Re: The american dream lives on

1

The law is an ass.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 8:38 PM
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I've been wondering for a while-- did something happen with Cala, or did she just decide to leave? Bit late to say it, but I hope all's well.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 9:57 PM
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3

NASA wouldn't let her blog anymore.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 9:59 PM
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Is she in space?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 10:00 PM
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Tangential, but someone should try to get Republicans in Congress on about making gay marriage illegal in space. That would be hilarious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 10:03 PM
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4: sanctity of off-world conversation, Ned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 10:15 PM
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7

5: The spice must flow!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 10:57 PM
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8

The other thought I had on the OP was that the resort to judicial guidelines during the 90s was probably an early indicator of the failure of politics. The pressure to legalism (?) has always existed, but politicians, including judges, previously managed to resist because of tools derived from a legitimacy, however disputed, that is now finally lost.

Liberal Legalism at Wikipedia, which is good, if too brief, but I think makes a mistake is seeing the structure (as do many liberals like MY and EK) as the problem rather than a symptom or consequence of a culture.

US & Germany. Hmmm....


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-10 11:42 PM
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9

His fiancée, Anna Ng, 27, a compliance officer for a hedge fund, said they had been scrimping to save for a place large enough for her parents and his mother to move in.

Anna Ng! Something must be done! Mobilize the nerds!


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:07 AM
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re: 8

Yes, the UK has been through a similar process where judicial discretion has been hemmed in by absurdly specific yet totally inflexible sentencing guidelines.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:37 AM
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11

Cala is fine-- just busy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:51 AM
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12

Tell her she's missed, if you're in touch with her.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:12 AM
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13

And that is a very sad story.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:26 AM
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14

Yes, ditto 12.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 6:04 AM
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15

It dates well before the 90s, and I think you have to call it a success, rather than a failure, of politics. It's not the law that's an ass here: it's the people, for insisting on a bright line rule to prevent judges from taking circumstances into account.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:07 AM
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16

Me too to 12 and 14.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:08 AM
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17

Add me to 12, 14, 16, and 15 is spot on.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:27 AM
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18

The law and politics are two cheeks of the same ass.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:29 AM
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re: 15

Yeah, although I'm sometimes not even sure if it _is_ the people, as such. At least in the UK it seems such a product of a very particular section of the right-wing press, which, while influential and reflective of a (vile) section of the public doesn't really, I think, reflect general thinking on law on order.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:52 AM
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20

I join in all pro-Cala sentiment as well.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:55 AM
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21

9: I thought the same thing. Nerd.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:55 AM
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22

This is part of a disturbing trend of seeing the most accomplished illegal aliens as the most sympathetic. Yes, but he's a star employee! There isn't a separate set of rules for smart people. And unless you support 100% open immigration, you're a restrictionist just like the rest of us heartless knuckledraggers.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:38 AM
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23

The article isn't about an illegal alien, bjk.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:44 AM
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I assume 9 and 21 are nerding out on the TMBG song?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:48 AM
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23: Right, his family immigrated legally from China when he was 5.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 11:58 AM
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24: Yes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:00 PM
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27

It's not the law that's an ass here: it's the people, for insisting on a bright line rule to prevent judges from taking circumstances into account.

An interesting sentence, one that seems to imply that the law, the people, and the judges are or should be completely independent entities.

The law is written by the people's rep...why the fuck should I have to explain how a republic works.

This is exactly what is meant by "Liberal Legalism" Any independence imagined or sought for the law or legal system always comes back and bites the Platonian philosopher-kings in the ass.

And I like Stanley Fish.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:35 PM
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An interesting sentence, one that seems to imply that the law, the people, and the judges are or should be completely independent entities.

Coincidentally enough, I was just discussing this very distinction with a friend this morning (she was opposed to the idea of indigent defense -- "getting the bad guys off"* -- doesn't think "terrorists" should get to enjoy our constitutional protections, and was amazed that I was so adamant about the rule of law since, in her view, the law totally screwed me in my divorce). The law, the people, and the judges are distinct. "Completely independent" may overstate it, but distinct.

