Patterico's Pontifications


Chelsea Clinton And Privilege

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Yesterday, it was reported that last year Chelsea Clinton left her $10.5 million apartment and schlepped over to the University of Missouri at Kansas City for a speaking engagement supporting the university’s newly opened women’s hall of fame.

The university originally hoped to have Hillary Clinton speak at the event, but with a speaking fee of $275,000 she was just too expensive. Enter Chelsea Clinton:

The university paid $65,000 for Chelsea Clinton’s brief appearance Feb. 24, 2014, a demonstration of the celebrity appeal and marketability that the former and possibly second-time first daughter employs on behalf of her mother’s presidential campaign and family’s global charitable empire.

The schedule she negotiated called for her to speak for 10 minutes, participate in a 20-minute, moderated question-and-answer session and spend a half-hour posing for pictures with VIPs offstage.

And even more amusing:

As with Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches at universities, Chelsea Clinton made no personal income from the appearance, her spokesman said, and directed her fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Given that the event was intended to showcase the opening of the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame which is “dedicated to recognizing extraordinary Kansas City women and preserving the history of their accomplishments,” the university sought a substantive, high-profiled woman of success to generate enthusiasm for the project. After crossing Hillary off the list, they considered several other potential speakers. And speakers not just less expensive than Hillary, but also less expensive than Chelsea, as well as being imminently more qualified than her, too:

feminist icon Gloria Steinem ($30,000) and journalists Cokie Roberts ($40,000), Tina Brown ($50,000) and Lesley Stahl ($50,000),

Unfortunately, none of them had the necessary last name.

Chelsea Clinton is 35 years old. She is a wife, mother and most notably, the only child of Bill and Hillary Clinton. She is currently the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, and according to the Clinton Foundation website, she “works to drive the vision and work of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation”.

With that, Chelsea Clinton holds degrees from several elite universities and has a limited work resume, most recently at NBC wherein she earned a whopping annual salary of $600,000. She has lived and breathed privilege from Day One. Her privilege has opened doors for her, enabled her to be seated on the boards of any number of philanthropic and professional organizations, made her a lot of money, and has nicely positioned her to make a run for mayor of NYC or for a seat in the U.S. Senate if she chooses (a notion she would consider).

“Clinton Privilege” – the only privilege endorsed by the entire Clinton family!


Ted Cruz: Some States Can Ignore Gay Marriage Decision

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:44 am

POLITICO (cached link because bullies):

Ted Cruz has some unsolicited advice for the states not specifically named in last week’s Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage: Ignore it.

“Those who are not parties to the suit are not bound by it,” the Texas Republican told NPR News’ Steve Inskeep in an interview published on Monday. Since only suits against the states of Ohio, Tennessee, Michigan and Kentucky were specifically considered in the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which was handed down last Friday, Cruz — a former Supreme Court clerk — believes that other states with gay marriage bans need not comply, absent a judicial order.

“[O]n a great many issues, others have largely acquiesced, even if they were not parties to the case,” the 2016 presidential contender added, “but there’s no legal obligation to acquiesce to anything other than a court judgement.”

I have read the interview and Cruz’s remarks are not, in my view, being taken out of context.

I like Ted Cruz, I support Ted Cruz for president, and I have given Ted Cruz money. But I can’t agree with this, to the extent he is suggesting that it is considered legal to ignore Supreme Court decisions if no order has been issued to you directly.

The Supreme Court’s language was clear: “The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States.” It is true, as a technical matter, that a case or controversy binds only the parties before it. However, the rule announced in a case applies to all citizens — and public officials who ignore a rule such as this, clearly expressed, risk more than just a specific order from the Court directing them to comply. They risk being sued for a deprivation of clearly established rights.

The fact that the “clearly established rights” were made up, will not keep the courts from whacking those who fail to comply.

For example: if I tell detectives to go ahead and interrogate a suspect they have arrested without reading him his rights, it doesn’t matter that no court has specifically ordered me to do that. Nor does it matter whether I agree with the Miranda decision. We all still have to follow it, and I’ll get whacked by a court if I don’t.

Now, to the extent that Cruz is suggesting civil disobedience (and if you read the interview, I don’t think he was), that’s a different issue. One might well ask: since the ruling is lawless, should citizens consider civil disobedience?

My own opinion is: no, not at this point. But we may be headed that way.

