A very slippery slope

I have a real problem with the slippery slope(s) created by the whole E. Jean Carrol v. Donald J. Trump case. As much as Trump is a tool, I find that this cases raises serious legal concerns regarding free speech. It also suggests that the legal system is an appropriate tool to bring down political foes that you can’t otherwise beat at the polls. Taken together, this is some seriously worrisome sh*t!

Short background (from a CNN article):

Carroll alleged Trump raped her in the Bergdorf Goodman department store and then defamed her when he denied her claim, said she wasn’t his type and suggested she made up the story to boost sales of her book. Trump denied all wrongdoing.

Here are my concerns, in no particular order:

1) Trump is entitled to claim his innocence
Ms. Carroll is cited as having claimed that Trump raped her. Trump is entitled to make a claim of innocence; doing so does not defame the claimant. Neither does voicing an opinion suggesting someone is not your type, or voicing an opinion on possible alternate motives for the allegations. Readers or witnesses to his claims of innocence can decide for themselves whether or not the allegations are true.

What’s next? Are convicted criminals civilly liable to witnesses or victims if they continue to assert their innocence? Even if they are eventually cleared of the crimes of which they are convicted?

2) A second case between these two was made possible as a result of a New York “look-back” law that allowed sexual assault victims to sue in civil court – no matter how much time had passed since the alleged assault.

Statute of limitations are designed to protect a defendant from stale claims, where delays may have have eroded the defendant’s ability to collect evidence for their defense. Such “look-back” laws are troubling because they favor the plaintiff while severely disadvantaging the defense. How do you defend yourself against a claim that allegedly occurred 20+ years ago? How do you gather evidence for your defense when no physical evidence or records remain? How do you begin to gather evidence when your accuser doesn’t even have to definitively state in their claim when the alleged event occurred?

In a volatile case involving a polarizing public figure, such cases will boil down to the local jury pool and their perception of each litigant – or worse, the latest public outrage  (in the case, the “anyone but Trump” and “me, too” movements). With little if any possibility of collecting physical evidence or eyewitnesses due to the time that has passed, the case will fall to the testimony of the more publicly-favored  litigant. This is patently unfair to the defense in this case, and the reason that such stale claims are generally barred by a statute of limitations.

3) In the second case the jury found that Ms. Carroll had been sexually assaulted, but not raped. Doesn’t this make Trump’s claims that she lied about the rape true (under the law), if only in part, and thus not defamation? Doesn’t any reputation damage due to Trump now denying her claim of rape fall to Carroll for having made the claim?

4) The trial judge allowed hearsay evidence (what the plaintiff had allegedly told others who were not direct witnesses), and also testimony by others regarding past unproven allegations (from 40 years prior) unrelated to this case. Given the severe disadvantage already placed on the defense (due to New York’s “look-back” law and the plaintiff’s inability to even define when the alleged attack occurred), such testimony was inappropriate and unduly prejudicial.

So, in short:

i) No one should be denied the right to assert their innocence – even if the defendant is guilty, and even more so when the allegations are rejected by a jury. Such assertions should be protected speech, and not actionable as defamation.

ii) Speaking personal opinions, or opinions on alternative theories for an accusation – particularly political theories – should also be protected speech.

iii) “Look-back” laws that allow civil litigation for long-past allegations should recognize the hardship they place on a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Evidence rules should be held to the highest standard to minimize the unfair impact such law have on the defendant.

I don’t care whether you love or hate Trump. I want you to think instead about the precedence it sets when someone can make an allegation against you, 20+ years after the alleged act. Think about you being denied the right to dispute the allegations because your denial causes the claimant “reputational harm” – even when at least part of the allegations are found lacking by a jury. Think about your trial, where physical evidence collection and witness development is impossible due to the extreme passage of time, and where the evidence presented consists largely of hearsay or the unproven allegations by others in unrelated matters. Think about your trial in a venue where the majority of the voters (the source of the jury pool) voted against you in the previous election.

This case never should have made it to court – and particularly not in an anti-Trump venue like New York.

