ABOUT. FUCKING. TIME.
Remember last week, when Texas and the federal court system took a shit all over women's rights and then flushed them both down the toilet? And the government did basically nothing but issue angry press releases?
Well, looks like my government is finally doing something about it!
Yesterday, the DOJ sued Texas to stop enforcement SB 8, which bans basically all abortions by, as the DOJ puts it, "deputiz[ing] private citizens ... to serve as bounty hunters."
Correctly pointing out that "Texas enacted S.B. 8 in open defiance of the Constitution[,]" the United States asks a federal court to find that the law is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment's Supremacy Clause, preempted by federal law, and a violation of intergovernmental immunity. The DOJ is seeking a declaratory judgment that the law is some illegal bullshit (paraphrasing), and for it to be enjoined.
As the lawsuit lays out,
It takes little imagination to discern Texas's goal—to make it too risky for an abortion clinic to operate in the State, thereby preventing women throughout Texas from exercising their constitutional rights, while simultaneously thwarting judicial review. Thus far, the law has had its desired effect. To date, abortion providers have ceased providing services prohibited by S.B. 8, leaving women in Texas unacceptably and unconstitutionally deprived of abortion services. Yet, despite this flagrant deprivation of rights, S.B. 8 remains in effect.
The legal issues
The jackasses who drafted this bill were very clear that they were purposefully crafting it in a way they hoped could avoid judicial review altogether. Because who needs "rights," anyway?
It's all stupid bullshit, but because we live in the dumbest timeline, far too many people are taking it seriously.
Who to sue
Lots of Very Smart People are taking the ridiculous argument seriously that no one can sue over this law because the state just created the abortion bounty hunters, but the abortion bounty hunters aren't technically arms of the state. In pretending like this is a good faith argument, all of these Very Smart People are making it seem like this is a close call. It's not. It's really, really not.
While the state deputizing abortion hunters is an impressive privatization of fascism, that certainly shouldn't make it unchallengeable. Even John Roberts wrote in last week's dissent, "The desired consequence appears to be to insulate the State from responsibility for implementing and enforcing the regulatory regime."
DOJ says "fuck that." (Paraphrasing again.)
The United States has the authority and responsibility to ensure that Texas cannot evade its obligations under the Constitution and deprive individuals of their constitutional rights by adopting a statutory scheme designed specifically to evade traditional mechanisms of federal judicial review. The federal government therefore brings this suit directly against the State of Texas to obtain a declaration that S.B. 8 is invalid, to enjoin its enforcement, and to protect the rights that Texas has violated.
The "it's fine because pRiVaTe aCtOrS" argument also entirely ignores the role of the fucking legal system in enforcing judgments. The claim is that it's totally fine to allow for the state to use private citizens to destroy the US Constitution. Even though the state was who enacted the damn law. But, umm, who will actually be enforcing judgments, again? The courts. And what are courts? Arms of the goddamn state.
That constitutional rights apply in court enforcement of judgments isn't even novel. In defamation and libel lawsuits, the First Amendment applies, even though the plaintiffs aren't state actors. You know why? Because courts, which would enforce any judgment, are state actors. In the same vein, courts can't enforce racist covenants. And why is that? Because courts are state actors.
The DOJ alludes to this in the complaint, noting that "Texas has mandated that its state judicial officers enforce this unconstitutional attack by requiring them to dispense remedies that undeniably burden constitutionally protected rights."
The DOJ also argues that SB 8 is effectively deputizing abortion bounty hunters as "agents" of the state, and therefore it can sue the state directly. After all, "[t]hese individuals are also state actors to the extent they are significantly involved in conduct that would be unconstitutional if engaged in by the State itself or Texas has sanctioned their conduct."
"No one can be sued to stop this incredibly unconstitutional law" is, simply, not a legitimate argument. It's just not. Sure, it looks like at least five tyrants on the Supreme Court are ready to roll with it, but we already know this Court is nothing but the judicial branch of the Republican Party.
