CNN Breaking News

Chief Justice John Roberts has suffered a seizure and is hospitalized in Maine, the Supreme Court says.

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UPDATE BY BRENDAN: Reportedly, the Chief Justice has recovered. Good.

23 Responses to “CNN Breaking News”

  1. Mad Max, Esquire says:

    Does this mean that Roberts has to recuse himself from future search and “seizure” cases?

  2. Anonymooose says:

    Ohhh man. That was just BAD!!! :-O

  3. Joe Mama says:

    Yes it was, but not as bad as this from Wonkette (hat tip: Instapundit):

    Chief Justice John Roberts has died in his summer home in Maine. No, not really, but we know you have your fingers crossed.

  4. texasyank says:

    For all the best in class and character, turn to Huffpost.

  5. Brett says:

    I’d be curious to hear her comments on this.

    Cover the Virgin Mary in cow-dung – free speech.
    Submerge a Crucifix in urine – free speech
    Burn the US flag – free speech
    Dunk the Koran in the toilet – two hate crime felonies

    What is with colleges and prosecutors these days??!!?? I mean seriously.

  6. David K. says:

    Joe Mama, I suppose you also are offended by the same type of rhetoric (ok to be honest she’s not even trying to e funny when she does it ) that comes from Ann Coulter? That doesn’t excuse Wonkette’s comment, which i think is incredibly offensive, but i’d just like to make sure you are going to live up to the Fair and Balanced credo of your favorite news source.

  7. Brendan Loy says:

    Joe Mama, June 8, 2006: “what Ann Coulter said is so stunningly crude, obnoxious and stupid that it completely negates any worthwhile point she was trying to make.”

  8. David K. says:

    Then i have to give you complete credit Joe Mama, thanks for the quote Brendan.

  9. Joe Mama says:


    You are also quite wrong about my “favorite news source.” Good luck finding a single comment of mine linking or quoting from a Fox News story (well, I suppose it’s possible you may find one, but I highly doubt it).

  10. Joe Mama says:

    And thanks from me, too, Brendan :-)

  11. Joe Mama says:

    The nutroots at Democratic Underground (now there is a favorite news source of mine!) have some choice comments:

    ThomCat: I hate to wish anyone ill, but I hope his tenure on the supreme court is a short one.

    kaygore: If there is a God, then he is not too young to become the right-hand maiden to Satan in the inner reaches of Hell.

    antifaschits: [responding to a request for prayers] why? karma, if it exists, will probably kick this SOB in the teeth. Except, unlike 40,000,000 americans, he has access to the best of the best health care plans in the world. If, unexpectedly, he sees his own frail human life, his ability to suffer and die, his future pass before his eyes, like it does to hundreds of thousands each day in this country, if it educates him about the harm he inflicts on others, then, yeah, I can see hoping for him. But more likely than not, he won’t. He will not recognize life as most of us see it. He will continue in his neocon way of viewing things, and simply add fat to the fire when he recovers and returns to the bench.

    aquart: Was there lightning?

    aquart: [responding to the request for prayers] Okay: Dear Lord, May the evil John Roberts does come back to him and only him, from every place it has gone, from everyone it has harmed.

    kaygore: Better prayer. Dear God, Please release Satan’s hand-maiden, John Roberts, from his worldly cares and allow him to join once again with the Prince of Darkness in the lowest reaches of Hell. We pray this in the name of your son, our lord, Jesus. Amen.

    Bornaginhooligan: I prayed. But it didn’t come true.

    The mindless invoking of “neocon” — as if merely using that label in a pejorative sense is an end in itself — has to be my favorite part. I get a good chuckle every time some idiot does that.

  12. Anonymous says:

    God is calling you home, John…Follow the light! Go towards the light….

  13. Ken says:

    Sorry to hear that my summertime neighbor was taken ill. The hospital he went to Pen Bay Medical Center is considered to be a very good hospital…(and is the only one in this area)….though I may be prejudiced somewhat since I am a former Board member of the hospital. The medical concern is what this second seizure may mean in terms of future potential problems for the Chief Justice in both the short and long run.

  14. Angrier and Angrier says:

    While I don’t care for Roberts’ political leanings, he seems like a decent guy and I certainly wouldn’t want anything to happen to him. On the other hand, I understand Dick Cheney and Justice Scalia like to go duck hunting together. Hmmm…..

  15. dcl says:

    Well based on the amount of information provided in the article vis-a-vi the Quran incident I cannot make a specific comment as to the free speech implications of his actions. However, in the case of flag burning there are a few necessary provisos. First, it must be YOUR flag that you are burning. For example you may NOT tear the flag off the flag pole in the town square and burn it (unless you are the Mayor perhaps–but that’s still kind of sketchy). Also if you are on private property other than your own you are subject to criminal trespass issues, vandalism, &c… On public property you may also be subject to certain ordinances prohibiting open fires on public property–meaning you might need a permit–now if that permit is denied because the object you want to burn is the flag then you have a cause of action. If it is denied because you know, it’s california in the middle of fire season, not so much.

    So in the application of the facts we know to the case at hand. The first question we would want to ask is who owned the copy of the Quran that was flushed? If the 23 year old stopped in at Barn’s and Noble on the way to the library then there is not an initial problem there. If he took the book out of the library and flushed it he might be subject to crimes such as theft and destruction of property (One or both of which could rise to the level of a felony depending on circumstances).

