Global (And Judicial) Warming And Cooling: Why We Get Both
20 January 2014
It seems to me that the reason we get global warming
in some places and global cooling in others should be
as plain as the nose on your face -- at least to those
of us who live in Berkeley.
Whenever it gets hot in Walnut Creek, over the hill
from Berkeley, we always get a strong wind here as our
own cooler air rushes over to balance out Walnut
So global warming and cooling should clearly work in
the same way -- except on a planetary scale. As
Florida really heats up, for instance, cold air from
the Arctic should rush in to balance temperatures out.
And hurricanes and tornadoes appear to be getting
bigger and nastier here to compensate for temperature
changes somewhere else. All over the planet, increased
warm areas are being balanced out by increased cold
areas -- and vice-versa. That's my new climate-change
theory and I'm sticking to it.
And Justice works the same way as well. We gotta have
liberty and justice for all -- and not just for
Poobahs and cartels. Because if we don't, it's all
going to even out in the end eventually -- one way or
Everyone everywhere keeps track of these things.
And when justice only goes to the wealthy and not to
the poor, things definitely get hotter in one spot and
cooler in another.
When big banks act unjustly and screw small
homeowners, they are creating a financial "Polar
corporations get billions in welfare while people who
actually need government services -- and pay taxes for
them too -- are told they are moochers, then areas of
highs and lows are created and wretched imbalances are
When Justin Bieber doesn't get deported for being
drunk and disorderly yet other hard-working
non-citizens who are helping to make America stronger
get thrown in jail just for being on this side of a
border, fair weather could become cloudy with a chance
of injustice (although Bieber has just set a legal
precedent that immigration attorneys all over America
can now use to defend their clients. Way to go, Beebs!)
According to Noel Castellanos, "Justice is doing more
than saving the drowning people, it's changing the
ones who are pushing them into the lake." And in all
too many countries all over the Global South, where
social justice and economic democracy are in short
supply, both economic disasters and violent (and
non-violent) revolutions are common. "Why should I
respect the rule of law when it doesn't respect me?"
seems to be the gist of thinking in the Global South.
And as social, economic and legal injustices become
more and more common in America now too, and more and
more of America's "justice for all" has become only
"justice for corporations," economic democracy is now
becoming a museum piece here too, a thing of the past
along with crank telephones and kerosene lamps --
leaving us open for violent (and non-violent)
revolutions to start flowing into the low areas here
Handing out fake justice to some but denying it to
others is a really good formula for making peace
impossible all over the world and in America too --
and, to paraphrase that old TV commercial, "Peace is
our most important product".
And apparently both the weather systems and the
justice system in America right now are refusing to
tolerate extreme highs and lows.
Don't say you haven't been warned.
PS: Speaking of justice, at this month's
Berkeley-Albany Bar Association luncheon (curried
chicken and caesar salad at the Berkeley City Club), a
prominent trial attorney gave us his annual talk on
what the U.S. Supreme Court had been up to this past
year. And here are some things that he said. If I got
any of it wrong, it's my fault -- not his. So don't
judge him. Judge me -- for taking bad notes.
"The first thing you should know about the current
Supreme Court is that it has a 44% approval rating
with the American public."
And regarding individual judges, the speaker told us
that, "Thomas is silent on the bench at all times. He
never asks any questions. Scalia is very influential,
but I can't see why. He also never looks at any
foreign laws and is totally not interested in what
other countries think. His originalism comes at a very
bad time, however. Imagine if Thomas Jefferson had
been like that. Kagan used to be a dean -- and deans
are all about authority. Alito is a pleasant person
but has always worked for the government and has never
worked with individuals who were being oppressed.
Ginsberg used to work for the ACLU. Sotomayor is one
of the most impressive on the court."
"Five of these judges have committed our country to
terrible things that they never revealed to the Senate
during their confirmation hearings."
"According to Dworkin, the job of a judge is
philosophical and broad -- and when doing it in a
democracy, you also need to understand the basics of a
democracy as well."
"This year it is still the five vs. the four, and the
four's teeth are worn down to a terrible point because
four is not enough."
"Scalia came out against actual innocence this year.
Most of us think that if you are proven innocent after
sentencing, you should be able to turn in your orange
jump suit and go home. One man, after 17 years in
jail, was proven not to have committed the crime.
Scalia disagreed that he should be released."
"Criminal law has become an incredibly regulated event
with regard to sentencing. Judges no longer have the
flexibility in this area that they once had."
"The Court struck down the identity-card voting law in
Arizona. Thomas and Alito dissented."
"Regarding ex post facto sentencing, Sotomayor wrote
the opinion. Guidelines that were not in effect at the
time of sentencing can't change the sentencing later."
"Regarding one DNA verdict, Scalia, Kagan Sotomayor
and Ginsberg got together on this one -- slowing that
it was not just the usual straight five-to-four mix
"What if a defendant stops talking after he is
arrested? Can his silence be commented on or held
against him as evidence of guilt?" Not sure how that
case turned out.
"Right to a lawyer -- a competent lawyer, providing
standards for attorneys not only the standards
provided by the state bar. Trevino v. Thaler was
habeas corpus case regarding ineffective assistance of
counsel." The court ruled that Texas didn't consider
that Trevino had ineffective counsel before sending
him to Death Row.
"Daimler v. Bauman. Dealt with Argentina's Dirty War
and jurisdiction. No, you can't hold to account
foreigners involved in torture overseas. This one was
"The race factor: Not appropriate for U-Texas Austin
to use it for admissions without an airtight
justification and the application of direct scrutiny.
Only Ginsberg dissented."
"Adequacy of drug warnings are preempted by federal
"U.Texas medical center v. Nassar: Employment
discrimination must be proved by lots of evidence.
Ginsberg dissented." The Supreme Court made it harder
for employees who were charging discrimination and
retaliation to win their cases. http://verdict.justia.com/2013/07/
"Class actions: The Supreme court has been limiting
them in the past. However, in Angen v. Connecticut
Retirement Plans, materiality did not need to be
proved in order to establish a case as a class action.
Alito, Thomas and Scalia dissented." I just bet they
Patents: DNA cannot be patented. Unanimous decision.
Things that are open and obvious don't deserve a
patent. But no one on the Supreme Court knows much
about patents. They are all generalists in an age of
specialization -- but, in their position, must take a
broad range of cases anyway."
PPS: Am leaving for Haiti on February 12. According to
Dr. Paul Farmer, Haiti has undergone centuries of
injustice on a frightening scale. According to Farmer,
"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of
all that's wrong with the world." http://www.pih.org/blog
/paul-farmer- haiti-after-the-earthquake. And Haiti is
now also the victim of climate change as well.
Haiti is a perfect example of what I have been talking
about here. And apparently Haitians are totally ready
to support both "justice for all" and climate
stability -- and also Jean-Bertrand Aristide as well.