* Low-hanging fruit provided free of charge.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 12:46 PM
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29

'm sometimes not even sure if it _is_ the people, as such

Yes. It's the mile-wide, inch-deep problem in action. If all you know about a complex issue is a few headlines filtered through a not-very-well-informed reporter, then your opinion on the issue is highly likely to be affected by said filter's biases.

Immigration is a particularly easy to see this with, because the US system is so immensely complex that in order to clarify, say, comment 23, you have to write a mini-treatise. By which time most people have stopped listening. (So you repeat yourself three times! Oh wait, wrong thread.)

she was opposed to the idea of indigent defense

'Cause all poor people are guilty, ya know. If they were innocent, they'd have a rich friend or family member to pay for a defense attorney.

/sarcasm


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:32 PM
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29: Indeed, she was literally shocked by the idea that sometimes indigent appeals involve challenging sentences that exceed what the law permits. "But how is that possible? Judges have to follow the law!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 2:58 PM
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It doesn't matter if you have a lawyer in Texas. So depressing.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:00 PM
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32

Depressing doesn't begin to cover it. That's obscene.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:07 PM
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33

Depressingly obscene. Or obscenely depressing.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:09 PM
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34

to clarify, say, comment 23, you have to write a mini-treatise.

I thought 25 made clarified 23 just fine, and in fact, 23 was perfectly clear to begin with.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:24 PM
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35

Is this thread to vote Yes on Cala?

Can I vote more than once?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:29 PM
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36

Technically, it's not true. If I understand the news reports correctly, he did have legal status (a green card), but when he applied to become a US citizen, they reviewed his records and realized that his criminal conviction made him deportable. Therefore, he is indeed an "illegal alien" by any functional definition.

The problem here is that the common public understanding is very far removed from the way the system actually works. The colloquial definition of "illegal alien" actually describes what lawyers usually refer to as "EWI" (entered without inspection -- i.e., crossed the border without permission).

This is what I meant by an inch deep. (And mini-treatise -- sorry, this stuff just goes on and on.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:41 PM
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34: better to let Witt speak for herself, but why let that stop me? Isn't the point (Witt's, not bjk's) that, though the guy came here legally, his continuing to live here stopped being legal once he was convicted of a felony?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:41 PM
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See? better to let Witt speak for herself -- not only is she faster, but smarter too. Probably also prettier, but that's not important here.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:43 PM
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39

Well, she's Wittier.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:44 PM
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40

Kind of like John Greenleaf.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:46 PM
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41

Pretty and witty and bright!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:48 PM
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But you're the Di Kotimiest!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:49 PM
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43

I'm so glad this didn't detour into Whittier, California.

No worries, Di. Double-team smackdown on the imprecision of legal terminology!

(Also, not only AINAL, but I don't have a pretty, witty, and wise Rory to my credit.*)

*Not that you are valued only for your progeny.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:54 PM
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44

He is an illegal alien. If "a string of muggings" doesn't deserve deportation, then there are really serious problems with immigration policy.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:54 PM
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45

Aww. Nothing makes me all happy and content like praise of my baby girl. Witt is the graciousest.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:57 PM
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46

One of Witt's amazing skills is that her comments are almost always interesting to read, and leave you with knowing next to nothing about her.*

*I am not entirely convinced that (s)he didnt send down a faker to personate Witt.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 3:59 PM
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47

The greatest mystery of Unfogged is: What the hell is Witt's job?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:00 PM
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48

||
"Defendant's writings, literature, and conduct suggest that he is an anarchist and associated with the ALF movement," Cronk wrote. "Therefore, he is a domestic terrorist."

