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The Secret of House Bill 2

Posted by on 7:44 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Jennifer Stevens

 

House Bill 2 (HB2) has been a topic of controversy for weeks in North Carolina. HB2 has been criticized as the “most anti-LGBT bill in the country.” So, what is the big deal about the bill?

First, the bill outraged citizens because it mandated that people use public bathrooms based on the biological sex stated on their birth certificates. Thus, transgender people are now being forced to use restrooms corresponding with the gender they were born, not the gender to which they identify. The only solution for a transgender person is to have the sex listed on their birth certificate to be changed to which they wish to identify. Governor McCory of North Carolina stands behind this bill because he believes that it provides North Carolina citizens new protections. Many people are still asking what “new protections” this bill has brought forward.

Many people are only aware of this LGBT provision of the bill, but there is a much more troubling provision that needs to be brought to everyone’s attention. There is a single sentence in the bill that completely strips the rights of North Carolina workers to pursue a remedy in state court if the worker believed they were fired based on race, gender, religion, or age. The exact language is this, “This Article does not create, and shall not be construed to create or support, a statutory or common law private right of action, and no person may bring any civil action based upon the public policy expressed herein.” As such, any of these claims CANNOT be taken to state court, putting a huge burden on any North Carolina worker. Under federal law, a worker bringing a claim has only 180 days to file a discrimination claim, whereas in state courts, there is a three- year window to file a claim. Also, federal claims are harder to bring and often bring less reward than that of state courts.

This single sentence has taken away a thirty-year practice given by the North Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act. This act applies to businesses with fifteen or more employees and stated that it is against the state’s public policy to discriminate based on “race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or handicap.” Traditionally, people who successfully proved discrimination could recover damages under common law.

Whether you agree with the LGBT provision of the bill, it is hard to fathom the rationale behind the discrimination provision. As people are becoming aware of the discrimination provision, protests are slowly coming to light. Recently, Bruce Springsteen cancelled his show in North Carolina because of HB2’s discriminatory provision. Clearly, this is not who North Carolina is, and people need to fight back for the rights of our citizens.

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

[1] http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article70918692.html

 

[2] http://abcnews.go.com/US/north-carolina-governor-signs-executive-order-addressing-concerns/story?id=38342388

Congress can require pimps to pay restitution to overseas sex-trafficking victims, 11th Circuit says

Posted by on 5:39 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By William G. Hodge

The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has recently ruled that Congress has the power to require international sex traffickers to pay restitution to their victims for sex-trafficking that occurs overseas.

On March 24th, the federal appeals court convicted pimp Damion St. Patrick Baston when he forced a woman to perform prostitution work for him in Australia, the Daily Business Review reported. Baston was required to pay the woman $400,000 for her work in Australia and $78,000 for her work in the United States.

Baston initially entered the United States illegally with a stolen identity and traveled the world forcing women to prostitute for him. Using advice that he obtained from a book called Pimpology, Baston recruited women that had been sexually abused as children and took any money they earned. Baston also subjected his victims to violence by choking, slapping, and threatening to kill them if they defied him.

During his case, Baston argued that requiring him to pay restitution to his victims exceeds the power granted to Congress through the Foreign Commerce Clause and Due Process Clause. The 11th Circuit Court disagreed. Baston also challenged the sufficiency of evidence regarding whether his conduct was “in or affecting” interstate commerce. However, Baston failed to raise the challenge at the district court level. The court noted that even if the challenge had been made at the district court level and Baston trafficked his victims only in Florida, Baston’s use of cell phones, the Internet, hotels, and buses to facilitate his trafficking was “in commerce.”

Essentially, the court ruled that Congress had a “rational basis” that sex-trafficking by force overseas is part of an economic class of activities that has a substantial effect on commerce between the U.S. and other countries, which expands Congress’ power under the Foreign Commerce Clause.