Let’s put this in a little perspective. The decisions of the past week were horribly disappointing. But anyone who suggests that this state of affairs is new or unprecedented, needs to read some history. Many other decisions have been at least as unmoored from the text of a statute or of a Constitutional provision, many with far more dire results. Take Roe v. Wade, as one obvious example. Look at the Commerce Clause decisions of the 1930s, such as Wickard v. Filburn.

I would support all manner of reactions that the GOP will lack the guts to try — and that, if they did try, would cause them to get shellacked in the elections. For example, I would support impeachment of any and all of the Justices that voted in the majority of either King v. Burwell or Obergefell. That, in my view, is a proper constitutional reaction to lawless decisions (notwithstanding the disastrous precedent established by the Samuel Chase impeachment proceedings).

But look. We didn’t impeach the Justices who made up a right to abortion in Roe. What makes you think they would impeach anyone now?

However, should courts start to order religious officials to perform ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs, civil disobedience would certainly be in order. At a certain point, enough is enough. Were I a pastor with religious beliefs against gay marriage, I would dare the feds to send guys with guns to force me to perform acts that violate my deeply held beliefs.

Even now, there is also a discussion to be had about the extent to which citizens should engage in civil disobedience generally concerning the overreaching of the central government. I recommend Charles Murray’s recent book By the People: Rebuilding Liberty Without Permission. I hope to review that book (which I have read) in a future post and have a discussion about civil disobedience and when it is appropriate.

When a curmudgeon like Charles Murray is talking about openly defying the federal government — and he does advocate that — you know we have gotten to a pretty desperate place.

But speaking as someone who has faced retaliation for speaking his mind — and who has watched others similarly situated cave to bullies — I can tell you that it’s a lot easier to bluster on the Internet about how tough you would be, than it is to actually carry through with it.

So. If you are going to follow Ted Cruz’s advice to simply ignore the Supreme Court, you’d better recognize what you’re doing as civil disobedience — and be prepared to face the consequences.

P.S. If you’re one of those people who believes it’s time to violate the law, and anyone who suggests differently is a coward, tell us in comments! Start by giving us your full name, where you work and where you live, and specifically what you have already done to resist the central government in a way that subjects you to criminal penalties or fines.


More on the Supreme Court’s Twisting of Language, GMTA Edition

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:40 pm

Kevin Gutzman on Facebook:

Today, Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the Supreme Court’s four avowed Progressives in saying that when the Constitution says, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof,” the word “Legislature” can be understood as referring to some body other than the state legislature.

I’m here to tell you not to defer to lawyers when it comes to the Constitution. There is nothing special in three years of education about torts, legal ethics, criminal law, etc., that would enable you to conclude that “Legislature” does not mean “Legislature.” What the five-judge majority in this case did was decide that it preferred not to enforce the Constitution in this case. Take it from a graduate of a ritzy law school: that’s all that happened.

The “ritzy law school” to which he refers? The University of Texas at Austin.

I think another graduate of that same institution had a similar complaint just this morning.

PennLive Editor Is Rebuked For Censorship, But Continues To Deny That Is What He Meant When He Said “As a result of Friday’s ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:13 am

[guest post by Dana]

Tucker Carlson called out PennLive editor, John Micek, who announced his decision to censor commentators from speaking out against gay marriage in the news outlet’s op-ed pages. The pages where people typically, opine.

In spite of Micek doubling down on his claims that he was just attempting to promote “civil” discourse, Carlson was relentless:

“You made it pretty clear. You have contempt for people who disagree with your views,” Carlson said. “You consider them bigots and you don’t think that they ought to be able to express those views because they’re illegitimate. That was clear.”

“No, not at all,” Micek said. “What we were trying to do — and perhaps we missed a little in the execution — was to try to create a space for civil discussion in the pages of Pennlive, while allowing reasonable and intelligent debate on the issue. I fully recognize that people of good will and deeply held conviction are going to differ with the high court on this decision, but our intent, I think, and we might have missed this initially, was to create a space for civil discussion.”

“Civil discussion, really?” Carlson snapped. “What’s civil about describing people who disagree with you as bigots, comparing them to anti-Semites and racists? That’s the opposite of civil.”

“I think there actually might be a context problem there,” Micek said. “I was trying to create a space between people of good will and, again, intelligence who want to debate the issue, and those who may come at it with invective.”

Carlson had the last word in the matter:

“With all respect, I thought your first statement was crystal clear. I thought it was the opposite of what you’re saying now. I think it’s really clear you have contempt for people who disagree and that you don’t want to hear their voices, and so if you sincerely changed your view in that, I congratulate that, but I thought it was very revealing.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree with my views,” Micek said.