And, like Garland noted at his press conference announcing the suit, "This kind of scheme to nullify the Constitution of the United States is one that all Americans – whatever their politics or party – should fear." I agree. It's absolutely fucking insane that any court would accept the argument that literally no one can sue to protect their constitutional rights, as long as the autocracy is privatized.
If the Supreme Court adopts the reasoning that bounty hunters don't count and no one can sue, (a) fuck them, and (b) it is fucking on. Let's take this to the next step. I want blue states to start cranking out bounty hunter laws of their own. Bounty hunters for people who own firearms. Bounty hunters for people who refuse to wear masks. Bounty hunters for anti-vaxxers. Bounty hunters for Trump voters. Bounty hunters for all Republicans!
Hell, I think we should pass a law to ban all ejaculation that doesn't happen pursuant to a notarized agreement to procreate. If the aim is really to stop abortion, not just control pregnant people, stopping ejaculation sounds like a pretty damn effective way to do it.
If the state can ban our constitutional rights simply by paying thugs to do their dirty work for them, we effectively have no constitutional rights at all.
Fun legal theories
The complaint also asserts some pretty fun legal arguments that aren't typically seen in these kinds of cases. It uses the Commerce Clause to argue that the law "forces women who wish to obtain these services to travel out of Texas to other states in order to exercise their constitutional rights and it hinders businesses and non-profits engaged in this commercial activity."
States don't get to tell the feds what to do; the doctrines of preemption and intergovernmental immunity, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, make this a big no-no. States don't get to prohibit the federal government from doing things. Or, to put it in a way Republicans may understand: That's not how federalism works, dummies.
Does anything even matter?
So listen. I appreciate this suit and I'm so happy to see someone in government finally, actually do something to try to stop it. And I like the complaint. But — you knew there was a but, right? — (a) I would like to see a whole lot more more happening to stop this insanity; and (b) it probably doesn't even fucking matter, anyway.
The good news: US v. Texas has been assigned to Judge Robert Pitman, an Obama appointee who was ready to enjoin SB 8 before it went into effect.
The bad news: All the appellate courts. The Fifth Circuit has been garbage for a very long time and is continuing that proud tradition to this day. Oh, and our Supreme Court is full of fascists and religious oligarchs in training.
As the Supremes showed us just last week, they are pretty much ready to accept any bullshit argument that lets them take rights away from women and pregnant people. At least five justices demonstrated that they're willing to allow pretty much anything when it comes to controlling women and pregnant people. And those five votes are all they need to bring the country back to the time of unsafe, back alley abortions.
So it doesn't even matter how good of a decision the DOJ gets; the appellate courts can just stay it until SCOTUS gets around to overturning Roe in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization next summer.
We have an incredibly narrow window of opportunity, here. It is almost certain that, this time next year, Roe will be gone, and abortion will be criminalized in states all around the country. And who knows how many millions of lives will be ruined when that happens.
We need radical action or we will be living in a Handmaid's Tale-style dystopian hellscape.
This suit is great, but it's only one small step.
Here's the DOJ's complaint:
Follow Jamie on Twitter to learn more about just how much she hates Texas and the current Supreme Court.
Oh we are quaking in our boots over here, wanking motion.
Last week, your beloved Wonkette received a very serious letter accusing us of ALL THE LIBELSLANDER.
Remember the CARES Act PPP loans for "small businesses" that ended up going to major corporations and Trump sycophants who gave lots of
speech money to various Republican assholes?
Well, back in April of 2020, Doktor Zoom wrote this lovely piece about how hotel mogul and Trump donor Monty Bennett was the largest recipient of funds from CARES Act's Paycheck Protection Plan, getting $96 million for his business empire from the Small Business Administration. Oh, and he did this while laying off 95 percent of his staff. NBD!
I think I love you
Is it okay if I call you Monty and Steve? I'm gonna call you Monty and Steve. Before we move on, I would just like to take a moment to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for this beautiful, beautiful gift. I also have a question.
You presumably came to our website at least once, to read all of the mean, true things you complain about in your letter. So you should have at least some concept of Wonkette's tone.
Even without doing a cursory google to see how we might respond to letters such as this, did the words "Streisand Effect" really never once come to mind?
