Patterico's Pontifications

6/27/2019

Thinking about the Dem Debate, Part 2: Thursday

Filed under: General — JVW @ 4:22 pm



[guest post by JVW]

Tonight comes the second group of ten Democrats who will debate each other to win the love and admiration of party activists who will select one of them to face President Trump in just about sixteen months from now. Following the procedure established last night, I want to place each of these candidates in the context of someone whom many (if not most) of us might have encountered in high school. So without further ado, here we go (once again, listed alphabetically by last name):

Michael Bennett – His family moved into town just before his senior year, and he pretty much kept to himself and left no record of having accomplished anything. Sat next to you in Chemistry II, but you don’t recall having more than maybe six verbal exchanges with him the entire year.

Joe Biden – Quarterback of the varsity football team that finished with a 2-8 record. Threw for five touchdown passes with eighteen interceptions and lost seven fumbles. Carried a 2.1 GPA and scored a 16 composite on the ACT, but nevertheless claimed that he was being recruited to play at Dartmouth. Dressed like the cool kids all dressed ten years earlier and drove a slightly run-down muscle car that he worked on himself, even though he didn’t know the first thing about auto mechanics.

Pete Buttigieg – Friendly and earnest fellow whose best friends were all girls. You appointed him refreshments chairman for the homecoming dance, and he bought a really nice cake but forgot to buy any drinks, so you had to give him $30 out of your own pocket so he could go get a couple of cases of Hawaiian Punch which nobody drank. He still says it was the best dance he ever attended and now wants to chair the prom committee.

Kirsten Gillibrand – Her sophomore year she became the lackey/toady for a snobbishly tiresome but oddly popular senior girl, and somehow parlayed that to entry into the “in” crowd after she dropped her Future Farmers of America friends. She promoted herself for homecoming queen quietly behind the scenes, but legend has it she received exactly zero votes. Was frenemies with every other girl in your class.

Kamala Harris – Rumored to have been secretly dating an administrator at the high school, which purportedly landed her positions as the head cheerleader and homecoming queen. Noticeably lacked enthusiasm for a cheerleader, and left the homecoming dance immediately after pictures were taken for the newspaper. Was always assumed to have a bright future ahead of her, even though her grades and test scores were only average.

John Hickenlooper – President of DECA and manager of the school store. Worked hard to keep it profitable even though it was known that everyone stole from it, but was lucky enough to make a high margin on brownies and therefore always break even. Nice enough guy, but extremely awkward to speak to, and had an annoying habit of agreeing with everyone with whom he spoke.

Bernard Sanders – Believed to have been held back two years because he seemed so much older than the rest of his peers. Kept circulating petitions to make school lunches “free” by doubling the price on the Coke machine. Furthermore, wants to provide “free” pencils and notebook paper by doubling the price on the Coke machine, and to have yearbooks distributed for “free,” subsidized by doubling the price on the Coke machine. Also wants the Coke machine replaced with water fountains which are healthier and better for the environment, as well as being free. Wrote an outraged op-ed in the school newspaper declaring the concept of a valedictorian was imperialist and should be abolished. A group of disaffected freshmen worships him.

Eric Swalwell – You had honestly never heard of this guy until the day he called the principal an asshole to his face and became a legend in his own mind just because a few popular kids chuckled. You quickly realized he was of extremely limited intelligence, and to this day you don’t know or care what happened to him.

Marianne Williamson – Cute chick who read Jonathan Livingston Seagull and listened to Dan Fogelberg, whose music she thought had really, really deep meaning. Believed strongly in using crystals for health and healing. You wanted to like her, but her thoughts were so banal and silly that you limited yourself to smiling and waving at her when you saw her in the hall. Spent most of her time in the art studio making stained glass doodads and painting rainbows and peace signs.

