This is Wrong and Bullshit and You Shouldn’t Support It

In the Walter thread below, Adam linked to this story about scumbag sex offender Brock Turner’s return home:

Turner, who was released on Friday, was greeted in Sugarcreek Township by around a dozen angry protesters wielding menacing signs and, in some cases, weapons.

“He’s not going to live some happy pleasant life,” one protester told WCPO-TV. “We’re going to never let him forget what he did.”

“If he is uncomfortable then he begins to receive at least some punishment that he deserves for his crime,” said another.

I’m embarrassed for those people, and I am embarrassed for all the commenters at Jezebel. This is not acceptable behavior.

I personally think he is a scumbag and if I had my way, he would still be in jail for a number of years. I think his family and the people who wrote those letters in Turner’s defense displayed a sense of breathtaking entitlement. But Brock Turner didn’t sentence himself. The sentence was within the guidelines. He served his time, must now register as a sex offender, and will hopefully be haunted by his actions for some time to come.

But cheering armed mobs outside his house threatening castration and rape is illiberal, offensive, and obscene, not to mention unfair to his other neighbors. You want to do something productive? Help rape victims, donate to women’s shelters, and WORK TO CHANGE THE DAMNED LAW. But you don’t resort to running around waving around weaponry and getting in on mob justice. It’s, quite frankly, unAmerican.

And about those letters his parents and friends wrote.

That’s about as dumb a take on things as possible. By that logic we should be stalking every defense lawyer and any character witness who goes to court.

Let me tell you all a story.

A long time ago when I was a young right-wing fascist right out of the army and in college, I worked in the county probation office in Morgantown. I did a number of different things there, but one of the things I did the most was pre-sentence investigations. I did it because it was interesting work, but I also did it because it involved spending a lot of time with convicted felons, many of whom were pedophiles, child rapists, and sex offenders, and the other interns were college aged women and they just felt uncomfortable. So I would trudge over to the jail with a notebook, and do in depth reports on the convicted. I would look at their background, where they went to school, education level, family life growing up, employment history, etc. I would spend hours with them, just listening and jotting down notes, and then I would spend hours writing a detailed report that the Probation Officers would review, and then they would be given to the sentencing judge prior to sentencing.

Because I was a curious guy, I always went to the sentencings for the people whose reports I had written. Again, I was pretty right-wing, and not in favor of leniency. One of the judges I worked with quite a bit was a good ole boy, someone I learned to appreciate as a great man. He was, allegedly, extremely liberal, and a lot of people thought he was too lenient. But he was good to those who worked with him and generous with his time, so I found myself talking to him a lot.

One day, there was a particularly awful person being sentenced (and I don’t remember the charges, but it involved raping young children and a host of other things), and I sat there and listened to family member after family member go up and testify that the convicted was actually a good person. I remember being nauseated by it, because I had spent hours with the guy, and he was not any of the things his family was claiming. At any rate, the judge sentenced him, pretty firmly, and afterwards we had a chat.

I asked him- “Doesn’t it make you sick to your stomach listening to all these family members swearing what a good guy that scumbag is when we all know what he’s done?” The judge paused, looked at me, and said something I will never forget-

“If his kin and his lawyer aren’t going to defend him, who will?”

The judge later went on to become State Supreme Court Justice Larry Starcher. I’m seeing a lot of people who could have learned something from him.

And that’s all I have to say about that.








Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite! Liberte and Egalite Have Won Edition

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(Eugene Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People)

France’s highest administrative court, The State Council/Council de Etat, overturned the local burkini bans that had popped up in French beach towns over the past several weeks. The panel of three senior judges ruled that the ban:

“has dealt a serious and clearly illegal blow to fundamental liberties such as the freedom of movement, freedom of conscience and personal liberty.”

They found that no evidence produced in favour of the prohibition proved a risk to public order was being caused by “the outfits worn by some people to go swimming”.

 There will, of course, be pushback. The Mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet, who is also a member of France’s parliament, has indicated that he will push legislation in the next session to address the issue. Municipal authorities in Nice, Frejus, and Sisco have already stated that they will keep the ban in place despite the ruling. We will now have to wait and see how the different levels of French government, and the French themselves, reconcile themselves to the Council de Etat’s ruling.