Sources:

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/congress_can_require_pimps_to_pay_restitution_to_sex_trafficking_victims_ov

http://defensenewsletter.blogspot.com/2016/03/baston-foreign-commerce-power-to-apply.html

 

 

And the Nominee for the Supreme Court Bench is . . . Merrick Garland

Posted by on 7:10 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By: Audrey Henderson

 

Judge Merrick Garland, age 63, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to parents Cyril and Shirley Garland. Before graduating from high school as valedictorian, he became a member of the Presidential Scholars Program and a National Merit Scholar. After high school, Garland attended Harvard College on scholarship, rising to the top of his class and graduating summa cum laude with bachelor’s degree in Social Studies. He then went on to attend Harvard Law, where he became the editor for the Harvard Law Review. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law, Garland served as a clerk for the well-known Second Circuit Judge Henry Friendly and then subsequently Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Garland then went into private practice at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. and was named partner after four years in 1985, but moved on to serve as the assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under President George H.W. Bush. Garland’s service to that office was described by Attorney Jay Stephen, a Republican appointee, as having “dedication, sound judgment, excellent legal ability, a balanced temperament, and the highest ethical and professional standards.”

Garland was later selected as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice (“DOJ”), and later as the Principal Associate at the DOJ. In these two roles, he oversaw some of the most important federal criminal cases brought by the DOJ. The two most notable and well-known are Garland’s supervision of the prosecution of the Oklahoma City bombing case, as well as the Unabomber case. At the time, Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, a Republican, stated that Garland “distinguished himself in a situation where he had to lead a highly complicated investigation and make quick decisions during critical times.”

After these 1990s prosecutions, he was nominated to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 1995 and was confirmed to the D.C. Circuit with a 76-23 vote by a majority support from both Republicans and Democrats in 1997. He continues to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals and has been the Chief Judge for over three years now.

Subsequent to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court of the United States. Garland has built a reputation for himself that speaks wonders. He is known for “playing it straight, and deciding every case based on what the law requires.” Garland has personally stated, “[t]he role of the court is to apply the law to the facts of the case before it – not to legislate, not to arrogate to itself the executive power, not to hand down advisory opinions on the issues of the day.” However, some may describe Garland as “a moderate-to-liberal Justice” and with that comes the possibility that the Supreme Court “would tip to the left on several key issues, like abortion, affirmative action, the death penalty, gun control, campaign spending, immigration ad environmental protection.” This statement, however, may be considered skeptical because only time will tell if Judge Garland is confirmed to the bench, and will even hear these types of cases.

With elections right around the corner, many people were split on whether President Obama should have even made a nomination. Republicans tend to argue that the next President should be the one to make the nomination, while Democrats argue the opposite. However, since President Obama has made a nomination under his constitutional authority, the next issue is whether the Senate should vote to confirm Garland. Given the historical context of the Constitution, more people are likely to think that the Senate should vote now. As stated before, with elections right around the corner, a minority believe that the current Senate should not vote on the nomination no matter how the November elections turn out.

Sources:

http://www.biography.com/people/merrick-garland-561802#profile

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2016/03/16/background-judge-merrick-garland

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/22/upshot/what-changes-minds-about-the-senateandjudge-garland.html

http://townhall.com/columnists/dennisprager/2016/03/22/judge-garland-and-the-lefts-disdain-for-truth-n2137592

Our Jobs are Threatened by Our Dependence on Technology

Posted by on 7:08 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Ryan Vince

 

Regardless of whether you support or oppose an increase in the federal minimum wage, human beings need jobs to survive. One factor that already does and will continue to affect the job marketplace is the fast-paced development of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. This rapid increase in robotic creation could threaten people’s jobs by eliminating the need to pay wages or a salary: welcome to the “fourth industrial revolution.”

According to several studies, robots could replace nearly half of all jobs that are currently performed by humans in the next ten to fifteen years. One report even suggested that, with today’s technology, it was feasible to replace 45% of jobs right now. While robots cannot wipe out every job performed by humans (yet), advances in automation are rapidly increasing that plausibility. Supposedly, people who occupy positions involving complex human interaction should feel strongly about his or her job security. These jobs include teachers, police officers, or employees in management roles. However, low-skilled and/or low-wage employees who engage in repeated tasks have the highest risk of replacement. Examples of these include cashiers, servers, or assembly line workers. Because a machine can easily replicate these skills, companies may pursue this alternative if there is a financial benefit in doing so.

