I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

S 3696 has 18 co-sponsors

I discovered that S 3696, the Senate version of the bill that would bar attorney fee awards to winning plaintiffs in establishment clause cases, has 18 co-sponsors in addition to the sponsor, for a total of 19 supporters, close to one-fifth of the Senate. That's not bad. In fact, it's pretty good.

One reference currently says that S 3696 has only 5 co-sponsors. This reference's list of co-sponsors notes, "Cosponsorship information sometimes is out of date." Well, duh. All of the 13 co-sponsors added in September are missing.

The House version of the bill, HR 2679, has already passed the House by the comfortable margin of 244-173. HR 2679 had only 66 sponsors when it passed, a relatively small fraction of the number of yes votes received, so I think there is hope for S 3696.

Some people were saying just a short time ago that these bills didn't have a chance.

As I have said many times, I do not consider these bills to be ideal. For example, I think that a cap on fee awards for both establishment clause and free-exercise clause lawsuits is a much better idea than a ban on fee awards in just establishment clause lawsuits. But I consider these bills to be much better than nothing. If these bills are enacted into law, the "Dover trap" nightmare will be over.

Also, legislators and school board members need to be informed that it is possible for them to win "monkey" trials concerning criticisms of Darwinism in official public-school curricula. For example, the Freiler v. Tangipahoa Parish evolution disclaimer case came within a single vote of being granted an en banc (full court) appeals court rehearing and within a single vote of being accepted for review by the Supreme Court, and there is a good chance that the Selman v. Cobb County textbook sticker case will eventually be decided in favor of the school board.

In opposing these bills, Ed "It's My Way or the Highway" Brayton has been arguing that fundy organizations also benefit from fee-shifting: "There have been lots of cases where conservative Christian legal groups have sued the government for violating the constitution, won, and been reimbursed for expenses just like the ACLU." However, the fundies' lawsuits are normally based on the free-exercise clause (and maybe also the free speech clause) and not on the establishment clause -- I couldn't imagine the fundies suing the government for endorsing Christianity. And if the fee awards in establishment clause cases are banned, then who is going to lead a campaign to get revenge on the fundies by getting the fee awards banned in free-exercise cases too? The ACLU? The Americans United for Separation of Church and State? Even the atheists have benefited from the free exercise clause -- the courts have held that atheism is a "religion" for purposes of interpreting constitutional protections.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

Are we supposed to be surprised that 18 senators are willing to pander to the fundamentalists in an election year? How many of these are up for re-election in conservative states?

I would hope that these senators are merely dishonest and not actually stupid enough to believe what they are supporting.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 9:24:00 AM  
Anonymous pre-emptive counter said...

The previously reported problem of the comment count on "post a comment" pages lagging behind that on the main page has apparently reversed itself.

This thread now reports one comment here, two comments on the main page. The previous thread is also off by one, with three on the comments page and four on the main page.

(A few minutes later) The discrepancy has cleared.

Maybe it was counting virtual comments? ;-)

Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:44:00 AM  
Anonymous pre-emptive counter said...

> Maybe it was counting virtual comments? <

Um, make that "irreducibly complex" comments.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger JanieBelle said...

Yeah, it's much better when only the rich people who can pay lawyers out of pocket can afford to protect themselves from violations of their rights. Screw them poor people. They don't need no stinkin' rights anyways. They should just shut up and accept Jeezus into their hearts before they get lynched.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

JanieBelle said...

>>>>>Yeah, it's much better when only the rich people who can pay lawyers out of pocket can afford to protect themselves from violations of their rights. Screw them poor people. <<<<<

You folks are only concerned here about the problems of low-income citizens and not at all about the problems of low-income government entities who get soaked with the big legal bills and who are discouraged from defending actions that the courts might find to be constitutional.

I am not terribly fond of the current bills myself, but I just feel that something needs to be done because the situation has gotten out of hand.

Also, I am strongly in favor of high-school and college courses that would teach people the basics of doing legal research and representing themselves in court. A broad and ready legal knowledge is often not necessary because many civil lawsuits are conducted mainly by means of briefs rather than oral hearings, and litigants have a lot of time to do research for briefs -- they might even do a better job of it than lawyers because they often have more time to do the research than lawyers do. Some prison inmates -- some with poor educations -- have become quite good at representing themselves. A lawyer may be juggling several cases at once and does not have the time to give full attention to each case. In fact, I have heard that here in Los Angeles some attorneys make a business of making court appearances for other attorneys who don't have the time to make the appearances themselves.

Another good idea is where the litigants do most of the research and brief-writing themselves under the guidance of attorneys.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 12:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Fafarman said...

