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