“Yeah, I find them abhorrent,” Carlson concluded.

Video at the link.


“Plain Meaning” Takes Another Supreme Blow

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

The Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution states:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.

Today the Supreme Court, in a decision by the leftist voting bloc plus Anthony Kennedy, held that “the Legislature” doesn’t just mean, you know, the legislature. It can also mean “the People of the state through a ballot initiative.”

In a special irony, Chief Justice Roberts complained in dissent that the majority was ignoring the “plain meaning” of the Constitution.

Supreme Court Upholds Oklahoma’s Three-Drug Execution Protocol

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 am

The decision seems pretty narrow, inviting further litigation down the road. Still, a reminder that Roberts and Kennedy often vote in a manner consistent with judicial conservatism, unlike the liberal bloc that always votes in lockstep.

Not to worry. I feel confident that the precedents written by Anthony Kennedy will be used to find the death penalty unconstitutional one day, probably in my lifetime. Evolving standards gonna evolve.

But Of Course: Legally Protecting The “Unusually Sensitive”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:32 am

[guest post by Dana]

Further and onward we go into this brave new world. And though we may momentarily stumble as we try to keep our balance under the sweeping wave of progress, we have not arrived here with disbelief or shock, but rather with a hard, savvy understanding of precisely what is happening and why it is happening. Because we have not been caught off guard or unaware. We have all along been watching the shift in the cultural and political landscape and pushing back in resistance. This especially as we have always known where that long trail of bread crumbs, the size of red flags which mark the leftward path of our nation, would lead. Admittedly, the opposition’s tactics may be surprising but the outcome certainly isn’t. So here we are. We have entered the mothballing season of the “reasonable man”.

With that, the legal elite continue apace in this mad season of progress:

A group of judges, attorneys and law professors recently voted to make tapping the shoulder of a Muslim woman to ask for directions potentially punishable in a U.S. court of law. This group, the American Law Institute, is an elite private organization that includes the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, the chief judges of the U.S. Courts of Appeal and the highest state courts, most law school deans, some law professors and private attorneys.

Here is the background. The American Law Institute periodically issues “restatements” that attempt to codify the common law—but also shift the law in the direction the institute wants it to go. In 1964, for example, the institute’s Restatement of Torts established the liability of sellers to consumers for defective products regardless of fault. At the time only 16 states had taken this position. Now it is the law everywhere.

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that American Law Institute restatements are law in all subsequent decisions when there is no state statute to the contrary. The U.S. Supreme Court on average cites the institute at least once a month.

On May 20 the American Law Institute approved, by a very close vote, significant changes to the section of its new Restatement of Torts dealing with assault and battery. The changes will have far-reaching, and extremely troubling, social and legal ramifications—including favoring some religious beliefs over others.

The institute’s restatement defines the tort of battery as any contact with another person that “offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity” or—the new addition—contact that is highly offensive to another person’s “unusually sensitive sense of personal dignity, and the actor knows that the contact will be highly offensive to the other.”

To be a battery, the contact or touching must be offensive. That’s to exclude the occasional bumps we experience walking through a crowd. And the law always measured what constituted an offense based on the views of a reasonable person. That way a judge can dismiss a frivolous claim. However, the American Law Institute now proposes that personal contact is a tort if the defendant knows that it will be offensive to someone who is “unusually sensitive.”

The writer explains the danger this presents:

[S]uppose a patient tells a hospital, “I don’t want any Jewish doctors or nurses to touch me.” An earlier draft of the institute’s restatement said, “if the patient had demanded that she not be touched by a nurse or doctor of a particular race or religion, the hospital and medical staff have no obligation to respect that preference” because it violates “public policy.” But the final accepted draft eliminates the words, “or religion.”

So if a hospital does not obey a religious bigot’s demand, it risks a lawsuit, jury trial and punitive damages. And insurance does not often cover a battery. Thus if the trial takes place in a community with a significant Muslim population, the hospital will be more likely to settle—an outcome that will encourage religious bigotry.

Further, how this “restatement” would favor one religion over the other:

Consider John Doe, waiting at a bus stop, who taps a woman wearing a Muslim veil on the shoulder to get her attention and ask for directions. The institute’s restatement suggests that Mr. Doe might be liable for committing battery. A jury might find that a reasonable person would know that males aren’t supposed to make bodily contact with females not in their family. But if the woman touches Mr. Doe, she’s not liable, because he follows a different religion or no religion at all.

