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The Disgrace of the Davis Execution

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I have a piece about the execution of Troy Davis which echoes a lot of the points in Paul’s superb post below. The really frightening thing about the case is that while it’s absurd to think that the state met the burden of proof that should be necessary to incarcerate Davis — let alone execute him — once he started down the path of contemporary habeas corpus law, which reverses the traditional burden of proof, he never had a chance. I’m generally not crazy about pardons as a remedy, but this is a case where the failure of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles is particularly disgraceful. They can’t claim to be unaware about what we now know about the unreliability of eyewitness IDs, particularly those collected under these kind of conditions. They knew that Davis was convicted solely on the basis of extremely unreliable evidence — and allowed him to be executed anyway despite unambiguously having the power to stop it.

I think this is implicit in Paul’s argument, but another thing I’ll add is that Scalia’s image of himself as a formalist who follows the law wherever it leads no matter how unpalatable the results is purely a pose. Leaving aside the other prominent examples of Scalia’s results-oriented jurisprudence, somehow the self-congratulatory formalism that revels in people being sent to the death chamber is particularly disgusting in the wake of his proud participation in Bush v. Gore. It’s especially instructive to compare the infamous Herrera v. Collins concurrence with his opinion justifying the stay in Bush v. Gore, which among very tough competition was the most nakedly partisan and implausible of the three opinions.

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  • david mizner

    Good op-ed. And eye witness testimony is especially unreliable when whites are claiming to identify blacks.

    • “when whites are claiming to identify blacks.”

      Shouldn’t it be when one ethnic group tries to identify another?

  • We live in the imperium, where what they say goes, and we must be silent.

  • Jncc

    while it’s absurd to think that the state met the burden of proof that should be necessary to incarcerate Davis

    I oppose the death penalty, period.

    That said like this are wildly irresponsible.

    If you had sat through the entire trial, you might have a basis to second guess the jurors. Have you even read the complete transcript? I bet not.

    From what little I have read the jury of 7 African Americans and 5 whites found him unanimously guilty. What do you know that they didn’t? That 7 of 9 eyewitnesses have recanted? Okay, why do you believe those witnesses are telling the truth now? And why do you believe they are more believable than the two who haven’t recanted. (yes I know one of the two has, himself, been implicated.).

    What you are doing is shitting on the jury system in general. It’s disgraceful.

    • Would you agree that in a capital case, the evidence ought to be overwhelming?

    • Glenn

      Scott can obviously speak for himself, but I’m sure at least one response would be that the inherent unreliability of eyewitness testimony — despite what jurors commonly think (and, at the time, thought) — rendered the quantum of evidence presented insufficient as a matter of law. Insufficiency of evidence arguments, while obviously not in most cases successful, are made all the time and no one in my experience considers that “shitting on the jury system in general.”

      • matth

        You think 9 eyewitnesses are inadequate for a murder conviction as a matter of law?

        • Glenn

          I didn’t say that; I don’t think you can assert any necessary relationship between 9 eyewitnesses and sufficiency. Nor, frankly, was I intending to express my own personal view as to the sufficiency of the evidence at the original Davis trial, since I have not reviewed it and only know bits and pieces from the press. What I was attempting to do was respond to jncc’s apparent argument that to disagree with the jury’s verdict was simply to substitute one’s own judgment for the jurors’.

    • david mizner

      As Scott points out, when he was convicted, we didn’t know what we now know about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.

      And by you illogic, to question any verdict is to “shit on the jury system.”

      • Scott Lemieux

        As Scott points out, when he was convicted, we didn’t know what we now know about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.

        This. As I say in the piece, I don’t necessarily blame the jury, who didn’t know that the witnesses had recanted and (more importantly) that eyewitness testimony collected under these kinds of procedures is inherently unreliable. This is what the appeals and pardon processes are for.

        • jncc

          How long did the 9 eyewitnesses have to observe Davis? What were the lighting conditions? Were they of the same race?

        • jncc

          And, since eyewitness testimony is “inherently unreliable”, why does the recanting matter?

          • Malaclypse

            Hell, why ask the state to present any evidence? He never would have been arrested if he had not done something, amirite? What does evidence matter?

            Better Concern Trolls, please.

            • jncc

              Apparently you are as ignorant about what a “concern troll” is as you are about the facts of the Davis case.