Companies have already made technological advances in the way they serve customers and patrons. McDonald’s and Panera Bread Co., for example, both use self-service kiosks where customers can make food orders. While both companies continue to employ human cashiers, customers are given the opportunity to place an order without ever seeing a face. Additionally, Hilton Hotels added a robot named, “Connie,” to its workforce. Connie is a 2.5-foot tall robot that assists guests like that of a typical human concierge. Likewise, the CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees, Andy Puzder, has expressed interested in opening up an employee-free restaurant similar to that of the restaurant Eatsa. Mr. Pudzer criticizes the government’s demand for an increase in labor costs and says that he will hire fewer workers if necessary. Despite the CEO’s underlying reason for shifting to a robotic labor force, the shift is nonetheless inevitable.

Low-skilled positions are not the only ones threatened by the increase in technology. According the 46th World Economic Forum (WEF), about 70% of today’s children studying in lower schools will be working in jobs that do not yet exist. Common sense leads one to assume that these “nonexistent” future jobs consist of machine operators and machine technicians. The authors of the WEF study said, “Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology . . . are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.” The extent to which employment is to be consumed by technology is definitively unknown. One thing we do know is that machines are already “on the job” in various industries. After reading about the student who 3-D printed his own braces, I would not disagree with the proposition that all jobs could be in jeopardy.

Humans’ collective infatuation with social and digital media plays right into the hands of “job-seeking” robots. People increasingly rely on social networking sites to keep up with friends, family, and colleagues. As these electronic relationships continue to build, so does the disinterest to engage in face-to-face interaction. Based on this logic, today’s consumers are becoming less interested in similar interactions. When continuous interaction with technology becomes a normality, it may also become a preference. The human race is losing its human-to-human interaction, and consequently, our dependence on technology could threaten the way humans making a living.

 

References

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/142551/20160320/carls-jr-ceo-thinking-about-putting-up-restaurant-where-all-workers-are-robots-why.htm

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/davos-2016-more-5-million-jobs-will-be-lost-robots-by-2020-says-wef-study-1538676

http://www.techinsider.io/obama-warns-congress-about-robot-job-takeover-2016-3

http://thoughtcatalog.com/jessica-serra/2014/09/social-media-is-destroying-quality-human-interaction/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/minimum-wage-offensive-could-speed-arrival-of-robot-powered-restaurants/2015/08/16/35f284ea-3f6f-11e5-8d45-d815146f81fa_story.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-self-serve-kiosks-at-mcdonalds-mean-for-cashiers-2015-8

http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/18/student-3d-printed-his-own-braces-and-saved-around-7950-5760568/

Charlotte City Council vs. General Assembly

Posted by on 8:40 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By: Jennifer Stevens

 

On Monday, February 22, the Charlotte City Council approved an ordinance that expanded protection to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community (LGBT). The change in ordinance means that businesses may not discriminate against the LGBT community. The ordinance also reached public forums, such as bars, restaurants, and stores. Although the ordinance in itself sparked some tension, the most controversial part of the ordinance allows transgender people to use either a male or female bathroom, dependent on what gender with which they identify. The main concern from those who opposed the ordinance was the safety of women and girls sharing a public bathroom with someone born male. The main concern for supporters was the risk of violence to transgender people in the bathroom.

Many citizens of Charlotte spoke out about the issue. In fact, so many people showed up to the council meeting that firefighters had to stop allowing people to enter due to the capacity of the building being full. Opinions ranged from people saying the ordinance was “filthy and wicked” to “I only want to be treated equally.”

Asheville’s City Council decided to address the pubic directly on Charlotte’s ordinance. The council addressed the ordinance directly and stated that it was absolutely unnecessary. The council made it a point to say that Asheville and many areas of the like do not have rules about who can and can’t use bathrooms available to the public in public places. Asheville has no intention to create an ordinance like that of Charlotte.

Governor Pat McCrory made the assumption that the bathroom provision would likely cause immediate action by legislators. The General Assembly of North Carolina has the ultimate say over city municipalities, and legislators could easily strike down the entire ordinance or eliminate provisions that were unwanted. A year ago, a similar ordinance failed in a 6-5 vote. Members of the council in Raleigh have mixed feelings about the ordinance and it is likely a decision will be made in the near future. With new members on the board, both of whom support the ordinance, the fate of the ordinance is up in the air. The Council has plenty of avenues to proceed, and with Charlotte being a progressive city; it is unlikely the entire ordinance will be struck down.

