Why SCOTUS is wrong on HEIEN V. North Carolina

The Supreme Court ruled on Heien V North Carolina on Monday and the ruling to me is ridiculous by itself and also goes against stare decisis.

You can read the details of the case in the link. Basically a police officer stopped a car for having a broken brake light. However, had that police officer understood the law he was pulling the individual over on, he would have known that North Carolina only requires a car to have a singular working tail light. The only legal way for that officer to pull the car over would have been for both brake lights to be out. After the officer illegally pulled over the vehicle he determined that something was fishy and decided to conduct a search on the car. A passenger of the car had cocaine yet Heien was charged with attempted drug trafficking. Heien tried to suppress items found in the search because the search was not a legal search. A later court agreed but the Supreme Court reversed that decision and said that the search was reasonable.

So why is this ridiculous on its face? Well, clearly had the officer followed the law the vehicle would not have been pulled over and as such no search would have been conducted on the vehicle. The law should act as if no search was conducted since officer took actions that were not in compliance with the law. But the Supreme Court stated otherwise and in that decision stated:

And neither the Fourth Amendment’s text nor this Court’s precedents offer any reason why that result should not be acceptable when reached by a reasonable
mistake of law

SCOTUS, meet Arizona v Gant, a ruling  you made in 2009. Rodney Gant was detained and handcuffed in the back of a squad car. Police then searched his vehicle and found cocaine in the back seat in a jacket pocket. Now, the law allows for a search of a vehicle if an individual is not detained for reasons of officer safety and to protect the scene of any evidence they feel someone might try to discard. However, since Gant was already detained, there was no threat to the officers or any potential evidence and as such a warrant should have been required to search the car. So why did the officers search the car anyway? Well, according to one of the officers at the scene (Officer Griffith) “Because the law says we can do it.”

Under the ruling in Heier, it would seem to be such an argument would be valid because they are not supposed to be perfect, right? He believed the law allows for such searches and as such anything found by such a search should be admissible. But that was not the case in Gant. The Gant ruling talks about stare decisis and privacy rights. The Gant ruling talks about the dangers of how a law could be too broad and be harmful to the public good. Yet SCOTUS could find no precedent why the search in Heier was not acceptable? Really? Do they have short-term memory loss?

So what is the problem here? Some have said to me that if you don’t want the police to search your car and find drugs, don’t have drugs in your car. That may very well be a smart practice but it doesn’t deal with the main problem here and that is individuals dealing with a police force that is given more and more powers by government and by courts to take actions that should be considered unconstitutional against persons in this country.

What has this ruling done? Well, at its worst this ruling has basically said that as long as the officer is reasonable in his misunderstanding of the law that his searches can be considered reasonable. But since this search was actually an unreasonable search because it never should have happened, who is to say at what level is an officers understanding of the law is reasonable or not? In 2008 there were just under 800,000 police officers in this country. This ruling basically means that people living in the united states are subject to 800,000 interpretations of the law, regardless of how correct those interpretations are, as long as those interpretations are deemed “reasonable”. Instead of persons living here having to deal with 1 set of laws and their actual meaning, we have to deal with the 800,000 interpretations of them. And even if their actions are taken outside of the law, that doesn’t matter to SCOTUS. To them, the ends justify the means. And if a search that should not have been done was done, so be it. This is a horrible ruling and another slicing away at our freedoms and liberties. Or as SCOTUS put it in Heier:

Whether an officer is reasonably mistaken about the one or the other, the result is the same: the facts are outside the scope of the law.

Indeed. We should all be terrified.

Liberal Dan Radio 12/17/2014: Freedom loses

On the December 17, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Freedom has taken several hits this week. A Supreme Court ruling, Heien v North Carolina, has ruled that a search conducted after a police officer misapplies the law is a legal search. This, however, was not the case in Arizona V. Gant. I will discuss both cases and why I believe this is an elimination of freedom.

Sony pictures caved today and is refusing to release the movie after a group threatened to attack movie theaters that showed the movie. Several chains had already said that they would not be showing the movie previous to this anouncement. I will give my thoughts on this as well.

In other news, the GOP has shown their hypocrisy yet again. I will discuss how and why as well.

Those issues and more on Wednesday at 8pm central on Liberal Dan Radio, Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

I have made a change with my crowdfunding attempts and this year I am going with gofundme. Please check it out.