As a result, the change would be enormous:

In North Carolina, an employee sued his supervisor for assault and battery because the supervisor, in his own office, smoked a cigar. There was no company rule against that, but the employee had warned the supervisor that he found cigar smoking “obnoxious.” A state court dismissed the case (McCracken v. Sloan, 1979) because the employee’s “mental distress” was not enough for assault and battery. The American Law Institute says: “This case would very likely result in liability today.”

A final warning:

No court ever has adopted the concept, as a widely used casebook put it, that an individual with an “abnormally acute sense of personal dignity” could make another liable for battery. Nor has the American Law Institute—until now.



R.I.P. Chris Squire

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:55 pm

The Yes bassist was just 67. He succumbed to cancer.

A couple of years ago, Mrs. P. and I saw a new incarnation of Yes with Jon Davison as the lead vocalist. They played the entire albums Close to the Edge, The Yes Album, and Going for the One. Great show. Squire was everything you would have wanted to see.

I did not think I wouldn’t get a chance to see him perform again.


Texas Pushes Back Against Gay Marriage Decision

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:21 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Leave it to Texas!

County clerks can refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on religious objections to gay marriage, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Sunday.

Paxton noted that clerks who refuse to issue licenses can expect to be sued, but added that “numerous lawyers stand ready to assist clerks defending their religious beliefs,” in many cases without charge.

Paxton said Friday’s “flawed” opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned bans against same-sex marriage in Texas and other states, placed religious people in conflict between following their faith and the U.S. Constitution.

In a sharply worded rebuke of the Court and its judicial activism, Paxton expressed an even greater resolve to protect religious freedoms:

“Friday, the United States Supreme Court again ignored the text and spirit of the Constitution to manufacture a right that simply does not exist. In so doing, the court weakened itself and weakened the rule of law, but did nothing to weaken our resolve to protect religious liberty and return to democratic self-government in the face of judicial activists attempting to tell us how to live.”


You and Your Device

Filed under: General — JVW @ 1:26 pm

[guest post by JVW]

A break from all the inveighing against the weirdness of the Supreme Court.

Do a Google search on “mobile device addiction” and you will note that the has garnered a lot of attention over the past year. Allow me to relate a couple of incidents I have had a couple of interesting experiences the past few months that I can relate:

The Setting: Public transportation in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I was riding BART (the local subway) during the afternoon rush hour. The train I was on was crowded so I had to stand and hold on to the passenger handrail. I took a look around the train where I probably had about 35-40 people in my line of vision. Literally every single person had their heads down and were gazing intently upon a mobile device, either a tablet or phone. Literally every single person. People in their 50s and 60s who were sitting down: reading a Nook or an iPad or a phone. Younger people standing: one hand on the handrail or the rail strap, the other hand holding a mobile phone. All races, all 900 sexual orientations that Facebook recognizes, all apparent levels of income were busy with a device. Granted this was the Bay Area and it was rush hour, but how amazing was it that everyone in my line of sight was doing the exact same thing? I then transferred over to CalTrain to head down the peninsula, and encountered pretty much the same thing, with the exception of a couple of old fashioned folks who actually had laptop computers open and were typing on an actual clackety-clack keyboard.

The Setting: A beach bar on a weekend afternoon.
I am meeting up with a friend to watch a game and drink some beers, and I am there a bit early of our arranged time. I’m sitting at a table next to a young couple who are pretty apparently on a first date. I’m guessing that they met online or through some dating service because I can overhear themselves going over the usual litany of first day discussion items (where are you from? what do you do for a living?). They were two nice-looking young people and they seemed to have a lot in common so by all appearances the date was off to a good start. Suddenly, though, there is the inevitable lull in the conversation and inexplicably the young guy excuses himself and pulls out his smart phone to check on his messages. Naturally the young lady does the same, and for the next few minutes there is this uncomfortable silence (or at least I thought it was uncomfortable) while the two of them stare down at their devices. Amazing.

And just today, at 10:00 mass at my parish, I am making my way up in the communion line to the front of the church and there sitting in a the sixth row of pews having already received communion is a guy playing a game on his smart phone. Seriously. While everyone around him is kneeling in silent contemplation of the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ, this grown man — probably at least 40 years old — was playing a game on his phone.

So let’s make this an open thread centered around some questions. Do you own a mobile device? If so, what self-imposed limits to you observe? Do your children have mobile devices? If so, what rules are they expected to follow?


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