Wednesday Writs for 6/24

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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226 Responses

  1. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    The problem is this: must the officer’s action have been affirmatively condoned, or will silence be deemed sufficient approval? Does the fact that QI has prevented so many incidents from making to adjudication essentially mean that the conduct has been condoned by a Court?

    Assuming this made it into law, this is my concern as well. It makes me wonder if the current state of QI is simply because judges are loathe to set precedent in such cases that might get overturned on appeal or hurt them in an election, etc.; or is it the result of judges doing whatever they can to protect cops from accountability? If the former, I think we’ll be fine, if the latter, I think we’ll see a whole new paradigm of judicial shenanigans in order to protect cops.Report

    • Avatar CJColucci
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      says:

      Qualified immunity is largely a creature of the federal courts, where judges are not elected. Even QI’s defenders will mainly concede — indeed, some will insist — that, doctrinally, QI is a mess and needs to be straightened out. But that’s hard work. And nothing I have seen convinces me that legislative tinkering will do anything but make it messier.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird
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        says:

        Does “messier” mean “worse”?Report

        • Avatar CJColucci
          Ignored
          says:

          “Messier” generally means worse because it makes it harder for judges to come to sensible resolutions of real-life cases. No one, pro- or anti-QI, can look at the current state of doctrine and deny that it is too messy to guide judges. I have my own ideas how to clean it up, but nobody has given me a robe. Most proposals I have seen, short of outright abolition, would likely be even messier than current law. Abolition, being a bright-line rule, would not be “messy,” since there would be no doctrine to apply, but, as I have suggested before, advocates of abolition will likely find themselves in the position of the dog who has been chasing a car and has no idea what to do when it stops. Messy and otherwise unsatisfactory as QI opinions can be, they may be better, from the point of view of abolitionists, than a bunch of opinions where courts say “I believe the cops” or “You don’t have the rights you’d like to think you have.”Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Tangential to WW1:
    Schumer signals that Democrats will block GOP police reform bill
    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) signaled on Tuesday that Democrats are prepared to block a GOP police reform bill.

    Schumer, speaking from the Senate floor, sent his strongest warning yet that the Republican bill — spearheaded by Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only Black GOP senator — will not advance and urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to back down.

    “We Democrats are certain that the McConnell plan will not, indeed cannot, result in any legislation passing. It’s clear that the Republican bill, as is, will not get 60 votes. There’s overwhelming opposition to the bill in our caucus,”
    Schumer said.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/504068-schumer-signals-that-democrats-will-block-gop-police-reform-bill

    And the perfect become the enemy of the good…

    Also, RE WW4, it is odd that you don’t mention Cosby in the blurb.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon
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      says:

      I doubt it’s really the perfect being the enemy of the good, as much as the Democrats don’t want to be seen as not owning this and letting the GOP take point.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy
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      says:

      “Also, RE WW4, it is odd that you don’t mention Cosby in the blurb.”

      I assumed that was because doing so may influence how folks interpret the proceedings.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter
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      says:

      That was quite intentional.Report

      • Avatar CJColucci
        Ignored
        says:

        Are there any Pennsylvania practitioners out there who know how PA appellate procedure works? Did the PA Supreme Court have to take the appeal or did it have discretion to deny it? If it did have discretion whether to take the appeal or not, is there any significance to its taking it other than that there are legal issues that can be argued with a straight face?Report

    • Avatar greginak
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      says:

      What if the R proposal isn’t good though? I’d say it’s weak sauce that doesn’t go far enough. We can and should get more reform then the R’s are offering.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David
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        says:

        Great! It would be something that we can build on then, right!

        But, no.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird
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          says:

          The whole “better than nothing” debate is important and there really isn’t a fine line between “trivially better than nothing” and “not merely trivially better than nothing”.

          I would like to know if this bill is merely trivially better than nothing. If it is merely trivially better than nothing, then we need to come up with a better bill. If it is not merely trivially better than nothing, it’s something that should be supported (and we can discuss what additional reforms need to be implemented).

          Even though it’s not the reform that I’d *LIKE*, I do think that not merely trivially better than nothing moves us in a better direction than arguing that it’s not a silver bullet that will magically fix everything.Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
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            says:

            So, maybe we need some sort of omnibus “Police Reform Bill?”

            Something like, oh, I don’t know, a “Crime Bill?”

