USA Today spins its NRA lawsuit story so as to gladden liberal hearts at the thought of the NRA going broke.
The real gravamen of the news is, however, the use of the organs of government by the liberal gubernatorial administration of Andrew Cuomo in New York to intimidate insurance companies and banks into denying conventional business services to the National Rifle Association.
Obviously, if a national avocationally-oriented organization devoted to lobbying in its members’ interest cannot buy insurance, or potentially even have bank or brokerage accounts, it cannot handle money, receive dues, pay salaries, publish magazines, operate, or exist.
The gun lobbying group claims in its lawsuit, which targets Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Financial Services and Maria Vullo, which heads the department, that the state has caused “irrecoverable loss and irreparable harm” to the organization. But, of course, the organization is making these claims in a lawsuit, which it hopes to win.
The Rolling Stone first obtained the lawsuit and published the 45-page complaint online Friday.
Over several months, the NRA has taken aim at the state of New York and its financial regulators after the state ruled the NRA’s insurance, “Carry Guard,” was illegal because it gave liability protection to gun owners for acts where there was “intentional wrongdoing.”
The NRA claims in its lawsuit that it has lost its insurance coverage, something it claims its carrier wouldn’t renew for “any price.” New York, the NRA says, has interfered with its business by coercing “insurance agencies, insurers, and banks into terminating business relationships with the NRA that were necessary to the survival of the NRA.”
“If the NRA is unable to collect donations from its members, safeguard the assets
endowed to it, apply its funds to cover media buys and other expenses integral to its political speech, and obtain basic corporate insurance coverage, it will be unable to exist as a not-for-profit or pursue its advocacy mission,” the lawsuit states. “Defendants seek to silence one of Americaâ€™s oldest constitutional rights advocates. If their abuses are not enjoined, they will soon, substantially, succeed.”
If you lawfully defend yourself and/or others against criminal violence, you are very likely to be charged with a crime and forced to face a grand jury. Even if you never actually go to trial, the result will be considerable legal expenses.
Consequently, in recent years, as legal “concealed carry” has become increasingly common, gun owners have felt the need for “Carry Guard” Insurance, purchased via the NRA or through other vendors.
Governor Cuomo is trying to strike at your right to keep and bear arms and to defend yourself nationally, by using the power of New York State to scare insurance companies out of providing any such coverage via the NRA or anybody else anywhere.
From the viewpoint of the Left, the monopoly of force by the Leviathan state must be preserved at any cost.
I logged into the Oldest College Daily web-site the other day, in the course of looking for blog fodder editorials or news items. I didn’t find anything of interest in either category, but I could not avoid noticing how different today’s Yale Daily News is from the paper in my day. Obviously, there’s been a lot of technological change. I can remember night-editing and pasting up the entire paper piece by piece out of bits of paper to be printed before dawn on an enormous press down in the News building’s basement. I expect that it’s a bit easier to do all that on a PC today.
The paper’s online edition has one of those floating advertising blocks, sitting just below the paper’s logo. The advertising changes with every new mouse click or page selection. But I happened to hit the ambulance-chasing legal advertisement you see above.
Now that’s change for you! In my day, we would have had an ad for the now-extinct Quality Wine or for J. Press. Today, the politics of resentment have created such a witch-hunting atmosphere at places like Yale that enterprising law firms recognize the existence of large potential client base in the male undergraduate community.
If Peter Salovey had any common sense, when he looked at the Yalie Daily and saw that ad, he would say to himself: “By heaven, when they are running ads like this, things have obviously gone outrageously too far, and something has to be done! Tomorrow morning I’m closing down the Womens’ (Cultural Identity) Center permanently, and I’m going to assemble a blue-ribbon committee of responsible faculty, students, and alumni to write another Woodward Report, this time affirming Yale student and faculty due process rights and rejecting federal interference and identifying inflammatory paranoia-inducing leftist agitation and propagandizing as dangerous to the comity of the university and the rights of the members of its community.
