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Law Letter from America

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scaliaJustice Antonin Scalia (1936-2016)

by Mary W Maxwell, LLB

Do you recall Alistair Cooke’s weekly radio program on BBC called “Letter from America”? Well this isn’t it.

I am in Oz, but can tell of a few things happening up thar in The Great Republic, related to law. For example, the US Supreme Court has just handed down a ruling that it’s not illegal to take a selfie of your ballot paper before putting it in the voting box. Wow. Now we can all sleep better knowing that.

Allow me to sketch three other reports of legal affairs.

Clemency

First, Obama has decided to speed up his clemency function. He has been in office almost 8 years and has three months left to issue pardons. Of course this only relates to federal prisoners.

Obama says he want to commute the sentences of non-violent persons who are doing time for drug offenses of which the law has since changed. Seems very reasonable.

Honoring Scalia

Second, it has been announced that the George Mason University Law School has changed its name to “The Anton Scalia School of Law.”

Well, I have a bit if a hang-up with that. I agreed with Scalia on many cases, as he was a protector of the Con, such as in Hamdi.

Scalia said that Jose Padilla, accused of making a dirty bomb to be placed in a Chicago apartment block, should have been tried for treason. That is so correct it’s stunning that it was written as a dissenting opinion.

Per Scalia’s dissent in Hamdi, I have always said Jahar Tsarnaev should be tried for treason in regard to the Boston Marathon bombing. I also think Jahar should be acquitted, but let’s at least get the charge rights.

Article III, section 3 of the Constitution (I call it “3-3”) says waging war on your fellow Americans is treason.

The Boston Globe, and then the Prosecutor (I think it was in that order), declared of the Marathon “Three died and 264 were injured.” Nobody seems to have a list of the 264, but even just the three is a war.

Of course, had the official charge against Jahar been TREASON, there wouldn’t have been so much scope for chitchat about Islam, Chechens, and all that. For the media’s sake it’s better to invoke anti-terrorism crimes.

Furthermore, charging a person with treason might make some citizens google for “law of treason” and get educated, and we can’t have that.

Still, placing the name of Scalia on the hallowed walls of George Mason’s school, as noted above, is not nice news.

Many abused boys are saying lately that Scalia was into pedophilia. “They say” the 72-year-old died at that Texas ranch virtually in flagrante delicto. It has also been said that the ranch was devoted to many a strange affair.

Indeed they say one of Scalia’s boy victims stabbed him to death. (There was no autopsy of the Supreme Court judge, so it is hard to know if the death was by stabbing.)

All of that should be straightened out before naming a law school after him. WWGMS? What would George Mason say?  He was the finest Founding Father of the US and I doubt if he is amused at the re-naming of his law school.

I also think there must be some alumni of the (formerly called) George Mason Law School who don’t appreciate the new name.

I wonder if they were even consulted.

Fiends, Romans, and Countrymen

Third, in this report on Law in America, I am happy to mention that I am a member, albeit long-distance, of the Boston chapter of the Federalist Society. Recently that chapter recruited a number of “top judges” to put on the full Shakespeare play, Julius Caesar, in a real courtroom.

Julio Caesar (“Me and Julio, Down by the Schoolyard,” what a song!) had his Et tu, Brute moment in 44BC — so this year, 2016, is the 2060 anniversary. The following notice was sent to Federalist Society members:

Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s classic depiction of the abuse of power, political assassination and intrigue – a plot that would rival any episode of House of Cards or Scandal. The play offers a valuable and timeless springboard for a discussion of the use of executive power in 21st century America …”

Participants in the theatre (this is not some Melbourne Fringe amateur-wannabee type deal) were:

David J. Barron, United States Circuit Judge for the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals, Martha Coakley, Former Attorney General of Massachusetts, Nancy Gertner, Retired Judge, United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Nathaniel  M. Gorton, United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts, and:

George A. O’Toole, Jr., United States District Judge for the District of Assachusetts

Wow. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there. I wonder if he played Mark Antony.  I would have liked to have played Cassius:

Act I, scene III:

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars

 But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

That’s Cassius as in yon, as in lean and hungry look, as in thinks too much. Such men were dangerous two thousand years ago and are gettin’ more dangerous all the time.

— Mary W Maxwell has got some irons in the fire. Stay tuned.