            Unintended consequences have had a record way of biting us in the ass lately. And biting Black Folk in the ass dramatically. As the tortoise said, slow and steady wins the race.Report

        • Avatar greginak
          Ignored
          says:

          We should get more now. The R’s are aiming for as little as they can get away with. The D’s are pushing for more reforms. Surely the R’s can at least negotiate with the D’s to offer more and work with the D’s. Wouldn’t that be good.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon
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            says:

            Isn’t there a process by which other legislators can edit a bill, maybe amend it, that kind of thing? You know, take the bill Scott put forth and tack on a few more things.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird
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            says:

            A lovely little speech.

            If the bill gets shot down, I’d like to come back to this in a year or so and see what has been accomplished in its stead.

            If what happens instead of this bill is better, lemme know. You can say “I told you so!” and remind me and I will write an essay doing a compare/contrast and conclude with a sentence like “I am delighted to eat this tasty, tasty crow.”

            Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
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            says:

            Negotiating to get somewhere is always good. I simply fear that as one part of that negotiation has already signaled that what the majority comes up with is no good, the perfect will be the enemy of any good.

            If the D’s come up with something that the R’s like, awesome. And it will be just as stupid if McC unilaterally decides to tank anything from that side of the aisle. (All that said, I am a proponent of going slowly, as I do not want another Crime Bill disaster of foreseeable consequences. But, that is just me apparently)Report

            • Avatar Slade the Leveller
              Ignored
              says:

              I just read the Senate bill, and I’m sure the people who wrote it thought they were giving away the store. From what I read, the Dem fear is that amendments will not be considered, and that the bill would become law as written. The chances of this thing getting through the House as written, however, are nil.

              One section I found interesting was the Closing Law Enforcement Consent Loophole Act. Under this law sexual contact is prohibited. The punishment is fining, imprisonment, or both. I’m not sure we want to deal with rapists wearing a badge by fining them.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
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                says:

                “Duty Booty” is one of those things that sounds like a strawman. “That can’t be legal in 32 states! You’re making things up!”Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                Heh. I’ve never heard that. The things you need laws for are just mind boggling.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
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                says:

                Duty Booty should not need a law. It’s rape under duress (the threat, implied or otherwise, of arrest being the force applied).

                If a cop and a citizen have sparks fly, they can exchange numbers and meet up when they are off duty.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                You just ruined every cop porn movie ever made.

                (I agree.)Report

              • Avatar George Turner
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                says:

                Senator Scott gave a long talk about the bill, and how he told the Democrats they could have five amendments. They said “No.” So he told them they could have twenty amendments. They said “No.” It went on and on, and he finally realized they were never going to allow such a bill to pass, even though it goes further than the Democrat bill, because of some pretty bad reasons.

                Tim Scott’s discussion about itReport

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                Interesting. Sen. Scott makes a good point about how some measures the Dems seek are not really available to federal law. Really, the only federal control available is withholding of funds.

                In the past, the feds have coerced states into lowering the speed limit or mandating seat belt use through the threat of not allocating highway funds for states that don’t fall in line. Today I saw a clip from Fox News where Sen. Loeffler called for withholding highway funds from cities that cut their police budget.

                So, here’s an interesting thought experiment. Sen. Scott’s bill allows for a maximum of 25% of federal police grants to local authorities to be withheld if certain guidelines are not met. Say a Dem. senator proposes 100% instead. Should it pass?Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Perhaps. The things is, the federal money isn’t a major component of local police budgets, and I could easily see many mayors deciding to virtue signal by saying they no longer accept any fascist right-wing federal funding for law enforcement. At a 25% cut, they couldn’t make that claim, even if the federal money is a pittance.

                NPR story on federal police funding

                From that, it looks to be about $400 million a year. Spread across the US, that’s hardly more than a dollar per person.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    WW1: I like how the burden has shifted. I understand how, in the heat of a handful of moments, cops need to make a split-second decision and that means that some of them are going to make sub-optimal ones.

    But I very much dislike the emphasis on “how could they have known that shooting the kids’ dog wasn’t covered?” rather than on questions that non-sociopaths might ask.Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David
    Ignored
    says:

    Oh, and because I think WWII is the perfect place to put it

    Report

    • Avatar Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      Interesting. But maybe the onus should be on the old guard to adjust to the young guard?Report

      • Avatar Aaron David
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        says:

        Well, that is what we have elections for.

