Racism

I would like to throw a brick at a cop in Ferguson. Any cop. All the cops. As a black male, I would like to fight back, violently, against the forces that have hunted me all my life, and will hunt my son all his life.

I’m not going to, but that is because history is not on my side. I no longer give a damn about the moral virtues of non-violence, but recorded history tells us that an oppressed minority population cannot succeed through violence. I don’t have a magic staff that can bring locusts and selectively drain or flood rivers, and without such a weapon, being peaceful out there is the only effective and reasonable option. I have just enough education to understand that, and just enough restraint to practice it. I believe in non-violence because it’s the only thing that works.

Thomas Jefferson has a famous quote about slavery. He was talking about the Missouri Compromise, which allowed Missouri to enter the union as a slave state (a fact way more relevant to the current situation than Mike Brown’s alleged shoplifting). On the slavery question, Jefferson offered: “We have the wolf by the ear, and we can neither hold him, nor safely let him go.” Everybody remembers that part, but here’s the next line: “Justice is in one scale, and self-preservation in the other.” Jefferson is talking about justice for the slave, and self-preservation for America.

What America has done since 1820 is to gain self-preservation for itself without granting justice to those it oppressed. It’s been a neat trick. Go ahead, name any “justice” statistic: incarceration rates, conviction rates, homicides, homicides by cop, death penalty rates, drug prosecutions, forced plea bargains, diversity in the police force, diversity on the bench, name ANY JUSTICE STAT YOU CARE ABOUT. You have just named a statistic that illustrates how African-Americans are denied equal justice as compared to white Americans.

Continue reading on Above the Law Redline…

Michael Brown, age 18 and a high school graduate, was scheduled to begin college classes on Monday.

He won’t be. He was shot, unarmed with his hands in the air, by police near his apartment on Saturday afternoon. The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, a mostly black working-class St. Louis suburb of 20,000, has ignited outrage and skepticism of the police’s explanation for the shooting.

As Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, told Steve Giegerich of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

One witness, Piaget Crenshaw, gave this account to Giegerich:

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Some Biglaw firms put on variety shows and have associates sing, dance, and act out lame sketch comedy. It’s all about associates demeaning themselves for the amusement of partners in new and more interesting ways. And I guess it’s supposed to engender some kind of camaraderie, though it’s not clear how.

But sketch comedy can go horribly wrong. Like, any time a white guy shows up in blackface.

That’s a problem. And yet this Biglaw firm doesn’t seem to understand why….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Blackface Is Not OK — Someone Please Tell This Biglaw Firm”

* Proximate cause and the Incredible Hulk. Whatever, everyone knows Kirby was the real brains behind Palsgraf. [The Legal Geeks]

* Someone is having fun with their RFAs: Admit… that we are going to whip the dog piss out of you. We were specifically chided: “please don’t say ‘only in Arkansas,’” so we won’t. You should feel free to say exactly that though. [Hawg Law Blog]

* Not really surprising, but patent trolling is the worst it has ever been. I’ll sit here and wait for the New York Times to blame millennials. [io9]

* The most important Supreme Court decision you’ve never heard of! Well, except I have heard of it. In fact, there was a year-long college debate topic about it. But it’s still important. [Washington Post]

* What’s the appropriate sentence for having a dog off a leash? Confining the guy to a seven-county area? [LA Weekly]

* Things to do in Denver when you’re a lawyer: allegedly scam a few million off a client. [Denver Post]

* Meet the lawyer who came up with the quirky reading that got the D.C. Circuit to temporarily derail Obamacare. [Wall Street Journal]

* Meanwhile, this title says it all about Halbig: “Well, Conjecture, Tendentious Misreadings, and Cherry Picking Are Kinds of Evidence.” Pour a little out for Lionel Hutz. [Lawyers, Guns & Money]

* Everyday we (the ABA) hustlin’. [Law and More]

Hurry up, you don’t have much time.