              But you keep on posting your fantastic snark – there’s so little of that on the interwebs nowadays.

            • I placed an order with ConcernTrollarama, but they’re busy making iPhone5 Trolls, so there’s a delay.

          • Because they were treated as reliable.

            I think you’re having some trouble with the concept of burden of proof here. Scott doesn’t have to demonstrate that the recanting witness are right now in order to demonstrate that the conviction was based on faulty evidence. He just has to show that taking these witnesses’ initial word for it is unreliable. Whether they are 1) lying now or 2) telling the truth now, both possibilities mean that using their testimony from the trial is insufficient to prove guilt.

            • jncc

              You’re the one who’s confused about burden of proof. We’re not in a court.

              Scott thinks it’s “absurd” that the state met their burden of proof to incarcerate Davis.

              I was simply asking for a little, you know, proof to back that up.

              It’s one thing to say that there have been issues raised about guilt. It’s quite another to assert what Scott did.

              • Hogan

                We cannot be sure that Davis is innocent

                You mean that?

              • Scott Lemieux:

                At the time, eyewitness testimony was generally seen as highly reliable, and so it is understandable that the jury returned a guilty verdict.

                Random pseudonymous angry guy:

                What you are doing is shitting on the jury system in general. It’s disgraceful.

                I am beginning to lose my faith in the wisdom of teh Intarwebs.

                • jncc

                  Here’s a suggestion, learn to read posts in order first and then work on your sarcasm.

                • Here’s a suggestion, learn to read posts in order first and then work on your sarcasm.

                  Thank you. Here’s a suggestion in return: learn to click through to the article and then work on your reading comprehension.

              • I was simply asking for a little, you know, proof to back that up.

                Which was provided to you – the unreliability of the witness testimony.

                This does more than “raise questions” about guilt – it demonstrates that proof of guilt does not exist beyond a reasonable doubt.

                • Oh, and should I take your change of subject as you concurrence that you now do understand why the recanted testimony matters? You know, the question you asked, that I answered?

                • David Nieporent

                  But contra Scott, there is no general “unreliability of witness testimony.” One can’t just handwave away everyone who testifies by saying “witnesses are unreliable.”

                  Certain situations have high degrees of unreliability: identification of strangers that one observes only briefly while in an agitated state, for instance. (For instance, victims of stranger rape.) The more of these factors that are present, the less reliable their observation will be.

                  Alternatively, even if their observation itself is fine, their ID might be compromised if the procedure used to interview them is poorly designed, such as by letting the witness look through a book of mug shots, or a poorly designed real/photo lineup.

                  On the other hand, if they knew the person they were identifying, or if they had a long period of time to observe the situation, and/or if they were not under stress, then these are indicia of reliability.

                  And if the ID procedure is well done, that can bolster the reliability.

                  And if several people (independently) identify the same person, that adds to the reliability of the ID.

                  Point is, Scott isn’t actually analyzing any of these points as they apply to Troy Davis; he’s just using “eyewitness unreliability” as a bludgeon.

                • David, Scott linked to this Slate article, by the guy who, quite literally this time, wrote the book on eyewitness unreliability. He discusses in some detail all the problems with the police procedures in producing eyewitness testimony in the Davis case. So while Scott isn’t analyzing the eyewitness procedures in the Davis case himself, he’s basing his post in part on someone who has done that work.

          • DrDick

            Since when? We have over 2 decades of evidence compiled by dozens of psychological experiments demonstrating their inherent unreliability (eyewitnesses are wrong more often than they are right). The more stress and chaos (both of which conditions apply here) involved in the situation, the less reliable eyewitnesses are. Here you have heated passions, multiple actors, and constant movement confusing the issue. Do try to educate yourself on the basic science.

            • DrDick

              I should add that there is also the work of the Innocence Project, which has resulted in overturning the wrongful convictions of hundreds of innocent people for capital crimes.

    • Stag Party Palin

      What you are doing is shitting on the jury system in general. It’s disgraceful.

      And if you are shitting on the jury system are you not also shitting on the American Justice System? And if you are shitting on the American Justice System are you not also shitting on America??? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!

      • Nice medical bag you got there.

      • Furious Jorge

        Wait, I thought you were pre-med.