        Otherwise, we are just spitting into the wind on Twitter.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          Like the elections that were held to erect these statues in the first place?Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
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            says:

            Exactly! That was a younger group supplanting an older group.

            (Had the older group wanted the statues they would already be there.)Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels
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            says:

            Once again- The governments which authorized those statues were installed as a result of lawless mob violence which disenfranchised the black population.

            The Jim Crow governments were not the legitimate holders of power since they didn’t have the consent of the governed.Report

            • Avatar Aaron David
              Ignored
              says:

              Why, its almost as if a group of people who were told to change at the point of a gun, did not accept that change!

              Whoever would have thunk?

              Maybe burning the village to save it didn’t work…Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                You keep making my point.

                The Confederates rejected the surrender terms, and refused to accept the legitimacy of the government, even to this day.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
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                says:

                They accepted surrender terms. The people coming along 150 years later keep changing the story of what they wanted.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                No, they didn’t.
                The massacres and lawless mob violence occurred just a few years after Appomattox in a successful campaign to overthrow the legitimate governments of Reconstruction.

                The statues and the governments which authorized them were the act of revolution.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                “Like the sand of an hourglass, these are the shifting goalposts of our times”

                The only thing you are showing is that you cannot change people’s minds with the barrel of a gun. And you keep showing this over, and over and over.

                @Lee, I am a jew. I would gladly stand next to any Nazi, Klansman, or any other person whom I may find loathsome to defend their rights. Why? Not only because I already know the system we have created is better than their ideology, but because they are human and deserve everything a human deserves. Just like Bill Cosby, Just like Charles Manson, just like every person falsely accused.

                I am not defending slavery, I am speaking against the attempts at defining morals as only what one set of politics decides, sans democracy. Of delegitimizing anyone we don’t like without taking into account what they believe and giving them the chance to speak. Of trying to change people’s minds at the barrel of a gun, as opposed to using reason.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “Accepting the terms of surrender” literally means, accepting the terms of surrender.

                The terms of surrender were to accept the legitimacy of the Federal government which requires them to accept black people as their equals.

                They refused to do that in 1876, they refused again in 1963, and still do to this day.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Wait, the South rose again? Those states, having accepted the terms of surrender, violated it? Or, rather, did individuals not agree with what was being forced upon them via violence and so enact violence themselves?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Just to be clear, your position is to defend the Confederate mob violence overthrowing the Reconstruction governments?Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No, what I am explaining is that attempting to use force to enact morality doesn’t work, and often is met with opposing force, which in turn will not work on your morality.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                “He was wrong, so I punched him! Then he punched me back!”

                “Well, you punched him, what did you expect?”

                “He was wrong, why are you defending his opinion?!”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well sure, attempting to use force to get bank robbers to stop robbing banks doesn’t work either.

                But we at least acknowledge that when bank robbers refuse to accept the legitimacy of bank robbery laws, they are acting in a revolutionary fashion.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No, they are not acting in a revolutionary fashion. They are acting in a criminal fashion. And no, we don’t just use force on them, we use the courts. Using force on them is what someone did to George Floyd.

                And look at what happened afterward.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                We use force against bank robbers when they actually rob a bank. We don’t use force against them when they are talking about robbing banks, or planning a bank robbery, or arguing for the legitimacy of robbing banks as a just method of redistributing wealth.

                We try to wait until they show up at the door of the bank with a gun.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, we do in fact just use force to subdue them and once they surrender we use the courts.

                But the Confederates rejected the courts and the entire legal apparatus of the Reconstruction era governments. They rioted numerous times from 1866 to 1878, killing thousands of Americans and targeted government officials and eventually drove Federal troops from the South.

                Once again- They refused to accept any government except themselves as legitimate.

                Here is Wm. F. Buckley, restating it:
                “Is the white community in the South, he asked, “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?” His answer was crystal clear: “The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because for the time being, it is the advanced race.”

                What Buckley is doing is rejecting the foundational premise of America as illegitimate.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                No, Buckley isn’t rejecting the foundational premise of America, in fact, he is affirming it (at least in the quote you provide, if there is context to determine otherwise, you lopped it off.) Nowhere in that quote is he saying anything about violence, revolt, pulling down statues, or other acts of mischief. Indeed, that quote says nothing about Republicans whatsoever, just about southerners.

