Posts Tagged ‘Law’

D.C. Voting Rights Act is Clearly Unconstitutional

March 4, 2009

Last Thursday, the Senate passed the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act of 2009, which gives the District of Columbia a voting member in the House of Representatives and eliminates the position of D.C. Delegate, who represents the District now.  Currently, that delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, can only vote when her vote does not affect the outcome; however, she is allowed to introduce bills, and this bill was introduced by Norton.  The bill would also give an additional seat to Utah, so that the partisan makeup of the House stayed the same.

S. 160 (formal title: “A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives”) was introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT).  The bill passed the Senate in by a vote of 61-37, falling mostly along party lines; however, five Republicans voted for it (Susan Collins [R-ME], Orrin Hatch [R-UT], Dick Lugar [R-IN], Olympia Snowe [R-ME], and Arlen Specter [R-PA]), and two Democrats voted against it (Max Baucus [D-MT] and Robert Byrd [D-WV]).

The bill that passed the Senate had been amended by Senator John Ensign (R-NV).  His amendment (S.AMDT. 575) restored several gun rights to the District by repealing the ban on semiautomatic weapons, the registration requirement, the ban on handgun ammunition, and several other laws.  That amendment passed 62-36.

Personally, I am ashamed of the Senate for passing this bill (although I’m glad that gun rights have been restored to the District).  Apparently 61 of our Senators need to go back to eighth grade civics class!

This act is clearly unconstitutional!  Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution says, “The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States.”  Washington, D.C. is not a state-it’s just that simple.

Furthermore, Norton never should have been allowed to introduce this bill.  She is unconstitutionally in the House of Representatives.  Section 2 of Article I also says, “No Person shall be a Representative who shall not … be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”  Norton is not an inhabitant of a STATE, and thus should not be able to introduce legislation in the House!

I am all for the representation of D.C. in Congress; however, this bill is not the way to do that.  If D.C. really was Constitutionally allowed to have a representative, they wouldn’t need a law to get their representation – all they’d need to do is file a court case.  Furthermore, if they deserve representation, why don’t they deserved 2 Senators as well?

If the House passes this bill and President Obama signs it, this bill would probably be the most blatantly unconstitutional law ever written.  At least when President Bush violated the Constitution, he did so in ways that were debatable as to whether or not he actually violated the Constitution, but this bill takes Article I, Section 1 and says, “That’s not an important part of the Constitution.”  Find me any time that President Bush DIRECTLY violated the Constitution – he  didn’t.  The violations of the 4th Amendment were debatable.  I personally think that he violated the 4th Amendment, but there are ways that you could argue that he did not; however, with this bill, nobody with an ounce of sanity can argue that this is Constitutional!

Does anybody else find it ironic that the same Senators who complained about President Bush’s debatably unconstitutional laws just voted in favor of a law that directly and clearly goes against the very wording of the Constitution?  Come on!

Proponents of the bill claim that the “District Clause” (Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution) allows for the Congress to give D.C. a Representative.  The text of that clause reads, “[The Congress shall have Power] To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District … as may … become the Seat of the Government of the United States.”

“Exclusive Legislation” only gives Congress the right to govern the District, not magically ignore Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution when it comes to the District.

This bill is blatantly unconstitutional, and those who voted for it and criticized the Bush administration ought to be ashamed of themselves.  Fortunately the Supreme Court still respects the Constitution, and I am willing to bet that they will declare this unconstitutional in a heartbeat – in fact, I really don’t see any of the 9 Justices siding with the Senate.  If they do, they are shaming the Constitution and the office of Justice of the Supreme Court!

Even my liberal roommate agrees – this bill is CLEARLY unconstitutional!

Done Ranting,

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Kansas Can Now Afford to Pay Tax Refunds and State Employees

February 18, 2009

Yesterday I was watching America’s Newsroom, and Megyn Kelly did a story about the budget crisis in Kansas. According to the Governor, Kathleen Sebelius (D), the state was not going to be able to pay tax refunds or state employees on time.  Sebelius wants to borrow money from other state accounts within Kansas; however, Republican legislators want budget cuts because they feel Sebelius’s solution is irresponsible.  Republican leaders in the state House and Senate (both where they’re in the majority) argued that the internal borrowing wasn’t legal until the Kansas had a balanced budget for the fiscal year (the fiscal year ends June 30).

Watch the video, and I’ll discuss it below (video courtesy of FOX News):

Since that video, the Governor signed a budget-balancing bill, and the Republicans have said that the internal borrowing is now legal.

House Speaker Mike O’Neal told reporters, “I’m extremely pleased that she signed it, because that’s what needed to happen.”  Senate President Steve Morris also told reporters, “This action gives us reassurances that we will have the resources to repay this.”

Meanwhile, Sebelius said, “I’m just sorry that we had to have high drama and worry a lot of Kansans about our ability to pay our obligations in order to get to the end of the process.”

Personally, I agree with Megyn Kelly.  And while she may have been a little mean to Treasurer Dennis McKinney, she has a point – it’s bad management if you need to do borrowing within your state.  The state should be able to balance their budget and pay taxes back to people and pay their employees.  Unfortunately, I can’t find the discussion that went on on FOX News yesterday, but they brought up a point to citizens: Don’t give the government so much money when you fill out information for withholding.  You have the option to withhold more, and if you’re doing that now, just don’t.  I’m not saying lie and withhold less than you should.  I’m saying, only have them withhold the minimum that you legally have to.  That way, when states like Kansas can’t pay you back on time, you’re not getting screwed.  If you don’t pay the government their taxes, you get penalized.  When they don’t pay you back, what happens to them?  NOTHING!  It’s unfair!  So, just don’t give them extra money!

I’ll try to find that discussion video and post that and discuss it in a later blog post, but right now, FOX News’s search for videos isn’t working right.

Done Ranting,

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Wisconsin Court: Cheerleading Is a Contact Sport; Participants Can’t Be Sued for Accidents

January 28, 2009

Yesterday the Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously ruled in a lawsuit brought by Brittany Noffke, a varsity basketball cheerleader at Holmen High School in western Wisconsin. While practicing a stunt for the first time before a basketball game in 2004, she fell backwards off the shoulders of another cheerleader and suffered a head injury.  She then filed a lawsuit against the 16-year-old male cheerleader who was supposed to be her spotter but failed to catch her, as well as the school district and its insurer.  Noffke claimed that the coach was negligent for failing to supervise the stunt and not making sure that mats were being used.  (The court ruling can be found here.)

Justice Annette Ziegler rejected Noffke’s argument that contact sports were limited to aggressive sports.  In her opinion, she wrote that lawmakers meant to limit liability for “any recreational activity that includes physical contact between persons in a sport involving amateur teams.”  Zeigler said that cheerleading involves “a significant amount of physical contact between the cheerleaders that at times results in a forceful interaction between the participants.”

This decision means that cheerleaders can only be sued for acting recklessly in causing injuries, and that Noffke’s teammate’s actions were only a mistake.

Ziegler also said that the district cannot be sued for the coach’s behavior under Wisconsin law that shields government agencies from lawsuits for the actions of employees.  The coach had no duty to make sure a spotter was in place or to provide mats and the stunt was not a “known and compelling danger,” the court said.

I have to say, when I saw the headline on the bottom of the TV: “Court rules cheerleading is contact sport,” I thought, “Come on, what’s this about!”  But as I read over the case and thought about it, the  court is right.  Nowhere in the law does it state that the contact has to be between members of different teams.  It’s a law meant to protect students from accidents (not negligence), and that’s what happened here.

If you fail to catch somebody, that’s not on purpose (normally).  It is possible to let somebody fall when you’re there to catch them, and that should be protected under the law.  Cheerleading isn’t a simple and easy sport, so I think the dangers do need to be carefully looked at, and if you take the risk of participating, you have to live with the fact that you might get injured.

Done Ranting,

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Obama Should Keep Guantanamo Open but Change the Detention Procedures

January 26, 2009

Recently, Barack Obama issued an executive order that would close the detention facility at the  Guantanamo Bay Naval Base as well as review the detention status of all of the detainees.