    • L2P

      Why are you so convinced that twelve jurors, facing a case wherein 7 of 9 witnesses recanted their id’s and one of the remaining witnesses is the prime alternate suspect, would have convicted this guy?

      I’ve seen a jury acquit because a SINGLE witness out of several recanted.

  • Izzy

    Most people, when convinced that application of a principle leads to obviously abhorrent outcomes, would consider that a reason to reject said principle. Scalia apparently sees such results as selling points.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I disagree. What are abhorrent outcomes to normal human beings are titillating outcomes to sick fucks like Scalia. And principle has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

    • There are certain people – Dick Cheney and Antonin Scalia come to mind – whose personal power, whose position of respect, comes from being the hard, clear-eyed person in the room who isn’t afraid to tell horrible truths.

      The problem with this is that this gives them an interest in saying horrible things, so they end up being biased towards whatever answer is the most horrible.

    • howard

      when i tell people who don’t follow this sort of thing closely that scalia is a thug with a pungent prose style that confuses many into thinking he’s an intellectual, i send them (per scott’s comment above) to read his opinion in bush v. gore.

    • David Nieporent

      I don’t think you understand the concept of principles. If you reject them when you don’t like the outcome, then they aren’t really principles at all. You’re just doing whatever gets the outcome you like.

      • Malaclypse

        You’re just doing whatever gets the outcome you like.

        So just like your arguments about austerity, except you don’t even see the need to examine outcomes.

        And if the outcome you get is executing the innocent, then you have shitty principles.

        • David Nieporent

          If your principle usually or always leads to a bad outcome, then I would agree that it is a shitty principle, and you should abandon it in favor of a different principle.

          But if it generally works, and occasionally doesn’t, and you abandon it whenever it doesn’t, then you aren’t really following the principle at all.

          • Malaclypse

            If your principle usually or always leads to a bad outcome, then I would agree that it is a shitty principle,

            Like austerity. Good. Baby steps, David, baby steps.

            • BradP

              Troll

              • DrDick

                Name even one case where austerity has produced a positive outcome? Argentina comes to mind as a rather compelling counter example, as does Japan.

                • Malaclypse

                  So, no actual positive examples? Not a single one?

                • Malaclypse

                  I’m sorry, somehow I mis-read that. Never mind.

                • David Nieporent

                  Really? Because I think Japan pretty clearly serves as a counterexample to stimulus.

                  On the other hand, part of the problem here is that we’re all using a vague term like “works” without meaning the same thing by it. For instance, I don’t doubt that correctly-targeted deficit spending can temporarily provide relief to the poor or unemployed. If that’s what one means by “worked,” then I agree that austerity doesn’t do that. When I was talking about “working,” I was talking about jump-starting the economy out of recession/stagnation. (And I choose the metaphor deliberately: the point is for the economy to get moving without the need for further intervention. If you have to keep standing behind the car and pushing it, your jump start didn’t take.)

                • DrDick

                  As Krugman has conclusively demonstrated, austerity in Japan resulted in over a decade of economic decline and stagnation, which is still being felt there. Hardly what I would call a “positive” example.

                • Anyone who thinks the Japanese financial system is something we should regulate seriously needs their meds checked.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        Assuming, of course, that your preference for the other outcome isn’t based on principle. I think the use of “obviously abhorent” gets at the fact that there is a conflicting principle.

      • snarkout

        That’s Scalia for you.

      • howard

        if your principles suck, there is nothing special about rigid adherence to them, which is neither here nor there since scalia has demonstrated that he does not have a rigid adherence to principle.

        (and if your “principles” include ignoring stare decisis when you don’t like the outcome, it’s hard to see what the principle is, other than that scalia lacks a judicial temperament in the first place.)

        • DrDick

          other than that scalia lacks a judicial temperament in the first place

          Ding! Ding! Ding!

      • Murc

        Wouldn’t what sort of outcome you like be a measure determined by… your principles?

        • Hogan

          Not necessarily. Some people have merely aesthetic objections to giving lethal injections to innocent people. I believe David calls those people “liberals.” Fortunately Scalia is free of any such sentimentality.

        • BradP

          No.

          I would substitute the word “values” in for “principles”, and “values”/=”principles”.

