Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Righthaven Lacks Standing To Sue

From the ever useful Steve Green at Vegas Inc.:
A federal judge in Las Vegas today issued a potentially-devastating ruling against copyright enforcer Righthaven LLC, finding it doesn't have standing to sue over Las Vegas Review-Journal stories, that it has misled the court and threatening to impose sanctions against Righthaven.
Judge Hunt did not just dismiss Righthaven's suit; he gave them two weeks to respond as to why they should not be sanctioned by the court and held liable for the legal fees of Democratic Underground.  My hope is that once this is settled, there will be a massive dogpile of all the people that were intimidated into settling out of court with Righthaven, and the net effect will be both immediate bankruptcy for Righthaven, and perhaps the destruction of Stephens Media as well.

It will entertaining to watch Righthaven get stuck with repaying not only the settlement amounts, but legal fees, and oh yes, emotional suffering claims.  I never really understood the "emotional suffering" claims associated with lawsuits, until I was on the receiving end of this absurd suit.  I suspect that what I suffered from was pretty minor compared to the people that I talked to who could not afford lawyers, and were just going to go bankrupt on the huge default judgments that Righthaven was demanding.

Righthaven's scalp needs to be clearly visible as a reminder that being a lawyer has ethical requirements.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers!  Stick around; there's more to read than just this article!

34 comments:

Bubblehead said...

I really, really hope Righthaven goes down and you get reimbursed for any costs you have had from their frivolous lawsuit. Off topic: If the FBI surrounds this guy, would that be a time it would be appropriate for all Freedom-loving Americans to surround and threaten to shoot the FBI agents as you advocated earlier?

Clayton said...

You might want to work on your reading skills a bit. The point of that article was that there are circumstances that not only justify use of armed violence but require it. So let's play the same little game: are you saying that there are never circumstances that justify it? What about the scenario that I presented in that article:

"I am sure that we can all imagine governmental
actions so horrible that we would be moral failures if we did not rise. For example, if the
government started to arrest people for no good reason, ship them off to holding facilities
somewhere in Nevada, and we never heard from them again. I think most people—even
some gun control advocates—would recognize that this sort of Auschwitz-style event
required armed revolutionary violence."

Are we to conclude that because you gave one stupid example of revolutionary violence that therefore all governmental actions should be dealt with by writing letters, and ignoring the smoke from the crematoria?

TOTWTYTR said...

When I read the news about Righthaven I immediately thought of you. It would be great if you could get reimbursed not only for your out of pocket expenses, but the aggravation you had to endure. Sadly, being the bottom feeding lawyers they are, they no doubt hid their assets in anticipation of something like this.

Bubblehead said...

Clayton Cramer wrote: "Did the FBI show the restraint with the Freemen that they did because they were
worried about getting fired on from their rear?" I read that to mean you think it would be acceptable to gun down federal officers serving a valid warrant. I disagree. There are things that I believe would require armed rebellion -- cancelling elections or refusing to leave office when voted out among them. I just think that you and your ilk have a much lower threshold, so that's why I imagine I'd be on the government's side when you guys take up arms. I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk.

Clayton said...

"I read that to mean you think it would be acceptable to gun down federal officers serving a valid warrant."

You should read it as meaning that the FBI may have behaved better on the Freemen siege than at Waco because they were aware that they were being watched, and by people that would have perhaps opened fire if something similar to Waco had happened.

"I just think that you and your ilk have a much lower threshold, so that's why I imagine I'd be on the government's side when you guys take up arms."

As I said, work on your reading skills. The whole point of that essay was that while there are times when armed revolution is necessary, the results are so scary that, as the Declaration of Independence observes, people are more inclined to put up with abuses than to right them. But being an Obama supporter, I can see why you are reluctant to take a position on the Auschwitz-style example.

"I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk."

In equal numbers, no question that a professional military will always win. Even when outnumbered by a civilian population 2:1 or 3:1 or even 10:1, the professional military wins. But if circumstances are severe enough, the numbers turn out to be 50:1 or 100:1--and then the professional military may not win.

John said...

I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk.

You're assuming the 10th would follow orders in violation of Posse Comitatus.

Georgfelis said...

