Friday, March 30, 2012
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Sanford police Sgt. David Morgenstern on Wednesday confirmed that the video being shown by ABC News is of Zimmerman. The 28-year-old's head and face are visible throughout and he is dressed in a red and black fleece jacket. Police are shown frisking Zimmerman whose hands were handcuffed behind his back. They then lead him into a police station.
"This certainly doesn't look like a man who police said had his nose broken and his head repeatedly smashed into the sidewalk," Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said in a statement. "George Zimmerman has no apparent injuries in this video, which dramatically contradicts his version of the events of February 26."
If you view the video, you'll see little evidence of a man who claims to have been knocked to the ground and all but concussed. he doesn't stagger around, his eyes are clear and he seems lucid and responsive to the police who examine him. One cop even looks at the back of his head, checking his injuries, whatever they may be.
He does lean briefly against a wall, but given that he just murdered a young man in cold blood, I think we can forgive him a moment of weakness and doubt.
There are serious questions as to why Zimmerman was allowed to go free, even if you accept the police version of the events at face value. Given the lack of injuries on the part of Zimmerman (he didn't even bother to go to an emergency room for stitches) and even allowing that Martin "got the jump on him," the fact that Martin twice asked Zimmerman about following him should take this murder out of the domain of self-defense, and at least make it an aggravated homicide.
And I'm not sure I accept the police version of events at face value. Neither, really, do I accept the version told by Martin's girlfriend at face value. The truth probably lies somewhere in between.
And don't you find it interesting that, in a gated community where crime was rampant enough to warrant a vigilante squad, not one surveillance camera caught a single moment of the action as it unfolded? I do. I find that suspicious, in fact. After all, these crimes were burglary and breaking and entering. It seems to me that you wouldn't be able to spit without hitting a camera.
That Sanford police have threatened reporters covering the story with arrest speaks to me of a force desperately trying to cover up their own incompetence.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
It has come out that the unarmed teenager was suspended from school, and is accused of beating up the man who then shot him dead.
Martin's parents claim authorities are now trying to sully their son's reputation, after his tragic shooting.
There were several protests Monday in Sanford, where Martin, 17, was shot by George Zimmerman.
State and federal investigators were to be back at it Tuesday, reviewing the original controversial police investigation that's sparked a firestorm.
The central questions remains: Was the decision not to arrest Zimmerman the right one, and should he be arrested now?
First, by linking his apparent suspension from school-- Martin's parents don't seem to deny it, correctly pointing out that it's irrelevant to his murder-- Zimmerman has decided to try to paint an innocent child as some sort of wild-eyed hoodlum.
With a marijuana bust? Really? Not even the most stoned meth-head in Clearwater is going to buy that one, Zim!
Second, the claim that Martin turned around and beat upon Zimmerman-- keep in mind that Martin weighed only 140 pounds, while Zimmerman is a beast of 250-- is only going to feed the impression that Trayvon felt his own life was in danger and rather than running, he turned and decided to "Stand Your Ground," which is precisely what that law allows for: the use of force, even deadly force, if one feels one is in harm's way or in mortal danger. After all, who picks a fight with someone twice as big as he is unless he feels its the only way to safety?
And that is the only conclusion that can legally be drawn from Zimmerman's own words and the 911 call tapes.
See, the "Stand Your Ground" law is very specific: it doesn't matter what the intent of the apparent attacker is, what matters is the intent perceived by the defendant. In fact, the law is so loosely drawn that the authorities are not permitted to even question that perception the moment the defendant claims he acted out of fear for his safety.
Zimmerman had followed Martin for quite a while if the 911 tapes are accurate, long enough that the dispatcher asked him to stop following Martin.
If someone twice my size started following me down a street, I know I would feel threatened, and while my first instinct would be to run away, under Florida law, Martin was not required to: he merely had to turn and use deadly force against Zimmerman.
So under Florida law, it is Zimmerman who is guilty of assault, and it is Zimmerman who rightly should be lying dead from the use of deadly force under "Stand Your Ground." Martin was not armed, however, so Zimmerman should thank his lucky stars he'll live to see trial.
By Zimmerman's own testimony, he should be arrested for the murder of Trayvon Martin.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The inception of contemporary Commerce Clause doctrine dates to the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, regulating railroad monopolies, and the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, designed to curb monopolies and trusts. The Court upheld the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1905 -- in Swift and Company v. United States, 196 U.S. 375. However, the justices based that decision on the finding that the effect of price-fixing by Chicago meat-packers on interstate commerce was not "accidental, secondary, remote or merely probable" but immediate. The opinion reinforced the traditional literal view of Congress's Commerce power.
The Supreme Court case that established the constitutionality of the expanded interpretation of Congress's commerce power was National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, 301 U.S. 1, in 1937. The case originated in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, where Jones & Laughlin was penalizing and discriminating against workers attempting to unionize. NLRB ordered Jones & Laughlin to end its coercive union-busting tactics; the firm refused to obey. After the circuit court refused to enforce the NLRB's order against Jones & Laughlin, the NLRB appealed to the Supreme Court.
Jones & Laughlin argued that Congress could not regulate its labor practices because manufacturing is an intrastate activity, not interstate commerce. The firm based its argument on then-standard reasoning stemming from a 1918 Supreme Court case, Hammer v. Dagenhart, 241 U.S. 251. In Hammer, the Court allowed a father to commit his son to child labor in a North Carolina textile mill despite the Keating Owen Child Labor Act of 1916, reasoning that mill work was part of intrastate manufacturing, not commerce between or among states.
Rejecting the firm's argument and ruling in favor of the NLRB, the Court stated for the first time that Congress could regulate activities with "a close and substantial relation to interstate commerce." The NLRB decision marked the replacement of the strict criterion that regulated activities must be part of the "stream of commerce" with the "substantial effects" doctrine still in use in Commerce Clause cases.
Based on other SCOTUS decisions, notably United States v. Darby, it seems pretty clear that a firm can be forced to purchase health insurance for its employees if it's engaged in anything close to interstate commerce.
The real question is, can an employee be forced to buy it? There is some precedent for mandating individual action-- or rather inaction-- when it comes to farm subsidies and paying farmers to not grow crops, since the aggregating effect of the individual mandate could affect interstate commerce.
This is a pretty strong argument, to be sure.
There's also a side issue to the case, involving the recusal of some of the Justices. For example, Clarence Thomas probably should recuse himself, based on his wife's activities working against the bill in the first place. Antonin Scalia attended a public dinner held by the Federalist Society, a group who is arguing against the mandate, altho I'm not sure that rises to the level of recusal.
And the most ridiculous recusal argument, that Elena Kagan should recuse herself based on her possible involvement in drafting the defense of the bill will likely be ignored.
Should Thomas recuse himself, the bill could conceivably end up deadlocking the court.
And then what?
In case you needed reminding as to why this healthcare reform legislation, as paltry as it is, is so important, here you go.