I find this VERY interesting…

First, read this article from Fox News:

Ohio moms react to ‘vicious’ school reporting them to FBI after exposing critical race theory: complaint

Sounds pretty serious, yes? Scary, even? Parents who investigate the schools curriculum being attacked by said school? Now, read the denial from the school:

The school categorically denied all allegations in a statement to Fox News Digital, saying, “These allegations are entirely without any legal merit or factual basis whatsoever.”

Here’s the interesting part – an allegedly earlier statement on their “false and misleading” statements policy:

“[A]ny parent who waged a public campaign of false and misleading statements and inflammatory attacks harmful to the employees, the reputation, or the financial stability of Columbus Academy would be in clear violation of the Enrollment Agreement and would be denied re-enrollment for the following school year.”

Besides the obvious use of the Bart Simpson defense (“I didn’t do it, and you can’t prove a thing anyway”), the sense that they are providing justification for allegations that are “…totally without merit…” is telling.

However, the statement itself is also troubling because it provides only subjective criteria for taking the actions noted in their policy. “False and misleading statements”? As determined by who? What if the statements are “…damaging to the reputation and financially stability of Columbus Academy” but are also true? What then?

I just hope more parents have the wherewithal to fight against the education system and its attempts to politically indoctrinate our children in their one-sided brand of politics. We may not be able to undo the damage they cause – at least not until it is too late.

But what happens…

…when only one political party or candidate makes an argument that supposedly violates Google’s “community guidelines”? How does this censorship apply equally, “…regardless of political viewpoint…”, when only one side of a topic is being silenced?

YouTube says it removed Jordan Peterson interview of RFK Jr. for violating vaccine policy

I don’t agree with all of RFK’s opinions, but he is free to express them and Google should not interfere . Google is free to express their own opinion in rebuttal, but to actively prevent RFK’s opinions from being heard is the stuff of dystopian novels.

Why I consider the Southern Poverty Law Center…

… to be a hate group itself:

In 2022, we tracked 1,225 hate and antigovernment groups across the U.S.

But wait! This is a DRAMATIC increase over past years:

Why the drastic increase, you might rightfully ask? Because in 2022 they added a large number of what they refer to as “anti-government” groups – or, in layman’s terms, any group who disagrees with the current administration. They also added parents rights groups because  – surprise, surprise – some parents don’t want their kids indoctrinated by the political extremists who comprise the teacher’s union (and the SPLC). Keep in mind their new-found foci makes ME a hate group, too, because I damn well don’t agree with massive uncontrolled immigration, get-out-of-jail-free cards for violent criminals, or teaching sexually-explicit materials to 3rd graders without their parent’s permission.

Lets face it – the SPLC has devolved into just another political tool, and their list of “hate groups” is now just a mechanism they use to harass and silence their opposition. Hitler could have learned a lesson or two from the SPLC.

Oh – and the one group missing from their list? Antifa.

Yeah; that’s what I think, too.

** Update: Looks like I’m right on this one… **

Lawyer’s Arrest at Atlanta Protest Sparks Criticism of SPLC


“Use the ‘balance’, Luke…”

Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach had this to say in defense of her actions at a protest of U.S. federal judge Kyle Duncan’s speech to the Stanford Federalist Society chapter:

“How we strike a balance between free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion is worthy of serious, thoughtful and civil discussion,” she continued.

But there is no “balance” between free speech and DEI. Free speech is independent; it is not subservient to DEI or any other movement. Speech must be free of undo restraint – including restraint such as that posed by the protestors at judge Duncan’s speech – even if the protestors are acting in support of DEI or some other cause.

DEI is simply irrelevant with respect to free speech – as is Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach.

May the Farce be with you…

Not exactly how I see it…

Clinton-linked dark money group targeted Twitter advertisers amid Elon Musk’s takeover

From the article:

“Under the guise of ‘free speech,’ [Musk’s] vision will silence and endanger marginalized communities, and tear at the fraying fabric of democracy.”

I would instead argue that it’s tactics like these – tactics meant to silence the the opposition – that are the real danger to “…the fraying fabric of democracy.”