Posts Tagged ‘SCOTUS’

Vigilante Justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore

September 2, 2021

            The news today was of the SCOTUS 5-4 decision to let stand, for the time being, a new Texas law outlawing abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. What makes the law unique and different from other state early pregnancy termination legislation is that it also outlaws state enforcement of the law’s mandate by government entities. It does, however, make provisions for a kind of citizen arrest, allowing for civil suits to be executed on anyone violating the law through being involved with the facilitation of an abortion after 6 weeks. This citizen enforcement, through civil suits, is a kind of vigilante justice in that the prosecution, as well as the police power, is left up to individual citizens. In the case of the Texas law, these vigilantes would be the collective of citizens found in the various right to life organizations. And Governor Abbot’s vigilante posse is saddled up and ready to ride. The AP’s Stephen Groves headlined “GOP-led states see Texas law as model to restrict abortions” (9-2-21) signaling that other states with GOP legislatures and governors are ready to follow suit (especially given the SCOTUS imprimatur). Based on its track record with ALEC and other “model” legislation, Ohio will no doubt join the other ditto heads. Today news pundits and analysts have parsed the SCOTUS decision with an eye on Roe v Wade. Analysis shows there is more at stake than that since at its core the law is about outlawing something locally which is currently legal federally by means of locally legitimated vigilante justice. It is the obverse of present day marijuana legislation locally made legal while federally being illegal. What if the federal law allowed for marijuana (or alcohol) possession/consumption and the local (state) law was modelled after the Texas anti abortion legislation that just went into effect? No government enforcement allowed but individual citizens could sue anyone aiding, abetting, or providing marijuana (sold or shared) with a minimum award guaranteed (essentially a bounty for enforcing the law). Hitting closer to home, or rather the homeless, we have Newark Ohio’s Mayor Jeff Hall who is all for homeless shelters, as long as they are not in the city of Newark. What if the GOP dominated city council would oblige the Mayor a’ la the Texas model? SCOTUS has ruled repeatedly that being homeless is not illegal. The Newark city council, with the mayor’s approval, could now enact a legitimate end run, forbidding government enforcement but allowing any citizen or posse to sue anyone who provides comfort, aids or recognizes the homeless within the city of Newark. This legal methodology could also be used to reintroduce legitimate redlining and racial segregation. The possibilities are endless. Vigilante justice – it’s not your grand dad’s variety anymore.

Free Association Nino Dreaming

February 27, 2016

Like watching TV news in an Iron Curtain country during the Viet Nam War – no different than today’s coverage of Syria – which side is being witnessed? Nino was a great man who months before his passing virulently opined that lesser people should be schooled in less challenging universities. Did he also love the poorly educated? By US standards the current election has once again drawn out an immense turnout. In Iran, that is. There, as here, the conservative authoritarians do all they can to suppress the vote through numerous “legal” restrictions. But practice through participation is what makes democracy, and the citizens there vote under duress where as here in the US, for some reason, we always need a “get out the vote” campaign. Nino took particular pride in determining the outcome of the lopsided Bush v Gore constitutional “crisis”. Afterwards no one here took to the streets in protest whereas after their 2009 election was determined by authority, Iranians flooded the streets to demand their votes be counted, with many losing their lives over it. Here in the US voting is one and done, go home and watch Netflix after performing your civic duty. Nothing tickles Nino more than the possibility of a 2000 recurrence this year. Any SCOTUS outcome will be markedly different by an evenly divided court, no one to cast the deciding vote and break the tie. The image of black robed Supremes standing around a coin toss like Iowa Democrats in caucus has Nino rolling on the floor holding his sides (best out of three?). What difference would it make, anyways, for the two white, super rich New York City residents vying to be the next president (and SCOTUS vacancy nominator)? Those charged by the constitution to confirm the tie breaking appointment chose instead to defer that authority to one of these two candidates, forgetting that the outcome could, like in 2000, hinge on a yet to be named, non-existent tie breaking vote (that their constitutional authority could have facilitated). This would leave all in limbo, a place Nino doesn’t recognize as appearing in the sacred founding text. It does, however, please the deceased jurist that the virus of gridlock, which almost shut down the government, has now spread to all three branches, creating a fundamental (and textual) constitutional crisis. Nino’s eyes water from delirious laughter over the deadlock surrounding the state being stifled in its quest to assert sovereignty over the least little nook and cranny, leaving no stone unturned in its obsession to learn the contents of an I phone, frozen constitutionally by a deadlocked court with no majority. Any and all secrets must only be state secrets! The revered justice shall rest in peace relieved somewhat by the consolation of knowing that his deadlocked colleagues will keep power plants burning coal, Guantanamo open, and Planned Parenthood clinics closed.

“Last Night I had a dream about reality. It was such a relief to wake up.”           (Stanislaw J. Lec)