< Another good idea is where the litigants do most of the research and brief-writing themselves under the guidance of attorneys. >

A yet better idea is for the thought-better-of-it litigants-turned-stamp-hobbyists to do most of the research, purchasing, and stamp-mounting themselves under the guidance of experienced philatelists.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 3:30:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

Fake Dave (Ed Brayton?) said --

<<<<<< Another good idea is where the litigants do most of the research and brief-writing themselves under the guidance of attorneys.

A yet better idea is for the thought-better-of-it litigants-turned-stamp-hobbyists to do most of the research, purchasing, and stamp-mounting themselves under the guidance of experienced philatelists. <<<<<<<

You stupid, fatheaded ignoramus, just because you don't think it's a good idea doesn't mean that it isn't happening. Providing varying degrees of legal assistance to pro se litigants is a new trend called "limited scope" or "unbundled" legal services. How is hiring an attorney as a consultant any different from a company hiring any kind of outside expert as a consultant?

Also, in the last few years, the Los Angeles local courts have become friendly towards pro se litigants -- I think there is even a special office now for assisting them. When I sued in the Los Angeles superior court, the court clerks did not even bother to inform me that because I was suing for less than $25,000 (actually zero), I could sue in the municipal court instead, where suing was much cheaper and easier (even my appeals rights were affected -- municipal court cases can be appealed to the superior court but superior court cases can only be appealed to a state appeals court, where appeals are much more expensive and difficult). There was a sign to that effect in the municipal court clerk's office but not in the superior court clerk's office! How in the hell was I supposed to know -- it was the first time that I sued in the local courts (other than small claims). Even an experienced out-of-town attorney would not have known.

You no-good lousy hypocrite -- you pretend to be for the little guy by favoring these attorney fee award ripoffs of the government but here you are taking sides against the little guy.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 4:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Voice In The Wilderness said...

It looks like posts are disappearing again. Has the hypocrite changed his policy?

To get on with it, Fake Larry(?) (Bozo the Clown?) said...

> You folks are only concerned here about the problems of low-income citizens and not at all about the problems of low-income government entities who get soaked with the big legal bills and who are discouraged from defending actions that the courts might find to be constitutional. <

How about the costs of those who are suing government entities who are well aware that their cases are bogus?

> I just feel that something needs to be done because the situation has gotten out of hand. <

Does any one of these bills prevent the school districts from knowingly disobeying the law?

> Also, I am strongly in favor of high-school and college courses that would teach people the basics of doing legal research and representing themselves in court. <

The average pro persona litigant does very well. On the other hand, I think that such courses would not have helped you. You just lack the basic aptitude for legal work. That's why you have been such a spectacular failure in such matters.

> they might even do a better job of it than lawyers because they often have more time to do the research than lawyers do. <

That is why pro persona litigants win more than 50% of their cases. That is despite your losing 100% or yours.

> Providing varying degrees of legal assistance to pro se litigants is a new trend called "limited scope" or "unbundled" legal services. <

Legal Action Workshop started on that premise. The lawyers immediately began to hijack the cases. I don't think the organization even pretends to be doing that now.

> How is hiring an attorney as a consultant any different from a company hiring any kind of outside expert as a consultant? <

Attorneys are generally hired as consultants. I have been hired by attorneys as an outside expert. You could be too if there were any field in which you were an expert. Of course that point is moot.

> Also, in the last few years, the Los Angeles local courts have become friendly towards pro se litigants <

They always were. Your blowing your cases so badly was in spite of this.

(I know about your paranoia about the judges and attorneys conspiring against you. As many of us have observed, you are delusional.)

> When I sued in the Los Angeles superior court, the court clerks did not even bother to inform me that ... <

In most court clerks' offices there is a sign saying specifically that they can't give any advice as that could be considered the unlicensed practice of law. You have already complained about others advancing opinions as being the unlicensed practice of law. It appears that now you want to reverse yourself.

> How in the hell was I supposed to know <

Why are others required to try to prevent you from doing something that you were clearly unqualified to do? What if you thought that you were an airplane pilot and you had never had flying lessons. If you flew the plane into a building would it be the fault of the aircraft designer or air traffic control.

> Even an experienced out-of-town attorney would not have known. <

False. A first year law student would know that.

> you pretend to be for the little guy by favoring these attorney fee award ripoffs of the government but here you are taking sides against the little guy. <

It seems that he is for the little guy who, in this case, was lucky enough to have larger organizations carrying his load against irresponsible government agencies gone wild.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 5:23:00 PM  
Blogger Larry Fafarman said...

La la la la la. I can't hear you. I will cover my eyes and you will disappear.

Thursday, October 12, 2006 10:04:00 PM  

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