Here’s that executive order, courtesy of the White House (note, if you want to skip all of the executive orders and just to my analysis, scroll toward the bottom :

EXECUTIVE ORDER — REVIEW AND DISPOSITION OF INDIVIDUALS DETAINED AT THE GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL BASE AND CLOSURE OF DETENTION FACILITIES        

   By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base (Guantánamo) and promptly to close detention facilities at Guantánamo, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:

        Section 1Definitions. As used in this order:

        (a)  “Common Article 3″ means Article 3 of each of the Geneva Conventions.

        (b)  “Geneva Conventions” means:

   (i)    the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3114);

   (ii)   the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);

   (iii)  the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316); and

   (iv)   the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516).

        (c) “Individuals currently detained at Guantánamo” and “individuals covered by this order” mean individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense in facilities at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base whom the Department of Defense has ever determined to be, or treated as, enemy combatants.

        Sec. 2Findings.

        (a)  Over the past 7 years, approximately 800 individuals whom the Department of Defense has ever determined to be, or treated as, enemy combatants have been detained at Guantánamo. The Federal Government has moved more than 500 such detainees from Guantánamo, either by returning them to their home country or by releasing or transferring them to a third country. The Department of Defense has determined that a number of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo are eligible for such transfer or release.

      (b) Some individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have been there for more than 6 years, and most have been detained for at least 4 years. In view of the significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo and closure of the facilities in which they are detained would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice. Merely closing the facilities without promptly determining the appropriate disposition of the individuals detained would not adequately serve those interests. To the extent practicable, the prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals detained at Guantánamo should precede the closure of the detention facilities at Guantánamo.

        (c) The individuals currently detained at Guantánamo have the constitutional privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Most of those individuals have filed petitions for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal court challenging the lawfulness of their detention.

        (d)  It is in the interests of the United States that the executive branch undertake a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal bases for the continued detention of all individuals currently held at Guantánamo, and of whether their continued detention is in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and in the interests of justice. The unusual circumstances associated with detentions at Guantánamo require a comprehensive interagency review.

        (e)  New diplomatic efforts may result in an appropriate disposition of a substantial number of individuals currently detained at Guantánamo.

        (f)  Some individuals currently detained at Guantánamo may have committed offenses for which they should be prosecuted. It is in the interests of the United States to review whether and how any such individuals can and should be prosecuted.

        (g)  It is in the interests of the United States that the executive branch conduct a prompt and thorough review of the circumstances of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo who have been charged with offenses before military commissions pursuant to the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109-366, as well as of the military commission process more generally.

        Sec. 3Closure of Detention Facilities at Guantánamo. The detention facilities at Guantánamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than 1 year from the date of this order. If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

        Sec. 4Immediate Review of All Guantánamo Detentions.

        (a) Scope and Timing of Review. A review of the status of each individual currently detained at Guantánamo (Review) shall commence immediately.

      (b) Review Participants. The Review shall be conducted with the full cooperation and participation of the following officials:

   (1)  the Attorney General, who shall coordinate the Review;

   (2)  the Secretary of Defense;

   (3)  the Secretary of State;

   (4)  the Secretary of Homeland Security;

   (5)  the Director of National Intelligence;

   (6)  the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

   (7)  other officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States, including employees with intelligence, counterterrorism, military, and legal expertise, as determined by the Attorney General, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

        (c)  Operation of Review. The duties of the Review participants shall include the following:

   (1)  Consolidation of Detainee Information. The Attorney General shall, to the extent reasonably practicable, and in coordination with the other Review participants, assemble all information in the possession of the Federal Government that pertains to any individual currently detained at Guantánamo and that is relevant to determining the proper disposition of any such individual. All executive branch departments and agencies shall promptly comply with any request of the Attorney General to provide information in their possession or control pertaining to any such individual. The Attorney General may seek further information relevant to the Review from any source.

   (2)  Determination of Transfer. The Review shall determine, on a rolling basis and as promptly as possible with respect to the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo, whether it is possible to transfer or release the individuals consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and, if so, whether and how the Secretary of Defense may effect their transfer or release. The Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and, as appropriate, other Review participants shall work to effect promptly the release or transfer of all individuals for whom release or transfer is possible.

   (3)  Determination of Prosecution. In accordance with United States law, the cases of individuals detained at Guantánamo not approved for release or transfer shall be evaluated to determine whether the Federal Government should seek to prosecute the detained individuals for any offenses they may have committed, including whether it is feasible to prosecute such individuals before a court established pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution, and the Review participants shall in turn take the necessary and appropriate steps based on such determinations.

   (4)  Determination of Other Disposition. With respect to any individuals currently detained at Guantánamo whose disposition is not achieved under paragraphs (2) or (3) of this subsection, the Review shall select lawful means, consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, for the disposition of such individuals. The appropriate authorities shall promptly implement such dispositions.

   (5)  Consideration of Issues Relating to Transfer to the United States. The Review shall identify and consider legal, logistical, and security issues relating to the potential transfer of individuals currently detained at Guantánamo to facilities within the United States, and the Review participants shall work with the Congress on any legislation that may be appropriate.

        Sec. 5Diplomatic Efforts. The Secretary of State shall expeditiously pursue and direct such negotiations and diplomatic efforts with foreign governments as are necessary and appropriate to implement this order.

        Sec. 6Humane Standards of Confinement. No individual currently detained at Guantánamo shall be held in the custody or under the effective control of any officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or at a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, except in conformity with all applicable laws governing the conditions of such confinement, including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. The Secretary of Defense shall immediately undertake a review of the conditions of detention at Guantánamo to ensure full compliance with this directive. Such review shall be completed within 30 days and any necessary corrections shall be implemented immediately thereafter.

        Sec. 7Military Commissions.  The Secretary of Defense shall immediately take steps sufficient to ensure that during the pendency of the Review described in section 4 of this order, no charges are sworn, or referred to a military commission under the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and the Rules for Military Commissions, and that all proceedings of such military commissions to which charges have been referred but in which no judgment has been rendered, and all proceedings pending in the United States Court of Military Commission Review, are halted.

        Sec. 8General Provisions.

        (a) Nothing in this order shall prejudice the authority of the Secretary of Defense to determine the disposition of any detainees not covered by this order.

        (b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

        (c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

     BARACK OBAMA

     THE WHITE HOUSE,

     January 22, 2009. 

Alright, so there’s the executive order to close the detention center within a year.  Personally, other than Section 3, I really don’t have a problem with this executive order.  I just don’t see the need to close the detention center itself.  The detention center isn’t the problem.  The problem (and I’m not agreeing or disagreeing with people’s stance on the problem) has to do with whether or not we can hold them while denying  them the writ of habeas corpus.  That has NOTHING to do with WHERE the detention center is.  We could hold them here in the U.S. and we could still deny them habeas corpus.  Or we could keep them in Guantanamo and let them live like it’s a Hilton hotel.  My point is – Guantanamo, the detention center, really has nothing to do with the problem, other than it’s become an image of a violation of human rights.

President Obama also issued the following executive order, to figure out what we’re going to do with those accused of committing acts of terrorism:

EXECUTIVE ORDER — REVIEW OF DETENTION POLICY OPTIONS

   By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to develop policies for the detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations that are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice, I hereby order as follows:

   Section 1Special Interagency Task Force on Detainee Disposition.

   (a) Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force. There shall be established a Special Task Force on Detainee Disposition (Special Task Force) to identify lawful options for the disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.

   (b) Membership. The Special Task Force shall consist of the following members, or their designees:

   (i)     the Attorney General, who shall serve as Co-Chair;

   (ii)    the Secretary of Defense, who shall serve as Co-Chair;

   (iii)   the Secretary of State;

   (iv)    the Secretary of Homeland Security;

   (v)     the Director of National Intelligence;

   (vi)    the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

   (vii)   the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

   (viii)      other officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States, as determined by either of the Co-Chairs, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

   (c) Staff. Either Co-Chair may designate officers and employees within their respective departments to serve as staff to support the Special Task Force. At the request of the Co-Chairs, officers and employees from other departments or agencies may serve on the Special Task Force with the concurrence of the heads of the departments or agencies that employ such individuals. Such staff must be officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States. The Co-Chairs shall jointly select an officer or employee of the Department of Justice or Department of Defense to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Special Task Force.

