Brett Kavanaugh: The Standard For Confirmation Is Not the Standard For Conviction

In my gut, I don’t want to see Brett Kavanaugh confirmed—and not just because Donald Trump wants him on the Supreme Court—that was just the first strike. Listening to the compelling testimony against him was the final nail in the coffin. But my gut was not without its heartburn for feeling that way. I disliked myself for judging a matured man for the offenses of his youth. Even so, his declaration (“I am innocent of this charge”) sounded too much like the famous “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” line. Continue Reading

George Zimmerman Trial

George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin BOTH used bad judgment, but why is it that only Zimmerman’s judgment is scrutinized? The “girlfriend” testified that Martin was the one who initiated verbal contact. Recently someone tried to tell me that Martin was within his First Amendment rights to say whatever he wanted to. But by that same logic, Zimmerman was within his First Amendment rights to assemble where he wished. But it was Martin who created the confrontation between them. And Martin could have chosen to explain that he was visiting a resident and that would have diffused the situation. Let’s not forget about Trayvon Martin’s poor judgment.

Constitutional Amendment

Back in May 2016 in the wake of citizen killings by cops and the black lives matter movement, I had the idea to think up a new Constitutional amendment:

No executive agent of a State or of the United States acting under color of domestic law shall purposefully, capriciously, wantonly, negligently, or indifferently perpetrate or permit an abrogation of due process or substantial miscarriage of justice upon any person during a time and place of peace, natural calm, and civil order, and any executive agent who conscientiously refuses an order which would violate such protection shall be equally protected.

My idea was to reflect and protect civil rights. It could potentially open the door for 28 USC 2254 habeas relief on a freestanding actual innocence claim. And while conceived as miscarriage of criminal law, it remains open to allow federal courts to decide what other substantial miscarriages might exist such as employment, welfare, healthcare, or voting rights. It opens the door for international application as well on matters like extraordinary rendition.

The End of Net Neutrality Won’t Be An Apocalypse

Net neutrality is a good thing, but its demise won’t be the apocalyptic threshold that many “Chicken Littles” prognosticate. There are just too many money-grubbing attorneys chomping at the bit for a juicy class-action suit. Then too, there is also the US Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Protections Bureau on deck to intervene if the existing laws and court rulings are violated.

Around 100 years ago, the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910 legislatively declared telecommunication networks to be common carriers subject to Congress’ authority to regulate interstate commerce. In 1974, MCI sued AT&T in federal court for violating Mann-Elkins after Illinois Bell (at the time a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T) severed all of MCI’s network interconnections. MCI won a $1.8 billion judgement (which was upheld, though reduced, in 1983 by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals). But ever since the 1970s, telecommunication providers cannot (lawfully) deny network access to a party that is willing and able to pay for the service nor can telecommunication providers charge dissimilar access rates to competitors. In fact, MCI’s initial 1974 victory over AT&T was the very thing that led to the federal government’s antitrust action that resulted in AT&T’s unprecedented breakup.Continue Reading

Human Life is Sacred: What the death penalty, abortion, birth control, and 9/11 can teach us about the intersection of homicide and suicide

Intersection

For a couple of years now I have come to believe that the death penalty should not be enforced. By this, I am not saying that the death penalty should not exist or that the death penalty should be abolished. On the contrary, there are acts that are so heinous that justice demands a sentence of death! However, once pronounced, humanity must step in and commute death to life imprisonment…unless the offender consents.Continue Reading