 

REFERENCES:

[1] http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article61786967.html

[2] http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2016/03/08/city-officials-asheville-doesnt-need-charlotte-style-lgbt-ordinance/81509114/

Federal Judges Reportedly Being Considered for a Supreme Court Nomination

Posted by on 4:47 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

BY: WLLIAM G. HODGE

As the election season continues to heat up, one of the most important pending issues in our nation has played second fiddle to talk of small fingers and a wall that seems to grow by ten feet every day. The term “nomination” is coupled with words like authoritarianism and socialism rather than what it should be coupled with – justice.

With whom will President Obama replace the late Justice Scalia in the Supreme Court? In a recent article posted on the ABA Journal, Debra Weiss reported that President Obama is considering several federal judges that have served little time on the bench and have less of a track record that could subject them to criticism.

Among those candidates, it has been reported that the White House prefers nominees “with few ideological fingerprints” such as Judge Sri Srinivasan and Judge Merrick Garland that both serve as federal appeals judges in Washington, D.C. Federal appeals Judge Jane Kelly and U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson have also been mentioned as potential nominees.

Here is a brief synopsis of these potential nominees, according to the Washington Post:

Judge Sri Srinivasan, 49, was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2013. Judge Srinivasan has served both Democrats and Republicans in his career and was a law clerk for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. If appointed, he would be the Supreme Court’s first Asian American and first Hindu, further diversifying the Supreme Court bench.

Judge Merrick Garland, 63, currently serves as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. According to the New York Times, Judge Garland was confirmed with “substantial Republican support” back in 1997.

Judge Jane Kelly has served as a clerk for two judges in the past, one appointed by a Republican and the other appointed by a Democrat. Judge Kelly received backing from U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican, during her confirmation hearing for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington D.C. was appointed in 2013 and is married to the twin brother of the brother-in-law of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. Judge Brown’s most notable opinion has been that the District of Columbia has shown a “willful blindness” to a deaf inmate’s need for accommodation and had violated the inmates’ disability rights.

For a complete list of nominees, please visit the Washington Post.

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/these_federal_judges_are_reportedly_being_considered_for_a_supreme_court_no

An Issue of Security that Will Inevitably Bring Insecurity

Posted by on 4:45 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Ryan Vince

 

Months after the tragic terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California, Apple Inc. (“Apple”) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) continue their legal skirmish over whether Apple should be forced to create new “backup” technology. After successfully thwarting one of the San Bernardino terrorists, Syed Rizwan Farook, law enforcement officials discovered the killer’s Apple iPhone 5c. The government, thinking it could gain access to a goldmine of terrorist information, issued an order requiring Apple to write software for “breaking” into Farook’s phone. At first glance you may think, “Yes! Find the terrorists!” However, this situation involves issues of both national security and personal security. If Apple creates software capable of breaking into an iPhone, the trusted security of the iPhone may forever be jeopardized.

First, Apple ordinarily has the ability to access information on a used iPhone through standard iCloud backups. In order to comply with law enforcement investigations, Apple has left one door open for access into a locked iPhone: through the iCloud. Unfortunately, according to the FBI, the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health changed the iCloud password associated with Farook’s phone. As a result, the typical means for accessing the terrorist’s phone are no longer feasible. Apple’s only door of entry has essentially been closed because the iCloud password has been altered. This alleged incident may seem trivial, but determining who is responsible for the password alterations may be strongly influential. If the government had an opportunity to backup Farook’s phone but botched it when it reset the password, a court may not compel Apple to comply with the order.

