Welcome back to the Z Review’s online law school! Here’s lesson #2 on the curriculum: Basic Constitutional Law & Criminal Law, Curious Bedfellows. Please take notes and save questions for the end.
Today has brought with it another dose of Trumpian alternate reality that is, this time, a bit of a surprise. Not a surprise because the Trump Tribe continues to try ducking grenades they so deftly lob at themselves, but because Republican members of Congress seem to have lost the basic skill required for their jobs…knowledge of the law.
Republican representatives not knowing, at a minimum, what you pick up in your first year of law school is not good. It is exactly the same as going to your job as a coal miner without any understanding of explosives, drilling, and cutting. Both scenarios result in extreme danger to human life and safety, thanks to the practitioners’ total disregard of the rigors of their crafts.
So you can get a quick and easy handle on how fucked up the pro-Trump Republican stance is (not from a moral or policy standpoint, but law and logic alone), I have prepared a role-play exercise you can do at home. Invite your friends over and you’ve got community theater!
TOPIC: WHAT IS THE BASIC PRINCIPLE OF CRIMINAL LAW?
SCENE – Little Donny Breaks A Vase
The role of Donny will be played by Mr. Trump. The role of Mom will be played by Fox News and Breitbart. The role of Grandma will be played by pro-Trump Congressional representatives.
Open with toddler-sized Donald running amok in average suburban home. No room is safe. He is flailing and throwing anything he can get his paws on.
Mom: Donny! Get here this minute! Put that vase down, it’s very expensive!
Donny: No! You can’t make me!
He dashes from the living room into the kitchen, which has a tiled floor.
Mom: Donny, I’m warning you! Stop this awful behavior right now!
Donny looks Mom in the eye and proceeds to throw the vase to the floor, shattering it beyond repair.
Mom: That’s it! Go to your room! You need a time-out, and a spanking! I’m ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS. You’re always up to no good and causing all kinds of damage. I can’t take it anymore!
Donny: But Mommy, that isn’t true. Seven months ago my older sister Hillary smashed a vase too and might have also broken a lamp. Since she did what I did, and there’s even a sliver of a possibility that you could think what she did was worse, why am I in trouble? Doesn’t her bad behavior of seven months ago, that we know has no direct connection to my decision to smash a vase today, make her guiltier than I am? In fact, doesn’t her perceived guilt wipe mine away completely?
Mom: Donny, are you saying that because your sister did something bad a long time ago, that no longer has any effect on this family, you can’t be blamed for anything you’re doing now or are planning to do in the future?
Donny: Exactly! Because she’s just……BADDER THAN ME!
Mom: And who says she’s “badder” than you are?
Donny: I do!
Grandma enters the room from the downstairs bathroom. She has heard the entire exchange.
Mom: Okay! That makes perfect sense! I’m so glad you cleared it up for me! You don’t need to be punished at all. In fact, my good boy gets ice cream!
Grandma: I heard the whole thing from the can! I even watched a little too through the keyhole! I agree with Mommy!
Grandma and Mom shower Donny with kisses and squish him with hugs. While in their arms, Donny eyes a pair of crystal candlesticks.
TAKE AWAY – No version of criminal law that has or ever could exist applies to Donny-world, because any crime committed that is perceived as more heinous than the one before ERASES all crimes that came before it. If your wife was raped, but someone else’s wife was raped and killed the next day, would you no longer want your wife’s seemingly less-horrible fate go unpunished? If you say “yes”, you’re lying or a sack of shit.
The phrase “sack of shit” provides an elegant segue into our next topic, Constitutional Law and central casting bad guy Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). Orrin the orator, brilliant bag of dicks that he is, brushed off questions about Donald Jr.’s involvement in government and his fitness to do so with this:
“He’s not given any particular assignment in the administration,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah). “I think this can be way overblown.”