* A company has limited bathroom breaks to 6 minutes daily. Well, gutting pensions and suppressing wages hasn’t caused a revolution, why not let it ride? [Slate]

* A Florida town has imposed criminal sanctions against sagging pants. But Chief Justice Roberts told me racism was over in the South… [Fashionista]

* Who says crime doesn’t pay? [CBS News]

* Mayer Brown wants you to think the Supreme Court wasn’t tilted toward business interests this Term. Yes, we all know how Homer City turned out, but maybe it’s worth evaluating this based on how important the cases were. Is Petrella really equivalent to Noel Canning? [Mayer Brown]

* Not one, but two former Utah Attorneys General charged with corruption. [Deseret News]

* The CFPB brought suit against a debt collection lawsuit mill. A working CFPB. One more great thing we used to get from recess appointments. Thanks Breyer. [CFPB]

* Oh no. A law school tuition Kickstarter. [Kickstarter]

* New York tried to help homeowners facing foreclosure. Unfortunately, the law didn’t create a remedy if the banks refused to follow the law. Well, it was our fault for thinking Albany could do something right. [WiseLaw NY]

The world of specialty license plates is a complicated intersection of private douchebaggery and governmental robbery. Why do we even have to pay for a license and registration? The government shouldn’t be jacking people with a hidden tax — a hidden regressive tax that hits poor people harder than the rich — for the “privilege” of complying with the government’s own requirements.

Meanwhile, if the car is an outward, rolling expression of your inner self, then the vanity license plate is the part of yourself that is an ass. The level of narcissism it takes to tell people stuck behind you on the Major Deegan that you “LVB00B$” is astounding.

The government should either get out of the charge-for-plates business, OR they should give everybody the same freedom you get when you sign up for Gmail. If Nigerian princes can find me over email easily enough, then surely the state trooper can run “em1@NYS” when he pulls me over.

Otherwise, we end up with Texas…

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Confederate License Plates Should Ruin License Plates For Everybody”

David Nicosia

Rosa Parks, move.

– David C. Nicosia, a white Chicago resident who argued with Judge Arnette Hubbard, a black jurist, after she walked by him while smoking a cigarette. Nicosia allegedly spit in Judge Hubbard’s face, and later slapped her in the face.

Nicosia was arrested and charged with four counts of aggravated battery and a hate crime. He is currently being held on $90,000 bail.

Winston Churchill once said, “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

This quote springs to mind when confronted with the ongoing legal tussle over the “revenge porn” site Pinkmeth.com. As vile as that business may be, the intrepid attorney battling to shut it down has an ally with a reprehensible past of his own — like fronting an organization recognized by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a bona fide hate group. It’s a legal conflagration that makes you want to cast a pox on both houses and curl up in the fetal position and pray for humanity.

But in the wake of the latest lawsuit filing, the two sides took to Twitter to lower the debate with public sniping.

Just like that, it’s the rest of us that win….

UPDATE (7/10/14 4:37 p.m.): The attorney involved in this suit, Jason Lee Van Dyke, has drafted a response to my post, which you can read on page 3. If you’ve already read this post, you can jump directly to page 3 here.

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“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
– Frederick Douglass

Washington & Lee has displayed Confederate flags in the chapel dedicated to Robert E. Lee since the 1930s… and now they won’t. All because 14 black Washington & Lee law students demanded that the university stop. Those students risked the consequence of potential employers who could and probably still will label them as agitators. They risked disapprobation from those in the dominant culture who still expect black people to “just get over” slavery, racial oppression, and continued racism. They risked time, energy, and stress that could have been devoted to finals or networking or just finding a good microbrew.

They demanded. And now Washington & Lee president Kenneth P. Ruscio has agreed to remove the controversial symbols from a place where students are forced to gather. The struggle continues

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You remember that movie Ghost World? Me neither. It starred that girl from American Beauty and that girl from Lost in Translation and Steve Buscemi Eyes and the kid from The Client (R.I.P.). But none of that matters! What matters for our purposes today is that the plot involved signs from something called Coon Chicken Inn. Spoiler alert: that place actually existed! It was a chain of three fried chicken restaurants that trafficked in succulent breast meat and crazy f**king racism. According to its wiki entry, Coon Chicken Inn even possessed trademarks. Real, valid, honest-to-God trademarks.

This week, the Washington Redskins were adjudged to be more racist than Coon Chicken Inn. Well, not exactly. Specifically, the Redskins trademark was cancelled on the grounds that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.” You can read Elie’s take and the actual decision itself here.

But what if I told you that Coon Chicken Inn was just the tip of the racist iceberg? What if I told you that same iceberg is racist sexist, and homophobic? Is that an iceberg you would be interested in investigating?

Let’s muck around in the fever swamps of America’s offensive trademarks and the shaky legal edifice that has been erected around them, shall we?

We shall…

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