Andrew Yang – Fun guy who was excessively nerdy but usually made you laugh. Always had some off-the-wall scheme that he insisted would work if people would just “break out of their paradigms” and give it a try. Ignored by the jocks, the partiers, the pretty people, and the go-getters, but managed to become a success in business, even if many of his ideas continued to be risible.

So that’s it. I don’t think that I will watch this one either, so I’ll be interested in hearing what you all have to say.

– JVW

More SCOTUS: Mitchell v Wisconsin

Filed under: Court Decisions,Law — DRJ @ 3:38 pm



[Headlines from DRJ]

Supreme Court Affirms Police Can Order Blood Drawn From Unconscious DUI Suspects:

The Supreme Court has ruled that police may, without a warrant, order blood drawn from an unconscious person suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.

The Fourth Amendment generally requires police to obtain a warrant for a blood draw. But in a 5-4 vote on Thursday, the court upheld a Wisconsin law that says people driving on a public road have impliedly consented to having their blood drawn if police suspect them of driving under the influence. It also said that “exigent circumstances” permit police to obtain a blood sample without a warrant.

Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Stephen Breyer and Brett Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority vote.

From oral argument:

Under Wisconsin law, anyone who drives on the state’s roads is assumed to have consented to have his blood tested for alcohol and drugs. The state’s laws also assume that a driver who is unconscious has not withdrawn that consent. Today – in a rare afternoon session – the Supreme Court heard oral argument in a challenge to the constitutionality of the provision allowing a blood test of an unconscious driver without a warrant. After an hour of debate, it wasn’t entirely clear how the justices might rule. But unlike the morning’s argument in the dispute over the decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, it seemed possible that the court might not divide completely along ideological lines, with Justice Stephen Breyer at times appearing to side with the state.

The case was brought to the Supreme Court by Gerald Mitchell, whom police found wet and shirtless on a beach in Wisconsin six years ago. When Mitchell – who was slurring his words – told police that he had parked his car because he “felt that he was too drunk to drive,” police did a preliminary breath test, the results of which are not admissible in court: Mitchell’s blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

Mitchell was placed under arrest, but he was so drunk that police decided to take him to the hospital for a blood test instead of doing another breath test. By the time Mitchell arrived at the hospital, he was unconscious. Hospital staff took a blood sample, which registered a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.222 percent, and Mitchell was charged with driving while intoxicated.

From he Wisconsin Bar summary:

Under Wisconsin’s implied consent law, Wis. Stat. section 343.305(2), anyone who operates a motor vehicle on Wisconsin’s roads “is deemed to have given consent to his or her breath, blood or urine” to determine the presence of drugs or alcohol. Under Wis. Stat. section 343.305(3)(b), “[a] person who is unconscious or otherwise not capable of withdrawing consent is presumed not to have withdrawn consent under this subsection.”

The U.S. Supreme Court did not decide whether police officers can rely on Wisconsin’s informed consent law alone, which is a question the Wisconsin Supreme Court has grappled with in several unconscious driver cases in the last several terms. (In Mitchell, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the conviction, but was divided on rationale).

Instead, the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the question under the Fourth Amendment’s exigent circumstances exception, which allows police to obtain a warrantless blood draw in emergency-type situations, which leave no time to apply for a warrant.

Mitchell was not involved in an accident so they case was remanded, presumably to determine if this is one of the rare exceptions.

The dissents are interesting. Notably, the majority here included Breyer but not Gorsuch, who thinks cert was improvidently granted since the Court based its ruling on exigent circumstsnces, a legal theory not addressed below.

— DRJ

SCOTUS Today

Filed under: Court Decisions,Law — DRJ @ 9:53 am



[Headlines from DRJ Beldar]

Beldar 1:

Breaking cosmically big news, so far just a headline at the WSJ: Supreme Court Declines to Set Limits on Political Gerrymandering: High court says such cases present political questions that courts can’t decide.

But here’s the full opinion in Rucho v. Common Cause. I’ll wait until DRJ or someone puts up a new post to comment in detail, but at a glance, from the official syllabus:

Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts….