      • L2P

        I think your definition of “outcome” is pretty narrow and “principle” is pretty broad. The “outcome” here is the execution of someone with a reasonably likely chance that he couldn’t be proven guilty. I have NO PROBLEM with saying that violates my principle of “the Constitution prohibits the judicial killing of the innocent, full stop.” If you do, I’d say the problem lies with you, and that’s the end of debate – I’m going full Godwin on ya.

      • Izzy

        Scalia’s princples lead him to a place where he finds no reason to object to the state killing a man, despite the fact that the evidence of his guilt is laughably flawed.

        It is my position that this represents a significant flaw in Scalia’s principles. If you would like to defend the idea that such outcomes would need to happen much more often to discredit his principles, you are free to do so. “Occasional” failings are not, in my view, acceptable when the failings are result in the killing those we know to be very probably innocent.

  • Glenn

    The farcical, I would say Kafkaesque, aspect of this whole system is the “dialogue” between the judicial and executive branches here. The judiciary (not without some justification) says: there has to be some finality, we can’t have a new trial everytime there’s some new evidence or a witness recants, and that there’s an executive clemency system that can take care of a possibly unjust (but legally error-free) verdict. The executive branch, meanwhile — under great political pressure never to undo a death sentence — says, hey, Davis had two decades of appeals and habeas and no court found a problem, so why should we act?

    The options here would seem to be either (1) a legislative solution that would at least establish a truly effective clemency process; or (2) for the judiciary to acknowledge that there is no effective clemency process and that it necessarily falls to the judiciary to prevent a miscarriage of justice. Sadly, neither is going to happen, I feel certain.

    • Glenn

      Sorry, of course my preferred option is to acknowledge that the death penalty is hopelessly unworkable and get rid of it altogether. But that sure as hell ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

    • MikeyJake may be onto something here.

      Make the state have to review the verdict and sentence as an affirmation, not as a negation.

    • wengler

      Republicans like killing people.

      There is no remedy judicial, legislative, or executive that will change this.

      • Boudleaux

        Indeed. And the assumption that it would bother them one bit if you informed them that the executed were innocent has no basis. See also, Iraq. A person who was not completely amoral would object to continuing to kill people when he found out the premise for said killing was false. So too with discovering the person you just executed was innocent.

  • Jim Lynch

    I’ve always opposed the death penalty. Still, it could be argued that my concept of justice for those convicted of murder in egregiously vicious cases is far crueler than taking their life– that is, to be life without parole in solitary confinement.

    • Murc

      egregiously vicious cases

      That’s not a bad standard as an abstraction.

      As a practical matter, you have to craft such a standard as a matter of law and practice. And once you have done, inevitably some subset of prosecutors are going to assert that someone who is guilty of manslaughter at best (and that doubtfully) is the next Jeffrey Dahmer and some hanging judge will concur.

      Now, admittedly, taken to its logical extreme that’s an argument against all kinds of things. But I do basically think that, as a matter of course, the way we incarcerate people should have a certain amount of ‘give’ in it to account for the fact that a certain percentage are actually innocent and we shouldn’t incarcerate them in conditions under which we destroy their psyches such that they can no longer function in the outside world.

      This means that some true scumbags will get gentler treatment than they otherwise deserve. And I guess my only response to that is ‘I don’t really care.’

  • David Nieporent

    Of course, the problem with all of these arguments — other than ones which simply say, “I disagree with the death penalty,” which is a valid argument but not a legal one — is that they’re apparently based on press releases from Davis advocates, rather than actual attention to the facts of the case.

    Every court (or parole board) that heard Davis’s claims rejected the notion that he had established his innocence, or a likelihood thereof. When even someone like Rosemary Barkett — a very liberal judge — summarily rejects the idea that his new evidence is compelling, you have to think that perhaps you’re being misled with slogans like “seven of nine people recanted.”

    People should read the U.S. District Court’s opinion, the Eleventh Circuit’s opinion, at a minimum. They might also want to read the Georgia Supreme Court’s opinion. The short version, for those who are apt to type TL;DR: the “recantations” are much less than they’re made out to be. For obvious reasons, courts tend not to give much credence to a statement, years after a trial, that the witness is not sure what he or she saw, given that this witness testified under oath shortly after the events. In other cases, witnesses ‘recanted’ about peripheral issues. But the judges considered these recantations, and the parole board actually heard live testimony from some of them.