   (d) Operation. The Co-Chairs shall convene meetings of the Special Task Force, determine its agenda, and direct its work. The Co-Chairs may establish and direct subgroups of the Special Task Force, consisting exclusively of members of the Special Task Force, to deal with particular subjects.

   (e) Mission. The mission of the Special Task Force shall be to conduct a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

   (f) Administration. The Special Task Force shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice, and the Department of Justice shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Special Task Force.

   (g) Report. The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order unless the Co-Chairs determine that an extension is necessary, and shall provide periodic preliminary reports during those 180 days.

   (h) Termination. The Co-Chairs shall terminate the Special Task Force upon the completion of its duties.

   Sec. 2General Provisions.

   (a) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

   (b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

     BARACK OBAMA

       THE WHITE HOUSE,

     January 22, 2009.

Alright, that’s a GREAT executive order there, because if he’s going to go through with closing the Guantanamo detention center, we need to have a place to put the alleged terrorists.

And lastly, we have an executive order dealing with interrogation processes:

EXECUTIVE ORDER — ENSURING LAWFUL INTERROGATIONS

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to improve the effectiveness of human intelligence gathering, to promote the safe, lawful, and humane treatment of individuals in United States custody and of United States personnel who are detained in armed conflicts, to ensure compliance with the treaty obligations of the United States, including the Geneva Conventions, and to take care that the laws of the United States are faithfully executed, I hereby order as follows:

Section 1.  Revocation.  Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked.  All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order.  Heads of departments and agencies shall take all necessary steps to ensure that all directives, orders, and regulations of their respective departments or agencies are consistent with this order.  Upon request, the Attorney General shall provide guidance about which directives, orders, and regulations are inconsistent with this order.
Sec. 2.  Definitions.  As used in this order:

(a)  “Army Field Manual 2 22.3″ means FM 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, issued by the Department of the Army on September 6, 2006.

(b)  “Army Field Manual 34-52″ means FM 34-52, Intelligence Interrogation, issued by the Department of the Army on May 8, 1987.

(c)  “Common Article 3″ means Article 3 of each of the Geneva Conventions.

(d)  “Convention Against Torture” means the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, December 10, 1984, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85, S. Treaty Doc. No. 100 20 (1988).

(e)  “Geneva Conventions” means:

 (i)    the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3114);

 (ii)   the Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked Members of Armed Forces at Sea, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3217);

 (iii)  the Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3316); and

 (iv)   the Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949 (6 UST 3516).

(f)  “Treated humanely,” “violence to life and person,” “murder of all kinds,” “mutilation,” “cruel treatment,” “torture,” “outrages upon personal dignity,” and “humiliating and degrading treatment” refer to, and have the same meaning as, those same terms in Common Article 3.

(g)  The terms “detention facilities” and “detention facility” in section 4(a) of this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.

Sec. 3.  Standards and Practices for Interrogation of Individuals in the Custody or Control of the United States in Armed Conflicts.

(a)  Common Article 3 Standards as a Minimum Baseline.  Consistent with the requirements of the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A, section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, and other laws regulating the treatment and interrogation of individuals detained in any armed conflict, such persons shall in all circumstances be treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment, and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment), whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States.

(b)  Interrogation Techniques and Interrogation-Related Treatment.  Effective immediately, an individual in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government, or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States, in any armed conflict, shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or any treatment related to interrogation, that is not authorized by and listed in Army Field Manual 2 22.3 (Manual).  Interrogation techniques, approaches, and treatments described in the Manual shall be implemented strictly in accord with the principles, processes, conditions, and limitations the Manual prescribes.  Where processes required by the Manual, such as a requirement of approval by specified Department of Defense officials, are inapposite to a department or an agency other than the Department of Defense, such a department or agency shall use processes that are substantially equivalent to the processes the Manual prescribes for the Department of Defense.  Nothing in this section shall preclude the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or other Federal law enforcement agencies, from continuing to use authorized, non-coercive techniques of interrogation that are designed to elicit voluntary statements and do not involve the use of force, threats, or promises.

(c)  Interpretations of Common Article 3 and the Army Field Manual.  From this day forward, unless the Attorney General with appropriate consultation provides further guidance, officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government may, in conducting interrogations, act in reliance upon Army Field Manual 2 22.3, but may not, in conducting interrogations, rely upon any interpretation of the law governing interrogation — including interpretations of Federal criminal laws, the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3, Army Field Manual 2 22.3, and its predecessor document, Army Field Manual 34 52    issued by the Department of Justice between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009.
Sec. 4.  Prohibition of Certain Detention Facilities, and Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.

(a)  CIA Detention.  The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.

(b)  International Committee of the Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.  All departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall provide the International Committee of the Red Cross with notification of, and timely access to, any individual detained in any armed conflict in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States Government, consistent with Department of Defense regulations and policies.
Sec. 5.  Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies.

(a)  Establishment of Special Interagency Task Force.  There shall be established a Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies (Special Task Force) to review interrogation and transfer policies.

(b)  Membership.  The Special Task Force shall consist of the following members, or their designees:

 (i)     the Attorney General, who shall serve as Chair;

 (ii)    the Director of National Intelligence, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

 (iii)   the Secretary of Defense, who shall serve as Co-Vice-Chair;

 (iv)    the Secretary of State;

 (v)     the Secretary of Homeland Security;

 (vi)    the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency;

 (vii)   the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and

 (viii)  other officers or full-time or permanent part time employees of the United States, as determined by the Chair, with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency concerned.

(c)  Staff.  The Chair may designate officers and employees within the Department of Justice to serve as staff to support the Special Task Force.  At the request of the Chair, officers and employees from other departments or agencies may serve on the Special Task Force with the concurrence of the head of the department or agency that employ such individuals.  Such staff must be officers or full-time or permanent part-time employees of the United States.  The Chair shall designate an officer or employee of the Department of Justice to serve as the Executive Secretary of the Special Task Force.

(d)  Operation.  The Chair shall convene meetings of the Special Task Force, determine its agenda, and direct its work.  The Chair may establish and direct subgroups of the Special Task Force, consisting exclusively of members of the Special Task Force, to deal with particular subjects.

(e)  Mission.  The mission of the Special Task Force shall be:

 (i)   to study and evaluate whether the interrogation practices and techniques in Army Field Manual 2 22.3, when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies; and

 (ii)  to study and evaluate the practices of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States and do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody or control.

(f)  Administration.  The Special Task Force shall be established for administrative purposes within the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice shall, to
the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative support and funding for the Special Task Force.

(g)  Recommendations.  The Special Task Force shall provide a report to the President, through the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Counsel to the President, on the matters set forth in subsection (d) within 180 days of the date of this order, unless the Chair determines that an extension is necessary.

(h)  Termination.  The Chair shall terminate the Special Task Force upon the completion of its duties.
Sec. 6.  Construction with Other Laws.  Nothing in this order shall be construed to affect the obligations of officers, employees, and other agents of the United States Government to comply with all pertinent laws and treaties of the United States governing detention and interrogation, including but not limited to:  the Fifth and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Federal torture statute, 18 U.S.C. 2340 2340A; the War Crimes Act, 18 U.S.C. 2441; the Federal assault statute, 18 U.S.C. 113; the Federal maiming statute, 18 U.S.C. 114; the Federal “stalking” statute, 18 U.S.C. 2261A; articles 93, 124, 128, and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. 893, 924, 928, and 934; section 1003 of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, 42 U.S.C. 2000dd; section 6(c) of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, Public Law 109 366; the Geneva Conventions; and the Convention Against Torture.  Nothing in this order shall be construed to diminish any rights that any individual may have under these or other laws and treaties.  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity against the United States, its departments, agencies, or other entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 22, 2009

 Honestly, that’s REALLY the most important executive order that he needed to issue in order to remedy the human rights / Constitutional violations.

