Patterico's Pontifications

7/3/2015

Christian Bakery Owners Silenced By Officials As Lesbian Couple Awarded $135,000 In Damages For Being “Mentally Raped” By The Bakers

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:30 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Power corrupts obscenely and absolutely:

On Thursday, Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian upheld a preliminary finding that sentenced Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Christian bakers who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, to a fine of $135,000 in emotional damages to the homosexual couple they denied service, but also added a new provision forbidding them to speak about their unwillingness to serve a gay marriage.

If you recall, the Kleins owned the now closed Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery. They had declined to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple back in 2013.

As a result, the lesbian couple claimed 88 symptoms of “emotional distress” in their subsequent lawsuit against the Kleins.

The Kleins had attempted to crowd source for help, but GoFundMe pulled their campaign, and not soon after (when they were questioned about it), implemented a new policy prohibiting campaigns from defending against claims of discriminatory acts.

Ignoring the fact that the Kleins did indeed provide cakes for gay customers when their business was open, Avakian made the following inaccurate assertion:

“This case is not about a wedding cake or a marriage,” Avakian wrote. “It is about a business’s refusal to serve someone because of their sexual orientation. Under Oregon law, that is illegal.”

With that, Avakian tyrannically issued a “cease and desist” order for the Kleins to shut-up already about same-sex marriages and violations of their faith:

“The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries hereby orders [Aaron and Melissa Klein] to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published … any communication to the effect that any of the accommodations … will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination be made against, any person on account of their sexual orientation,” Avakian wrote.

The Kleins responded to the gag order:

“This effectively strips us of all our First Amendment rights,” wrote the Kleins on their Facebook page. “According to the state of Oregon we neither have freedom of religion or freedom of speech.”

Why is an elected official compelled to silence two individuals who already face bankruptcy and have been forced to close their brick and mortar business?

Perhaps because he is threatened by the Klein’s fighting spirit and refusal to go down without a fight:

The cease and desist came about after Aaron and Melissa Klein participated in an interview with Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins. During the interview, Aaron said among other things, “This fight is not over. We will continue to stand strong.”

And we can’t have that.

Hans von Spakovsky of The Heritage Foundation responded to Avakian’s move to silence the Kleins:

It is exactly this kind of oppressive persecution by government officials that led the pilgrims to America. And Commissioner Avakian’s order that the Kleins stop speaking about this case is even more outrageous—and also a fundamental violation of their right to free speech under the First Amendment.

Avakian would have fit right in as a bureaucrat in the Soviet Union or Red China. Oregon should be ashamed that such an unprincipled, scurrilous individual is a government official in the state.

–Dana

George Takei Doubles Down On Stupid

Filed under: General — Dana @ 10:56 am

[guest post by Dana]

Revealing that he is still clueless, George Takei explains his racist outburst directed at Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:

A few fans have written wondering whether I intended to utter a racist remark by referring to Justice Thomas as a “clown in blackface.”

“Blackface” is a lesser known theatrical term for a white actor who blackens his face to play a black buffoon. In traditional theater lingo, and in my view and intent, that is not racist. It is instead part of a racist history in this country.

I feel Justice Thomas has abdicated and abandoned his African American heritage by claiming slavery did not strip dignity from human beings. He made a similar remark about the Japanese American internment, of which I am a survivor. A sitting Justice of the Supreme Court ought to know better.

I have expressed my full thoughts on the matter here.

Well, we know who’s got the upper hand here. Takei is an iconic Hollywood figure, he’s gay, he’s Japanese, he’s liberal, he’s a self-proclaimed “social justice activist” and “social media mega-power”. And Clarence Thomas? Well, he’s just some black guy.

I’ve poked around the internet and for some reason, it seems most left-leaning sites are not discussing Takei’s bigotry.

–Dana

A Friendly Reminder

Filed under: General — JVW @ 8:27 am

[guest post by JVW]

Tomorrow’s holiday is Independence Day, not the Fourth of July.

Yeah, I’m one of those people. Happy Independence Day everyone.

– JVW

7/2/2015

Textualism Defeats Intentionalism in Ohio; The Rule of Law Says “Thank You!”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:39 pm

Textualists may have suffered a major loss in the Supreme Court last week, but they won a small victory in an Ohio appellate court this week — even though the court (as courts often do) misdescribed what it was doing. It is the intent of this post to explain the issue, describe the court’s resolution, and show how the proper analysis rejects any examination of “legislative intent” in favor of a Scalia/Patterico form of textualism — one that says “we don’t care what the legislature meant; we just care what it said.”

The Washington Post reports that Andrea Cammelleri was cited for parking her truck on a street for more than 24 hours. The relevant ordinance said it was illegal to park “any motor vehicle camper, trailer, farm implement and/or non-motorized vehicle” on a street for more than 24 hours.

Cammelleri argued that her truck is not a “motor vehicle camper” — nor any other sort of vehicle described in the ordinance. The trial court found that the ordinance meant to say “motor vehicle, camper, trailer,” etc. They just forgot the comma, the judge said. But you can’t look at what they actually wrote, the judge said — you have to go with what they intended.

