A Little Behind; A Little Ahead

Today I’d like to look at two recent court decisions and ahead to a proceeding this week.

Recently there were court proceedings of note in both Brunswick, Georgia and Charlottesville, Virginia. The former was a criminal matter and the latter a civil one. Both are noteworthy.

Despite the best and appallingly obvious efforts of the defense to appeal to the racism of an almost all white jury three white men were convicted of murdering a Black man. The defendants were obviously guilty and apparently the only strategy the defense could come up with is to hope the racism card worked. Fortunately, it didn’t in this case. All but one Black juror was struck by the defense in the jury selection phase. Their strategy was abundantly apparent but it just barely stayed within legal parameters. Although the judge called it out under current law he was powerless to do anything about it.

As the trial proceeded defense counsel continually, and with increasing racist implications, protested the presence of Black people in the courtroom. The judge ruled against every protestation (I have to wonder what would have happened if the judge from the Rittenhouse trial were presiding). I’m certain the defense anticipated the judge’s rulings. That wasn’t their aim; the goal was to motivate what they felt was the latent racism of any white residents of that area of Georgia.

The defendants are facing either life imprisonment with or without the possibility of parole. A sentencing date has yet to be set as of this writing and an appeal is a certainty. Legal experts feel the chance of a successful appeal is close to zero.

My analysis of this event is two fold. First, stupidity lost. The legal infractions were all but buried until the defendants released a recording of the event. In plain language they stupidly convicted themselves. The other conclusion makes me proud to be an American; even in the deep south state of Georgia, justice prevailed over racism. Sadly that hasn’t always been the case.

In Charlottesville, several right wing extremists and their organizations were sued in civil court over their involvement in the Unite the Right rally that resulted in the death of a counter demonstrator.

The financial judgments will never be satisfied in full but they will have the effect of bankrupting most if not all of the individuals and organizations involved. This will seriously hurt the right wing terrorist movement in America and serve as a warning to others who want to go down that path. In itself it is insufficient to solve the right wing domestic terrorist problem in America but it is a huge step in the right direction.

Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs, the Mississippi abortion law which is a direct challenge to Roe. Of note, as of this writing the Court has still not ruled on the Texas abortion law which, while not a direct challenge to Roe, effectively overturns it in Texas at least.

My expectation is that the Court will rule in Mississippi’s favor effectively overturning Roe without expressly doing so. That would render the Texas situation moot. Normally a major decision like this would be announced on the last day of the term in early summer. Politically – and make no mistake that the current Court majority is an arm of the Republican Party – that would be too close to the mid-term elections. Instead, I expect an early announcement of the decision. I’m guessing somewhere around December 20th. Just before Christmas which would lessen the likelihood of mass protests as most get ready to celebrate the Christmas holiday that weekend.

Despite two recent victories for justice, law and the Constitution I am still skeptical of the future, This is another case where I hope I’m wrong but I don’t think I am.

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