I really don’t think that Guantanamo detention center needs to be closed.  If Obama wants to simply use better interrogation methods and restore the writ of habeas corpus, closing Guantanamo, in and of itself doesn’t do that.  All he really has to do is change the process of how we handle accused terrorists.

Instead, he has chosen to close Gitmo, and that creates a problem: What do we do with the alleged terrorists?

We can’t put them in normal prisons with other prisoners.  Sex offenders and child molesters already have problems in prison.  Can you imagine what prisoners would do if they were around an accused terrorist?  The terrorist wouldn’t last more than maybe a week.

So, that means that we have to build a new prison.  Well, where are we going to do that?  Nobody will want the prison in “their backyard.”  What if a prisoner escapes?  That means that a terrorist is running around.  People aren’t going to want to risk that in their neighborhood.  Obama is going to find it very difficult to find somewhere that will/can take these prisoners.

Personally, as long as the prison was secure (and I mean REALLY secure), I wouldn’t mind having it in Michigan.  We’d definitely have to build a new prison, since we don’t have enough room in our prisons as it is.

Still, I think the best way to deal with the terrorist detainees is to keep them in Guantanamo Bay.  If Obama wants to ensure that they have more rights/privileges/whatever you want to call it, he can instruct his Attorney General to give them to the detainees, but closing Gitmo only creates more problems.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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ACLU Director: Bush Was “Very worst President for civil liberties”

January 13, 2009

A couple days ago on the Colbert Report, Steven Colbert interviewed American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Director Anthony Romero.  In the interview, Romero said that Bush was the “very worst President for civil liberties,” and later that he was “the worst President in 8 long years.”  Perhaps he meant “for 8 long years,” since he was the only President in the past 8 years, so Romero’s statement really didn’t make sense.  (Sorry this is up a few days late – I lost me entire draft that I wrote the 1st time, and that took a few hours to do.)  Anyway, watch the video, and I’ll discuss his statements below.


So, what do I think about Romero’s statements?  I think his high school American history teacher would be ashamed of him.

Now, I’m not arguing that President Bush has been a champion of civil liberties.  I think he overstepped his powers, and I think the Republican Party (and some of the Democratic Party) stood by and let him.  And now, the Republican Party is paying for it, and this country will be paying for it for years to come.  Still, I don’t think that Bush did it just for fun.  He had legitimate reasons, but I think he went too far at times.  Anyway, let’s look at 4 Presidents who I think did much worse for civil liberties than Bush has:

John Adams

Why John Adams?  The Alien and Sedition Acts, that’s why:

First, we have the Alien Friends Act (officially titled “An Act Concerning Aliens”) (we’re going to leave the Naturalization Act out of this discussion since it isn’t relevant, but technically was the first one to be passed).  Let’s take a look at the first 2 sections of the bill:

An Act concerning Aliens.

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States at any time during the continnuance of this act, to order all such aliens as he shall judge dangerous to the peace and safety of the United States, or shall have reasonable grounds to suspect are concerned in any treasonable or secret machinations against the government thereof, to depart out of the territory of the United States, within such time as shall be expressed in such order, which order shall be served on such alien by delivering him a copy thereof, or leaving the same at his usual abode, and returned to the office of the Secretary of State, by the marshal or other person to whom the same shall be directed.  And in case any alien, so ordered to depart, shall be found at large within the United States after the time limited in such order for his departure, and not having obtained a license from the President to reside therein, or having obtained such license shall not have conformed thereto, every such alien shall, on conviction thereof, be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years, and shall never after be admitted to become a citizen of the United States.  Provided always, and be it further enacted, that if any alien so ordered to depart shall prove to the satisfaction of the President, by evidence to be taken before such person or persons as the President shall direct, who are for that purpose hereby authorized to administer oaths, that no injury or danger to the United States will arise from suffering such alien to reside therein, the President may grant a license to such alien to remain within the United States for such time as he shall judge proper, and at such place as he may designate.  And the president may also require of such alien to enter into a bond to the United States, in such penal sum as he may direct, with one or more sufficient sureties to the satisfaction of the person authorized by the President to take the same, conditioned for the good behavior of such alien during his residence in the United States, and not violating his license, which license the President may revoke, whenever he shall think proper.

SEC 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the President of the United States, whenever he may deem it necessary for the public safety, to order to be removed out of the territory thereof, any alien who may or shall be in prison in pursuance of this act; and to cause to be arrested and sent out of the United States such of those aliens as shall have been ordered to depart therefrom and shall not have obtained a license as aforesaid, in all cases where, in the opinion of the President, the public safety requires a speedy removal.  And if any alien so removed or sent out of the United States by the President shall voluntarily return thereto, unless by permission of the President of the United States, such alien on conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned so long as, in the opinion of the President, the public safety may require.

APPROVED, June 25, 1798.

Alright, now we have the Alien Enemies Act (officially titled “An Act Respecting Alien Enemies”):

An Act Respecting Alien Enemies

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That whenever there shall be a declared war between the United States and any foreign nation or government, or any invasion or predatory incursion shall be perpetrated, attempted, or threatened against the territory of the United States, by any foreign nation or government, and the President of the United States shall make public proclamation of the event, all natives, citizens, denizens, or subjects of the hostile nation or government, being males of the age of fourteen years and upwards, who shall be within the United States, and not actually naturalized, shall be liable to be apprehended, restrained, secured and removed, as alien enemies. And the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized, in any event, as aforesaid, by his proclamation thereof, or other public act, to direct the conduct to be observed, on the part of the United States, towards the aliens who shall become liable, as aforesaid; the manner and degree of the restraint to which they shall be subject, and in what cases, and upon what security their residence shall be permitted, and to provide for the removal of those, who, not being permitted to reside within the United States, shall refuse or neglect to depart therefrom; and to establish any other regulations which shall be found necessary in the premises and for the public safety: Provided, that aliens resident within the United States, who shall become liable as enemies, in the manner aforesaid, and who shall not be chargeable with actual hostility, or other crime against the public safety, shall be allowed, for the recovery, disposal, and removal of their goods and effects, and for their departure, the full time which is, or shall be stipulated by any treaty, where any shall have been between the United States, and the hostile nation or government, of which they shall be natives, citizens, denizens or subjects: and where no such treaty shall have existed, the President of the United States may ascertain and declare such reasonable time as may be consistent with the public safety, and according to the dictates of humanity and national hospitality.

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That after any proclamation shall be made as aforesaid, it shall be the duty of the several courts of the United States, and of each state, having criminal jurisdiction, and of the several judges and justices of the courts of the United States, and they shall be, and are hereby respectively, authorized upon complaint, against any alien or alien enemies, as aforesaid, who shall be resident and at large within such jurisdiction or district, to the danger of the public peace or safety, and contrary to the tenor or intent of such proclamation, or other regulations which the President of the United States shall and may establish in the premises, to cause such alien or aliens to be duly apprehended and convened before such court, judge or justice; and after a full examination and hearing on such complaint. and sufficient cause therefor appearing, shall and may order such alien or aliens to be removed out of the territory of the United States, or to give sureties of their good behaviour, or to be otherwise restrained, conformably to the proclamation or regulations which shall and may be established as aforesaid, and may imprison, or otherwise secure such alien or aliens, until the order which shall and may be made, as aforesaid, shall be performed.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the marshal of the district in which any alien enemy shall be apprehended, who by the President of the United States, or by order of any court, judge or justice, as aforesaid, shall be required to depart, and to be removed, as aforesaid, to provide therefor, and to execute such order, by himself or his deputy, or other discreet person or persons to be employed by him, by causing a removal of such alien out of the territory of the United States; and for such removal the marshal shall have the warrant of the President of the United States, or of the court, judge or justice ordering the same, as the case may be.

APPROVED, July 6, 1798.

And lastly we have the Sedition Act (officially entitled “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States”):

An Act in addition to the act, entitled “An act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States.”

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty, and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and on conviction, before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars, and by imprisonment during a term not less than six months nor exceeding five years; and further, at the discretion of the court may be ho]den to find sureties for his good behaviour in such sum, and for such time, as the said court may direct.

SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

SEC. 3. And be it further enacted and declared, That if any person shall be prosecuted under this act, for the writing or publishing any libel aforesaid, it shall be lawful for the defendant, upon the trial of the cause, to give in evidence in his defence, the truth of the matter contained in Republication charged as a libel. And the jury who shall try the cause, shall have a right to determine the law and the fact, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.

SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That this act shall continue and be in force until the third day of March, one thousand eight hundred and one, and no longer: Provided, that the expiration of the act shall not prevent or defeat a prosecution and punishment of any offence against the law, during the time it shall be in force.

APPROVED, July 14, 1798.

Alright, CLEARLY the things that Bush has done against civil rights (as outlined in the interview above – things like Guantanamo, wiretapping, etc…) weren’t as bad as what Adams did.  If Bush were to follow what Adams had done, we’d be deporting Iraqis and Afghans left and right.  We’d probably be deporting the French and Germans who are speaking out against the war too.  And I’m guessing that CBS and Dan Rather would be in jail for around 2 years and would be paying around $2,000 for that false report that CBS did a few years ago.

Now, on to our next civil rights violating President:

Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln had 18,000 rebel leaders arrested and held in military prisons without trials.  Let’s look at the specific case of Maryland cavalry Lieutenant John Merryman (he assisted in kicking Union troops out of the area after a riot broke out as the Union forces were changing trains at  a station) in the case Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861):

Lincoln wrote a letter to General Winfield Scott on April 27, 1861, allowing Scott to suspend the writ of habeas corpus within the vicinity of the “military line”.  Originally, this was kept a secret, but by May of 1861, several members of the Maryland legislature had been arrested without grounds or stated charges.

Merryman said that this was illegal and took his case to the U.S. Circuit Court, and the judge at the time was Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney.  Taney sided against Lincoln, but Lincoln decided that he would just ignore the ruling.  It is then rumored that Lincoln may have quickly issued and then retracted an arrest warrant for Taney, but the historical accurateness of this claim is disputed.  Anyway, several other cases similar to the Merryman case went before federal judges, but Lincoln ignored all of them.  Eventually Congress suspended the writ of habeas corpus.

Now, compare this to Bush.  Bush hasn’t arrested 18,000 American citizens, and he hasn’t ignored nearly as many court rulings as Lincoln had either.

On to the next President:

Woodrow Wilson

President Wilson signed into law the following  2 bills: the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.  Let’s take a look at those real quick.  First, we have an excerpt from the Espionage Act of 1917:

Section 3

Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall wilfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States or to promote the success of its enemies and whoever when the United States is at war, shall wilfully cause or attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall wilfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or of the United States, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.

Section 4

If two or more persons conspire to violate the provisions of section two or three of this title, and one or more of such persons does any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as in said sections provided in the case of the doing of the act the accomplishment of which is the object of such conspiracy. Except as above provided conspiracies to commit offences under this title shall be punished as provided by section thirty-seven of the Act to codify, revise, and amend the penal laws of the United States approved March fourth, nineteen hundred and nine.

And here’s an excerpt from the Sedition Act of 1918:

Section 3
Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements with intent to interfere with the operation or success of the military or naval forces of the United States, or to promote the success of its enemies, or shall willfully make or convey false reports or false statements, or say or do anything except by way of bona fide and not disloyal advice to an investor or investors, with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities of the United States or the making of loans by or to the United States, and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause, or incite or attempt to incite, insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or shall willfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment services of the United States, and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution of the United States, or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag of the United States, or the uniform of the Army or Navy of the United States into contempt, scorn, contumely, or disrepute, or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States, or to promote the cause of its enemies, or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy, or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge, incite, or advocate any curtailment of production in this country of any thing or things, product or products, necessary or essential to the prosecution of the war in which the United States may be engaged, with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States in the prosecution of war, and whoever shall willfully advocate, teach, defend, or suggest the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated, and whoever shall by word or act support or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war or by word or act oppose the cause of the United States therein, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or the imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both: Provided, That any employee or official of the United States Government who commits any disloyal act or utters any unpatriotic or disloyal language, or who, in an abusive and violent manner criticizes the Army or Navy or the flag of the United States shall be at once dismissed from the service..

Section 4
When the United States is at war, the Postmaster General may, upon evidence satisfactory to him that any person or concern is using the mails in violation of any of the provisions of this Act, instruct the postmaster at any post office at which mail is received addressed to such person or concern to return to the postmaster at the office at which they were originally mailed all letters or other matter so addressed, with the words “Mail to this address undeliverable under Espionage Act” plainly written or stamped upon the outside thereof, and all such letters or other matter so returned to such postmasters shall be by them returned to the senders thereof under such regulations as the Postmaster General may prescribe.

Under these acts, a man was put on trial over his statements about not wanting to buy Liberty Bonds.  In addition to that, over 50 American newspapers had their mailing privileges stripped, and all German-language or German-American newspapers had their mailing privileges removed.

In addition to these 2 acts, Wilson also allowed the American Protective League to assist law enforcement agencies.  The APL was formed by Chicago businessman A.M. Briggs, under the permission of U.S. Attorney General Thomas Gregory.  The group was given government-issued badges and they officially “organized with the Approval and operating under the direction of the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation.”  The APL was a group of 250,000 people spread across 600 cities who helped crack down on those who were believed to be helping the Germans or opposing the U.S. government.  The group illegally detained U.S. citizens who were members of labor and pacifist movements.

Again, this is nothing close to what George Bush has done.  If Bush were following the epionage and sedition acts, CBS executives and Dan Rather would have been fined and put in jail for running  that false story about President Bush’s Air National Guard service.  Instead, Rather kept his job (for a while) without any criminal charges being filed.  Clearly Wilson was worse than Bush when it comes to civil liberties.

And that leads us to our last liberty looter:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Perhaps the most infamous (probably because it’s the most recent) violation of civil liberties was FDR’s Executive Order 9066, which was the executive order for the internment of Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals.  Here’s a copy of Executive Order 9066:

Executive Order No. 9066

The President

Executive Order

Authorizing the Secretary of War to Prescribe Military Areas

Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities as defined in Section 4, Act of April 20, 1918, 40 Stat. 533, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1940, 54 Stat. 1220, and the Act of August 21, 1941, 55 Stat. 655 (U.S.C., Title 50, Sec. 104);

Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order. The designation of military areas in any region or locality shall supersede designations of prohibited and restricted areas by the Attorney General under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, and shall supersede the responsibility and authority of the Attorney General under the said Proclamations in respect of such prohibited and restricted areas.

I hereby further authorize and direct the Secretary of War and the said Military Commanders to take such other steps as he or the appropriate Military Commander may deem advisable to enforce compliance with the restrictions applicable to each Military area hereinabove authorized to be designated, including the use of Federal troops and other Federal Agencies, with authority to accept assistance of state and local agencies.

I hereby further authorize and direct all Executive Departments, independent establishments and other Federal Agencies, to assist the Secretary of War or the said Military Commanders in carrying out this Executive Order, including the furnishing of medical aid, hospitalization, food, clothing, transportation, use of land, shelter, and other supplies, equipment, utilities, facilities, and services.

This order shall not be construed as modifying or limiting in any way the authority heretofore granted under Executive Order No. 8972, dated December 12, 1941, nor shall it be construed as limiting or modifying the duty and responsibility of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with respect to the investigation of alleged acts of sabotage or the duty and responsibility of the Attorney General and the Department of Justice under the Proclamations of December 7 and 8, 1941, prescribing regulations for the conduct and control of alien enemies, except as such duty and responsibility is superseded by the designation of military areas hereunder.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The White House,

February 19, 1942.

Under that order, somewhere around 120,000 people were held in internment camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor, 62% of which were American citizens.  Compare this to Bush, who has held around 800 people in Guantanamo.  And those people weren’t even American citizens!