Crackdowns on immigrants and anarchists -- it could be 1886 all over again!
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:00 PM
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Next to nothing about her biographical background. But I think he comments tell us a lot about Witt -- she's smart, generous, and socially conscious.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:01 PM
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One more technical point before I head off: The law under which this gentleman is being deported is this one, which applies retroactively.*

So if in 1980 you were a dumb 18-year-old with a can of spray paint who got convicted of a graffiti-related crime that immigration considers a felony (not the same as what your state criminal law defines as a felony -- much lower standards), then this 1996 law may reach back in time and make you deportable.

*Technically there is a court ruling that says it may not apply retroactively, but that ruling appears to be honored primarily in the breach.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:02 PM
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If "a string of muggings" doesn't deserve deportation, then there are really serious problems with immigration policy.

Indeed. Judges have way too much leeway to show mercy in these situations.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:04 PM
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Well, that'll teach me to preview. Er, thanks, guys. Very nice of y'all.

Halford, I'm a professional explainer and trivia geek. Strangely enough people pay me to do this sort of thing. Yes, it surprises the heck of out me too.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:04 PM
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49:

I could go on for a long time on the ways in which I admire Witt. Moreover, the possible faker that
(s)he sent was the very first Unfoggeder that I met.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:05 PM
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Speaking of immigration, this was interesting

Freedom of movement trumps all: wage gaps between rich and poor nations are so scandalously wide, he argues, that any other issue - labour rights, political rights, worries over cultural erosion - pales in comparison. And so, for that matter, do other approaches to development. Pritchett recently calculated that sending 3,000 Bangladeshis to work to the United States for a year would provide more capital for Bangladesh than a year's worth of loans from the celebrated Grameen Bank - the microfinance lender whose founder, Mohammed Yunus, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.
This paramount emphasis on labour mobility generates an unconventional cast of international heroes and villains. In Pritchett's view, countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait - which employ armies of guest workers, house them in labour camps, forbid them from organising unions, often deny them equal protection under the law and pay them the wages of an underclass - are actually doing more to redress the inequities of the world than western nations that maintain high labour standards but keep migrants out.

And yes, I love the mysterious internet entity known as "Witt."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:28 PM
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Witt is the true Wizard of Oz.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:32 PM
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Okay, well, now that it's clear that everyone loves both Witt and Cala, let's make it interesting and vote to see who everyone likes better...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:33 PM
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56: Vote schmote. We need a pit and some broadswords.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:40 PM
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57: What we need are some stinkin' badgers.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:43 PM
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re: 57

Didn't Cala used to fence? Unfair advantage, say I.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:46 PM
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59: But we don't know what Witt's secret skills and powers might be.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:48 PM
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Didn't Cala used to fence? Unfair advantage, say I.

I wonder if that would be an advantage or a disadvantage with broadswords. I imagine the technique would be quite different.

Also, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKIN' BADGERS!


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:50 PM
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62

Eh, Witt and Cala aren't that shaggy.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 4:50 PM
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63

62: There's a long, circuitous story behind that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:06 PM
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64

They've both had haircuts recently?


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:09 PM
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Cala fenced and shot. Then she left. Almost panda.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:22 PM
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44: But why throw stones? Who among us hasn't committed a string of muggings?


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:43 PM
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66: I HAVEN'T.


Posted by: OPINIONATED AXE COP | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 5:47 PM
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Posted by: Kemosabe | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:17 PM
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Not so fast, 68.


Posted by: Willie Tanner | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:21 PM
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70

Sorry bob, I didn't see your follow-up.

We insulate judges from political pressure so they are free to pursue justice even when it's either unpopular or contrary to the wishes of the powers that be. More fundamentally, in the Common Law tradition, a legislature passes broad enactments, and the judiciary finds ways to apply it in specific contexts.

Saying that people law and judges act independently is like saying that weather, water and sunlight act independently. Apples, oranges, and avocadoes.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:27 PM
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70: I think you mean apples, lemons, and avocadoes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:24 AM
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