You will be able to tell when Righthaven realizes its house of cards is about to collapse when you can see the flow of assets out of the soon-to-be-doomed company and into places where the bankruptcy will be unable to access. When the inevitable happens, all that will be left is a shell company, and some shredded paper.

danny said...

"I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk."

You assume that all the 10th Mountain Division is on the Governments side. Please remember those men swore to defend the Constitution NOT THE GOVERNMENT. It depends on what is happening. The 10th Mountain might just tell the Government to take their illegal orders and )))*&**&^$%#^&^&.

Try the Army's move on the Washington DC Hooverville today and the government might be suprised.

m said...

"so that's why I imagine I'd be on the government's side when you guys take up arms. I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk."


I'm someone who has taken the oath to '...uphold and defend the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic..' like the folks in the 10th.

If the country devolves to the point of armed revolution, and the government is on the wrong side of the constitution, than the 10th division will be opposing the government right along with the bunch of Idaho militiamen.

m said...

Bubblehead,

"...so that's why I imagine I'd be on the government's side when you guys take up arms. I'll take the 10th Mountain Division against a bunch of Idaho militiamen in a walk."

Hi, I'm one of those guys who took the oath to "...uphold the constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic." Risking my life in the process for a number of years. Perhaps you have too.

But to truly live up to the oath, if the country devolves to the point of armed revolution and the government is on the wrong side of the constitution, then the 10th Mountain Division will be fighting alongside the Idaho militiamen, not against them. The oath is to the Constitution not to the government, congress, or office holders.

Jack Okie said...

Not to mention, a large portion of the 10th Mountain Division might change sides if it came to righting abuses.

RightWingNutter said...

Note to Bubblehead (very apt handle BTW):

Every member of the 10th Mountain Division has sworn to "preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." A lot of them keep that in mind and will remind the others. So if one agency of government is clearly violating various parts of the Bill of Rights or cancelling or ignoring results of an election, it's very unlikely they would receive support from any part of the U.S. military...even if POTUS ordered them to.

Using the example of cancelling an election, that is not within the Constitutional authority of the President. If POTUS decreed that an election be cancelled or delayed and deployed elements of the DOJ to enforce that, any Governor could ignore the order and deploy state and local police to prevent those DOJ elements from operating. If he wanted to authorize local militias to help, he could. And without the specific authorization of that Governor the President would not have the authority to send 10th Mountain or any other military unit to enforce his order. You can also be sure that all of the officers and enlisted with any significant command responsibility understand that.


Any President that tried such a naked power grab would quickly find him/herself with no power at all, and quickly removed from office.

Epsilon Given said...

Clayton, I hope you get your chunk of flesh out of Righthaven. They certainly deserve it!

As for the OT Revolution discussion: when we accept the possibility that violent revolution may be necessary, or even appropriate, we are then tasked with figuring out where to draw the line against our government, and how to act. For Bubblehead to criticize you on where you might draw the line is a little unfair on his part. It's best that these lines be drawn, so that we know how to act as government gets out of hand, though.

If a government goes rogue, it may not necessarily mean "shoot every agent you see", though. It may mean "Keep your head low, support your family, and quietly support the Rebellion as well." It may be "don't pay taxes", whether by keeping your income low, or by refusing to pay altogether. It may even be "hide a family in your attic".

Every person's situation is different, and while using arms to resist government is important, we also have to consider all our actions. I, for one, don't know if I'd be willing to shoot government agents if I also have a family I need to provide for; on the other hand, there are other options I can take to support the Rebellion.

Joel said...

What makes you think the 10th Mountain Division will side with the civilian government? I run into a lot of exmilitary and occasionally broach the topic of a military coup directed against the far-left of center civilian bureaucracy. Most reactions contain a measure of pure joy mixed with skepticism over he possibility of such an event.

Let me put it another way. If my brother, during his military stint, had been ordered to shoot ththis blog's proprietor he would have, instead, turned around and shot his officers. I would bet on the same event for the vas majorty of military men. Men with guns are always the ultimate branch of government, and, in the US anyway, those men are ovrwhelmingly right-of-center.

Joel said...

What makes you think the 10th Mountain Division will side with the civilian government? I run into a lot of exmilitary and occasionally broach the topic of a military coup directed against the far-left of center civilian bureaucracy. Most reactions contain a measure of pure joy mixed with skepticism over he possibility of such an event.