“Hereafter, we are going to start treating Yale students as individuals and adults, not as members of groups of victims entitled to special privileges and compensations and not as members of a historically-oppressive majority burdened with special intrinsic demerits and inherited guilt. If someone believes she has been a victim of sexual assault, if she is right, a crime has been committed and it is a matter for the police. The university administration has no business attempting to set up extra-judicial procedures to dispense justice. That is what the police and court system is for.”
The Humane Society of the United States raises $150 million a year from animal-loving Americans. It then pays 29 executives six figure salaries, while spending under 1% of its budget on local pet shelters. HSUS really devotes its massive financial resources to continual fund-raising and lobbying politicians for legislation supporting an extreme radical Animal Rights agenda. Washington Examiner and Wikipedia
Jim Matthews, the outdoors columnist for the San Bernadino Sun, reports that some long-overdue justice may be headed HSUS’s way as the result of that organization’s continual legal harassment of the Ringling Brothers Circus.
The Humane Society of the United States, an organization that does next to nothing for animal shelters but sues, badgers and lobbies politicians and businesses into adopting its radical animals rights agenda, is getting a taste of its own medicine.
In a little-reported ruling by a judge in the District of Columbia earlier this month, the HSUS is going to court to face charges under RICO statues on racketeering, obstruction of justice, malicious prosecution and other charges for a lawsuit it brought and lost against Ringling Brothers Circus’ parent company Feld Entertainment, Inc.
After winning the case alleging mistreatment of elephants in its circuses brought by Friends of Animals (later merged into HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), lawyers at Feld filed a countersuit with a litany of charges ranging from bribery to money laundering to racketeering. The attorneys for the animal rights groups asked the judge to dismiss all charges, but most remained because the evidence was overwhelming. So in early August, HSUS will be facing the music in a case that should attract the attention of hunters, ranchers, farmers and anyone impacted by HSUS’ radical animal rights agenda.
District judge Emmet G. Sullivan did dismiss allegations of mail and wire fraud, but he did so only because Feld didn’t have standing to file this charge. His ruling all but set the stage for a class-action
RICO lawsuit against HSUS for misrepresenting itself in its fundraising campaigns across the nation. This lawsuit easily could bankrupt HSUS, put it out of business and send some of its top executives to prison.
One of the saddest stories in the news today is King & Spalding’s withdrawal, after only a week, from its representation of the U.S. House of Representatives in connection with the Defense of Marriage Act.
In February, Barack Obama’s Department of Justice announced that it would not carry out its constitutional and statutory duty of defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. This itself was disgraceful: DOMA was passed by the House and the Senate and signed into law by President Clinton. No administration should abandon the defense of a properly enacted statute that is, at a bare minimum, arguably constitutional, simply because the political winds have shifted. (DOJ did defend the act in 2009.)
After DOJ stopped defending the act, the House of Representatives retained former Solicitor General Paul Clement, a partner in King & Spalding, to represent it in upholding the constitutionality of DOMA. Predictably, this enraged certain homosexual activists:
Before the firm announced its withdrawal, Human Rights Campaign and Equality Georgia were planning a protest Tuesday morning at King & Spalding’s offices in Atlanta. In addition, a full-page ad denouncing the firm was set to run Tuesday morning in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, one person familiar with the plan said.
King & Spalding promptly folded. ..
The law firm’s action was unusual, to say the least. No doubt there is precedent for a law firm abandoning a client because it comes under political pressure, but I can’t think of one offhand. Most lawyers think they are made of sterner stuff than that.
Clement, outraged, resigned from King & Spalding and fired off a letter to the firm’s management:
“I resign out of the firmly held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular clients is what lawyers do,” Clement wrote to Hays. “I recognized from the outset that this statute implicates very sensitive issues that prompt strong views on both sides. But having undertaken the representation, I believe there is no honorable course for me but to complete it.
“Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law. If there were problems with the firm’s vetting process, we should fix the vetting process, not drop the representation.”