                And again, this is moving the goalposts of our original disagreement, which is you saying that Republicans are the revolutionary party. A fact that you haven’t shown at any point of these proceedings.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You are contending that the assertion that all men are NOT created equal is an affirmation of America’s premise;

                I’m saying it is a revolutionary declaration.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, no.

                Your quote doesn’t talk about anything other than electoral politics and culture. If you lopped off something, that would be different, and while it might bolster your case (can’t prove a negative), he is talking about Democrats having a superior political position, as far as I can tell. But, if he is talking about violence (again, can’t prove a negative), well, he would be talking about Democrats, further disproving your thesis that Republicans are a revolutionary party.Report

              • Avatar jason
                Ignored
                says:

                I actually agree with Aaron: southerners used force to enact their racist morality and erected statues as a symbol of that morality. Jim Crow law and valorizing the confederacy was what one set of politics decided, sans democracy. They changed people’s minds with the barrel of a gun.
                That has now led to our recent violence. Yeah, I see that. I supposed if southern blacks had just reasoned with the whites, all of this could have been avoided.Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller
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                says:

                Underrated comment.Report

              • Avatar greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                The rise of the first KKK and how blacks were treated after they fought to end Reconstruction are real things. There wasn’t a war but across the South blacks were subjugated once again until the Civil Rights Era. All the monuments we are pondering were put in the decades after Reconstruction was defeated.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Let’s all remember that while the south raised monuments to their confederate ideals and basically acted like the butthurt losers they were; the north, for pretty much a whole century, did feck all to stop them, and had healthy demographics who were just fine with Jim Crow, et. al.

                I mean, Germany, while I would argue they were a bit extreme in their methods, did not tolerate Nazi’s after the regime fell.Report

              • Avatar greginak
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh yeah, the North acquiesced to Jim Crow and the end of Reconstruction. Reconciliation between the North and South left Blacks out and very much screwed over. All the more reason to get the damn statues of southern traitors out of the North.

                We are long overdue for looking at our history and expunging some of the toxic elements from public honor.Report

              • Avatar James K
                Ignored
                says:

                I can’t help but feel that a lot of the US’s residual social problems are caused by the fact the US was far too kind to the Confederacy. As Machiavelli put it:

                “You must entice men or else destroy them utterly, for mean will avenge a light insult but cannot avenge a heavy one.”

                The USA should not have lightly insulted the Confederacy.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon
                Ignored
                says:

                Exactly. I’m not entirely sure how we could have without a constitutional amendment outlawing the confederacy somehow, but yes, too many plantation houses avoided the torch.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird
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                says:

                Total War is never something that we ought to engage in now and always something that we ought to have engaged in previously.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
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                says:

                The civil war was the bloodiest and most destructive war we’ve ever had. “22.6 percent of Southern men who were between the ages of 20 and 24 in 1860 lost their lives because of the war” (google, Hacker).

                “Total War” would mean… what?

                Chip has a point about violence being used after the war. Where his argument is a mess is the moment the South was allowed to have elections (and local law) again they created Jim Crow.

                The North wasn’t willing to refight the civil war year after year after year. The North was also unwilling to dismantle Southern Democracy for a generation or three to prevent Jim Crow.Report

              • Avatar Aaron David
                Ignored
                says:

                The problem isn’t that the Confederacy was treated too kindly post-war (see reconstruction) but that the follow-through was handled by people who didn’t give a shit about anything they professed to care about. Thus we had civil rights abuses all down the line that led to Jim Crow (codified civil rights abuses) coupled with a resentful population (lovers of the lost cause).

                When the majority of Blacks still lived in the south, but the country needed to be brought back together as a whole, it was a situation calling for delicacy. Which the Feds did not provide.

                A lot of the residual social problems stem from society at war with itself, either hot or cold, and often both. The Machiavelli quote is telling, but you leave out any bit of enticement, and there was no way to destroy the south while retaining it as part of the U.S.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Germany, while I would argue they were a bit extreme in their methods, did not tolerate Nazi’s after the regime fell.

                Germany faced up with what they’d done, i.e. all of the insanity and evil of it. The South knew exactly what they’d done and were ok with it because of the beliefs at the time; i.e. that the races are seriously different and the whites superior.

                The North was seriously racist by our standards and believed more or less the same thing. They just didn’t think that justified slavery.