    The second issue we must consider is weather Pace University is a public or private institution. According to Pace’s web site it is a Private University and therefore not subject to the constraints of the first amendment. Since the Quran was flushed in the library of a private institution the school would be free of any first amendment implications in deciding on their punishments. Likewise NYPD and the DA’s office will get greater latitude in charges given that the action taken was prohibited on the private property where it occurred–similar to I don’t want you burning a cross in my front yard. At a minimum tossing a book in someone else’s toilet is vandalism. Now the 23 Year Old could attempt to argue state action in the case of a private university. A difficult route to take, but if he was successful private college students everywhere would rejoice as student’s at USC would no-longer need to confine their protests to the free speech zone.

    So in this case, depending on the exact facts, the accused could be charged with (at a general level) theft, destruction of property, and vandalism. All of those crimes are capable of rising to a felony. Generally hate crime legislation can attach itself to any felony that is motivated by race, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation &c. Which is how the DA has attached hate crime charges to the case. (Of course if the boy had bought his own Quran ran into the library stood on top of a table and started tearing it apart–throwing the pieces violently into the trash can he would likely be in far less trouble–but that’s a different can of wax as the options for charges would be much more limited in nature).

    Of course this does not address the general validity of Hate Crimes legislation. A topic upon which there is far less case law and thus much more open to speculation. In this particular case I would likely agree that a Hate Crimes statue is being over applied in the sense that it is being used to limit speech by the state. As the first amendment does not mark a difference between hate speech and other types of speech as a general principal I don’t think it should apply. Weather that is a legally defensible position I am uncertain–but as a philosophical matter, it would seem only to stand to reason. Cases where another person is physically attacked motivated by “hate” is a different can of wax and I would suggest is a far more political matter than a legal constitutional matter. As a political matter though I understand the motivation I tend to come down on the side of that’s why we have statues against murder, torture, assault, battery, &c. &c. &c… And that, in the general crime is certainly not motivated by sunshine and puppies, it tends to make “hate crime” as a tack on charge somewhat redundant–but that is, of course, only a personal political opinion and not even remotely based on legal precedent or argument–though I would be interested in hearing legal arguments on both sides of such an issue.

    Of course all off this is in a very general sense and not specifically applicable to the case about which I have very few facts. As a simple matter of philosophy I don’t see how it is particularly different from or more hateful than burning the flag. Obviously, when things become a legal matter they become exponentially more complex and as Brendan has had first amendment / Constitutional rights, liberties, and responsibilities classes far more recently than I have and his were focused explicitly on the legal aspects where as my thinking on these matters tends to be more philosophy/ theory of the law based I would put more stock in Brendan’s response to the particular legal aspects of such a case–should he choose to comment or disagree with my very general assessment.

  16. Joe Mama says:

    The second issue we must consider is weather Pace University is a public or private institution. According to Pace’s web site it is a Private University and therefore not subject to the constraints of the first amendment. Since the Quran was flushed in the library of a private institution the school would be free of any first amendment implications in deciding on their punishments.

    Not necessarily. It is well-settled that private institutions may be treated as “public actors” when it comes to protecting constitutional rights, especially the First Amendment (e.g., a shopping mall that is privately owned by a property management co. cannot rely solely on the public-versus-private distinction in order to unreasonably restrain free speech).

  17. dcl says:

    I did indeed mention the possibility of arguing state action in the case of a private university. However, as a general case arguing state action in the case of a private school, including universities, where admission is controlled versus a shopping mall where all are free to enter and which acts as a surrogate for a “public square” tends to be significantly more difficult. Which is why USC gets away with having a “free speech zone” and why they are not even technically required to have that. Where as all of, say, UC Berkley counts as a free speech zone and only allowed certain general rules.

  18. Joe Mama says:

    Sorry, I must have missed it. If I erroneously read your statement to be more unequivocal than it was, then my bad. I agree that there are some important distinctions to be made between a private university and, say, a shopping mall, which is why I emphasized “may” in my comment re state actors.

  19. dcl says:

    Indeed, I think we are likely of the same mind in the case of this particular issue. Though I would say that as a legal matter, not a philosophical one, this is a rather more complex issue than it might first appear. As a philosophical matter I would totally agree that they are all okay or they are all not okay. And I, personally, would come down on the general side of all okay–barring some other attendant illegal action on the way to the act of symbolic speech.

  20. Joe Mama says:

    I love heated agreement :-)

  21. Joe Mama says:

    And FWIW, I would also generally come down on the side of free speech.

  22. dcl says:

    While quite glad to hear it I didn’t want to presume to infer any particular position on your part not clearly stated. As there are some valid arguments for both view points. Yes, I must say very heated and hotly contested argument we’ve got here :-)

  23. Joe Mama says:

    Treatment of the Quran is a sensitive issue for Muslims, who view the book as a sacred object and mistreating it as an offense against God.

    You would think that people who are so hypersensitive about the treatment of a holy symbol would be a little more respectful of national symbols like flags, yet the first thing your average muslim agitator reaches for (one hopes, I suppose) to show his/her discontentment is the US/Israeli/Danish/whatever flag. And they always have an ample supply of the nation du jour. How much must the guy working the corner flag shop in downtown Damascus or Islamabad clear in a year?