Yewbetcha

Justice Clarence Thomas, on the matter of judicial precedent, as quoted by Myron Magnet in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal:

“Stare decisis is not an inexorable command,” Justice Thomas observes in [Franchise Tax Board v] Hyatt. He has said elsewhere: “I think that the Constitution itself, the written document, is the ultimate stare decisis.”

What he said.

A Textualist Justice Makes Folks Uncomfortable

Apple v Pepper is an antitrust case in which the plaintiffs argue that Apple’s requirement that all iPhone apps must be sold through Apple’s app store is a monopoly that Apple abuses by charging excessive commissions on app sales.

The Wall Street Journal has its editorial knickers in a twist because Justice Brett Kavanaugh, writing for the majority, rejected Apple’s plaint that the case be dismissed. The result is that the case continues in trial court.  Yet the editors are upset that Kavanaugh’s ruling “gutted four decades of precedent,” as though precedent cannot be erroneous and so must be unchanging for the ages.

Censorship Continued

The Poynter Institute, an organization that masquerades itself as a…watchdog…built a list of what it claimed to be unreliable news outlets and then urged censorship through boycotting these offending outlets. “Unreliable,” mind you, was determined by Poynter personnel.  Then they got caught, and they’re claiming to have withdrawn their list.

Here are two critical clues to the nature of their list. One is [emphasis added]:

…initially released a list of more than 500 “unreliable” news outlets purportedly “built from pre-existing databases compiled by journalists, fact-checkers, and researchers around the country.”

Even those purported researchers were carefully unnamed.

Censorship in the Patent and Trademark Office

The Supreme Court has heard the oral arguments for Iancu v Brunetti, a case I wrote about a bit ago.  Hadley Arkes’ op-ed in The Wall Street Journal shed additional light on the matter, which centers on whether Iancu’s business can trademark the name of his business, Friends U Can’t Trust, with its acronym stand-in.

Certain words are fixed in the language with the moral functions of “commending” and “condemning,” and some of them have a special edge….

You bet.

The Attorney General and Immigration Judges

John Yoo, who was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, has reminded us of the authority of the AG vis-à-vis immigration judges.

He [the AG] has the power to overrule immigration judges. Immigration judges have been making mistakes….

Aside from the immigration judges’ error rate, it’s really quite clear that the AG can overrule them. Not only are immigration judges not Article III judges, they’re employees of the Department of Justice—they work for the AG. Beyond that, they’re not even judges; they’re Special Inquiry Officers.

Mores and the Patent and Trademark Office

The Supreme Court has taken up the case of Iancu v Brunetti and heard oral arguments Monday.  Erik Brunetti wanted a copyright on the label for a clothing line of his that he’d named FUCT, an acronym for Friends U Can’t Trust.  Iancu is Andrei Iancu, who is duel-hatted as Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  Wearing that second hat, Iancu and his fellow USPTO bureaucrats said they were scandalized and morally offended, and they denied Brunetti’s copyright application.  The Wall Street Journal, at the link, said

Pleas?

There seems to be a movement toward plea bargaining in the university bought-admissions scandal.

A father who allegedly bought water polo gear on Amazon.com to falsely portray his son as a competitive player and ease the boy’s admission into the University of Southern California is in plea discussions for his role in the nationwide college-admissions scandal.

And

“Mr Sloane and the Government are currently in discussions that are calculated to resolve this matter without a trial and reasonably expect that will occur,” his lawyers said in a court filing late Tuesday, asking that Mr Sloane not be required to appear in federal court here Wednesday.

Blue about Blue Slips?

For a long time—nearly a century, according to Senator Dianne Feinstein (D, CA)—the Senate had a tradition (not a rule) that Senators from the home State of a judicial nominee had to approve that nominee—send forward a “blue slip” before that nominee could be considered, or even sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The administration of President Donald Trump has tended to disregard that tradition.  In fact, he’s sent seven—according to Feinstein, again—appellate court nominees to the Senate over “the objection of home-state Democrats” and—the horror—gotten them confirmed, including a number to the California-based 9th Circuit.

Witness Tampering?

Michael Cohen told House investigators this week [the week ending 8 Mar] that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D, CA) traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony….

Schiff and his staff conducted these “meetings” in secret and without minority party representation (here Republican) present.

Then

One by one…Cohen fielded questions on precisely the same topics that the sources told Fox News he discussed with Schiff’s staff during the sit-downs in New York.

Sure looks and sounds like tampering.

Religious Freedom

Germany doesn’t appear to have the same strong belief in it that Americans (or most of us, anyway) do.  The Federal Labor Court has objected to a Catholic clinic terminating a doctor because he violated Church teachings, specifically, he both divorced and then remarried.

The doctor insisted—successfully, it turns out—that he was fired for being Catholic; colleagues of different faiths could divorce and remarry without consequence.