As Clement noted, defense of DOMA is “extremely unpopular in certain quarters.” But lawyers represent unpopular clients and unpopular causes all the time. Many of America’s most prominent law firms lined up to represent terrorists, including those associated with the September 11 attacks, in various legal proceedings. On the left, it is apparently fine to advocate for mass murderers, but not for the House of Representatives or the traditional definition of marriage.
Greg Sargent, in the Washington Post, talked to the spokesman of the group responsible, who was gloating over a successful intimidation job.
I just got off the phone with the Human Rights Campaign, the gay advocacy group thatâ€™s in the rightâ€™s crosshairs. The groupâ€™s response, in a nutshell: Deal with it. …
Far from being abashed about this campaign, Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, shared new details about it. He confirmed to me that his group did indeed contact King and Spalding clients to let them know that the group viewed the firmâ€™s defense of DOMA as unacceptable.
Sainz said his group did not ask any of the firmâ€™s clients to drop the firm in retaliation for taking the case, as is being assumed by conservatives who are alleging an untoward pressure campaign. Rather, he said, his group informed the firmâ€™s clients that taking the case was out of sync with King and Spaldingâ€™s commitment to diversity, which it proudly advertises on its Web site.
â€œKing and Spaldingâ€™s clients are listed on its web site, so we did what you would expect us to do,â€ Sainz told me. â€œWe are an advocacy firm that is dedicated to improving the lives of gays and lesbians. It is incumbent on us to launch a full-throated educational campaign so firms know that these kinds of engagements will reflect on the way your clients and law school recruits think of your firm.â€
â€œWe did all of this, and weâ€™re proud to have done it,â€ added Sainz.
Jennifer Rubin identifies the key hypocrisy.
It is worth recalling the passionate words of an all-star lineup from the Brookings Institution when some conservatives objected to the Justice Department employing lawyers who represented detainees:
Such attacks also undermine the Justice system more broadly. In terrorism detentions and trials alike, defense lawyers are playing, and will continue to play, a key role. Whether one believes in trial by military commission or in federal court, detainees will have access to counsel. Guantanamo detainees likewise have access to lawyers for purposes of habeas review, and the reach of that habeas corpus could eventually extend beyond this population. Good defense counsel is thus key to ensuring that military commissions, federal juries, and federal judges have access to the best arguments and most rigorous factual presentations before making crucial decisions that affect both national security and paramount liberty interests.
To delegitimize the role detainee counsel play is to demand adjudications and policymaking stripped of a full record. Whatever systems America develops to handle difficult detention questions will rely, at least some of the time, on an aggressive defense bar; those who take up that function do a service to the system.
But, you see, the rules are entirely different when the principle at issue is a pet position of the left.
HuffPo quotes a humorous local events item from the Missoulian.
The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a Workers’ Compensation Court ruling that about $65,000 in medical bills incurred by a man who was mauled while feeding the bears at a tourist attraction should be covered by workers’ compensation, despite the fact the man had smoked marijuana on the day of the attack.
The court filed its opinion Tuesday, the Daily Inter Lake reported.
Brock Hopkins filed a claim with the Uninsured Employers’ Fund in December 2007, saying he suffered injuries to his legs and buttocks when he was mauled by a bear at Great Bear Adventures near Glacier National Park on Nov. 2, 2007. Hopkins was treated for his injuries at a Kalispell hospital.
The UEF denied Hopkins’ claim because Hopkins had smoked marijuana before entering a bear enclosure. The fund also argued that Hopkins was acting outside the scope of his duties.
Park owner Russell Kilpatrick, who did not have workers’ compensation coverage, argued that Hopkins was a volunteer who Kilpatrick occasionally gave cash to “out of his heart.” Hopkins fed the bears that day after Kilpatrick told him not to because he was tapering their food as they prepared for hibernation, Kilpatrick said.
The Workers’ Compensation Court ruled last June that Hopkins was an employee and noted that while his “use of marijuana to kick off a day of working around grizzly bears was ill-advised to say the least and mind-bogglingly stupid to say the most,” there was no evidence presented regarding Hopkins’ level of impairment.
