Words left unsaid

Every time I talk about this subject caring people ask if I am okay. I am right now, thanks for asking. Someday, sooner or later, I won’t be; that’s the way the disease works. When that happens, I’ll ask for help. Please join me in that promise.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/the-weight-of-the-unspoken-word

Every time I talk about this subject caring people ask if I am okay. I am right now, thanks for asking. Someday, sooner or later, I won’t be; that’s the way the disease works. When that happens, I’ll ask for help. Please join me in that promise.


This is how you eulogize someone

People who came here from my old blog, http://www.popehat.com, will remember my long-time co-blogger and friend Patrick. Patrick, another irascible trial lawyer, wrote at Popehat for more than a decade. He shared our Twitter account for years, and went on to co-author the wickedly satirical @dprknews account and his own Twitter account @PresidentDawg. He died yesterday.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/a-farewell-to-a-friend

Dang! That’s a eulogy. You should read the whole thing. And you should follow all of White’s links from therein. I’ve been following White and Patrick and “Popehat” from the beginning and it’s everything bit as awesome as White suggests in retrospect.


Sheer nonsense from the jump

This is sheer nonsense from the jump. Americans don’t have, and have never had, any right to be free of shaming or shunning. The First Amendment protects our right to speak free of government interference. It does not protect us from other people saying mean things in response to our speech. The very notion is completely incoherent. Someone else shaming me is their free speech, and someone else shunning me is their free association, both protected by the First Amendment.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.substack.com/p/our-fundamental-right-to-shame-and

This is long (by Internet standards, so maybe 5 minutes?) but borders on a being a ribald savaging of a New York Times editorial. Bully for Ken White. He had me at the byline. If you’re not a fan of White, it’s still worth reading until the part I’ve quoted. If you read that far, you may just become a fan of White’s writing. (And of course there’s more of him quoted here too.)


Lawsplainer: The Ninth Circuit and Compelled Speech

When a court applies scrutiny, it’s holding the government’s justification for a challenged law to a standard. How tough the standard is depends on the nature of the law and how the plaintiff says it’s defective. In some situations, courts apply strict scrutiny — for instance, laws that punish speech based on its content generally trigger strict scrutiny. If a court applies strict scrutiny, the government must show that the law in question serves a compelling government interest and is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. Practically speaking, applying strict scrutiny almost always means that the court will strike down the law.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.com/2016/10/17/lawsplainer-the-ninth-circuit-and-compelled-speech-about-abortion/

Don’t knee-jerk-react to the topic of the case (it’s about abortion). Instead, read this short piece as an explanation of one facet of the interation between our federal courts and our state legislatures. One of the beautiful aspects of our Republic is the way our founders envisioned a system to combine the states under a federal umbrella. I note particularly the concept of the federal courts NOT being able to just randomly intervene in the states’ affairs.


Hillary Clinton, the sixth amendment, and legal ethics

I’m a criminal defense lawyer. I’ve represented people by appointment and voluntarily, and I’ve represented people accused of all sorts of things. I’ve made vigorous use of my client’s constitutional and procedural rights to attack the government’s case, even in cases were most observers believed it was clear that my clients “did it.” That’s my job. You’re free not to like it, and free to attack me for it. But I’m going to call you totalitarian and un-American if you do.

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.com/2016/10/10/hillary-clinton-the-sixth-amendment-and-legal-ethics/

QUICK! ..what is the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? I’ll accept knowing the general gist as being good enough for full credit. I couldn’t have told you if you put a gun to my head.

So I looked it up, and am going to proudly attempt to keep this loaded in my head, and — heads up — I’m likely to swing this idea around in the future as a ward against un-American Americans who spout nonsense about not “liking” defense attorneys, what they do, or how they did it in a specific case.


“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”


I stand, despite

I stand loving America, aware that I often fall short of what that love should mean. When I say I love America I mean I love certain shared values and founding ideals like the rule of law and equality before it, liberty, and self-determination, and what people have done to achieve them. I love the values as lofty as the right to speak and worship and as humble as the right to raise a family and work and live as I see fit. I love it knowing that these ideals are more aspirational than descriptive, more a to-do list than a resume. They are what Lincoln called “unfinished work” and “the great task remaining before us.”

~ Ken White from, https://popehat.com/2016/08/30/i-stand-despite/

I happen to be that sort of middle-aged-softie who is deeply moved by our National Anthem.

…but, when I stand for the National Anthem, I do not judge those who do NOT stand (even if they are in the row behind me talking loudly). I love America all the more for its ensuring their right to a freedom of expression; An America where they should never be forced to declare their adoration for the State as a precursor to watching some random sporting event.



Mercy is refraining from ridiculing or abusing the young men who lost 91-0. Mercy is complimenting them for their effort. Mercy is treating them like athletes and competitors after such a loss. Mercy is applauding when they return to the line time after time against hopeless odds, and when they return to practice again the next day. Mercy might be sitting down with them and telling them about times you lost badly and how you felt and how you got up again. Mercy is pointing out to other kids the character it takes to keep trying under such circumstances, and challenging them to have character like that. Mercy is teaching kids how to deal with the adversity they will certainly face in their life.

It is not merciful to teach them they have a right not to lose badly.

~ Ken White from, http://www.popehat.com/2013/10/23/what-does-mercy-look-like/


About the Aaron Swartz case

There are three things people get wrong about the prosecution and heartbreaking suicide of Aaron Swartz. Two of those things are about the criminal justice system. They’re disturbing, but not difficult to talk about. The third thing is about depression. It’s very difficult to talk about.

~ Ken White from, http://www.popehat.com/2013/03/24/three-things-you-may-not-get-about-the-aaron-swartz-case/

As usual, Ken at Popehat is a shining beacon of sanity and reason. Here he is talking about the Aaron Swartz Case.