                If the North had black populations equal to the South, we probably would have seen Jim Crow in the North too instead of “just” redlining.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Do you realize who you are defending?Report

              • Avatar Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                He does, and he doesn’t appear to care.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                He’s defending Democrats. It’s a rough task.Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck
        Ignored
        says:

        “maybe the onus should be on the old guard to adjust to the young guard?”

        I think you’re mixing up who’s the old guard and who’s the young guard in this storyReport

    • Avatar Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      Once again: a statue is a statement from the present to the future. The statement is: “This is a person we really admire, and we think you future people should admire this person too. We admire this person so much we’re going to spend the money to make it inconvenient and expensive for you to remove the statue.”

      Then the people who put that statue up die off or fall out of power and the future people take power. That happens in all sorts of ways. At that point the statute transforms itself into a statement from people in the past to people in the present: “This is a person we really admired, and we thought you should admire this person too. We admired this person so much we spent the money to make it inconvenient and expensive for you to remove the statue.”

      And now the people who have power have got a decision to make. Is the person depicted someone that that they:

      A) also admire, and therefore will choose to maintain the statute?
      B) don’t care much about one way or the other, and therefore leave the statue there because it’s easier and cheaper?
      or
      C) really don’t like, in which case they will take the statue down somehow.

      If in Iran it turns out that statues are put up and torn down every generation, then yes, that is a very sad thing for Iranians. It means they haven’t had any heroes of such prominence that subsequent generations continue to admire them.

      Turning our attention in part back to the United States, although not ignoring the perspective from the Iranian commenter — consider now, a situation in which the people currently in power are culturally out of step with the people they govern, and therefore the presently-powerful maintain the statues of historical figures which the people out of power find odious.

      When the people out of power periodically assert themselves and demonstrate their frustration with the ruling class by tearing down statues of the heroes of the powerful whose memories have become odious to the powerless, that’s a signal that the people in power are, indeed, out of step with the people who have to live under their rule.

      You might say, “That’s fine. That’s the way of things. The powerful get their way and the powerless have to go along with it.” But if you said that and really meant it, you’d be disavowing democracy, at the very least. In a government where leaders are supposed to represent the interests and desires of the people they govern, a lot of extra-governmental tearing-down of statues isn’t merely vandalism, it’s a symptom of a deeper illness: people in power are not properly representing the interests of the people as a whole.Report

      • Avatar Aaron David
        Ignored
        says:

        No, that is not what I have been saying lo these many months and years. What I have been saying that there IS a very democratic method of removing the statues, which is by the democratic process, open and above board. And handling it like this comes with a whole host of things; how much the people (in aggregate) really want them removed, what are they willing to sacrifice to ensure the removal, how much support do they truly have in this, and so on. See, this is all part of politics. And much like other seemingly well-supported ideas, they often fall apart at the one poll that counts, the voting poll.

        Part of my frustration with this is assuming that what you perceive from a symbol, everyone perceives similarly. That there can be only one interpretation. And, over time, this is only amplified. Is this difficult, trying to get enough people on your side? Yes, because to overcome inertia (which all symbols of the South have at this point, 150 years after that war) is always difficult. But if you believe it is necessary, then doing that hard work will be worth it.

        It most defiantly isn’t about who has power vs. who doesn’t, keeping the little guy down. It is about preserving democracy. And while you may see something as an illness, others might not. This is why any competent doctor recommends a second opinion.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko
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          says:

          At least as to your first paragraph, I don’t think you and I disagree in any material way. Maybe you don’t like my framing of the choices that leaders today have looking at monuments left over from the past, but the A-B-C choice I described above are the three basic actual actions a government entity can take with respect to a statue: A) continue to do things which honor the subject of the statue, B) leave it be with no action taken at all, or C) take it down. That seems to be precisely what you’re saying: people need to do the hard work of democracy to address the cultural inertia inherent in a public legacy of such monumental art.

          I’m 100% in favor of that happening by way of public debate and coalition-building and all of the other kinds of civic participation you’re discussing with respect to historical figures. You may recall that I wrote a rather lengthy essay about that exact subject with respect to the ambiguous personage of Roger Taney, and a statue of him that was until relatively recently on display in the city of Baltimore, right here on this very website. You’ll note in re-reading that essay that I approved of the democratic process in the City of Baltimore resulting in the removal of Taney’s statue, of the way that the public entity found representatives to advise civic leaders of the balance of merits and demerits in Taney’s legacy from a contemporary perspective.