The point that I’m trying to make in all of this is NOT that I justify Bush’s actions.  I think he has overstepped his Constitutional bounds, with the wiretapping and his signing statements.  But to say that he’s the WORST President for civil liberties is just insulting to American history.  I would be ashamed to be Romero’s American history teacher right now, because clearly, he has forgotten some very important parts.  Looking back 20 or so years from now, the history books will be kinder to Bush.  I don’t think he’s anywhere near perfect, but he’s certainly hasn’t violated civil liberties as much as the 4 Presidents that I’ve just listed.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Harry Reid and Dick Durbin Hold Press Conference to Discuss Roland Burris’s Future in the Senate

January 7, 2009

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) showed, again, that they were legal cowards again today.  Take a look at the following press conference held by the 2 Senators and I’ll discuss what they said below:

Now, why did I call them cowards?  Because they are ignoring what they must know to be right.  I explained yesterdaythat this case is similar to the Marbury v. Madison Supreme Court case.

Instead of waiting for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on whether or not the Secretary of State must co-sign the certificate (which, if they rule in favor of the SoS, they just significantly reduced the power of the Governor to an insanely low level), the Senate should take the precedent of Marbury v. Madison.  They should understand that the co-signing by the Secretary of State is a ministerial duty required by law, not a fundamental part of the nomination process, and they should allow Roland Burris to fill the vacancy created by President-Elect Barack Obama.  End of story.  Instead, they’re going about this in some asinine politically correct way because the Democrats in the Senate are too scared to ever stand up for something.

After all the talk Democrats said about, “We should’ve stood up to Bush about the War in Iraq instead of just signing on with it,” I’d think that the Democrats would have the decency to uphold a precedent set down by the United States Supreme Court over 200 years ago!  The fact that they fail to see (or at least admit) that Roland Burris must be provided with a remedy to his rights being violated shows that the current state of this Senate and the American process as a whole is a very sad state.

I disagree with Roland Burris’s politics, but his right has been violated here, and “the laws of his country afford him a remedy.”  If the Majority Leader of the United States Senate fails to see that, then Harry Reid is NOT fit to remain Majority Leader!

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Illinois Senate Appointee, Roland Burris, Denied Entry to the Senate. Was That Denial Legal?

January 6, 2009

Today, Roland Burris (D-IL), the guy that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) appointed to fill President-Elect Obama’s vacant seat, went to Washington, D.C., proclaiming himself the junior Senator from Illinois.  Before trying to enter the Senate, he told reporters, “My name is Roland Burris.  I am the junior senator from the state of Illinois.”

The Secretary of the Senate disagreed.  She refused to seat Burris because his credentials were not in order, since the Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (D) had refused to co-sign his certification.

White had earlier released this statement:

As I have previously stated publicly, I cannot co-sign a document that certifies any appointment by Rod Blagojevich for the vacant United State Senate seat from Illinois.

Although I have respect for former Attorney General Roland Burris, because of the current cloud of controversy surrounding the Governor, I cannot accept the document.

Well, in my opinion, White really doesn’t have a choice, and Rod Blagojevich didn’t have a choice as to appointing or not appointing somebody.  Here’s an excerpt from the Illinois Compiled Statutes:

(10 ILCS 5/25‑8) (from Ch. 46, par. 25‑8)
    Sec. 25‑8. When a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator from this state, the Governor shall make temporary appointment to fill such vacancy until the next election of representatives in Congress, at which time such vacancy shall be filled by election, and the senator so elected shall take office as soon thereafter as he shall receive his certificate of election.
(Source: Laws 1943, vol. 2, p. 1.)

And here’s another excerpt:

    (15 ILCS 305/5) (from Ch. 124, par. 5)
    Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of State:
    1. To countersign and affix the seal of state to all commissions required by law to be issued by the Governor.
    2. To make a register of all appointments by the Governor, specifying the person appointed, the office conferred, the date of the appointment, the date when bond or oath is taken and the date filed. If Senate confirmation is required, the date of the confirmation shall be included in the register.

The Secretary of State legally CANNOT refuse to sign the certificate.

So, Burris left the Senate saying he was “not seeking to have any type of confrontation.”

So, this leaves us in a situation similar to one we’ve seen before: the 1803 case of Marbury v. Madison.  For those of you who have forgotten the case since high school government class, here are some resources for you to refresh yourself: http://www.landmarkcases.org/marbury/home.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marbury_v._Madison.

Let’s take a look at the Marbury v. Madison opinion:

In the order in which the court has viewed this subject, the following questions have been considered and decided.

1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

2.If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

3.If they do afford him a remedy, is it a mandamus issuing from this court?

The answer to numbers 1 and 2 (number 3 isn’t relevant here) are similar to the answers from Marbury v. Madison.  Let’s take a look at the opinion again:

The first object of inquiry is,

1.Has the applicant a right to the commission he demands?

His right originates in an act of congress passed in February 1801, concerning the district of Columbia.

This brings us to the second inquiry; which is,

2. If he has a right, and that right has been violated, do the laws of his country afford him a remedy?

The government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right.

Is it in the nature of the transaction? Is the act of delivering or withholding a commission to be considered as a mere political act belonging to the executive department alone, for the performance of which entire confidence is placed by our constitution in the supreme executive; and for any misconduct respecting which, the injured individual has no remedy.

That there may be such cases is not to be questioned; but that every act of duty to be performed in any of the great departments of government constitutes such a case, is not to be admitted.

By the constitution of the United States, the president is invested with certain important political powers, in the [5 U.S. 137, 166]   exercise of which he is to use his own discretion, and is accountable only to his country in his political character, and to his own conscience. To aid him in the performance of these duties, he is authorized to appoint certain officers, who act by his authority and in conformity with his orders.

In such cases, their acts are his acts; and whatever opinion may be entertained of the manner in which executive discretion may be used, still there exists, and can exist, no power to control that discretion. The subjects are political. They respect the nation, not individual rights, and being entrusted to the executive, the decision of the executive is conclusive. The application of this remark will be perceived by adverting to the act of congress for establishing the department of foreign affairs. This officer, as his duties were prescribed by that act, is to conform precisely to the will of the president. He is the mere organ by whom that will is communicated. The acts of such an officer, as an officer, can never be examinable by the courts.

But when the legislature proceeds to impose on that officer other duties; when he is directed peremptorily to perform certain acts; when the rights of individuals are dependent on the performance of those acts; he is so far the officer of the law; is amenable to the laws for his conduct; and cannot at his discretion sport away the vested rights of others.

The conclusion from this reasoning is, that where the heads of departments are the political or confidential agents of the executive, merely to execute the will of the president, or rather to act in cases in which the executive possesses a constitutional or legal discretion, nothing can be more perfectly clear than that their acts are only politically examinable. But where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the laws of his country for a remedy.

So, if he conceives that by virtue of his appointment he has a legal right either to the commission which has been made out for him or to a copy of that commission, it is equally a question examinable in a court, and the decision of the court upon it must depend on the opinion entertained of his appointment.

That question has been discussed, and the opinion is, that the latest point of time which can be taken as that at which the appointment was complete, and evidenced, was when, after the signature of the president, the seal of the United States was affixed to the commission.

It is then the opinion of the court,

1.That by signing the commission of Mr. Marbury, the president of the United States appointed him a justice [5 U.S. 137, 168]   of peace for the county of Washington in the district of Columbia; and that the seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the secretary of state, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment; and that the appointment conferred on him a legal right to the office for the space of five years.

2. That, having this legal title to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission; a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right, for which the laws of his country afford him a remedy.

Similarly, 10 ILCS 5/25‑8 gives Burris this same right.  But there’s a slight variation: the secretary of state never completed that appointment; however, not doing so is an illegal act.

It is my belief that Burris has been denied his right and that the act of co-signing the the certificate is merely a ministerial function required by ILCS.  Therefore, Burris, through the laws of this country is afforded a remedy.

Burris should be seated in the United States Senate, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White should be removed from office for violating 15 ILCS 305/5.