So, does that mean that if I work at a startup company, don’t have a job title, and do a little bit of everything because I’m one of the company’s executives, my involvement in the company can be brushed aside as insignificant? Does that mean that whatever I do as an officer of the company is okay (even if it’s obviously screwed up) because I don’t have a job title? If you think that’s true, a short visit to Silicon Valley will set you straight. Those dweebs own their shit so they can OWN their shit, know what I mean? Their companies frequently don’t dole out titles until capital is raised or the make a profit, or they go public. And yet they are held responsible to their fiduciary duties (i.e. not being a lying, thieving scumbag) from day one. As the kids say these days, “Orrin, I can’t even with you.”
TOPIC: AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT … CONSTITUTIONAL LAW!
Actually, it isn’t different at all. The last few paragraphs have been about constitutional law. You may not have known it because I stuck it in with fun stuff so you wouldn’t notice. Like Seinfeld’s wife who gets her kids to eat broccoli by sneaking it into brownies. But I wouldn’t do that to a brownie. Ever.
Anyway, we’ve been talking about the 14th Amendment. It covers the Rights Of Citizenship.
I love the 14th Amendment. It made gay marriage legal and segregation illegal. It even allows me to govern my own body. BUT THAT’S NOT THE ONLY STUFF THAT MAKES IT GREAT! Most people focus on the flashy stuff that’s in the first paragraph of good ol’ 14. That’s the paragraph that, ostensibly, provides equal rights. However, the really fun material to work with today is in paragraph 3. It says, in layman’s terms, “If you ever colluded with hostile foreign nations, took money from them, whatever, you can’t hold office, elected or otherwise. It’ll only happen if 2/3 of Congress says you can.”
Now that we know that Don Jr. was in cahoots with Putin’s pals, particularly prior to the election, he is NOT ALLOWED TO HOLD ANY OFFICE OR HAVE ANY RESPONSIBILITIES AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR NATION. Makes sense, right? If you’re a traitor, you probably shouldn’t be in a job that tasks you with protecting the best interest of the country. Forget having a government post….try just staying alive! Let’s get the Rosenbergs in on this one. Oh, they’re dead? For acts of treason? Don’t you love things that make you go, hmmm?
TAKE AWAY – Orrin Hatch, senior member of Congress, forgot one of the most famous amendments to the constitution. He not only forgot it, but wiped his ass with it. Let’s leave him now, parked at a senior center, amongst his withered brethren, so he can continue his quest to find, and dominate, another questionable moral high ground. And while we’re at it, please open your books to find a related issue.
TOPIC: THE U.S. CODE
We will quickly examine the U.S. Code (basically a catalog of all the laws ever), specifically 5 U.S. Code section 3110, part b:
A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official
COME ON GUYS! Are you really going to take on the Constitution and the U.S. Code at the same time? Of course you are. You seem to have collectively forgotten what the laws of the land are, much less that they even exist.
TOPIC: NEVER SAY NEVER (DON’T FORGET THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE)
Thankfully, a few Democrats got their heads out of their respective asses and filed the first civil suit against Trump today. Wow! Who knew they had it in them? I certainly didn’t, but file a suit they did which will be presided over by a judge, not a government agency or committee. The Dim Donalds didn’t like it when Mueller came to town. They’re really going to hate this. Here’s what Ian Bassin, the executive director of Protect Democracy had to say about today’s filing:
“These plaintiffs are using the law and the American civil justice system the way it was intended: to vindicate important rights and values, such as the right to privacy and the right to participate in the political process; and to deter others who might consider colluding with a foreign government for political gain.”
SO…..these guys want the White House Wonders to behave ethically? What? I’m exhausted. I can’t go on. Lecture is over. Please come to class tomorrow, we’ll cover the importance of ethics, ethics committees, and adherence to the rules of ethics.
Or as I like to call it, “Try not to be both stupid and an asshole at the same time, you’re grossing us out.”
Wednesday, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) formally introduced an article of impeachment against President Trump that accuses the president of obstructing justice during the federal investigation of Russia’s 2016 election interference.
No one is above the law…even Trump.