There is a highly disturbing story out of Somers, Iowa where Homer Martz was reportedly charged for flying a U.S. flag upside down in protest over an oil pipeline put near his home. It is clearly a protected act under the First Amendment, but the town of Somers appears to lack a single lawyer — or a telephone number for a single lawyer — to explain free speech protections to them.
I have long been a critic of military tribunals as constitutionally dubious and practically ineffectual institutions. The tribunals at Guantanamo Bay have resulted in few actual trials and undermined the standing of the United States as a nation committed to the rule of law. The principle rationale cited by former officials in defense of Gitmo has been that it would not be used to try citizens. Now in a deeply disturbing interview, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump has stated that he might try citizens at Gitmo — maintaining a shadow court system for stripping citizens of basic rights of due process just a few miles off the United States shore.
My friend Professor Eugene Volokh raised an interesting case out of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) where the commission reinstated what many would consider a facially invalid harassment lawsuit over a worker wearing a simple “Don’t Tread on Me” cap. The cap was claimed cited as “racially offensive to African Americans” because “the flag was designed by Christopher Gadsden, a ‘slave trader & owner of slaves.’” It is a bizarre case but the concern over the fluid standard for such cases was magnified by a response to Gene from Harvard Law professor Noah Feldman who added that a worker “Saying at work that ‘Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because women shouldn’t work full-time’” could also be a legitimate basis for sanctions.
Iran has given the world another outrage in its enforcement of the medieval Islamic Sharia law. The victim was Hassan Afshar, 19, who was hanged for what the Sharia court called “forced male-to-male anal intercourse.” Afshar insisted that that the sex was consensual, though in Iran you can also be executed for simply being homosexual — as we have previously discussed.
Donald Trump has been widely criticized for what is seen as a shaky knowledge or fealty to the Constitution. Recently, however, he seemed to pledge support not just the Constitution but beyond — pleading to defend “Article XII” which is two articles too many for the Constitution.
By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
In a significant judgment against the City of SeaTac, Washington in a property rights case a King County Superior Court judge awarded Gerry and Kathy Kingen $18.3 million after what the court described as “a pattern of deception that lasted years.”
The trouble for the couple began in 2003 when they purchased land in the vicinity of Sea-Tac Airport with the intent to develop the land into a Park-and-Fly garage. Immediately after bringing notice to the city of their plans the city council declared a moratorium on the construction of these garages and engaged in tactics to hinder the couple’s investment until, according to court documents, they were forced under duress to sell the property to a “phantom buyer” who was later determined to be a surrogate for the city.
In a relatively rare move, Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Trista Hudson has been fired for her blatantly unethical conduct in the withholding of exculpatory evidence in the prosecution of Eric Knowles (left), 39, for child molestation. Recently, evidence was discovered that one of two purported victims made up at least part of the accusations in a child molestation case. Hudson also serves on the Valparaiso City Council.