    Finally, the people who say that Coles is guilty are being extremely disingenuous; they’re applying a very different standard to guilt in one case than in another.

    Now, I recognize that none of the above will sway anybody, since this case is a cultural issue rather than a legal one; supporting Davis was a way of signifying that one is good and righteous rather than an assessment of the facts. Nevertheless, I at least wanted to put the links out there so people could read the facts if they wanted to.

    • David Nieporent

      I must retract one of the statements I made above. Barkett joined the 11th circuit in rejecting one of Davis’s appeals; but she dissented in another instance.

    • Steve H

      I rarely agree with David’s posts, but I think he’s right on the money here.

      I personally oppose the death penalty, not so much out of worry about mistakes, but because I believe in limited government. A government claiming the right to kill citizens who displease it is the opposite of limited government.

    • DrDick

      Would you care to address the Innocence Project and its successful overturning of many wrongfully convicted people on death row?

      • Steve H

        Sorry for being unclear. I have no doubt that innocent people have been put on death row, and undoubtedly some have (and will be) executed. But that is not the source of my opposition to the death penalty. My opposition is based on my belief that I don’t think my government should have the right to kill me.

        If the death penalty actually accomplished some good for society, then I don’t believe the possibility of error would be a good ground to oppose it. Highways kill a lot more innocent people than the death penalty does, and I am in favor of highways.

        • DrDick

          Actually, I was addressing David, but I will respond to this as well. I admit that I am categorically opposed to the death penalty, though my reasons are somewhat complex. Firstly, I think that killing people is simply wrong and the state should thus refrain from doing so. Secondly, given human fallibility, we should never impose irreversible penalties (as the Innocence Project so aptly proves). Thirdly, there is no evidence that executions serve any socially useful purpose (they certainly do not deter crime). Finally, it does not, as some claim, provide any closure to the friends and family nor in any meaningful sense restore some cosmic balance. I would add that I say this as someone who has had friends murdered.

        • kg

          Highways kill people?+

          • Anonymous

            A highway killed my mother. At first they couldn’t tell who shot her, but then they found gunshot residue all over the pavement. Thankfully, they have since executed that highway, and we are all safer for it.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I suppose I should note that, as anyone who has actually read what Paul or I wrote, that this is non-responsive to our actual arguments. It’s not surprising that Davis did not win any appeals given the extremely high burden of proof (which essentially require him to establish his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.) That’s an entirely different question from whether the state has proven his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt given what we know about the unreliability of eyewitness IDs.

      • matth

        “It’s not surprising that Davis did not win any appeals given the extremely high burden of proof (which essentially require him to establish his innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.)”

        I don’t think this is a fair description of the evidentiary standard applied by the district court in the June 2010 evidentiary hearing. The court described the standard of proof as requiring a showing “by clear and convicing evidence that no reasonable juror would have convicted [Davis] in light of the new evidence.” See p. 119.

        The evidence Davis presented at that hearing was shockly weak, however. The district court commented that “whether it adopted the lower burden proposed by Mr. Davis, or evene the lowest imaginable burden from Schlup, Mr. Davis’s showing would have satisfied neither.” See p. 171, n.107.

        The “lowest imaginable burden” would have been a showing that “it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror would have convicted [Davis] in light of the new evidence.” See p. 117.

    • witless chum

      Now, I recognize that none of the above will sway anybody, since this case is a cultural issue rather than a legal one; supporting executing Davis was a way of signifying that one is good and righteous rather than an assessment of the facts.

      I read the linked District court summary and several of the people who have recanted their testimony say the gave it then because they were coerced by the cops into doing so. The issue of what weight we give to fresh eyewitness testimony versus old is pretty moot.

      I’m not sure what to make of the court putting a lot of weight on the fact that the recantations were in the form of affadavits and that two of the witnesses weren’t called even though they were available.

      But, yeah, it’s not seven people marching into court and saying their testimony was wrong before and this is why we should believe them now rather than then. But, to me, it still calls whether there’s reasonable doubt Davis was the one who shot MacPhail into question. It seems at least possible that most of these witnesses aren’t really sure who shot MacPhail and are jsut sayign whatever the last side in the case who they talked to wanted them to say.