 

Photo Credit: mashable.com

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve heard they found Scalia’s body with a pillow over his face. Also, there are suspicious leaks coming out via Wikileaks which exposing John Podesta’s emails which suggest forehand knowledge of Scalia’s death (or alleged “murder” as many believe) and even a motive.

    • Scalia’s obituary in the New York Times says:

      “The cause of death was not immediately released. A spokeswoman for the United States Marshals Service, which sent personnel to the scene, said there was nothing to indicate the death was the result of anything other than natural causes.”

      I guess there’s a 10-12% chance it was vaccine injury,

  2. This is from a Los Angeles Times’ article abourt conspiracy theories of Scalia’s death. (No mention of pedophilia.):

    “The statute really gives the judge a lot of discretion in how they gather the information necessary to make that determination” of cause and manner of death, Tucker said. He added that while Scalia’s stature might have made an autopsy a good idea, his importance did not translate to extra sway under state law.

    Tucker said it was “not completely unusual” for judges to do death inquests by phone, especially in West Texas, where some judges might have to drive up to 200 miles round-trip.

    “If you have somebody who’s 80 years old, who’s overweight, those are all factors” in deciding that a death is not worth an autopsy, said Tucker, who added that “a lot of times the judges face pressures from their counties because the autopsies are pretty expensive, and especially rural counties don’t have a huge budget for things like that.”

    Had Scalia died in another state with stricter rules about death investigations, the conspiracy theories might never have had a chance to blossom. But he died in Texas, where the conspiracy may live on for 25 years. Under Texas law, that’s how much time must pass before a death certificate is made available to the public. — end of quote

  3. Got pigs? There seems to be a debate sbout using the new gun, the Adler, for shooting wild pigs in Australia. “The New Daily” says John Howard wants to see a strengthening of gun laws.

    I quote The New Daily:

    “Foreign Minister Julie Bishop dismissed suggestions of a conflict between Mr Turnbull and Mr Abbott, claiming the party was on a “unity ticket” regarding gun laws.

    “There was no clash,” Ms Bishop told Sky News in New Zealand on Saturday. “We are all, on our side of politics, determined to ensure the Howard gun laws … are not weakened in any way.”

    • Further proof that the one-rule-for-the-rich-another-for-the-poor drive is unquenchable (my comments in brackets):

      DYLAN WELCH, REPORTER: It can fire eight shots in as many seconds, using a firing mechanism straight from the Wild West(evocative of self-management).

      PENNY WRIGHT, GREENS SENATOR: The fact is that this weapon is clearly not far off a pump-action shotgun. And we(the chosen few) severely restrict the use of those because of the speed with which they can be used. So only professional hunters(paid assasins) can use those.

      It seems to make sense that a gun which is very similar should have the same kinds of restrictions and not be available to casual, recreational shooters(the man in the street).

      REF: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4273756.htm

    • “Julius Caesar is Shakespeare’s classic depiction of the abuse of power, political assassination and intrigue”
      Maybe the Federalist society thought it would be more genuine to have judges who are seasoned and already well rehearsed in the abuse of power and political assassination, as well as scripted theatrics in a courtroom. O’Toole certainly is. His demeaning and arrogant “speech” given at the death sentencing of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was rife with quotes from Shakespear.
      Little did he know that those quotes described himself perfectly..
      “I turn to those now as I address the defendant. One of Shakespeare’s characters observes: “The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” So it will be for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Whenever your name is mentioned, what will be remembered is the evil you have done”.

      So it will be for you O’Toole.

      • Cheryl, you are a scream.

        But you’ve just given me this serious thought: Sure, wev’e got O’Toole nailed as a baddy. He is out-and-out wicked. But so are all the other judges (in my opinion) if they don’t distance themselves from his deeds.

        Or more generally, considering how much judicial evil Bill Windsor has uncovered (See Lawless America), they have to take a stand against that evil. Yet they never do!

        Isn’t that absolutely extraordinary.

        • Those that are evil have no desire to take a stand against evil. Ordinary people need to do that, like jurors. They could take a stand and make real change, but first their eyes have to be opened. Then the powers that be would begin to realize that their monopoly on corruption and evil is coming to an end. Hope I live to see that..

          • You’ve said a lot in a few words, Cheryl.
            “Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped… and the tongue of the dumb shall sing….”
            .

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