Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stupidass Fuckheads Are Ruining the Legal System

Warning: incoherent, rushed post ahead.  I warned you.

I see in the Huffington Post [as I heard yesterday] that Pew poll reports that Americans have the lowest regard for the U.S. Supreme Court on record.

I'm not surprised; even if the court were doing the most banging job that it could, the political class [campaigns and those making a living discussing campaigns] and  the press are fucking with the public's understanding of the law, and should be ashamed.  Legal reporting is as inaccurate and misleading (intentional? probably not) as any I know.

for instance,
A reporter for the Huffington Post writes an indefensible piece that so grossly distorts the particulars of a case, and the nature of an adversarial common-law system, that it makes me want to pull my head out.  The only worse offender than Ms. Bassett, the author, is the headline writer.

The point of the article is: the Texas attorney general compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization.

What the Texas AG did: cited a case for the proposition that money is fungible, so if you give money to a multi-purpose recipient, your money boost the money available to the recipient to do its multiple purposes.  You can't effectively denominate money as for a particular purpose: if "used" on what you like, your added contribution frees up money for the organization to use on all other purposes.

The case cited was the most recent pronouncement on the topic by a controlling court.

That's how the law works.  You cite cases for legal propositions.  The judges have decided the prior case to hold that particular point of law controls the case.  You are citing the case for the proposition, and the attributes of the case [sometimes the party, sometimes where it occurred, sometimes all but one salient fact] are irrelevant if the proposition decided (the "holding") doesn't rest on that fact.

So the Texas AG, who may be the biggest fuckwad in history, nevertheless doesn't compare PP to a terrorist organizatin by citing the case. If the controlling case were about political parties (I gave to the Democratic National Committee to support Joe Smith; court aid "you had a purpose of supporting Joe Smith, but your money supports the Democratic Nat'l Committee in all its endeavours), the Texas AG wouldn't be comparing PP to a political party or its national committee.

If I need a case to prove that only one witness to a lease is necessary so that my children's choir can enforce the lease, and I cite Giant Steel Co. v. Rental Building for the proposition that only one witness is necessary to enforce a lease,
I didn't compare my fucking children's choir to a fucking steel company.

And yeah, maybe I got a little jolt out of thinking that my choir was as powerful as a steel company, but that's not what happened, legallike-wise.

So after reading the article, if the case gets decided for AG, the public thinks the judges were swayed by the stupid argument that PP is like a terrorist organization.  Which is ridiculous; Jerry Smith notwithstanding.  The comments following some of these articles reveals just how little the readers care to really consider things, and how quickly they want to fire up about the outrageous headline.

Same thing for lots of Supreme Court arguments.  I won't try to characterize what I think is at work in the Supreme Court justices' decision-making.  But I know that the spin of the PR folks for each side grossly misrepresent what occurred at argument, and what is argued in the briefs, because the PR fuckers aren't conveying information, they're manipulating opinion.

And after they get manipulated, folks tend to buy the idea that the court is doing . . whatever the PR guys say it's doing.

And when Dana Milbank for the Washington Post writes that a justice was hostile and unfair and revealed whether the justice liked a law because at oral argument he stated that he thought an argument was preposterous.  Maybe.  But judges poke holes ALL THE TIME in shit that lawyers argue.  Even when the judges think that the party arguing is "the good guys."  And judges aren't necessarily listening to arguments with "open minds"; they've already read five hundred pages of briefs, and twenty cases, and they go into the argument knowing what they think, and seeing if anything sways them.  Particularly if an advocate who wrote a bogus position can maybe explain himself better.

We don't have an inquiry by our courts, going on fact-finding and looking to reach the best outcome.  We have an adversarial process where the parties with something at stake amass all of the supporting facts and arguments, and the adversarial process supposedly arrives at the right answer.

Another incoherent muleboy post winds into nothing.  I am so mad I could just drink a sodie and beat off.


Mister Parker said...

I am so mad I could just drink a sodie and beat off.

Well, let's face it, you were going to do that anyway. But otherwise, I did not find your post incoherent at all -- that's exactly the way the appellate process works, and exactly what's wrong with the way the media reports about it, and what's really wrong with the way PR people (read: fundraisers of all political persuasions) manipulate the reporting to fit the preconceived prejudices of their target audience (read: potential donors) so that they can gin up enough emotion to part people from their money.

I'll stop there -- I could on and on.

Lupner said...

The unconscionable manipulation of all kinds of info. by the SFs of the world is truly heinous. It makes one want to run screaming from the building into a blizzard without boots. Which might actually feel pretty good on a scorcher like today, but I digress. It's wrong and it hurts us all. Bastards.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this!
May I ask for another post, this one on a court in MD banning the collection of dna from prisoner (convicted? accused?). I should know better than to try to understand the debate from the trolls in WaPo comments. Still, it struck me as a reasonable ban; struck me that dna is not parallel to a finger print. Let me know what you think.
Your pal in baseball,
Carol Brobeck