Open Thread: Stop Mewling, Hugh

You were right there moderating debates, and you couldn’t keep Trump from beating every other GOP candidate…



Screw the Pearl-Clutchers — the Notorious RBG Did the Right Thing by Speaking Up

Yeah, she’s very sorry the media has turned itself into a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Krazy Koalition, and y’all can go eat paste. Finley Peter Dunne, we salute you!
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I’m with Mr. Charles P. Pierce on this:

This is one of those days on which I’m glad I was raised Catholic and, therefore, was schooled in the difference between venial and mortal sin. Because anyone who thinks that RBG’s honest assessment of the vulgar talking yam is on a par with A.) Antonin Scalia’s hunting trips with Dick Cheney, or B.) the majority in Bush v. Gore including one justice (Scalia) whose son got a job with the administration that poppa helped install and another (Thomas) whose wife did, too, needs to seriously examine their consciences more than they did…

Ginsberg is not intolerant of conservatives; she and Scalia were opera buddies. But she’s 83, sharp as a tack, and a survivor of pancreatic cancer, which generally gives you the same odds as stepping in front of a westbound freight. Her big bag of fcks was empty long ago. She’s seen what’s happened to the courts first-hand, and she is right to warn us that a Trump administration is just as likely to put the gardener at Mar-A-Lago on the bench as not. Liberals, of course, are supposed to make sure they use the right fork when they sit down to dinner with barbarians.


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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Yes, It’s That Important

When SCOTUS struck down Texas’ HB2 regulations yesterday, Richard Mayhew predicted “A lot more from lawyers later.” Here’s a couple of respected legal analysts. Linda Greenhouse, in the NYTimes, “The Facts Win Out on Abortion“:

… There is no poetry in the 40-page opinion, which strikes down a Texas law that would have closed most abortion clinics in the state in the name of protecting women’s health. The dry, almost clinical tone could scarcely be more different from the meditative mood the Supreme Court struck the last time it stood up for abortion rights, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 24 years ago this week. “Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt” was Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s mysterious opening line in that opinion…

Although nearly one-third of American women will have an abortion in their lifetime, a goal of abortion opponents has been to carve out abortion practice from ordinary health care, to ghettoize and delegitimize it. Those days are now over, too. Singling out abortion for regulation that can’t be justified on medical grounds is unacceptable, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphasized in a concurring opinion.

When I first read Justice Breyer’s opinion, my sense of relief struggled against a feeling that something nonetheless was missing: not necessarily the aspirational rhetoric of the Casey decision but some explicit acknowledgment of what it means to women’s equality and dignity not to be trapped in an unwanted pregnancy.

Then I realized that while the court in Casey called upon “the contending sides of a national controversy to end their national division by accepting a common mandate rooted in the Constitution,” it didn’t really work out. Maybe, after all, this is not a moment for poetry, but for facts. There’s not much in Justice Breyer’s opinion that’s quotable. But there’s not much that’s debatable either, and that’s what matters.

Linda Hirshman, in the Washington Post, “How Ruth Bader Ginsburg just won the next abortion fight”:

She has written into law the factual finding that abortion is safe.
… The strategy of purporting to help women, which has, until today, been stunningly successful, started with the attack on so-called “partial birth abortion” in 1995. It reached its high water mark with Justice Anthony Kennedy’s hotly contested 5-to-4 decision upholding the restrictions on such procedures in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007. Kennedy found medical disagreement about the safety advantages of the procedure. Importantly, he then deferred to the findings of the legislature that women would be safer and better off without partial birth abortion…

… When the news broke that RBG was concurring, the initial reaction was puzzlement. Why would Ginsburg need to write separately from a pro-choice opinion by her liberal colleague Breyer? Looking at her concurrence, however, the explanation is clear.
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Obligatory Texas Abortion Ruling Reaction

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You may now go about your day.








Open Thread: Good Work, Senator Warren!

Senator Elizabeth Warren went to the Senate floor on June 8, 2016 to call for unanimous consent votes for 15 federal district court nominees who have moved through the Judiciary Committee but have not been scheduled confirmation votes by the Republican majority. Senator Mitch McConnell objected to the unanimous consent request.

Listen to the whole thing. *This* is why we need to keep Elizabeth Warren in the Senate.

Orrin Hatch gets a cameo, looking like a man who’s just been given a choice between a colonoscopy without anesthesia and a total orchiectomy. And (yes!) in her closing statement, Sen. Warren goes there…