Second, with compelling arguments on both sides, Apple probably holds the stronger hand. Regarding the All Writs Act of 1789, courts may “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.” The discernible limitation to this rule is that “unreasonable burdens may not be imposed.” Much debate rests on the true definition of an “unreasonable burden,” where in U.S. v. NY Telephone, the Court ruled that the FBI could require NY Telephone, a “highly regulated public utility with a duty to serve the public,” to provide the FBI with pen registers (a list of dialed phone numbers) to assist in an investigation. Relating this ancient case to the current issue, Apple does have a duty to serve the public, Apple may be highly regulated in business and communication matters, but Apple is not a public utility. “Public utilities” are roughly defined as a set of services provided by organizations consumed by the public: electricity, natural gas, water, sewage, and more recently, broadband Internet. In U.S. v. NY Telephone, the Court ordered a public utility company to “provide” the FBI with pen registers, items already in use and in possession of the utility company. In the San Bernardino case, Apple, a publicly traded company, will be required to create and develop brand new software. At an unbiased vantage point, the facts in California are highly distinguishable to the facts in New York because of the disparate level in “burdens.”

The Ninth Circuit, which governs the district courts of California, has ruled that code is “protected speech” under the First Amendment. Whether or not this case goes to the Supreme Court, this Ninth Circuit ruling gives strong precedence to a First Amendment defense made by Apple. If writing new code is inconsistent with Apple’s vision, and/or the code threatens the safety of its consumers, a court will not require compliance with the order. Yet, this ruling does not resonate through all U.S. courts and this argument may not work in a situation such as this.

Arguments for a Fourth and Fifth Amendment defense come down to the murky legal jargon of “reasonableness” and “just compensation.” In making a Fourth Amendment defense, Apple will argue that when the government executes a search warrant, it needs to be done in a “reasonable manner,” and that forcing the company to develop software is unreasonable. Similarly, under the Fifth Amendment, the government must give “just compensation” when it takes private property for public use. Is unlocking a terrorist’s iPhone for purposes of national security truly public use? And if so, how do you justly compensate a company for fashioning software capable of breaching its own security? Regardless of how much the government would pay Apple, it would neither be just nor compensation of actual loss.

Apple’s emphasis of concern has been to protect the privacy and security of the users of its products. Throughout its existence, Apple has been able to achieve this goal by the consistent development of secure products. If the government successfully compels compliance with its order, Apple will be forced to create its own Achilles heel, a product capable of breaching its own secure products. Nevertheless, as long as the government acts “reasonably” or Apple is “justly compensated” for its time, then I guess all is well.

 

References

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/apple-legal-defense-against-fbi-phone-unlock-san-bernardino

http://recode.net/2016/02/21/fbi-says-resetting-san-bernardino-shooters-apple-id-password-not-a-screwup/

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-02-25/apple-s-best-arguments-against-the-u-s-over-iphone-access

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/who-changed-the-san-bernardino-shooters-icloud-password

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-wants-apple-to-help-unlock-iphone-used-by-san-bernardino-shooter/2016/02/16/69b903ee-d4d9-11e5-9823-02b905009f99_story.html

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Public+Utilities

Paying Tribute to Justice Scalia

Posted by on 9:13 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By: Audrey Henderson

 

President Obama ordered flags be flown at half-mast in honor of Justice Antonin Scalia:

As a mark of respect for Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice of the United States, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including section 7 of title 4, United States Code, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United Stages embassies, legations, consular offices. and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

 

On February 13, 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia passed away at age 79. For approximately 30 years, Scalia served as a Supreme Court Justice. He was a conservative icon who had a brilliant mind, energetic style, incisive wit, sharp tongue, and colorful opinions. He was a devout Catholic, “a proud father of nine children, and grandfather to many loving grandchildren.” And while many did not agree with him, Justice Scalia “loved to call it as he saw it.”

Antonin Scalia was born on March 11, 1936 in Trenton, New Jersey, as an only child to Italian immigrants. He attended St. Francis Xavier High School where he graduated as the class valedictorian. He went on to study history at Georgetown University where, once again, he graduated as valedictorian in 1953. His love for education led him to attend Harvard Law School, where he met his wife, and for the third time in his life, he graduated as class valedictorian.

Justice Scalia only practiced law for six years before deciding that he wanted to teach rather than practice. He taught at the University of Virginia for four years before being appointed as general counsel for President Richard Nixon. After the Watergate scandal, however, Scalia went back to teaching at the University of Chicago Law School in 1977. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan nominated him for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Four years later, Chief Justice Warren Burger retired from the Supreme Court bench and Justice William Rehnquist was named as the new Chief Justice. President Reagan nominated Scalia and the senate unanimously voted in favor of Scalia in a ninety-eight to zero vote.