          Now, of course different people have different subjective reactions to art and of course some historical figures are controversial. And certainly there are artists who pick controversial subject matter, including provocative historical figures, as catalysts for social discussion or to provoke emotional reactions in their audiences.

          But that’s not the kind of art we’re talking about here.

          My subjective response to a given piece of public art differing from your subjective response to it is not the issue here. The issue is the intent of the public entity, of the people holding power in that public entity causing public money and public space to be used to create a permanent monument depicting a particular person.

          When a public entity does that, the people making that decision are very clearly not doing it for the purpose of damnatio memoriae. Monumental art is inherently about the public entity bestowing honor upon the subject.

          I claim that there is no statue of Robert E. Lee that was erected by a public entity in the United States for the purpose of calling Lee a traitor. Rather, it’s very probable that statues of Lee were erected by those public entities for the purpose of identifying Lee as honorable and admirable for at least some reasons.

          Please note that neither my contemporary interpretation of Lee’s memory nor yours are relevant to that inquiry. We don’t need a “second opinion” about what the people who built a monument thought of its subject. The various civic leaders were probably thinking a lot of different things when they commissioned (or authorized, etc.) that monument, but we can be confident that at least one thing they weren’t thinking was “This guy was a real asshole who did stuff we hated, so let’s build a monument to him.”

          The point that I think you’re objecting to — that contemporary leaders aren’t always in step with what their constituents think about historical figures — can be the subject of a thought experiment. What if Baltimore had decided differently in 2016, and kept Taney’s statue in that park? We’d surely not be surprised if, today, we read about that statue being torn down by angry demonstrators. In such a world, what would we say about the democratic quality of the decision to have kept the statue up? Would those decisionmakers have made a decision that reflected the wishes of their constituents? And, perhaps most pertinently, would they be democratically justified in spending public funds to erect a replacement statue of Taney after the vandalism?Report

          • Avatar Aaron David
            Ignored
            says:

            Working our way backward through your post, if Baltimore had kept up the statue of Taney, and it was decided democratically, in other words by the people of the city discussing and choosing to keep it up by that process, then no matter our opinions, BLM’s opinions nor any other group, no one has any sort of moral claim to be able to tear down that statue. It has been decided democratically, that highest and only true moral force. And if some group, Antifa for example, then pulled it down, they are only showing a false sense of moral superiority.

            I do not have any problem with your framing of the choices, as you put it in much better terms than I was attempting, a sure sign of a good lawyer! In what I was attempting to make clear, and you make crystal.

            But what I am trying to get at, clumsily as I may be, is that there is much more to the presence, and removal of, artifacts of our shared culture. No matter what we do, the history and effects of being at one time a slaveholding nation will stain us. No pulling down statuary, scrubbing movies from databases, nor burning books will erase this. Like air, it just is. And likewise, Germany will always have the stain of Nazism, Britain the colonies, Japan will have Manchuria and Korea, and any group of people will have a period they will consider abhorrent. And to start the process of willful whitewashing must come from the place of highest moral standing, true Democracy. And until we get there, there will still be enough people to disagree, and with that disagreement hold resentment, which in turn will cause damage down the line.

            You cannot enforce morality at the point of a gun. You cannot terrorize people into belief. You must leave room for disagreement, no matter how odious you find it. Otherwise, you are the bad guy.Report

            • Avatar George Turner
              Ignored
              says:

              I would be reluctant to even bow to anything but an overwhelming democratic push to remove statues and memorials because we’re not letting dead people vote (except in Democrat cities, obviously). Should a city really be able to vote on sending bulldozers in to rip up an Indian burial ground or a Southern slave graveyard to put in a Walmart, simply because none of the white residents give two hoots about somebody else’s dead ancestors?

              In Britain you can’t put in much of anything without having archaeologists check the site and recover anything significant, even at a cost of major project delays or even cancellation. If you’re in a land like Egypt, Mesopotamia, or much of Europe, one of the reasons to never tear down significant memorials and monuments is because if everyone felt free to do that, there wouldn’t be any history left because most people, in most places and times, really don’t care about preservation until they’ve gotten to a position where they can afford to care and then start studying the past.

