the ex-wife and the police officer were found to have conspired to hide the relationship, and to get rid of a possibly exculpatory diary written by one of the children.

Read the whole thing here.

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One the Arizona Immigration Law

Much of the ado about the Arizona Immigration Law seems to be coming from people who 1) haven’t read the bill, and 2) are willing to lie about what’s in it anyway. I’ve encountered numerous examples of people screaming across the internets about how the new law establishes a gestapo-state in which the police may demand your “papers” on sight, especially if you’re Hispanic. The US Attorney General, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, and even the President of the United States seem to fall into both categories, with the first two admitting to not having read the law, the third showing gross ignorance of what is in the law, and all three willing to claim that the law does things that it doesn’t.

So, Thomas Lifson at the American Thinker brings us this lovely commercial by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer slamming critics of the Arizona law:

The ad is far more than merely clever. It hits the Obama administration critics where they live – in their inflated image of their own intelligence.

It is clear that the Obama administration strategy is to sell a false narrative of the Arizona law as encouraging racial profiling. They seem to believe that most people will take their word for it because laws are supposed to be long, obscure, and impenetrable — like ObamaCare. However, Arizona’s law was not drafted by Nancy Pelosi’s minions, but by state aurhorities. It is short, and to the point in its forbidding of racial profiling.

Fortunately, some people have actually bothered to read the bill, included Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. Newsbusters comments on her findings:
Kelly: “And my legal opinion is, it is a little bit like the federal law, but if anything, it’s less problematic. Did you know that the Supreme Court already ruled a few years ago that under federal law, cops can pull you over for no reason and demand to see your immigration papers? For no reason. They don’t have to have reasonable suspicion.”
IUSB Vision also highlights the significant portion of Kelly’s trasncript, via Newsbusters.
Of course, the best person to explain what is actually in the law is probably the person who helped draft it: Kansas Secretary of State hopeful Kris Kobach.
The bottom line is this: the Arizona Law is based upon federal law. It does not make anything illegal that is not already illegal — it simply makes it illegal on a state level, so the state authorities can enforce laws that federal authorities aren’t. But critics of the law can’t be bothered to read the law and see what it says — probably because they’re not criticizing it based upon what it says.

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3 Reasons to Legalize Pot

From Reason TV: 3 Reasons to Legalize Pot Now!

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Gun Rights Wins

David Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy has a major gun rights victory at the University of Colorado, in which a guns rights advocacy group has won a lawsuit allowing concealed carry on campus.

Colorado’s licensing statute for carrying a concealed handgun for lawful protection is explicitly preemptive. The University of Colorado bans concealed carry anyway, arguing that there is an implicit exception applicable to CU. The Mountain States Legal Foundation brings a suit on behalf of SCCC. The trial court dismisses for failure to state a claim. The Court of Appeals unanimously reverses the dismissal, and remands the case for further proceedings. The Court of Appeals holds that: 1. The statutory claim under the Concealed Carry Act should not have been dismissed, because there is no exemption for the University of Colorado. 2. The constitutional claim under the Colorado Constitution’s right to arms provision should not have been dismissed; the proper standard of review, under Colorado case law, is “reasonableness”, which is a higher standard than rational basis.

And in another major gun rights win, Arizona has passed a law allowing concealed carry without a permit. William Teach at Right Wings News comments.

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Knee-Jerk Anti-Bullying Legislation

Recently, a teenage girl committed suicide in Suffolk County, New York. Her parents are contemplating prosecuting other students who posted bullying and harassing comments on their daughters Facebook page, even though they do not believe that those comments caused her daughter to commit suicide. They just want the “hurtful” comments, which are still being posted to her Facebook page,  to stop.

Well, none too soon, the government has come to help! Suffolk County is drafting legislation to stop “cyber-bullying,” whatever that is. Read the rest of this entry »

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