But, again, thank you. Truly. Last week was a very hard week and I was in great need of a little comic relief. And a defamation accusation containing such gems as the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "sleazy" was exactly what I needed.
You may not know this about me, Monty and Steve. But responding to these kinds of threats and lawsuits is actually one of my favorite things.
So what are you so afraid of?
From your letter, it appears Monty is upset that we were mean to him. While that's sad for Monty, I recommend he start his quest for redemption by acting like a decent human being, not threatening mommyblogs with bullshit lawsuits.
But let's not speak only in generalizations. Let's get into the specifics of your letter. Because I always love me a good dictionary definition!
The article states that Mr. Bennett "exploit[ed] the 'small' business loan program" and that his actions were "sleazy as fuck." According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "sleazy" is defined to mean "sordid, corrupt, or immoral."
I prefer Merriam-Webster, personally, but you do you. I'm a little sad you didn't also give us a definition of "as fuck" to accompany it, though.
As I once helpfully pointed out to one Mr. Bob Murray, you can't sue someone for telling you to eat shit, and you can't sue someone for calling you "sleazy." That's called an opinion, and it is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. As I also helpfully explained to Mr. Murray (along with some illustrative photographs), truth is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation. Unfortunately, I do not have any artwork to use here, but I do really enjoy the part of your letter where you tell us that our reporting was correct, but defamatory nonetheless.
The PPP loans obtained by hotel properties within Ashford's portfolio were obtained lawfully and in a manner contemplated by provisions of the CARES Act. The article acknowledges the legality of the loan applications but falsely implies that there was some corruption in the loan application process.
Defamatory implications! And we apparently did a lot of them!
The article falsely implies that there was some deception in the loan application process.
Just to clarify: We implied no such corruption in the loan application process, and we implied no deception in the loan application process. Former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, though, got very GRR MAD that large huge HUGE corporations such as yours were taking advantage of it — or "exploiting" it, as is the definition of "exploiting" per the Commie Girl Industries Inc. dictionary and probably some others. And indeed, you were eventually shamed into returning the money, because it was not the intent of the program, even if it was allowed! Is that our fault? Maybe!
I find it truly fascinating that the letter
you sent us refers to Monty's business empire as "the Ashford portfolio," but you would like to make sure we affirmatively note that companies named things like "Ashford, Inc." and "Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc." are, technically, separately and legally distinct entities. (Separate and legally distinct entities that are all run by Monty, here, but we are sure that, too, is just a coincidence.) So, sure, WE RETRACT AND ARE HEARTILY SORRY. We good?
Oh! And it appears we were supposed to predict that, at some point after our post was published, Monty would be publicly shamed into returning the PPP loan money and rehiring some people?
Further, Ashford subsequently returned all of the PPP loan funds and rehired many furloughed employees.
You are also perturbed that we wrote about how Monty "had to console himself with some great big bonuses, plus huge dividends from his preferred stock" while laying off almost all of his staff. But we clearly never should have said such a thing, since, as you point out in your letter, "Mr. Bennett's dividends from Ashford, Inc. were decreased as a result of the pandemic." (Emphasis yours.) We really should have noted that Monty became slightly less filthy rich as a result of the pandemic and paid himself a measly $950,000 salary and $2.3 million bonus last year. He paid himself LESS "bonus" — generally considered to be appropriate compensation when a corporation is doing well, not "suffer[ing] enormous financial losses" as you, yourself, describe it — while laying people off and taking PPP loans. Congratulations, Monty. You're a prince.
Like all truly great defamation threats, your letter also includes one of my favorite tropes: not just a retraction demand, but a demand to say ... some random other shit.
My clients further demand that Wonkette affirmatively state the truth about Mr. Bennett and Ashford, which is that they acted lawfully and ethically in obtaining PPP loans after having suffered enormous financial losses during the pandemic, that none of the PPP loan funds were retained by Ashford portfolio properties, and that Mr. Bennett's compensation decreased as a result of the pandemic.