              In this regard, a memorial or monument is kind of like a baby or a national park. Once people decide to build one, everybody who comes along much later should accept that they’re stuck with it.Report

              • Avatar Andrew Donaldson
                Ignored
                says:

                “In this regard, a memorial or monument is kind of like a baby or a national park. Once people decide to build one, everybody who comes along much later should accept that they’re stuck with it.”

                Wow. Wrong.Report

              • Avatar George Turner
                Ignored
                says:

                Should we just go ahead and start burning all the libraries, too? Most of the books they contain are horribly racist and offensive, and the public shouldn’t be exposed to such trash.

                Maintaining civilization is hard if people are so determined to destroy it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                Maintaining civilization is hard if people are so determined to destroy it.

                The past can not forever bind the future, there needs to be a non-violent way inside the system to change stuff or we’re telling society the only way is violence outside the system.

                Given that there are non-violent ways inside the system to take down monuments, the monuments we do have are protected by force of law and threat of legal violence by the system.

                Violent protesters doing “X” outside the system are opening the door for violence, wrecking the system, and need to be dealt with harshly. If you’re excusing “X” then we can change “X” to “shooting abortion doctors”, “burning down buildings”, or whatever.Report

          • Avatar DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            “Rather, it’s very probable that statues of Lee were erected by those public entities for the purpose of identifying Lee as honorable and admirable for at least some reasons.”

            Then given the current attitude of the country it should be no trouble to introduce and have approved by a strong majority a legislative mandate to remove the statue.Report

            • Avatar Burt Likko
              Ignored
              says:

              Y’all are acting like I’m endorsing vandalism. I’m not. I too want to see the democratic process result in a removal of the statues.

              I’m not saying “It’s good that demonstrators pulled down the statues.” But I am saying that the proposition articulated immediately above, that legislative bodies will always reflect the will of the populace at large, experientially doesn’t seem to be the case. And this oughtn’t be a partisan-against-partisan observation: there’s plenty of right wing griping about Democratic politicians being corrupted against the public will or blind by way of their ideology to the public will.

              Demonstrators turning violent when a significant portion of the population feels not only that they’re losing elections, but that their concerns aren’t even being heard in the first place or taken seriously by anyone with power even if they are, is when you get things like statues being torn down.

              That observation is not an endorsement. It’s seeing a raised red flag. When things like that start happening all over the place, those in power should take some time to listen to voices they usually don’t hear and to answer the concerns those voices raise.

              I’m sorry that this observation makes so many people uncomfortable.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    WW5: There have been jokes about “stamping license plates in prison” since I was a kid (Sing-Sing was the prison that got used all the time when I prison was specified).

    Does this mean that, in Ohio anyway, that license plates will no longer be stamped in prison? Or is it just that if prisoners stamp license plates, they’ll do it for minimum wage instead of for 28 cents an hour? (Will their paychecks be garnished and the garnish be delivered to the prison for room/board?)Report

  6. Avatar Michael Cain
    Ignored
    says:

    WW3: 15 members of the Idaho House showed up, far short of what they needed for a quorum. The crowd looked to be mostly the crowd controllers. Speeches were given, ranging from reasonable to full-on conspiracy theories. Ada County, where the capital is located, is having a surge of Covid-19 cases and has reclosed bars and nightclubs starting today.Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain
      Ignored
      says:

      An acquaintance pointed me at this proposal to attach eastern parts of Oregon and Washington to Idaho. This one makes more sense than most such proposals: (1) the new state would have a reasonable population for a state at ~3.7M people (29th, just above Connecticut), and (2) it doesn’t cut the new state off from all existing central state bureaucracies.

      Most proposals like this assume that there would be no need to recreate a state-level bureaucracy. That’s simply not true in this day and age. States have to fit into a complicated federal statutory framework and a bureaucracy is a requirement. Well, I suppose they could pay the non-compliance fines and penalties instead. Some of those are extremely punitive.Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      I wonder about Idaho’s public meetings law (there basically has to be one). That’s a law that requires (among other things) when public officials meet to discuss political issues, that they provide appropriate advance notice to the public of their meeting and the subjects to be discussed, and for the minutes of those meetings to be published and made part of official public records.