While serving on the bench, Justice Scalia was never at a loss for words in both oral arguments and his expertly written opinions. “He wrote more concurring opinions than any other justice in Supreme Court history, and is the third for most dissenting opinions.” He stated that “[d]issents are where you can really say what you believe and say it with the force you think it deserves. And if they prove correct years later . . . it makes you feel good.” He consistently made headlines with phrases such as “legalistic argle-bargle,” “pure applesauce,” “jiggery-pokery,” and “SCOTUScare.”

“As a Supreme Court Justice, Scalia was considered to be one of the more prominent legal thinkers of his generation. It was also through his blunt (some would say scathing) dissents that he earned a reputation as combative and insulting.” Many people to this day do not agree with him and they criticized him stating that he allowed his personal views to get in the way of his legal judgment. Scalia continued to support state’s rights, did not believe there was a constitutional right to abortion, believed in the constitutionality of the death penalty, and endorsed an individual’s right to carry firearms.

But what many people do not seem to understand is that Justice Scalia’s views were based on his belief in originalism. He believed that the United States Constitution should be interpreted based on what the words and phrases meant to the ordinary member of the public in 1789. This is known as the public meaning thesis where “[c]onstitutional meaning is fixed by the understandings of words and phrases and the grammar and syntax that characterized the linguistic practices of the public and not by the intention of the framers.” Justice Scalia believed that the Constitution was not a living document and that if people wanted to implement change, they needed to do it through the legislature, not the court systems.

I had the honor of meeting Justice Scalia during the summer of 2015 when I took a class at Georgetown University on Constitutional Interpretation: Originalism in Theory and Practice. My class had the privilege of asking Justice Scalia questions on his theory of originalism. While I have not always agreed with his opinions, I have always been entertained by reading them. However, meeting him in person did not disappoint. As the questions kept coming, I found that he was indeed very forward and blunt, which is something I tend to respect. I learned that he is very passionate about an individual’s right the carry firearms. He even made the comment that he kept weapons on every floor of his residence.

Subjectively, one of the most interesting questions asked was whether there was ever a case where Justice Scalia applied his public meaning theory, but did not like the outcome of the case. Without hesitation he replied, Texas v. Johnson. In Johnson, a Texas law convicted a man for burning the United States flag, but the Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional stating that the defendant’s conduct was expressive conduct as part of a political demonstration. Scalia sided with the majority finding that flag-burning is protected under the First Amendment. He reasoned that historically, looking at the public meaning of free speech, society was allowed to criticize the government, and thus, burning the flag was just another criticism. However, turns out, Justice Scalia hated the result in Johnson.

But besides being known for his conservative views, Justice Scalia was also known for his witty comments and sarcasm. In a recent study conducted by Richard Hasen, a law professor at the University of California at Irvine, Hasen found all examples of sarcastic Supreme Court opinions from 1986 to 2013. Out of the 134 examples of sarcasm, 75 of then came from Justice Scalia.

For Example, in City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M., Scalia stated that “I am highly skeptical, to tell the truth, that the addition of pasties and g-strings will at all reduce the tendency of establishments such as Kandyland to attract crime and prostitution, and hence to foster a sexually transmitted disease.” In NLRB v. Canning, Scalia stated, “[y]et on the majority’s view, when the first Senate considered taking a 1-month break, a 3-day weekend, or half-hour siesta, it had no way of knowing whether the President would be constitutionally authorized to appoint officers in its absence.” Lastly, in Citizens United v. FEC, Scalia noted “[a]ll the provisions of the Bill of Rights set forth the rights of individual men and women — not, for example, of trees or polar bears.”

Justice Scalia was a remarkable justice with a love for his country. Despite his conservative and originalist view of the law, he will always be known as having a tremendous impact on our legal system.

 

Sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/13/politics/supreme-court-justice-antonin-scalia-dies-at-79/

http://www.biography.com/people/antonin-scalia-9473091#synopsis

http://www.scotusblog.com/2016/02/presidents-tributes-to-justice-scalia/

https://www.oyez.org/justices/antonin_scalia

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/20/us/scalia-lands-at-top-of-sarcasm-index-of-justices-shocking.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/02/13/the-snarky-lines-that-made-justice-scalia-the-king-of-supreme-court-sarcasm/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/02/13/justice-scalia-found-dead-texas-ranch/80347474/

Robert W. Bennett & Lawrence B. Solum, Constitutional Originalism: A Debate 1 (2011).

Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989).

City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 310 (2000).

NLRB v. Canning, 134 S. Ct. 2550, 2598 (2014).

Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310 391-92 (2010).

 

 

A squatter and her religion

Posted by on 6:38 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By Jennifer Stevens

 

A squatter is defined as, “a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were notified that a woman had been living in a $600,000 house in a South Charlotte neighborhood. The house was previously foreclosed and is now owned by a bank. Ninti El Bey has been arrested for breaking and entering, along with second- degree trespass, but continues to keep living in the foreclosed home. As to date, there is no future court date set for El Bey, but authorities say they are working diligently to get her out of the house for good.

The main defense of El Bey is that she belongs to a branch of religion under the Moorish Science Temple of America, which protects her from having to leave the house. A Durham native founded this religion in 1939. This religion believes that African Americans are descended from the Moors or North West Africa and are therefore, Islamic by faith. The purpose of this religion was to give African Americans an identity and promote involvement in their society. The movement of this religion varies through time, but has now taken a turn for the worse in the twenty-first century. People that claim to follow Moorish Science are now known to file false legal documents, including: fake liens, deeds, and property claims. Although this popular trend has now reached the Moorish Science religion, the Moorish Science Temple has claimed they have no affiliation with these false documents and state that people who file these false documents are not following the true way of the religion.

The first attack El Bey made was on a realtor who was to show the house to potential buyers of the house. When he entered the house, he found numerous people living in the house. El Bey then filed a temporary restraining order on the realtor. Once El Bey was first arrested, she was back living in the house the next day. El Bey is using the tactics of her “special” religion to support her. Neighbors cannot believe the amount of work it is taking in order to get her removed from the house, especially because the house is not her house.

As to date, neighbors saw work crews brining wooden sheets and boards into the home to keep the squatters out. Meanwhile, squatters at the house are still fighting against authorities and are continuing to work to secure the property. It is unclear whether the authorities will be able to overcome El Bey’s religious protest and permanently secure the house.

 

Sources:

[1] Google Definitions

[2] http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/woman-accused-squatting-piper-glen-home-arrested/npP6z/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorish_Science_Temple_of_America

[4] http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/squatter-says-religion-protects-her-prosecution/npMzQ/

Supreme Court to Hear Texas Abortion Law Case

Posted by on 6:56 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

By William G. Hodge

For the first time since 2007, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear its first major abortion case that would affect millions of women as it pertains to the constitutional provisions governing abortion rights.

The case in question concerns a challenge to Texas law that would force the nation’s second-most-populous state to close a majority of its forty-two clinics because of the strict requirements imposed on abortion providers. The law would require abortion clinics to meet the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers and mandates that a doctor have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the facility where he or she performs.

The Texas lawmakers reason that the measures would ensure that Texas women are not subjected to substandard conditions at abortion facilities. Meanwhile, the abortion providers contest that the regulations are expensive, unnecessary, and intended to put many of the providers out of business. Furthermore, abortion advocates say that the regulation would create an undue burden on the constitutional right to abortion because, the regulation would close all of the facilities west of San Antonio and cluster the facilities in four metropolitan areas: Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.

This case’s decision, which should be expected in June of 2016, could turn out to be the third installment in a legal trilogy on the scope of the constitutional right to abortion after Roe v. Wade in 1973 and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992.

The lower courts are divided over whether they should accept lawmakers’ assertions about the health benefits of abortion restrictions at face value or investigate to determine whether the assertions are backed by evidence.

In June, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, largely upheld the contested provisions of the Texas law, using the more deferential approach. A panel of the court ruled that the law, with minor exceptions, did not place an undue burden on the right to abortion.

This case’s decision is important because of its legal implications on a constitutional right but also political as the presidential campaign enters its final stretch, thrusting the divisive issue of abortion to the forefront of public debate.

 

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/14/us/politics/supreme-court-accepts-texas-abortion-law-case.html?_r=0