The WCC found that grizzlies are “equal opportunity maulers” without regard to marijuana consumption. …
[T]he agency [paid] an estimated $35,000 in discounted medical bills on behalf of Hopkins. Kilpatrick paid a small penalty for failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance, Nevin said.
A phone listing for Kilpatrick in Coram has been disconnected and there is no phone listing for Great Bear Adventures.
Both outlets overlook the more serious moral here. The Montana’s Supreme Court’s witty and charitable decision and the consequent “small penalty” seem to have closed the Great Bear Adventures Park operation and put its owner out of business. Ho, ho, ho.
Bryan Preston reports on the lengths that the Episcopal Church has been willing to go to punish parishes attempting to break away as the result of the ordination of an avowedly practicing homosexual as bishop.
I’m not at all religious and this story makes my blood boil. It must be seriously annoying to actual believing Christians.
The town of Falls Church, VA, gets its name from the beautiful historic church at its heart. The Falls Church was built in the time of George Washington, who was himself a vestryman at the church, and the original chapel still stands amid a far larger and more modern campus, and today boasts about 2,500 members. According to a historical marker nearby, the Falls Church was a recruiting station for the fledgling army that Washington led. But today the Falls Church is the target of a scorched earth campaign that the Episcopal Church USA, now called The Episcopal Church (TEC) is waging against several of its own congregations.
The Falls Churchâ€™s differences with TEC began over doctrinal issues in the 1970s, but came to a head in 2003 with the Episcopal Churchâ€™s ordination of the first non-celibate gay bishop. Many Episcopal churches, including the Falls Church and seven others in northern Virginia, elected to separate from TEC and created a parallel church network aligned with the Anglican Communion. But TEC claimed ownership of the Falls Churchâ€™s sprawling campus, and a lawsuit soon followed to wrest the property away from the congregation. Claiming alienation of property, the Episcopal Church went to courtroom war against its breakaway flocks.
The TECâ€™s lawsuit against the eight churches hinges on property ownership: Who owns the buildings and lands where the congregations meet? What would seem to be a straightforward issue, isnâ€™t, thanks in part to how Episcopal churches are governed. Episcopal churches exist somewhere between Catholic parishes, the properties of which rest solely in the hands of bishops, and most Protestant churches, which own their own properties independent of their denomination or larger structural organization. Unlike Catholic churches, Episcopal churches exercise some independence from the larger church and have the power to vote on whether to sever ties with TEC. These churches did just that. But unlike other Protestant churches, Episcopal churches exercise somewhat less independence from their larger church. But the deeds to the properties in question are in the names of the local trustees, not the TEC itself.
These churches also predate the founding of the Episcopal diocese in Virginia itself. In fact, they are among its founding churches. Falls Church itself dates back to 1734. The diocese that is suing it is three decades its junior.
Nevertheless, the Episcopal Church has continued to wage a very expensive war in court. Jim Oakes, chairman of the Anglican Division of Virginia, estimates that the case has cost the local churches and TEC between $5 million and $8 million on both sides, or between $10 million to $16 million total. For churches that exist to provide ministry to families and towns, those millions could have surely been put to much better use than hiring lawyers and engaging in legal proceedings that have now lasted five years.
As the years have worn on, the churches have offered to settle out of court at each stage, only to be rejected by the Episcopal Church, and then have prevailed over TEC in court. That changed when the case made it all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court, which handed the case back down to the circuit level after finding that the law at the heart of the case â€“ called the division statute â€“ did not apply in this case.