Any standard for resolving partisan gerrymandering claims must be grounded in a “limited and precise rationale” and be “clear, manageable, and politically neutral.” [citing Vieth v. Jubelirer‘s plurality opinion.]
….
None of the proposed “tests” for evaluating partisan gerrymandering claims meets the need for a limited and precise standard that is judicially discernible and manageable….

This — very significantly — is a majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, joined fully by Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch & Kavanaugh. The liberal justices joined in Kagan’s dissent.

Biggest case of this term, by far. This is the new SCOTUS we’ve been waiting for, friends and neighbors.

Beldar 2:

And in the Census race question case, it looks like (finally) a win for the Trump Administration, albeit in a splintered opinion that will take some sorting through to figure out: Dep’t of Commerce v. New York (again from the syllabus):

The Enumeration Clause permits Congress, and by extension the Secretary, to inquire about citizenship on the census questionnaire. That conclusion follows from Congress’s broad authority over the census, as informed by long and consistent historical practice that “has been open, widespread, and unchallenged since the early days of the Republic.”

As for the Commerce Secretary’s decision, it’s being remanded for reconsideration to see whether it was properly made, and that result was unanimous, but the instructions on what to do on remand appear to be rather fractured. There will be more litigation about this, in a hurry, before the 2020 Census is taken, but clearly there’s a path whereby the Trump Administration can get the question on the Census.

— DRJ

The Women in Whom E. Jean Carroll Confided Go Public

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:54 am



E. Jean Carroll is the woman saying Donald Trump had a sexual encounter with her 23 years ago, which many people describe as rape. (She doesn’t call it rape, as we will see.) Yesterday, the women in whom Carroll confided went public with their stories, kind of. It was done in a podcast called “The Daily” with a New York Times reporter. The podcast was released today, and I just finished listening to it.

Now that I have heard the story, it doesn’t sound like it was clear to Trump that Carroll was not consenting.

The interview is done very badly. I don’t know if the women made it a condition that they get together with one another and with E. Jean Carroll all at the same time, but that’s how the interview was done. If your goal was to find out what the women independently remember about what Carroll told them, forget it. You barely hear from them in the podcast. It’s certainly an unusual way to conduct an interview that is supposed to be corroboration of Carroll. It begins with Carroll recounting the whole incident, in the presence of the other two women. Minimal details are elicited from the two women about what Carroll actually said at the time. Most of the story comes from Carroll.

And even coming from Carroll, it doesn’t sound like it was necessarily clear to Trump that Carroll was not consenting. She herself refuses to call it rape. She describes a lot of flirtatious banter between her and Trump, which she thought was fantastic. The encounter began with Trump soliciting her advice about lingerie, and quickly turned to a teasing conversation about who was going to try on the lingerie: her, or Trump. (Trump said she should. She said Trump should.) They get to the dressing room and then he moves on her. She never says a word throughout the encounter — no “what are you doing?” or “no!” But she does describe it as a fight.

When she called the first woman, Lisa Birnbach, Carroll says she thought it was great material and was still laughing about it. Birnbach says that what Carroll was describing sounded like rape. According to Birnbach, she asked Carroll: “He raped you?” and Carroll made a noise like “ehhh.” Then the woman said that Carroll should go to the police, and Carroll flatly refused.

When Carroll called the second woman, Carol Martin, Martin told her to tell nobody. That’s about all you hear from Martin.

Almost nothing about what Carroll actually said to the women comes out of the women’s mouths in the podcast. It’s mostly Carroll describing the incident, and New York Times reporters flapping their meatholes.

But the overall impression one gets is that Donald Trump maybe just thought he had a quick sexual encounter with this woman. That she was interested in him because he was famous, and that she found the whole thing funny — before and after the encounter, certainly, if perhaps not during the encounter.

It’s not what I expected going in.

Terrible job by the New York Times. And I say that as someone who despises Donald Trump.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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