Public Union: Public Enemy

We aren’t sure that we agree that public unions are the “enemy” of the public, but the influence and power they wield in politics and the election of candidates with whom they will later negotiate employment contracts is not in the best public interest.

This video from Prager U. goes into the problem and the history of public sector unions a little more.

Public-sector unions have been gaming the political system for decades, bankrupting whole cities and plunging states into massive debt. How did this happen and can it be stopped? Akash Chougule, senior policy fellow for Americans for Prosperity, has the answers in this sobering video from Prager University.


Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Or Satellite Beach. Which Is The Next Riviera Beach?

The City of Riviera Beach, Florida (population 32,000 est.) sits on the east coast of Florida, right around Palm Beach.

However, unlike many small-ish sized cities, Riviera Beach is somewhat famous (or infamous) for having had two cases that have gone to the Supreme Court. What is more interesting is that both cases involve one man – resident Fane Lozman. In a case where the City tried to evict Lozman from the marina where Lozman was living, the City lost after the Supreme Court ruled that maritime law applied to the eviction.

The latest case was just heard before the Supreme Court and the Court’s ruling will have a tremendous effect on how governments treat citizens who speak out against elected officials.

Eleven years ago, fresh off his court victory and armed for bear, Lozman was making comments in front of the City Council. He was told by the Mayor to stop talking and then was arrested when he failed to do so. You can watch the exchange below which starts at the 0:32 mark:

Lozman sued the city, arguing that his arrest was in retaliation to his First Amendment-protected criticism of city policies and corruption. Before this arrest, city council members were on record suggesting “intimidating” him due to his opposition of the city’s redevelopment plan. The city had also made Lozman “the target of a string of legal pressures,” including attempting to evict him from the local marina (which a jury found to be retaliation for Lozman’s First Amendment expression), arresting and removing him from a different council meeting, and much more.

Despite all that, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Lozman was barred from suing the city because there may have been probable cause for his arrest, and further that the existence of probable cause categorically barred a claim for retaliatory arrest. What’s worse is that the crime for which “probable cause” the city relies on—“disturbance of a lawful assembly”—wasn’t mentioned or identified until trial eight years later.

In short, the City officials decided to bar Lozman from speaking and then made a charge up against him justifying the arrest and preventing Lozman from suing the City.

Sound familiar?

We can point to examples in Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay and Satellite Beach where citizens were threatened with arrest for speaking their minds and raising the ire of government officials. Make no mistake, these officials will sometimes make up a charge to protect themselves and not the Constitution they swore to uphold.

Supreme Court Rules Raisins Are Not For The Government’s Taking.

raisins-on-cutting-board-ROHYesterday the US Supreme Court released its opinion in the case of Horne, et al. v. Department of Agriculture holding that the US government could not take the property of someone and then avoid declaring the seized property as a taking because the government gave economic interest to the original owners of the property.

This is a huge win for property rights of citizens.

In 1949, the US Government set up a program to control the markets of certain agricultural products such as nuts and raisins. The program established the “Raisin Administrative Committee” which would take 30% to 47% of raisins from growers under the guise of stabilizing the market price. The government would then use the raisin they took for various governmental programs. If there were left over raisins, the government would sell the remaining raisins and give a portion of the sales back to the growers.

In 2001, raisin growers Marvin and Laura Horne decided to challenge the regulation and not allow the government to take their raisins without compensation. They based their position the 5th Amendment which reads:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (emphasis ours)

As the government was only paying for a portion of the raisins they sold and not all of the raisins they took, the Hornes put their legal foot down and said “enough is enough.”

Over the course of the years, the Hornes were fined by the Department of Agriculture nearly a million dollars for their not allowing the government to steal take their raisins.


Hobby Lobby.

There has been much written about the Hobby Lobby ruling a few days ago from the Supreme Court.

So much has been written about the decision that we don’t feel the need to rehash it.

Instead, what we will bring forward is the curious reaction of the administration.

After the decision was announced, the White House tweeted this:

WH Tweet

Back when the Affordable Care Act was passed, President Obama and his administration repeatedly said the law was settled, and people needed to move on.

Now that the Hobby Lobby case has gone against the administration, the White House launches a campaign against the now settled law. We understand that winners are always going to say “move on” and losers are going to say “we need to change this!” That is the nature of the beast. However, there is something dishonest about the idea that “women – not their bosses – should make their health care decisions.”