  • matth

    I’m not the target audience for this sort of post — I’m generally pro-death-penalty. That said, Troy Davis had non-frivilous innocence argument, and we ought to take that sort of claim seriously.

    But I wish the people bemoaning the injustice of this execution would engage more with the district court fact-finding in 2010. The case for Davis’s innocence turned out to be much less compelling than anyone expected. Some of the “recanting” witnesses didn’t recant. Davis didn’t even call others, even though he could have.

    I’ve stopped listening to what Davis’s lawyers say to the press. He had an extraordinary, unprecedented chance to demonstrate his innocence where it would actually matter — in court — and he didn’t even come close.

    • It isn’t about demonstrating innocence for me. It is the cloud of uncertainty. I suppose you are willing to accept the death of innocent people in the name of whatever benefit you believe the death penalty has. I am not willing to accept the death of any innocent person at the hands of the State. And my standard is not irrefutable proof of innocence, it is the opposite: ANY reasonable doubt, arising at any time prior to the execution, must result in the conversion of the sentence to life w/out parole. That is, if we still continue to be barbaric savages who put people to death.

  • Buford T. Justice

    A right proper lynching, done up all legal and everything.

  • wengler

    I’ve come to believe that people that are pro-death penalty in the US are functioning under the same ignorance as those that are pro-private health insurance.

    You come down in 1 of 2 categories. Category 1 is the vast multitude of people that have very little interaction or knowledge of the death penalty in America. They generally like the death penalty, especially in cases of great moral outrage, because the death penalty gives them the finality and vengeance that they want. That the death penalty is a massive bureaucratic process that costs more money than life incarceration, has no study to prove that it deters heinous crime, and is applied invariably to those who are poorer and darker, never pops into these people’s minds.

    Then there is Category 2. These are the people that know about the facts above, but support the death penalty anyways. They love the ability of the state to kill, hell, they love killing. That it is unequally applied doesn’t bother them because they are almost all rich and white. The law is already on their side. And they wouldn’t have a system of ‘justice’ any other way.

    • Malaclypse

      Yep. I can’t help but notice that people who support torture are always from demographics that (they assume) will preclude them from ever being tortured themselves.

    • Ian

      Then there is Category 2

      This is what I’ve noticed from many death penalty supporters. Factual guilt or innocence doesn’t enter into it. They’re like serial killers but without the overt antisocial tendencies. Once a victim that fits the correct profile is acquired, and the proper rituals are performed, then the kill has to happen

      • Anonymous

        These people also, not coincidentally, are often vocal right-wing Christians, the ones who will tell you that you cannot be a moral person without God/Jesus to restrain your base instincts. Basically, we’d all do horrible things if not for God. I don’t believe in God and yet I have no desire to kill anyone. So it seems that these Christians do really have the desire to kill people, but can’t, because they fear punishment from God. The death penalty allows them to satisfy their bloodlust in an “acceptable” way (since it’s sanctioned by the government), without worrying that they have done anything wrong.

        • DrDick

          You forgot to mention that they are also quite loudly “pro-life.”

          • Anonymous

            Yes, very true.

          • Pro-fetus, and profit-us. I think that is the crux of the biscuit.

  • Holden Pattern

    I am fascinated to see a putative libertarian coming out in favor of the right of the state to kill Troy Davis in the face of some substantial uncertainty about the quality of justice that he received and the actual evidence of his guilt. Heck, one would thing that libertarians generally would be opposed to the irrevocability of the death penalty based on nothing more than their stated general skepticism about the ability of government bureaucracy to come to a correct outcome rather than an outcome that is mere self-justification on the part of the bureaucrats.

    I mean, what can you even call a libertarian who has faith in the state (including its enforcement bureaucrats) and the judicial system when it comes to killing people but want to gut the power of the state and the judicial system to impose taxation or regulation?

    Oh, wait, that’s right. You call them a “bog-standard Republican hack”.

    • “Bong-standard,” I thought.

    • David Nieporent

      Perhaps I’m so vain that I think this comment is about me, but I think this comment is about me. I may be a libertarian, but that doesn’t mean I can’t analyze a legal matter descriptively rather than normatively.

      I think wage and hour laws ought to be abolished, but if a company misclassifies an employee as exempt, that doesn’t stop me from saying that a court should find it liable.

      • Nice duck.

        Does it quack often?

        Wait. I know that answer already.

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