Now, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so take the following poll, and feel free to leave a comment below:

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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2 Michigan Teens Arrested for Throwing Rocks at Cars

December 18, 2008

Yesterday, 2 cousins from Eastpointe, Michigan, both high school freshmen, were arrested for throwing rocks on cars driving along I-94 in Saint Clair Shores.  The teens claimed that they did it because they were bored of playing  video games.  In all, 16 cars were damaged, and in addition to probably paying for the damage, the teens have been charged as juveniles with malicious destruction of property.  Here’s a FOX 2 video report on the incident:

Now, these teens should have known better.  And they did know better.  Freshmen in high school aren’t stupid.  If you drop a rock on a car, that’s going to shatter the windshield if it hits it (as it did) or put a dent in the metal.  What happens when your windshield shatters?  Somebody could die.  And people have died in the past.

These teens need to be taught a lesson and need to be given a strict punishment.  Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 750.377a (Act 328 of 1931) states:

750.377a Willful and malicious destruction of property; personalty.

Sec. 377a.

(1) A person who willfully and maliciously destroys or injures the personal property of another person is guilty of a crime as follows:

(a) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a fine of not more than $15,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $20,000.00 or more.

(b) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years or a fine of not more than $10,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $1,000.00 or more but less than $20,000.00.

(c) If any of the following apply, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $2,000.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine:

(i) The amount of the destruction or injury is $200.00 or more but less than $1,000.00.

(d) If the amount of the destruction or injury is less than $200.00, the person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00 or 3 times the amount of the destruction or injury, whichever is greater, or both imprisonment and a fine.

I’m guessing that most of the damage is going to fall under subsection (c), meaning that the teenagers could face  up to 1 year in prison or a fine of $2,000 (since I’m guessing that most of the repairs won’t be more than a few hundred dollars).

Personally, I’d be locking both of them up for 16 years (as long  as all the damage was over $200 for each car).  They knew better, and they need to pay, in both a criminal and civil court (civil court would be where the teens would have to pay for the damage, probably around $500/windshield if it’s totally busted, so they’re looking at a few thousand dollars depending on what all was done to the different cars).

Make an example out of these teens to show that you don’t play around with dangerous stuff like this.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Michigan House of Representatives Votes 68-32 to Ban Texting While Driving

December 15, 2008

Alright, this is somewhat of an old story, but I really wanted to do a post on it, and I got caught up with exams last week:

On December 4th, the Michigan House of Representatives voted on House Bill 5117, A bill to amend 1949 PA 300, entitled “Michigan vehicle code,” (MCL 257.1 to 257.923) by adding section 602b.

The bill was introduced by Steve Bieda (D-Macomb).  Here’s the original version of the bill:

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE, INCLUDING A RADIO

3 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

4 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE ON A HIGHWAY

5 OR STREET IN THIS STATE.

6 (2) A PERSON WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A

7 CIVIL INFRACTION.

I like this version of the bill.  It’s quick, and to the point.  Frankly, I think the House butchered this bill (although they did add a couple good clauses).

Here’s the version that was passed by the House (along with my commentary):

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

SEC. 602B. (1) A PERSON SHALL NOT READ, 1 WRITE, OR SEND A TEXT

2 MESSAGE ON A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE THAT IS LOCATED IN

3 THE PERSON’S HAND OR IN THE PERSON’S LAP, INCLUDING A WIRELESS

4 TELEPHONE USED IN CELLULAR TELEPHONE SERVICE OR PERSONAL

5 COMMUNICATION SERVICE, WHILE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE THAT IS

6 MOVING ON A HIGHWAY OR STREET IN THIS STATE. AS USED IN THIS

7 SUBSECTION, A WIRELESS 2-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

8 A GLOBAL POSITIONING OR NAVIGATION SYSTEM THAT IS AFFIXED TO THE

9 MOTOR VEHICLE.

I will say that lines 6b-9 were a good addition.

(2) SUBSECTION (1) DOES NOT APPLY 1 TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IS

2 USING A DEVICE DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (1) TO DO ANY OF THE

3 FOLLOWING:

4 (A) REPORT A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT, MEDICAL EMERGENCY, OR SERIOUS

5 ROAD HAZARD.

6 (B) REPORT A SITUATION IN WHICH THE PERSON BELIEVES HIS OR HER

7 PERSONAL SAFETY IS IN JEOPARDY.

8 (C) REPORT OR AVERT THE PERPETRATION OR POTENTIAL PERPETRATION

9 OF A CRIMINAL ACT AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL OR ANOTHER PERSON.

10 (D) CARRY OUT OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A POLICE OFFICER, LAW

11 ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL, MEMBER OF A PAID OR VOLUNTEER FIRE

12 DEPARTMENT, OR OPERATOR OF AN EMERGENCY VEHICLE.

Again, another good provision.

13 (3) ENFORCEMENT OF THIS SECTION BY STATE OR LOCAL LAW

14 ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED ONLY AS A SECONDARY

15 ACTION WHEN THE OPERATOR OF A MOTOR VEHICLE HAS BEEN DETAINED FOR A

16 SUSPECTED VIOLATION OF ANOTHER SECTION OF THIS ACT.

Here’s where they really butchered it in my opinion.  Making this a secondary offense means that in order to give somebody a ticket for texting, they have to have been pulled over for something else.  I have 2 problems with this: 1) It gives cops a motive to pull somebody over for something that they normally wouldn’t pull somebody over for, so that they can give them a ticket for texting; 2) It should be a primary offense.  While driving to work on Southfield Freeway (M-39) I’ve had several encounters with teenage drivers (mostly girls) texting and coming into my lane.  I did have a guy do the same thing the other day, except that was on Fort Street (M-85), but it was in the 35 MPH area, so it wasn’t quite as dangerous.  How permanent this will be is up for debate.  Originally, Michigan’s Click It or Ticket seat belt law was a secondary offense, but that changed pretty quickly.

17 (4) AN INDIVIDUAL WHO VIOLATES THIS SECTION IS RESPONSIBLE FOR

18 A CIVIL INFRACTION.

Same as the original bill.

19 (5) IF A LOCAL UNIT OF GOVERNMENT ADOPTS AN ORDINANCE

20 SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THIS SECTION, THE ORDINANCE SHALL INCLUDE

21 THE SECONDARY ENFORCEMENT PROVISION IN SUBSECTION (3).

Again, another butchering happened here.  Not only do I disagree with the basic premise of subsection (3), but I disagree with subsection (5) based on the fact that it’s the state government sticking its nose into the business of local municipalities.  If I city wants to make  it a primary offense, good for them.  If they want to keep it a secondary offense, that’s fine too (although I disagree with that decision, they’d have that right).  But to take away municipalities’ rights to make this a primary offense is just wrong.

22 (6) POINTS SHALL NOT BE ASSESSED UNDER SECTION 320A FOR A

23 VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION.

Again, another terrible amendment to the bill.  There’s no reason that people should be texting while driving.  Tack on the additional punishment of points and that will deter people from doing it.

24 Enacting section 1. This amendatory act does not take effect

25 unless House Bill No. 5396 of the 94th Legislature is enacted into

26 law.

Alright, so that’s the bill as passed by the House.  Currently the bill is in the Transportation Committee of the Senate.

I wanted to post a copy of the roll call vote:

Roll Call No. 1003 Yeas—68

Accavitti Dean Johnson Opsommer
Amos Dillon Jones, Rick Pearce
Ball Donigan Jones, Robert Polidori
Bauer Ebli Knollenberg Proos
Bennett Emmons Law, David Rocca
Bieda Espinoza Law, Kathleen Sak
Booher Farrah Leland Schuitmaker
Brown Gaffney Lemmons Scott
Byrnes Gonzales Lindberg Sheltrown
Byrum Green Mayes Simpson
Clack Griffin McDowell Smith, Alma
Clemente Hammel Meadows Smith, Virgil
Condino Hammon Meisner Stahl
Constan Hansen Melton Stakoe
Corriveau Hood Miller Valentine
Coulouris Hopgood Moss Wenke
Cushingberry Horn Nofs Wojno

Nays—32

Acciavatti DeRoche LeBlanc Pastor
Agema Garfield Marleau Pavlov
Angerer Gillard Meekhof Robertson
Brandenburg Hildenbrand Moolenaar Shaffer
Calley Huizenga Moore Sheen
Casperson Hune Nitz Spade
Caswell Jackson Palmer Steil
Caul Lahti Palsrok Walker

In The Chair: Sak

So, it’s pretty apparent that the vote fell mainly along party lines, but there were definitely a good amount of cross-overs (6 Democrats and 21 Republicans).