Supreme Court Allows Prayers In Public Meetings.

Supreme-Court-Building-ROHOn Monday, the United States Supreme Court released its opinion in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. In a 5 – 4 ruling along ideological lines, the Justices ruled that sectarian prayers prior to public meetings do not violate the US Constitution.

Since 1999, the town of Greece, New York had opened its public meetings with a sectarian prayer offered by volunteer members of the clergy. Linda Stephens who is an atheist, and Susan Galloway who is Jewish, challenged the policy on the basis that as most of the clergy who volunteering were Christians, the town was essentially endorsing a religious point of view.

The conservative majority offered varying interpretations of when such “ceremonial” prayers would be permissible. Kennedy, along with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, focused on the specifics of the Greece case and did not offer a broad expansion of legislative prayer.

Fellow conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia went further, suggesting that even any “subtle pressure” that local citizens might feel would not be enough to ban such prayers.

In dissent, Justice Elena Kagan said, “When the citizens of this country approach their government, they do so only as Americans, not as members of one faith or another. And that means that even in a partly legislative body, they should not confront government-sponsored worship that divides them along religious lines.”

The two plaintiffs had acknowledged that sectarian prayers were allowed at government meetings, which meant the case centered around when does a prayer cross a line between free speech and the free exercise of religion to coercion of citizens to be a member of a certain belief system.

As it often does, the Court offered a set of “tests” to see when a prayer crosses that line:


Silly Unanswered Question Of The Week.

As what has been described as one of the most crucial cases before the Supreme Court in the history of the country is taking place (The Affordable Care Act), can anyone tell us why a live video and audio feed of this should not be broadcast to the entire country?

It is not as if the arguments are going to be held in private. Instead, the Supreme Court does not allow people – regular people – to actually see what happens in a case.

In this day and age, that is ridiculous.

U.S. v. Jones – The Supreme Court Upholds The Letter And Spirit Of The Constitution.

In 2004, Antoine Jones, the owner of a night club in the District of Columbia, was suspected by the police and the FBI of trafficking in illegal drugs and narcotics. As part of the investigation, in 2005 the government asked for and obtained a warrant from the District of Columbia to attach a global positioning satellite (GPS) device on the Jeep Cherokee used by Jones. The warrant specified the GPS device be installed within 10 days and be installed within the District of Columbia.

However well intentioned the government may have been to catch a drug dealer, the government violated the terms of the warrant and attached the GPS to the Cherokee on the 11th day (after the warrant had expired), and while the car and Jones were in Virginia, not the District of Columbia. The GPS device tracked Jones for 28 days, during which time the agents replaced the battery once. The tracking information which was generated required over 2000 pages to print.

Jones was eventually arrested, tried and convicted for drug trafficking. Upon his conviction, Jones appealed saying the police had violated his fourth Amendment rights. After appeals in lower courts, the Supreme Court took up the case and issued its ruling in U.S. v. Jones saying the government’s use of the GPS device without a legal warrant was in fact a violation of Jones’s Fourth Amendment Rights.

Jones’ conviction was overturned.

The ruling in the case was 9 – 0, but while the vote to overturn was unanimous, the reasoning was not. Four Justices (Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy and Thomas) issued the majority opinion. Justice Sotamayor wrote a concurring opinion which came to the same conclusion but with slightly different reasoning. Justice Alito was joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kagan in another separate concurrence but once again with different reasoning. This was 9 people arriving at the same party by taking different routes.

To understand the decision, we have to start with the basics – the Fourth Amendment itself:

When Protecting Rights is Deemed “Bad.”

Our good friend Steve Bussey over at has a different take on the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association than we do here at Raised On Hoecakes.

His essay, is, as always, passionate in demonstrating his beliefs. Unfortunately, it is wrong on several issues.

Steve comes right out of the box and claims,

Well, now little Johnny can look daddy square in the eye and tell him to shut the hell up with the backing of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, what the ruling did was not only to acknowledge the parental rights to raise a child as the parent sees fit. The ruling tells the state to stay out of it. “Little Johnny” is still subject to the rules and discipline of his father. What the court is saying is that as a parent, the government does not have the right to tell you how to raise your child.

Why Steve believes that government putting their stamp of approval on how you raise your child is a good thing is unclear, but on this case he is siding with nanny state liberals.

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