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April 16, 2024

Supreme Court Hears Huge Case About Government's Expansive Reading of the Law; Have Claimed That Hundreds of J6 Protesters, and Trump Himself, Broke Law by "Obstructing" Counting of Votes

Another made-up Trump Only legal doctrine.

Conservatives appear "skeptical" of the government's claim that this law -- which forbids the destruction or alteration of official documents -- can be stretched and twisted to cover protesters objecting to a rigged election.

]The Supreme Court's conservative majority appeared skeptical of the Justice Department's position during oral arguments over whether a federal obstruction law can be used to prosecute some of the rioters involved in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

While the court's three-justice liberal wing signaled support for the charge, the court's conservative majority raised a series of questions about its potential scope and whether it would criminalize other conduct, such as protests.

How the Supreme Court defines how the obstruction law can be used related to the Capitol attack could impact hundreds of criminal cases, even the pending case against former President Donald Trump, who is also charged with obstructing an official proceeding.


During over 90 minutes of arguments, most justices signaled concern with how the Justice Department is using the law, which was enacted by Congress more than two decades ago. Critics claimed the felony charge, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, was intended to prevent evidence tampering -- not an insurrection.

This is CNN, of course. Obviously the J6 lawyers did not claim "we're innocent because this was just an insurrection." That's CNN's lying spin.

Check out this CNN spin-- it's sad that this is a "technical," dispassionate argument about what the law is, instead of a Pageantry of Bloody Shirts and Hurt Feelings like the J6 committee put on:

Mostly absent from oral arguments Tuesday was recognition of the traumatic and deadly events that took place just across the street from the Supreme Court three years ago. Instead, the discussion turned largely on a technical debate about the meaning of the words in the law -- in particular, the word "otherwise."

That 2002 law makes it a felony to "corruptly" alter, destroy or mutilate a record with the intent of making it unavailable for use in an "official proceeding," or to "otherwise" obstruct, influence or impede such a proceeding. Capitol riot defendant Jospeh Fischer, who brought the case to the high court, argued that, taken together, the law was geared toward prohibiting records destruction. But the Justice Department said it encompassed a wider range of actions -- including physical intrusion -- that would obstruct a proceeding.

There was a heavy dose of "whataboutism" from the conservative justices, who repeatedly brought up left-wing protests while pressing both sides about which conduct they believed would be covered by the felony obstruction law.

LOL. Pointing out that the law has only been mutilated to charge The Regime's enemies, while its own street paramilitaries are spared, protected, and even paid off by friendly regime governments, is "whataboutism."

Justice Samuel Alito mentioned the disruptions at the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday, when protesters, angry about Israel's war against Hamas, blocked rush-hour traffic.


A decision against the government could reopen some 350 cases in which defendants have been charged with "obstructing" an official proceeding by pushing their way into the Capitol in 2021. The charge can tack up to 20 years onto a prison sentence.


"Tell me why I shouldn't be concerned about the breadth of the government's reading, just relying on corrupt intent and the Nexus requirements?" Barrett said, referring to two elements of the crime that Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar has said would limit prosecutors' use of the charge to very particular circumstances.

While Barrett did not speak for most of the arguments, she had an extended exchange with Prelogar that shed light on how she was thinking about the case. She offered an alternative January 6 scenario wherein the rioters never actually breached the Capitol but the Electoral College certification vote was still stopped.

In other words, she was asking if the government can charge someone who had not committed any crime with "obstructing an act of government" if their lawful protests nevertheless cause the delivery of state election certifications.

This is a question that is asking, basically, "Aren't you just criminalizing dissent?"

Barrett also picked up on other conservatives' inquiries over hypothetical scenarios of political demonstrations that interrupt official proceedings in which prosecutors, under the Justice Department's reading, could bring the challenge.

"Do you think it's plausible that Congress would have written the statute that broadly?" the justice asked.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh, often a key vote in high-profile cases, threw cold water on the government's position by noting the defendant was charged with six other crimes related to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot.

Gorsuch wanted to know if the government held the position that, if protesters protesting the treatment of the J6 protesters felt "flustered" and thus impaired in their ability to make their case, they too could be charged under the Regime's expansive "obstruction" reading.


And Chief Justice John Roberts appears focused on whether the provision in question should be connected to the types of crimes that tamper with evidence.

The Supreme Court has rejected a past attempt to read the law beyond its obvious meaning. (It was specifically passed to punish the document-shredding parties by Enron.)

One past Supreme Court case that the Justice Department must contend with, as it tries to sway the justices to sign off on the use of the obstruction charge for January 6 rioters, is a precedent sometimes referred to as "the fish case."

In the 2015 case, a commercial fisherman was catching undersized red grouper off the coast of Florida, then had them tossed back into the Gulf of Mexico, attempting to prevent federal authorities from catching his illicit fishing practices.

Whether he could face the obstruction charge came down to court's determination that fish were a "tangible object."

The court's decision: No, the fish weren't. The fisherman hadn't obstructed.

A 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court that included Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the leader of the court's liberal wing at the time, and Justice Samuel Alito, a stalwart conservative, said a "tangible object" included items "used to record or preserve information," such as a document -- not a fish.

Even Roberts appeared skeptical of the government stealing bases to mean whatever they need it to mean:

But Roberts focused on another way of the reading the law, as influenced by the words before it. And in this case, those words deal with evidence tampering -- not riots.

Roberts said the DOJ shouldn't read the two provisions as though they are standing alone.

"You can't just tack it on and say, 'Look at it as if it's standing alone,'" Roberts said. "Because it's not."

What he's talking about one part of the law specifying that it's criminalizing the destruction or alteration of documents, and another clause speaking more broadly of "otherwise" obstructing the production of documents. He's saying you can't just split the broader-sounding clause off from the other clause -- the first clause announces that this law is about shredding documents. You can't take that "otherwise" to mean the law can be mutated to take any form a Democrat prosecutor wants it to mean.

The government admitted that before the white-hot need to Get Trump, Imprison His Supporters for Any Reason, this law had never, ever been used except to criminalize the alteration of official documents.

Justice Clarence Thomas quizzed the lawyer representing the Justice Department about whether the government has ever used the law this way before.

"There have been many violent protests that have interfered with proceedings," Thomas said. "Has the government applied this provision to other protests in the past?"

The question appeared to be a skeptical one, suggesting that the Justice Department might be applying the 2002 law at issue in the case in a way that's not uniform. Some conservatives have argued the Justice Department is treating Capitol rioters far harsher than people arrested at protests in 2020, for instance.

What crazies some conservatives are.

Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said that the Justice Department has consistently applied the law beyond evidence tampering but seemed to acknowledge there was a direct parallel to another case.

She may claim that, but from what I can tell, she offered not a single example of the law being applied to a riot.


My favorite part of the questioning was Gorsuch asking if pulling a fire alarm to interrupt congressional action was also covered and could result in up to 20 years in prison?

How you doin' Jamal?

digg this
posted by Disinformation Expert Ace at 05:33 PM

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