Cammelleri appealed, and the court of appeal ruled in her favor. The court explained “we must read words and phrases in context and construe them in accordance with rules of grammar and common usage.” The court further observed: “According to ordinary grammar rules, items in a series are normally separated by commas.” Since “motor vehicle” and “camper” were not separated by a comma, under ordinary grammar rules, a reasonable citizen reading the law would understand “motor vehicle camper” to be one type of motor vehicle, not including a truck. Therefore, Cammalleri’s truck was not covered by the ordinance, and she did nothing wrong.

So far so good. But where the court went off the rails is in suggesting, as courts often do, that theirs was a search for “legislative intent”: “The paramount concern is determining legislative intent in enacting the statute.”

No, no, a thousand times, NO!

If the rule of law means anything, a statute must be written in such a way that a citizen can understand what his obligations are, according to the written statute.

If I were a judge in this case, and the prosecuting attorney offered to present evidence of the legislators’ intent, I would rule that evidence inadmissible, as being wholly irrelevant to the proper interpretation of the statute.

Let’s say that they offered to have each member of the local legislature come to court and swear on a stack of bibles that they meant for all motor vehicles to be covered. Denied; irrelevant!

Let’s say that they had videos of floor speeches, where every legislator got up and proclaimed how wonderful the ordinance would be, because it would prevent every motor vehicle in the town from parking in the same place for more than 24 hours. Denied; irrelevant!

“We intended for all motor vehicles to be covered!” Lovely; don’t care. “Our purpose was to unclog the streets!” Wonderful; still don’t care!

Why would I refuse to hear such testimony? Because, as a judge, I don’t care what the legislature meant. I don’t care what the legislature intended. I don’t care about the legislators’ purpose. I just care what the legislature wrote.

In short: what the legislators meant doesn’t matter to a judge’s proper interpretation of the text. The legislators’ intentions are irrelevant when it comes to determining the proper way to interpret the text for purposes of enforcing it in court.

The court’s use of the phrase “common usage” here is key. The proper way to examine the language is to discern how a reasonable audience would read the text. That is the only analysis consistent with the rule of law. That is because the government, in arrogating to itself the power to declare obligations on the part of the citizenry, has a duty to make those obligations plain. If they fail to do so, the proper interpretation of their words has zero (zip! zilch! nada!) to do with their unexpressed intent, and everything to do with how a reasonable audience (the citizenry subject to the law) would interpret those words.

Note here that the court does not get to employ the cute, incoherent, meaningless dodge of saying “we are sending this back to the legislature to fix.” They can declare that the legislature has the option of fixing the statute in the future, of course — and indeed the court says in this very case: “If the village desires a different reading, it should amend the ordinance and insert a comma between the phrase ‘motor vehicle’ and the word ‘camper.’”

But — and this is hugely important — the court cannot use that as a way to dodge its duty to interpret the language in front of it. This court had to decide: was Cammelleri guilty or not? Were they going to apply what was written, or apply some secret, poorly expressed intent/purpose to override the plain meaning of the ordinance?

Are we going to go with the text, or with “intent”? The court had to confront that issue and make a decision.

The court did right. It applied plain meaning. It refused to enforce some secret, unexpressed intent or purpose, and went with the text.

In short, even if the judges expressed their ruling with reference to “intent,” this explanation was wrong. One thousand unanimous legislators expressing their intent or purpose could not override the plain language of the statute. Even if the judge believed them, their intent would be irrelevant.

And the court’s result favored textualism over intentionalism or purposivism.

And properly so. For textualism is the only legal interpretive method consistent with the rule of law.

Period.

Thanks to Rick W.

Ted Cruz on the Media: They Want to Destroy You

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:23 pm

“When the sheep are walking among coyotes, it pays to be cynical.”

George Takei Does Not Understand That Human Dignity And Inherent Worth Come From God – Not From Government, Nor From Man

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:44 pm

[guest post by Dana]

As I am seriously pressed for time today, I will just throw this up here.

George Takei grossly misread Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s dissent to the ruling in Obergefell. And based on his own utterly ridiculous (mis)understanding of it, he threw an ugly racist hissy fit.

From Thomas:

Human dignity has long been understood in this country to be innate. When the Framers proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” they referred to a vision of mankind in which all humans are created in the image of God and therefore of inherent worth. That vision is the foundation upon which this Nation was built.

The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Takei, in full ignorant meltdown mode:

He is a clown in black face sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn’t belong there. And for him to say, slaves have dignity. I mean, doesn’t he know that slaves were in chains? That they were whipped on the back. If he saw the movie 12 Years a Slave, you know, they were raped. And he says they had dignity as slaves or – My parents lost everything that they worked for, in the middle of their lives, in their 30s. His business, my father’s business, our home, our freedom and we’re supposed to call that dignified? Marched out of our homes at gun point. I mean, this man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.