Since Monty is known to pay conservative outlets to be nice to him, I guess it tracks that he thinks he can just bully or pay everyone off. But "ethically"?! SERIOUSLY?! ("After The Times presented evidence that [Bennett] directly ordered articles [contrary to Bennett's spokeswoman's flat denial], lawyers representing [the rightwing "news" publisher Brian] Timpone sent The Times a cease and desist letter, demanding that it not publish the information." It's what's called "the kicker": a vividly outrageous scene to end your story on a WTF note. And Timpone's lawyers apparently didn't threaten to SLAPP the New York By God Times about anything in the Times's extremely damning story — other than their client's relationship with Monty Bennett.)
Oh, Monty and Steve. You know what? I'm going to put this in a way you might understand. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines "ethical" as "conforming to accepted standards of conduct." So we respectfully decline.
Thanks but no thanks
Thank you again for your correspondence dated August 25, 2021.
Despite our disagreements, I'd like to acknowledge that I very much appreciate a comment at the end of the letter, where you say you "trust" that we "understand the seriousness of this matter."
We do understand the seriousness of this matter. We absolutely do. We know all too well about the scourge of frivolous litigation clogging our courts that seeks to do nothing more than stifle free speech. People who use the American legal system to silence others just because they don't like what they say are abhorrent and should be ashamed of themselves. This is an epidemic among the mega-rich and rightwing politicians, and it must be stopped.
As for your demand that we "retract and/or correct" some of the very BESMIRCH STATEMENTS we published about Monty, I believe we gave it the appropriate level of seriousness.
Oh, and is this the right place for a reminder that your proposed lawsuit would involve digging into Monty's reputation? Since he's claiming we damaged it with our besmirches? That does sound fun for me, but maybe not so much for you. (And how is that SEC investigation going, by the way?)
Anyway, guys, I appreciate you. I do. But I think you could both really benefit from a primer on defamation law and the First Amendment. May I suggest taking a look at
this legal brief written by a very smart lady with the initials JLC?
Again, thank you for your letter. I mean that.
For more snark and First Amendment lessons, follow
Jamie on Twitter!
Every part of SB 8 is a parade of horribles, and they like it like that.
Welcome to Gilead.
Two days ago, because this is the Bad Place, a Texas law banning basically all abortion and deputizing abortion bounty hunters went into effect.
I am not exaggerating when I say SB 8 is the most batshit, psychopathic, sexist law I have ever seen actually take effect. And I used to work at the ACLU of West Virginia — I have seen a lot of shit!
All abortions after six weeks — or two weeks after the first missed period, if you are completely regular with your periods — are now illegal in Texas. And, just in case destroying people's lives wasn't enough, anyone can sue anyone who may have possibly thought about helping someone get an abortion. (Really, you can be sued for intending to abet an abortion that does not take place.) And, like SER and Robyn already told you, this week, the Supreme Court essentially overturned Roe v. Wade in secret. First, by failing to act. Then, by acting in the worst way possible.
I'm not sure if "misogyfascist" is an actual term, but I've decided to roll with it.
It's all bad.
Earlier parts of SB 8 get into the whole "heartbeat" thing. But, for the purposes of this post, here's the most relevant section:
Sec. 171.208. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION.
(a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who:
(1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subchapter;
(2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter; or
(3) intends to engage in the conduct described by Subdivision (1) or (2).
Let's get something straight: There is no part of this law that isn't sadistic, psychopathic, and dumb as hell. And absolutely none of it would be acceptable under any circumstances. But what it actually does is so much worse than it even sounds, if you read most of the press coverage of SB 8.
Take a look at (3) right there. Not only is actually having an abortion or helping someone have an abortion illegal; it's also illegal to even consider having an abortion or helping someone get one.
So not only does this law allow any random-ass piece of shit to file a lawsuit against any person with a uterus accusing them of having an "illegal" abortion. And not only does it also allow those psychopaths to accuse any doctor of performing an "illegal" abortion. It also allows them to sue literally anyone they think might have ever considered having an abortion, or might have considered helping someone have an abortion.
So under what is now CURRENT, EXISTING TEXAS LAW, abortion bounty hunting can be brought by, for example:
- Abusive men who claim their partner/ex wanted to have an abortion, even if they didn't go through with it.
