Today, in Lockett v New Orleans, a case on appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from a federal district court, some shocking statements are made.
But even more shocking is what is not said in the case, either by the court, or by the litigants:
In July of 2008, Lockett was driving in his vehicle to a class at the Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO). At the same time, two military police officers, Jonathan Bieber and Brandt Arceneaux, were conducting patrol in the area as members of the National Guard Task Force assisting the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with law enforcement duties pursuant to an order issued by Governor Jindal after Hurricane Katrina. Bieber and Arceneaux observed Lockett’s vehicle and believed it to be traveling over the speed limit. Based on this observation, the defendants effectuated a traffic stop of Lockett.(Lockett, [PDF version], emphasis added). The lawsuit was filed because Mr. Lockett said the soldiers made racial statements and hurt him.
None of the people involved in this case, the federal district court judge, the appellate judges, nor the litigants saw anything wrong with this picture except that the soldiers were alleged to be too harsh.
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.(18 U.S.C. § 1385). Republican ("anti big government") Governor Jindal did just that, he had ordered the military police to do the domestic police work in certain areas of his state contrary to our traditional notions of posse comitatus.
Why didn't the litigants or the judges question this ... are we now beaten down so much that we do not question anything the government does?
Well, the posse comitatus law was changed by Bush II and his minions:
On September 26, 2006, President Bush urged Congress to consider revising federal laws so that U.S. armed forces could restore public order and enforce laws in the aftermath of a natural disaster, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.(Wikipedia). What Bush II did was ignore those damaged by what he had ordered the government not to do (make the levies safe), then when they became outraged at not being helped, he sent the troops to keep them under control.
The President may employ the armed forces ... to ... restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition ... the President determines that ... domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order ... or [to] suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such ... a condition ... so hinders the execution of the laws ... that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law ... or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
But why didn't the judges or the litigants question whether the draconian big brother measures congress had authorized could constitutionally allow soldiers to give speeding tickets and arrest citizens?
Or why didn't the judges or the litigants question whether the draconian big brother measures congress had authorized the president to do would apply to governors of states?
Does it boil down to warlords of the world have become criminally insane and the populace has become criminally compliant?
The next post in this series is here.