That trial is now set for the end of April, and is expected to take about six weeks. One Falls Church congregant I spoke with worries not just about the eventual ownership of the properties, but about the eventual intentions of the Episcopal Church itself. When I asked what was the worst case scenario, he pointed me to the outcome of a similar case in Binghamton, New York. The Episcopal Churchâ€™s victory over a breakaway church there led to this:
The Church of the Good Shepherd, which has stood at #79 Conklin Avenue since 1879, has been willingly turned over to a Muslim entity by the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York, rather than have it remain in the hands of traditional Anglicans who practice the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
The death knell for the structure as a Christian house of worship was delivered on February 9, 2010, when it was sold to Imam Muhammad Affify, doing business as the Islamic Awareness Center, for a mere $50,000, a fraction of the churchâ€™s assessed $386,400 value.
Now, two months later, the classic red Anglican doors have been repainted green, the simple cross on top of the steeply peaked bell tower has been lopped off, and a windowpane cross in the side door has been disfigured leaving only narrow vertical glass with the cross beam being painted over to hide it. The Muslims consider the cross a pagan symbol.
Meanwhile the Rev. Matt Kennedy, his wife and partner in ministry Anne, their young family and congregation were sent packing in the bitter cold and deep snow in January 2008 when the New York Supreme Court ordered them to relinquish the 130-year-old church building which stands overlooking the meandering Susquehanna River.
Good Shepherd had offered to purchase the property before any legal proceedings began, but TEC refused, just as it has refused to settle with the majority of the Virginia churches. After winning the Binghamton suit, TEC sold the historic church to the Islamic group for about a third of what the congregation had offered. …
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is on record saying she would sooner see fleeing parishes sold for saloons than see them affiliate with African and Southern Cone dioceses that uphold â€œthe faith once delivered for all to the saints.â€
Saloons rather than traditional churches? That is why the word â€œjihadâ€ is in the title of this article. The Episcopal Churchâ€™s actions in Binghamton and elsewhere defy reason, unless they were intended to send a very strong and unmistakable message to traditional congregants who might be thinking of breaking away: Defy us, and we will not only hound and possibly crush your congregation through expensive lawsuits, we will see that your cherished houses of worship are desecrated. And we will go to any lengths to send this message, even if we must turn your houses of worship into saloons, or mosques. Even if George Washington himself once worshiped there.
My experience is that the Glock pistol is surprisingly easy to shoot, but it also hasâ€”in my opinionâ€”some very objectionable features and can be dangerous to an unskilled user. A lot of police are accidentally shooting themselves in the leg with Glocks these days.
Crack DEA agent Lee Paige tried suing the government over that video. The Smoking Gun:
A Drug Enforcement Administration agent who stars in a popular online video that shows him shooting himself in the foot during a weapons demonstration for Florida children is suing over the tape’s release, claiming that his career has been crippled and he’s become a laughingstock due to the embarrassing clip’s distribution. …
According to the lawsuit, Paige was making a “drug education presentation” in April 2004 to a Florida youth group when his firearm (a Glock .40) accidentally discharged. The shooting occurred moments after Paige told the children that he was the only person in the room professional enough to carry the weapon.
The accident was filmed by an audience member, and the tape, Paige claims, was turned over to the DEA. The drug agency, he charges, subsequently “improperly, illegally, willfully and/or intentionally” allowed the tape to be disseminated.
As a result, Paige–pictured at left in a still from the video–has been the “target of jokes, derision, ridicule, and disparaging comments” directed at him in restaurants, grocery stores, and airports. Paige, who writes that he was “once regarded as one of the best undercover agents, if not the best, in the DEA,” points to the clip’s recent airing on popular television shows and via the Internet as the reason he can no longer work undercover. He also notes that he is no longer “permitted or able to give educational motivational speeches and presentations.”
Alas! Mr. Paige shot himself in the foot again, Lowering the Bar reports the case was dismissed. Getting back into the news means, of course, that more people will see the video.
[T]he judge granted summary judgment on the grounds that (even after many depositions) Paige could not prove how the video clip had gotten out, and even if he could have, the leaked information was not “private” because the incident took place in front of 50 parents and children (who at least did learn an excellent lesson in gun safety). Case dismissed.
There is no “Glock 40,” by the way. Mr. Paige shot himself with a Glock Model 22 or 23 chambered in the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge.