- Rapists who feel like banding together to sue each other's victims and share the bounties.
- Any fucking random sadist with nothing better to do.
- Abortion funds, their employees, and the people who donate to them.
- A mom who helps her teenager get a legal abortion in another state.
- Uber/Lyft drivers who may have transported pregnant people.
- Alllllll the OB-GYNs.
- People who actually care about women and pregnant people.
- Literally anyone with a uterus.
It's also fucking absurd.
In addition to all of the terrible things this law allows, it is also written so poorly as to give us some amazing possibilities, that certainly must have been unintended consequences.
With that part in section 3, allowing people to target anyone who "intends to engage" in "aiding or abetting" an abortion, I can make a good-faith legal argument that any man who has even thought about having heterosexual sex, much less had heterosexual sex, or even — gasp! — unprotected heterosexual sex, has intended to engage in aiding and abetting abortion.
Some of the intended consequences are also great. The abortion bounty hunter can sue whomever he wants, in any county in the (very large) state, and the defendant isn't allowed to move it to a closer venue. And even defendants who win because they had absolutely nothing to do with "aiding and abetting" an abortion can't recover their costs and attorney's fees.
So, one may wonder, what is stopping people from clogging Texas's court system with cases alleging every legislator who voted for this abomination has intended to aid and abet an abortion? In the furthest county from where they live? And forcing them to pay for attorneys to defend the case?
Can we fucking do anything about this?
Yes! The real question is whether Democrats actually will do anything.
The thing is, there actually are a whole bunch of things Democrats could do. But the problem is, most of these potential solutions require thinking outside the box. And if there's one thing the powers that be in the Democratic Party love, it's archaic norms.
Decades ago, Republicans and Democrats were in a basement, sitting at a table, playing chess. Then, the Republicans doused the basement in gasoline and set it on fire. But the Democrats are still sitting at the table, yelling about the rules of chess.
Like Elie Mystal writes over at The Nation, "The only question is how far Democrats are willing to go to defend women's rights." And, frankly, you can sing all the platitudes you want — I'll believe it when I see it.
There have been a lot of great press releases about protecting abortion rights this week. And that's nice. I appreciate words of support, I do. But, unless you are on the front lines doing absolutely everything you can to stop this, you can shove your press releases up your ass.
Want a few free ideas, Democratic leadership? Here you go!
- Pass Women's Health Protection Act, codifying Roe, fucking yesterday.
- Expand the goddamn motherfucking Court and our circuit courts before our democracy crumbles as we all sit here watching.
- As Mystal suggests, use the doctrine of qualified immunity for good, for once. Make abortion providers federal officials — like vaccine distribution, but for abortion. They will have qualified immunity for all of their official actions.
- Make DC and Puerto Rico states. (Assuming PR wants to be a state, that is. I certainly wouldn't blame Puerto Ricans giving that one a hard pass.)
For her part, Nancy Pelosi announced yesterday that she would be bringing the Women's Health Protection Act up for a vote when Congress returns. Awesome! But Congress is still chillin' until the end of the month. Shame on my fucking Congress for going on a two-month vacation without lifting a finger to stop this travesty, when we all knew it was coming
Yesterday, Biden, too, released a great statement. Noting that the Supreme Court had "unleash[ed] unconstitutional chaos and empower[ed] self-anointed enforcers to have devastating impacts" on people's lives, Biden directed the White House Counsel's Office and Gender Policy Council "to launch a whole-of-government effort" to respond to this decision. He asked the offices to "look specifically to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice to see what steps the Federal Government can take to ensure that women in Texas have access to safe and legal abortions as protected by Roe, and what legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas' bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties."
Good. Great! But, again, I'll believe there is real action coming just as soon as it happens.
What's happening in Texas right now is already destroying lives, we have known since May that this was coming, and my federal government did absolutely nothing to stop it.
I have nothing good to say about any of this.
Unless we're counting things like "Maybe SCOTUS will wait a few years before going full fetal personhood and banning all abortion nationwide?" and "Rich people will always be able to get abortions" as "good" now, I got nothin'.
