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9-0: SCOTUS Delivers Devastating Decision To State Sponsored Seizure Schemes

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The Supreme Court has just put the clamps on states’ ability to impose excessive fines and use civil asset forfeiture to seize private property.

On Wednesday February 20, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the Eight Amendment’s ban on excessive fines also applies to states. This landmark ruling bolsters property rights and could curtail controversial law enforcement seizures, especially those carried out via civil forfeiture.

In the decision, Timbs v. Indiana, the Supreme Court sided with small time drug offender Tyson Timbs, whose $42,000 Land Rover was seized by law enforcement officials. Civil asset forfeiture is one of the most controversial methods used to raise revenue across the nation. However, it has garnered considerable criticism from political figures across the political spectrum.

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In a previous case, Austin v. United States, the Court ruled that the Eight Amendment, which is clear about its prohibition of “excessive fines”, limits the federal government’s ability to seize property. Timbs v. Indiana now extends those limits to the states.

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For once, Justice Ruth Ginsburg gets it right.  She wrote:

“The historical and logical case for concluding that the 14th Amendment incorporates the Excessive Fines Clause is overwhelming.”

Ginsburg drew from Anglo-American legal traditions to rule in Timbs’s favor:

“For good reason, the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history: Exorbitant tolls undermine other constitutional liberties.”

She also presciently noted the potential abuse that excessive fines engender:

“Excessive fines can be used, for example, to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies.”

If only she applied such reasoning to other cases where she has let judicial activism get the best of her…

Anyways, this decision is a welcome development for criminal justice.

Civil asset forfeiture reform is gaining traction nationwide. States like Arizona, Nebraska, and New Mexico have led the way in signing civil asset forfeiture reform into law.

Now, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly is considering a bill, HB 1286, which requires that a criminal conviction be obtained before any forfeiture is carried out, and then mandates that proceeds from the seizure go to a general or school fund instead of going directly to a police department’s budget. This bill would also close the “equitable sharing” loophole, which allows law enforcement agencies to bypass strict state forfeiture laws by passing these cases off to the feds.

In times of high political polarization it’s great to see the Supreme Court come to a unanimous decision on civil asset forfeiture. This is one issue that should unite people from all sides of the political aisle.

 

 

 

 

 

Culture

Starbucks Barista FIRED After Refusing to Wear “Pride” T-Shirt for Religious Reasons, According to Lawsuit

She is a Christian and was apparently told by her manager that she didn’t have to wear it.

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A former Starbucks barista is filing an unlawful discrimination lawsuit against the coffee giant, claiming they fired her for refusing to wear a “Pride” t-shirt that violated her Christian religious convictions.

Betsy Fresse started working as a barista in December 2015. After transferring to a Glen Ridge, New Jersey, store in early 2019, managers apparently “assured” her that her Christian faith wouldn’t be an issue.

Then in June 2019, she noticed a box of Pride shirts on a desk and asked if they’d make her wear one. Her store manager said she wouldn’t have to, but two months later she found herself out of a job after being terminated by a district manager.

A notice of separation claims that Fresse was fired for violating Starbucks’ “core values.” It specifically mentions an incident where she said her colleagues “need Jesus” when given the “Pride” shirt.

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Starbucks maintains that “no part of our dress code requires partners to wear any approved items that they have not personally selected” and that Fresse’s claims are “without merit,” in a comment to the New York Post.

So Starbucks denies that she was fired for not wearing the shirt, yet their notice of separation appears to claim that they fired her for something she said about Jesus. Not a good look either way.

Fresse is seeking backpay, punitive damages, money to cover the cost of an attorney, and a permanent injunction that prevents Starbucks from “failing to accommodate […] sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Starbucks has long been a major player in the world of Woke Capital. Back in February Big League Politics reported on how the British branch of Starbucks was raising money for a pro-transgender lobbying group:

The U.K. branch of Starbucks is raising money to push for the chemical castration and surgical mutilation of children.

Nathanael Blake at The Federalist reported that the multinational titan is selling special mermaid-shaped cookies to help the pro-transgender lobbying group Mermaids. Curiously, the group’s founder took her underage son to Thailand to undergo a castration procedure.

Blake correctly observed “That Starbucks is supporting this group illustrates how thoroughly radicals have conquered both the LGBT movement and corporate culture.”

He also called attention to how “In a few years the fight has shifted from government recognition of same-sex relationships as legal marriages to mastectomies, sterilization, and castration for children.”

Here’s hoping that Betsy Fresse is successful in her lawsuit.

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