      Campaigning events are excepted from such meetings, because campaigning (“This is how I feel about issue X, and if you agree you should vote for me”) is distinguished from the discussion of public affairs (“This is what I think we should do about issue X, and if you agree you should sign on to my proposed legislation”). Did this demonstration violate a public meeting law? Are legislators permitted to access the facilities of the legislature for meetings that aren’t duly noticed under the public meetings law or the other regular procedural rules of their legislative body?Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain
        Ignored
        says:

        I think they’re good. The meeting was announced, or at least the call to meet was made publicly. The subject was announced, to debate whether the governor had exceeded his authority and possible emergency legislation to rein him in. The gallery of the Idaho House chamber was open. Members of the press were present.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko
          Ignored
          says:

          Okay, cool.

          I wouldn’t have been in favor of any sort of actual punishment for them even if they weren’t; they’re expressing a political point of view and we ought to be very deferential to that. I was thinking about various kinds of sunshine laws because of something that came up in my own professional life today, and then RTFA so that’s where my mind went.Report

  7. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Speaking of Milwaukee, apparently there was a situation where a couple of girls disappeared, the parents called the police, the police didn’t issue an amber alert (the girls weren’t considered “critically missing”), the parents traced one of the girls’ phones via GPS to a house, and there the story gets all confusing. The police say they went into the house and could not find the girls. The neighbors, who at this point were getting unruly, went in and found the girls. The house has since burned down.

    Those are the parts of the story that are not in dispute.

    If you want to get into the crazy conspiracy theories that are flying around, just do a search for “Milwaukee” on twitter.

    Even the best-case scenarios here don’t look very good.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The Chicago Tribune is covering this now. I couldn’t help but notice this part:

      The three people shot weren’t shot by police, authorities said. Police Chief Alfonso Morales denounced the unrest as vigilantism and said some people were reacting to information that had not been proven.

      “We investigate the information that is given to us. We can’t allow an unruly crowd to determine what that investigation is,” Morales said.

      I’m not sure that appealing to the importance of trusting the police and how the police do things is the right play in June 2020.Report

  8. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    WW3: It worked so well at Altamont.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    An interesting incident in Israel today. A driver, Ahmed Erekat, crashed into a soldier checkpoint and hit a soldier. The driver immediately got out of the car and then the soldiers shot the driver. The driver survived the initial shooting, apparently, but bled out and soldiers didn’t let him get medical assistance. The official explanation is that they had to make sure that the car didn’t have a bomb and Ahmed didn’t have a bomb belt. About an hour after the shooting, Ahmed died.

    There is a lot of controversy over this.

    The pro-driver position seems to be something to the effect of “everybody makes mistakes, you forget which is the gas and which is the brake, you panic, these things happen… it shouldn’t invoke the death penalty!”

    The pro-soldier position seems to be “wanna know a good way to get shot? Ram your car into a soldier checkpoint.”

    The driver appears to have made two announcement videos as he was driving to the incident. The pro-soldier position seems to be that these are obviously goodbye videos. The pro-driver position seems to be that these are obviously *NOT* goodbye videos.

    This seems to be evolving into a George Floyd situation over there. Keep an eye open.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      If only there were other positions available.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        I’m kind of at a loss. Could you give an example of a third position that isn’t “hey, he made a mistake ramming the guard post. He didn’t deserve to die because of it!” and “The soldiers had the information that this guy was ramming their guard post and then he jumped out of the car. Of course they shot him.”?

        Because I’m trying to come up with a third position that is somewhere around as reasonable as both of those and failing.Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    Regardless of the guy’s reason for ramming the post, the soldiers were right to fire. Vehicles have been used as weapons before, military installations have been targeted, and there is simply less room for “mistakes” in close proximity to them. Once he was shot and immobilized, they should have had medical support at the ready and quickly assessed the potential for additional threats. If he posed no further threat, administer the care. If he had a bomb, do your best to disarm and provide care if/when possible.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Speaking of Qualified Immunity, I just saw this funny little story on the Twitters explaining QI.

    Now, I hear you explain, that’s not fair. That’s not exactly how it works. It’s a lot more complicated than that. Many times a lot of the stuff that a cop does doesn’t even make it to the stage where they explore Qualified Immunity!

    Well, the public understanding of Qualified Immunity is now that. Those 36 seconds.Report

  12. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Teen Vogue has insights to offer on Police Unions. If you’re one who believes that the literature the kidz are reading today is likely to influence what is fashionable tomorrow, you’ll be most interested in this.

    Report

  13. Avatar Marchmaine
    Ignored
    says:

    I wonder if Tik-Tok was worth it for this young lady’s profile picture.Report

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