The Onion continues to be depressingly prescient, with a new post titled "New Texas Law Allows Private Citizens To Hold Pregnant Women Hostage Until Birth." And don't kid yourselves: That shit is coming next.
While our political and court systems continue to fail us, there are some amazing people in Texas fighting the good fight on the ground. Organizations like RAICES, the Texas Equal Access Fund, Frontera Fund, Jane's Due Process, and Fund Texas Choice are still working — and, in some cases, straight-up saying that laws like this one are "meant to be broken."
Now is a great time to donate to or volunteer with an organization helping people in Texas access the abortion care they need.
I have donated to a few Texas orgs and abortion funds this week. A few people have asked if I'm afraid of being sued. And you know what I have to say to that?
Bring. It. On.
Follow Jamie on Twitter, she has a lot more to say about abortion rights and misogyfascists.
'This lawsuit should never have been filed.'
"This lawsuit should never have been filed."
That is both a direct quote from and the basic gist of Judge Linda Parker's opinion in King v. Whitmer. This week, the universe was given the gift of Judge Parker's opinion yelling at Trump's krackhead lawyers for bringing a rotting squid carcass into her courtroom.
(Okay, that last part is paraphrasing.)
Last fall, Judge Parker drew the short straw and was assigned Sidney Powell and Lin Wood's Michigan case trying to overturn the election.
This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.
And so, Parker ordered each plaintiffs' lawyer in this case to pay the State of Michigan and City of Detroit's costs and fees, and also take classes about how to be lawyers.
She also referred each lawyer — Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, Emily Newman, Julia Haller, Brandon Johnson, Scott Hagerstrom, Howard Kleinhendler, Gregory Rohl, respectively — to the disciplinary authorities where they're admitted to practice law. There, their licenses could be suspended or revoked. (Also known as "doing a Guiliani.")
They fucked around. Now they find out.
Remember last November and December, when a bunch of brainwashed grundles were telling anyone who would listen that Trump had actually won the election? Despite losing literally every swing state?
But here's the thing.
While there are many arenas—including print, television, and social media—where protestations, conjecture, and speculation may be advanced, such expressions are neither permitted nor welcomed in a court of law.
Dearest Sidney and Lin, you can go on Twitter and say alllllll the dumb shit you want. (Oh, sorry, Lin. I forgot you actually can't.) The First Amendment protects your right to spew cultish conspiracy theories in the marketplace of ideas! The First Amendment does not, however, give you the right to make shit up and abuse our court system with lawsuits trying to overturn a democratic election.
Of course, an "empty-head" but "pure-heart" does not justify lodging patently unsupported factual assertions.
This is not okay. The Court remains baffled after trying to ascertain what convinced Plaintiffs' counsel otherwise.
[S]ubjective belief that an event occurred does not constitute evidence that the event in fact occurred.
So. Were they wrong about the law? Yes.
Plaintiffs' counsel advanced claims that were not well-grounded in the law, as demonstrated by their (i) presentment of claims not warranted by existing law or a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modifying, or reversing the law; (ii) assertion that acts or events violated Michigan election law, when the acts and events (even if they occurred) did not; and (iii) failure to inquire into the requirements of Michigan election law.
But were they wrong about the facts? Also yes.
Plaintiffs' counsel advanced claims that were also not well-grounded in fact, as demonstrated by their (i) failure to present any evidentiary support for factual assertions; (ii) presentment of conjecture and speculation as evidentiary support for factual assertions; (iii) failure to inquire into the evidentiary support for factual assertions; (iv) failure to inquire into evidentiary support taken from other lawsuits; and (v) failure to inquire into [their so-called expert's] outlandish and easily debunked numbers.
And lawyers are supposed to be better than this, you absolute wankers.
Indeed, attorneys take an oath to uphold and honor our legal system. The sanctity of both the courtroom and the litigation process are preserved only when attorneys adhere to this oath and follow the rules, and only when courts impose sanctions when attorneys do not. And despite the haze of confusion, commotion, and chaos counsel intentionally attempted to create by filing this lawsuit, one thing is perfectly clear: Plaintiffs' attorneys have scorned their oath, flouted the rules, and attempted to undermine the integrity of the judiciary along the way. As such, the Court is duty-bound to grant the motions for sanctions[.]