Facepalm.

Anyway, the whole thing is just more muddle-headed nonsense from the usual corners. For a patient and painstaking analysis, check out Sean Davis.

–Dana

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Alternate headline: George Takei Says Slaves Lacked Dignity.

“Solid” Jobs Report Has Labor Force Participation Rate at Historic Low

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:45 am

AP (link to Hot Air since AP changes their articles willy-nilly):

SOLID REPORT: U.S. employers added 223,000 jobs in June, and the unemployment rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent. The rate fell mostly because many people out of work gave up on job hunting and were no longer counted as unemployed.

Ed Morrissey notes: “The new workforce participation rate is the lowest in the US since 1977.”

Remember: the availability of disability payments to healthy people has exploded under Obama. I am mystified that government policies incentivizing people to leave the workforce has the effect of causing people to leave the workforce.

Solid!

7/1/2015

Random U.S. Small Business Owner Bans Gays from Business

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:28 pm

USA Today:

An East Tennessee hardware store owner decided to express his beliefs following the Supreme Court’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage by putting up a sign that reads, “No Gays Allowed.”

Jeff Amyx, who owns Amyx Hardware & Roofing Supplies in Grainger County, Tennessee., about an hour outside of Knoxville, added the “No Gays Allowed” sign on Monday, because gay and lesbian couples are against his religion.

Amyx, who is also a baptist minister, said he realized Monday morning that LGBT people are not afraid to stand for what they believe in. He said it showed him that Christian people should be brave enough to stand for what they believe in.

“They gladly stand for what they believe in, why can’t I? They believe their way is right, I believe it’s wrong. But yet I’m going to take more persecution than them because I’m standing for what I believe in,” Amyx said.

Allahpundit:

If you’re a libertarian who opposes antidiscrimination laws in principle, because you feel market solutions are a better way to punish prejudice than handing the government power to tinker with freedom of association, you’re on his side. If you aren’t, you (probably) aren’t.

This misunderstands libertarians. I am a libertarian-leaning conservative who opposes antidiscrimination laws on principle, in part because I believe market solutions are a better way to punish prejudice than handing the government power to dictate the terms of citizens’ freedom of association.

But I am most assuredly not on this guy’s side. I’m part of the market that wants to punish him.

If the government comes after him, I will argue for his right to be a bigot. But I’m not on his “side.”

That said, how this is a nationwide story is beyond me — but the fact that it is, suggests there is less prejudice than the media would have you believe.

Same-Sex Marriage: One Week Later

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:58 pm

[guest post by Dana]

So, this:

Untitled-2

Photographer Ed Freeman shot this photo 10 years ago and posted it on his Facebook page after the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage was announced. It was accompanied with a victorious statement by the photographer:

“When I took this picture almost ten years ago, it never, never occurred to me that it would someday come to symbolize the victory we are celebrating today. Congratulations to all of us! Love to you all.”

As you can imagine, he has taken a lot of heat for the photograph. Everything from scorn, outrage, and of course, a death threat.

With a straight face, Freeman defended himself, claiming he never intended to be disrespectful:

“The principle complaint that people have is that I am equating the gay struggle with the contribution and sacrifice of American servicemen,” Freeman said. “But there is no equal sign here. This is not meant as a sign of disrespect. For God sake, no. I totally support people in uniform. There is no comparison going on here. The comparison is going on in people’s heads, and they’re spoiling for a fight. They’re already on edge because of the gay marriage decision.”

Sigh.

With that, now that a week has passed since gay marriage has been the law of the land, the gay community isn’t sure how to handle their new found rights and independence. After all, when a group successfully overcomes a self-perceived victimhood, where do they go from there?

The more victories that accumulate for gay rights, the faster some gay institutions, rituals and markers are fading out. And so just as the gay marriage movement peaks, so does a debate about whether gay identity is dimming, overtaken by its own success.

“What do gay men have in common when they don’t have oppression?” asked Andrew Sullivan, one of the intellectual architects of the marriage movement. “I don’t know the answer to that yet.”

“The thing I miss is the specialness of being gay,” said Lisa Kron. “Because the traditional paths were closed, there was a consciousness to our lives, a necessary invention to the way we were going to celebrate and mark family and mark connection. That felt magical and beautiful.”

Already, just one week into same-sex marriage, and the spark is gone.

–Dana

Vox’s Solution to the Financial Crisis in Greece: Write a Check!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:36 pm

Yup, that’s really what Ezra Klein said:

Adam Posen is president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and, like every international economist right now, he’s glued to the drama in Greece. There is, he says, a simple solution to the crisis: the Northern European countries should write a check and end it. But they won’t, and in a conversation on Monday, he told me why.

This the leftists’ solution to everything: write a check. They think, apparently, that money equals value.

It’s a simplistic mindset, and one that is wholly and completely wrong. But this mindset is not something that can be refuted in a few words. Basically, either you understand economics (and therefore why this is a moronic opinion) or you don’t.

Klein doesn’t.

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