Representative Caul (R-Isabella) told CM-Life  reporters that he voted against the bill because it was “overstepping the government’s role. … In this case, it’s difficult for enforceability, whether it’s someone using a cell phone or eating a cheeseburger.”

I’m an advocate for personal freedoms (I voted for Proposal 1), but I think allowing texting while driving  goes too far.  Ban it, and enforce that ban.  Hopefully this will pass the Republican-controlled Senate, and with as much Republican support as  this got, I think it will.  I’ve been advocating for a bill like this for a long time, so I’m glad that it’s making some progress.

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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Parents of 2 Suspended Cheerleaders File Lawsuit Over Nude Photos

December 8, 2008

Alright, so here’s a story I heard about that’s supposed to be featured on the news tonight, but I figured I’d go digging and just do the story now: On Monday the parents of two Bothell High School cheerleaders filed a lawsuit in the King County Superior Court against the Northshore School District (in Washington).  The suit alleges that school officials acted unfairly when they suspended the girls from the squad earlier this year after nude photos of the teens circulated through the student body via text messages.

Here’s the background on the case (according to the lawsuit):

  1. Summer, 2005: A topless photo of one of the cheerleaders is taken and sent to her then-boyfriend’s phone.
  2. Summer, 2005: The picture is accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  3. June, 2008: The other teen’s photo was taken when she and another cheerleader used their cell phones to take totally nude pictures of themselves.  Those photos were later accidentally sent to other BHS students.
  4. Shortly after the June pictures were taken: BHS school officials heard rumors the pictures were circulating the student body, especially within members of the football team, so the school sent a letter to all of the cheerleaders’ parents.  That letter said that if inappropriate photos were found, the consequences could be suspension from the squad.
  5. Football players were also told to delete the pictures from their cell phones if they received them
  6. August: BHS administrators received copies of both photos.
  7. Some dispute has arisen over who contacted the police first, and whether or not the school properly notified the girls’ parents about the photos.
  8. One girl is suspended from the squad for 30 days.  The other is suspended from the squad for the year.

Attorney Matthew King, representing both families, told reporters that  the lawsuits allege that BHS administrators violated the girls’ due process rights by needlessly sharing the photos with other school staff members and failing to promptly report the matter to police as child pornography.  King also said that it was unfair that the teens were suspended, but that football players and other BHS students who sent/received the texts were not punished.  King told reporters, “We’re not technically challenging the sanctions as being too strict, we’re saying they weren’t evenly enforced across the school.  There should have been some punishment meted out to those who were in possession of the photos. … It seems like the girls are getting the brunt of it.”  King wants the disciplinary action expunged from both girls’ school records.  Additionally, he wants the girl who was suspended for the whole year to be reinstated to the team, and he is demanding an apology from BHS officials for their lack of discipline on other students.

Northshore spokeswoman Susan Stoltzfus disagrees, saying that the school acted appropriately, reporting the photos to the police and giving the girls a chance to appeal their suspensions to both a disciplinary committee as well as the School Board, saying, “Everyone along the line agreed the discipline was appropriate.  Obviously, we take these things seriously, but we really don’t believe this [suit] has a lot of merit.”

King also claims that the district’s student handbook doesn’t specifically prohibit what the girls did, and that it doesn’t outline outline potential disciplinary action for a case like this.  He told reporters, “My clients fully realize what they did was stupid,” and that they never wanted the photos to be distributed.  King said that he still does not know how they were accidentally sent out.

Northshore officials again disagree, saying that the girls violated the district’s athletic code  According to Stoltzfus, “When you sign up to be a cheerleader–or for any student activity–you agree to certain codes of behavior.We consider them student leaders, and we want them to be role models.”

I took a look at the athletic code, and although it doesn’t expressly prohibit the production or distribution of child pornography (or any pornography), it does state the following:

Northshore School District
Student Athletic Code

The opportunity to participate in the athletic program in the Northshore School District is a privilege available to all students. Because of the public nature of athletic programs sponsored by the district, students choosing to participate are expected to conduct themselves at all times during their season of participation and between consecutive seasons in a manner that will reflect the high standards and ideals of their school and community. These high personal standards for conduct promote maximum achievement, safe performances, commitment to excellence in health and conditioning, and fulfill responsibilities as student leaders by setting a positive example for other students.

The regulations below are included in the Addendum of the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities Concerning Pupil Conduct. In addition to this Code of Conduct, individual schools may establish other expectations specific to their own individual programs.

Students must meet the standards for interscholastic eligibility as outlined in Article 18 of the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association handbook, the KINGCO League and the Northshore School District and their individual school. Copies of these rules and regulations may be obtained from the school Athletic Director upon request.

The expectations for being a participant in a schoolʼs athletic program, including specific eligibility requirements, training rules and team rules shall be communicated to team members at the beginning of the season of participation. All program expectations and team rules shall be in writing.

Any athlete in a District-sponsored athletic activity who willfully performs any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs shall be subject to discipline. As participants in extracurricular programs, students are faced with choices. If a studentʼs choices interfere, impede, hinder their personal or group/team performance or render the individual as unfit to serve as a representative(s) of the districtʼs schools, they forfeit the privilege to participate. Misconduct by participants in the athletic program at any time, on or off campus, school related and/or non-school activities during the season of participation and between consecutive seasons of participation constitutes cause for discipline including denial of participation in and/or removal from the athletic program. Seasons begin with the first turnout and conclude with the season ending recognition/awards program in the individual sport.

II. Consequences for Athletic Code violations;

A. Student Athletic Code violations are accumulative during grades seven and eight and then again in grades nine through twelve. Any ninth grade student shall be considered a high school student.

B. Consequences for specific violations:
Probation is a period of time in which an athlete may be given time to correct deficiencies that could result in denial of participation for a given period of time or removal from athletic team participation. Denial of participation means that the athlete is allowed to practice but not compete in games. The loss of athletic eligibility, which may carry over to subsequent sports seasons, means the athlete will not participate in interscholastic competition or be in uniform. During the period when a student is assigned a suspension from school, the student is not eligible for any form of participation or attendance at school activities including athletic program participation.

So, although it doesn’t expressly ban what the girls did, I think what they did falls s under “any act that substantially interferes with or is detrimental to the orderly operation of the Districtʼs athletic programs.”

So, where do I stand?  I stand on the side of the girls; however, I disagree with what they want done.  I agree that BHS officials were way too easy on pretty much everybody other than the 2 girls.  I think that the girls should be suspended (or have other disciplinary action taken against them) for failing to follow the athletics agreement.  In addition, ANYBODY who possessed the pictures (other than the administrators, who I’ll discuss in a minute) should have been charged with possession of child pornography, and should have had disciplinary action taken against them if they were in a sport (but it had to be a sport that was in season at that time).  Obviously, it would have to be proved that the person kept the pictures.  I wouldn’t charge anybody just because they received the pictures.  The administrators, if they really did report it to the police, did nothing wrong.  HOWEVER, if additional copies were passed around for no reason, those responsible should be charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.  I do think that BHS officials are wrong in not punishing the football team and other students; however, the way to solve this is NOT to expunge the records of the girls, but to punish ALL who were responsible.

EDIT: I’ve been talking with some people about this, and the argument has come up that perhaps the girls were of age so that it wasn’t child pornography.  In addition to the fact that the names are not being released because the girls are minors, I found this photograph from July 4th, 2005, courtesy of the Woodinville Rotary Club.  Now, of course this isn’t official, but to me, none of those girls looks 18 (except maybe the one on the left in the front row).  Additionally, the one picture was taken in 2005, so we’re guaranteed that that girl wasn’t 18 when the picture was taken:

bothell_parade_07_04_05_019_-_bhs_cheerleaders

Done Ranting,

Ranting Republican
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