Liberal Dan Radio 12/10/2014: Bad Things

On the December 10, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

The torture documents were released by the Senate this week. Some call it a political ploy, others call it needed oversight. I will discuss certain aspects of the law and why we should consider ourselves to be a better nation than others.

An episode of Newsroom aired on Sunday and it caused a stir in feminist circles. People did not appreciate how Sorkin handled the topic of on campus rape. However, I believe the criticisms are misguided and I will discuss why.

I believe I also found a bug on healthcare.gov. I will go into that in more detail. Of course, bugs are meant to be fixed and are not an excuse to bring the whole thing down so calm down conservatives.

Finally, I have started a GoFundMe page in order to sell advertising for the show as well as encourage people to chip in and help support the show if they like it. So please, contribute.

Those stories, headlines, tweet of the week and more on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right:  Wednesday 8pm Central on Blog Talk Radio.

Liberal Dan Radio 10/29/2014: Lee Dugas LA01

In the final #RetakeCongress segment of this election cycle, Liberal Dan Radio will be returning to the point where I first entered into the political realm. Ten years ago, in 2004, I tossed my hat in the ring for Louisiana’s first congressional district. This year, one of the candidates seeking to represent the district in Congress is Lee Dugas.

This veteran of Desert Storm seeks to combat the GOP in its war on women and also fight their budget cuts that hurt the veterans they claim to support, Listen in to the show to learn more or you can call in to ask questions.

The show starts at 8pm Central so for more talk from the left that’s right, make sure to tune in.

Liberal Dan Radio 10/22/2014: Louisiana Elections

On the October 22nd, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio I will be discussing the ballot in Louisiana, various congressional races, the Senatorial election, and the Constitutional amendments.

I will also go into the Louisiana Fraternal Order of Police endorsement of Bill Cassidy and why it is unAmerican.

Those issues, headlines, tweet of the week, and more talk from the left that’s right on Liberal Dan Radip: 8pm Central on Blog Talk Radio.

Liberal Dan Radio 9/10/2014: Ray Rice, Edwin Edwards, and Special Guest Joanna Schroeder

On the September 10, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

I will discuss the endorsement of unrepentant convicted felon Edwin Edwards for the 6th congressional district of Louisiana by the Louisiana Democratic Party. Previously I had stated my reasons for opposing his candidacy and what might happen if the state party went ahead and supported him anyway.

I will also have on the show previous guest Joanna Schroeder from the Good Men Project. We will discuss a variety of issues from the controversial nail polish and Cee Lo greens comments to the Ray Rice firing by the NFL.

Those issue, headlines, tweet of the week and more tonight at a special time, 9pm Central, on BlogTalkRadio.

A few comments on the Louisiana Democratic Party endorsement of Edwin Edwards

The Louisiana Democratic Party has endorsed unrepentant convicted felon Edwin Edwards for Louisiana’s 6th congressional district. The seat is an open seat with no incumbent because the current office holder is Bill Cassidy, one of the Republican challengers to Democratic incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu.

First, read this post about why I oppose the Edwin Edwards candidacy.  Now that the Louisiana Democratic party has endorsed him I have been getting grief from some fellow progressives about my refusal to jump aboard the Edwin Edwards bandwagon.

Some suggest that I oppose allowing felons back into society. That is false. I supported Malik Rahim for Congress when he ran against Bill Jefferson and Joseph Cao. He was a convicted felon but unlike Edwards, Rahim spent his post prison time helping others instead of helping himself.

And let’s just ignore for a second the fact that it is just wrong to support Edwards because of his criminal background that should not be trusted. Let’s ignore that supporting his candidacy is the ultimate “the ends justifies the means” statement. Let’s look at this from a purely political standpoint. Senator Landrieu is facing a difficult reelection campaign. All of her elections have been close, but this one is going to be the closest yet. Does she really need to have the baggage of an Edwin Edwards candidacy being used against her? I can imagine the Bill Cassidy or Col. Rob Maness ads now. “Look at Mary Landrieu, she is supported by Democrats. These same Democrats support convicted felon Edwin Edwards”. Democrats nationwide are struggling to keep hold of the Senate. Even if Edwards can pull off a win in this election, is one additional seat in the house worth losing the Senate? I don’t think so.