To the astonishment of absolutely everyone paying attention, Powell used her sanctions hearing to compare herself to Thurgood Marshall, and, in Judge Parker's words, "baselessly suggest" her dumbass suit was "akin to Brown v. Board of Education."
"Yes, attorneys may and should raise difficult and even unpopular issues to urge change in the law where change is needed." But, umm, (andnoIcan'tbelievethisactuallyfuckinghastobesaid,) Sidney Powell, ain't you no Thurgood Marshall. As Judge Parker puts it,
Brown arose from an undeniable history during which Black Americans were treated as second-class citizens through legalized segregation in the schools of our country. In stark comparison, the present matter is built on fantastical claims and conspiracy theories.
Powell latched onto the Dominion plaintiffs' assertion that her allegations amounted to "wild accusations" and "outlandish claims" and therefore, she argued, "reasonable people would not accept" these alleged statements and allegations "as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by courts through the adversary process."
Turns out judges don't love it when you say "I was being such a moron that no one should have taken me seriously and it's your own fault if you did" about actual suits you filed in a court of law.
SHOCKED, I AM SHOCKED!
It is not acceptable to support a lawsuit with opinions, which counsel herself claims no reasonable person would accept as fact and which were "inexact," "exaggerate[ed]," and "hyperbole." Nor is it acceptable to use the federal judiciary as a political forum to satisfy one's political agenda. Such behavior by an attorney in a court of law has consequences.
Nor was the judge persuaded by Powell's argument that she was simply too careless and ignorant to figure out if "facts" were "true.
Plaintiffs' counsel may not bury their heads in the sand and thereafter make affirmative proclamations about what occurred above ground. In such cases, ignorance is not bliss—it is sanctionable.
Or, as I might put it, "You are dumber than an ostrich taint."
Some of the stupidest criminals in the world are working right here in America. I've always been very proud of that.
Pro-tip: try to live your life so a judge never has to tell you there's a difference between Telegram and federal court.
Plaintiffs' counsel's politically motivated accusations, allegations, and gamesmanship may be protected by the First Amendment when posted on Twitter, shared on Telegram, or repeated on television. The nation's courts, however, are reserved for hearing legitimate causes of action.
Sidney. Lin. Do you ... know what an attorney is? Neither I nor Judge Parker is convinced that you do.
Unfortunately for team squid, "I'm too dumb to live" does not insulate you from the consequences for your actions. If you don't believe me, just ask the anti-vaxxers currently dying of COVID.
Bring on the sanctions!
Sanctions are required to deter the filing of future frivolous lawsuits designed primarily to spread the narrative that our election processes are rigged and our democratic institutions cannot be trusted. Notably, many people have latched onto this narrative, citing as proof counsel's submissions in this case. The narrative may have originated or been repeated by Former President Trump and it may be one that "many Americans" share; however, that neither renders it true nor justifies counsel's exploitation of the courts to further spread it.
Now, the lawyers have to take at least twelve hours of "how to be a lawyer" classes, with at least six about election law and six about pleading standards. The judge anticipated these wingnuts would try to take continuing legal education courses taught by Larry Klayman at Trump University, and mandated they "be offered by a non-partisan organization" and "paid for at counsel's expense."
[T]his lawsuit was not about vindicating rights in the wake of alleged election fraud. Instead, it was about ensuring that a preferred political candidate remained in the presidential seat despite the decision of the nation's voters to unseat him.
Facts supporting the "Trump won" fever dreams are more elusive than literal kraken; giant squids with eyes the size basketballs are actually a real thing that exists.
As I have said a lot over the last several years: this may not be the worst timeline, but it certainly is the dumbest.
This court order could have straight-up quoted directly from Billy Madison and it would have made complete sense.
What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
But the judge's actual opinion is pretty great, too.
Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:
And did I say "Suck it, Sidney Powell"? Suck it, Sidney Powell.
Jamie is salty and snarky on Twitter, too.