Richard Ingham identifies climate-change litigation as the next gold-rush opportunity for inventive lawyers, ultimately likely to produce settlement deals dwarfing the major prizes of the past.
[C]limate-change litigation is fast emerging as a new frontier of law where some believe hundreds of billions of dollars are at stake.
Compensation for losses inflicted by man-made global warming would be jaw-dropping, a payout that would make tobacco and asbestos damages look like pocket money.
Imagine: a country or an individual could get redress for a drought that destroyed farmland, for floods and storms that created an army of refugees, for rising seas that wiped a small island state off the map.
In the past three years, the number of climate-related lawsuits has ballooned, filling the void of political efforts in tackling greenhouse-gas emissions.
Eyeing the money-spinning potential, some major commercial law firms now place climate-change litigation in their Internet shop window.
Seminars on climate law are often thickly attended by corporations that could be in the firing line — and by the companies that insure them. …
“There’s a large number of entrepreneurial lawyers and NGOs who are hunting around for a way to gain leverage on the climate problem,” said David Victor, director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the University of California at San Diego.
“The number of suits filed has increased radically. But the number of suits claiming damages from climate change that have been successful remains zero.”
Lawsuits in the United States related directly or indirectly almost tripled in 2010 over 2009, reaching 132 filings after 48 a year earlier, according to a Deutsche Bank report.
Elsewhere in the world, the total of lawsuits is far lower than in the US, but nearly doubled between 2008 and 2010, when 32 cases were filed, according to a tally compiled by AFP from specialist sites.
The majority of these cases touch on regulatory issues and access to information, which can have many repercussions for coal, gas and oil producers and big carbon-emitting industries such as steel and cement.
“In this area, the floodgates have opened,” said Michael Gerrard, director of the recently-opened Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York. …
“There are billions of potential plaintiffs and millions of potential defendants,” said Gerrard.
This is why congressional investigation of climate-change scientific fraud is vitally important.
If Warmism is not exposed and discredited in popular culture, it is inevitable that some “entreprenurial” attorney will find the appropriate venue featuring an enlightened environmentally-conscious judge and jury and begin the process of creating new case law and new forms of liability which will then proceed to run every power generating company, every automaker, and every energy producing company through bankruptcy court.
It started out, a few days ago, when an inattentive woman walking and texting in a mall near Reading, Pennsylvania obliviously proceeded to walk into the side of a decorative fountain and fell in. Her minor, but embarrassing, mishap, recorded on security cameras, was posted on YouTube and became the viral humor item of the week. At that point, it was simply mildly funny.
But add the mainstream media, represented by George Stephanopolous and ABC News, and a local lawyer talking about investigating who is responsible, and we have a sad commentary on today’s America.
The inattentive woman eagerly embraces victim status, her lawyer pompously promises to investigate who exactly was responsible (as if that was not perfectly evident from the video itself), and finally George Stephanopolous, having listened to all this, proceeds to congratulate her for being a good sport. If she is a good sport, you certainly wouldn’t want to run into a whining idiot.
Pretty cut and dry. I mean, I think we can all agree that the yellow cat clearly preferred the odor of Clorox’s Fresh Step over Arm & Hammer’s Super Scoop, right?
But in a lawsuit that I predict will lead one or more of the lawyers involved in the case to consider a career change, Arm & Hammer has filed a federal lawsuit against Clorox alleging false claims that cats prefer Fresh Step over Super Scoop. Arm & Hammer says “independently conducted research” proves otherwise.
Specifically, the Arm & Hammer complaint charges that
“The Clorox advertisements are unambiguous that the judges of whether Fresh Step is superior at eliminating odors are cats, not people,” the suit says.
“But cats do not talk, and it is widely understood in the scientific community that cat perception of malodor is materially different than human perception,” the company argues. “It is not possible scientifically to determine whether cats view one substance to be more or less malodorous than another substance.”
Arm & Hammer adds that “cats will not reject Super Scoop to any meaningful degree and will do so no more frequently than they will reject Fresh Step.”