I lived in Maryland when the Edwards/Duke election took place. And had I been living in Louisiana and had I been of voting age I would have absolutely voted for Edwards against Duke. That time voting for the crook is important. This time there is no Duke. This time rejecting the crook is important. That election embarrassed Louisiana nationwide. And it wasn’t just because we had a Klansman running. It was also because that opponent of the Klansman was using the phrase “vote for the crook” to try and win. This will be another embarrassment to both Louisiana and Democrats. I wonder how many other Republicans will be able to leverage Democratic support for Edwards into political points. Look, it may very well be the case that Edwards could win and that his win would have no negative impact on anyone else running. But in this election I fear that we cannot take that risk. And I fear that the endorsement of Edwards by the Louisiana Democratic Party could very well be the nail in the coffin of the Landrieu campaign.

But now the second is over, and we should not ignore the fact that regardless of his ability to win that we should be rejecting the Edwards candidacy. The ends do not justify the means. Edwin Edwards to this day insists that he did no wrong. He is delusional. He is greedy. He is selfish. He needs to go away. At the end of the day I have two children. I have to be able to look them in the eye and set a good example for them. I cannot do so while supporting Edwards and I cannot support a party that endorses corruption like the Louisiana Democratic Party just did.

When I first heard of the possibility of an Edwards campaign I said that if the Louisiana Democratic Party endorses Edwards that I would cut my ties with the party. I intend to follow through on that promise. I can fight for progressive causes without waiving the banner of the Democratic party. Other states have benefited with a progressive third party pushing for progressive issue. I will still likely vote for and support progressive candidates despite their party affiliation. I will vote for Cedric Richmond and Mary Landrieu. But I refuse to do so as a member of a party that holds on to past corruption instead of building to the future. If it would be possible to be a registered Democrat nationally while rejecting the state party I would do so. But there seems to be no way to do that.

 

Update: I found out that you can change your voter registration online. If you do leave the party, tweet @LaDemos and make sure to use the hashtag #ILeftLADemos

Liberal Dan Radio 7/9/2014: Stephen VanderGast from Move the Middle

On the July 9, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

Two weeks ago I was the guest of Steven VanderGast, host of Move the Middle on Blog Talk Radio. We had a really good discussion on several issues. This week I welcome him on my podcast for more of the same conversation. Any topic is fair game, so join the discussion.

I will also have headlines, tweet of the week, and more at 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Liberal Dan Radio 7/2/2014: Hobby Lobby and Freagle

On the July 2, 2014 episode of Liberal Dan Radio:

The horrible ruling by the Supreme Court came down pertaining to Hobby Lobby and the mandate for employer based coverage to provide oral contraception. I will go into why this ruling was terrible. (Check out liberaldan.com and @liberaldanradio on Twitter to see some of my initial criticisms).

Then, in the second half hour of the show, I will have on Niki Papazoglakis, founder of Freagle, the virtual town square. We will discuss why she started this venture, what her plans for it are, and how you can help get it off the ground.

Those stories, headlines, tweet of the week, and more Wednesday and 8pm Central on Liberal Dan Radio: Talk From The Left, That’s Right.

Some brief points on the oral contraception madate ruling

A) It ignores science. Science has not shown any evidence that oral contraception is an abortifacient (even in the extremely wrong definition of abortion that includes preventing implantation)

B) I don’t want ANYBODY’S religious freedoms trampled on but if one makes a claim that a pill causes an abortion as part of their legal filings they should be required to prove that before it is accepted as an argument before the court. If you say “x harms me and as such I shouldn’t be required to do x” shouldn’t you have to prove the harm done by x? Or are we now allowing people to claim harm when none exists?

C) It doesn’t matter how many kinds of pills Hobby Lobby provides. Other companies take an even more restrictive stance and would ban all oral contraception. This ruling allows that.

D) the decision of what pill a patient should use should be up to her and her doctor only. Hobby Lobby (and other employers) should have no say.

E) The birth control, and any other benefit obtained in lieu of pay, should all be considered paid, IN FULL, by that employees labor and that employees labor alone.

F) This is not about religious freedom. Had an Islamic group complained under the RFRA Conservatives would not have come out in support of them. This is about forcing Christian beliefs on others using government.

G) Previously the way that we dealt with a bad ruling (Lily Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire) we elected a Democratic Congress to support this President and enable him to deliver on a change to the law via the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. It is time to rally the troops and do this again. If we edit the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and require persons claiming harm to establish that harm is actually happening before requiring government to prove why the actions causing the harm are necessary then we can return the law back to where it should be.