Supreme Court Ruling: No Recourse if The Cops Destroy or Steal Property

Heath Ledger was unfortunately found dead in his apartment in SoHo, NYC yesterday. Only 28 years old. Though I feel bad for his family’s loss, this news will probably dominate the airwaves over the next several days, going head to head with the presidential election as the news of the week.

But don’t sleep. NY Times reporter Linda Greenhouse just reported on a decision of the Supreme Court that may impact any of us who find ourselves subject to police investigation, search and seizure, arrest, prosecution and/or imprisonment.

The case revolved around, as Greenhouse reports “a Abdus-Shahid M. S. Ali, was being transferred from a federal prison in Atlanta to one in Inez, Ky., and left two duffle bags of personal property to be shipped. When he received the bags, religious articles, including two copies of the Koran, were missing. Valuing the missing items at $177, Mr. Ali filed suit, appealing to the Supreme Court after the federal appeals court in Atlanta had dismissed his case…”

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld the 1946 Federal Tort Claims Act, which gave citizens the right to sue the United States itself negligent actions of agents of the United States, but it has some exceptions. Mostly it seems to suggest that the exceptions are “based upon an act or omission of an employee of the Government, exercising due care in the execution of a statute or regulation” or “based upon the exercise or performance or the failure to exercise or perform a discretionary function or duty.”

So if a customs agent has to break your vase to find the coke stashed in it, you cannot sue them for damages. But one could argue that in the case of Ali, the government was negligent, and it wasn’t due their needing to “perform a discretionary function or duty.”

Greenhouse reports that the main issue at hand in this case however is that the law also excludes “’any officer of customs or excise or any other law enforcement officer’ will be immune from suit for ‘any claim arising in respect of the assessment or collection of any tax or customs duty or the detention of any goods, merchandise or other property.’”

The current Supreme Court seemed to interpret that “any other law enforcement officer” to mean “no law enforcement officer” ever could be found to be negligent under this law–not just those involved in customs work, which basically renders the entire law a moot point by this logic (any lawyers out there, feel free to correct me on this.).

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his decision that the original law “could easily have written ‘any other law enforcement officer acting in a customs or excise capacity’…We are not at liberty to rewrite the statute to reflect a meaning we deem more desirable.”

Clarence Thomas Speaks Out. And Boy He’s Pissed!

Justice Clarence Thomas has a new book out, and he’s been all over the press. I love how the media LOVES a Black conservative!! The really get into giving them much more space and attention than all the40 million African-Americans do combined.

Anyhow, it all came together this past Sunday when 60 Minutes did an extended show to profile of him. He really sucks!!! And he’s very angry. I mean, you’d have to be insane to be Black and not be, but he’s really angry. I mean, it’s almost painful to watch.

I have to say, and after watching the 60 Minutes piece, they did NOT TALK TO ANYONE EXCEPT THOMAS!! Theonly other voices are his wife, and archival footage of Anita Hill and Al Sharpton. Is this the news magazine that made a name for itself by tough investigative work, or a public relations piece for Thomas? It was far from fair and balanced. Have a looksee!

60 Minutes Part II

60 Minutes Part III

Now, what they hell were they thinking? Thank God for some more critical things that have come out in this ridiculous excuse for journalism’s sake. Tavis Smiley had Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cornel West, and Marc Morial on his show to talk about Thomas, and it was pretty impresstive.

Anita Hill wrote an op-ed for the New York Times responding to Thomas’ 60 Minutes appearance. She writes:

In the portion of his book that addresses my role in the Senate hearings into his nomination, Justice Thomas offers a litany of unsubstantiated representations and outright smears that Republican senators made about me when I testified before the Judiciary Committee — that I was a “combative left-winger” who was “touchy” and prone to overreacting to “slights.” A number of independent authors have shown those attacks to be baseless. What’s more, their reports draw on the experiences of others who were familiar with Mr. Thomas’s behavior, and who came forward after the hearings. It’s no longer my word against his.

The BEST of them all however is Kai Wright’s article online at the American Prospect, where Kai writes (no pun intended)

“…the book is primarily an effort to expand on Thomas’ charge that white liberals used Hill to carry out a “high-tech lynching” on an uppity black man. “Should I have seen it coming?” he ponders. “Even as Daddy had been teaching me that hard work would always see me through, my friends in Savannah told me to let go of my foolish dreams. ‘The man ain’t goin’ to let you do nothin’,’ they had said over and over. ‘Why you even tryin’?’ Now I knew who ‘the man’ was. He’d come at last to kill me, and I had looked upon his hateful, leering face as he slipped his noose of lies around my neck.”

Many will read My Grandfather’s Son as a cynical attempt to rewrite history, and it is that, to be sure. But it is more. The reason Thomas’ rage outstrips his remarkable professional and political achievements is that his confirmation shattered the thin armor he’d donned for navigating America’s “paranoid color wheel” as an ambitious black man — namely, that through unceasing toil and a blind embrace of “the rules,” he could eclipse, if not defeat white supremacy.”