Let me put it another way. If my brother, during his military stint, had been ordered to shoot ththis blog's proprietor he would have, instead, turned around and shot his officers. I would bet on the same event for the vas majorty of military men. Men with guns are always the ultimate branch of government, and, in the US anyway, those men are ovrwhelmingly right-of-center.

Epsilon Given said...

Clayton, I just finished the article Bubblehead linked to. It's a good article--I like how you go into what revolutionaries should and should not do--and it certainly gives me a lot to think about, in trying to decide when a revolution should or should not take place.

I remember hearing that McVeigh said that, had he read "Unintended Consequences" before bombing the building, he would have targeted government officials instead. And you're right: while he probably still would have likely targeted innocents, he wouldn't have garnished the sympathy towards government he generated by blowing up the Oklahoma City building.

Oh, and Bubblehead, thanks for linking to that article! While you were trying to use it to back Clayton into some sort of corner, I think all you did was introduce us to a fantastic piece on what to do when government goes wrong!

Erik said...

It bears reminding that already in the 1850s, a prominent frontier lawyer, disturbed by what he saw, felt compelled to offer the following advice in a speech to aspiring lawyers:

"Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often a real loser — in fees, expenses and waste of time. …

"Never stir up litigation. A worse man can scarcely be found than one who does this. … A moral tone ought to be infused into the profession which should drive such men out of it."

The identity of the frontier lawyer can be found here…

http://no-pasaran.blogspot.com/2011/06/1850s-discourage-litigation-and.html

Joel said...

Bubblehead misses the point of legitimate use of force, which is to establish a well-ordered society. Both Obama and Bergert, the Idaho "militiaman" have this in common: their applications o force are destructive to social order.

Consider the GM bailout: bondholders were coerced into having the standing bankruptcy rules applied and lost a great deal of investment capital. This makes the capital markets more unstable, thus, decreasing social order. In this way, Obama is similar to lone nutjobs like Bergert and McVeigh, albeit far more scially destructiv than those losers.

Joel said...

Well, I haven't seen Bubblehead c,oment recently. It's always funny that leftists never see the "military coup" card coming.

Bubblehead said...

Sorry, Joel, I was at work. And for the commenter who thought "Bubblehead" was apt, thank you -- it's a term of endearment (or derision, depending on how used) for Submariners. Perhaps you would have recognized that if you'd served.
There are certainly times when the active duty military might side with the populace; my point is that the thing that pushes Clayton and his ilk over the edge (for instance, a 5-4 SCOTUS decision that the Health Insurance mandate is Constitutional, as wrong as that might be) wouldn't resonate too well with a bunch of guys who get government health care. If people are firebombing city halls and shooting FBI agents, I think active duty servicepeople would have no problem following their oath. The four-year corporals you hang out with might disagree, but I think the vast majority would defend the nation against anarchy. On the other hand, if the uprising is by more than just the 10% of die-hard Libertarians, then it might get interesting; I might even join.

Bubblehead said...

Left a long comment, but Clayton's annoying comment moderation requirement ate it. To summarize: I've been at work, "Bubblehead" means Submariner, and the thing that will set you guys (the 10% of hardcore Libertarians who believe the 2nd Amendment gives you the Constitutional right to kill soldiers and law enforcement officers) off -- like a 5-4 SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Health Insurance mandate -- isn't going to be a big enough trigger for a bunch of people who get government-provided healthcare.

Clayton said...

Bubblehead, you seem to have utterly misread that article.

1. I made the point that in the 1960s, the various leftist groups were so busy talking to each other that they had no clue what the sentiments of ordinary Americans were--and the bombings done by Obama's political ally alienated most Americans.

2. I am not a libertarian. For that matter, I rather doubt that many libertarians are going to be firebombing government buildings or shooting FBI agents. Partly this is because libertarians are generally intellectuals with significant economic interests in preservation of the current system. Partly this is because the sort of crazy behavior associated with lunatic fringe groups (both populist and left-wing) has more to do with rage and emotional need than it does with ideology.

Bubblehead said...

I may have misread it, but I'm still coming up with the point that you believe the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to shoot Soldiers and law enforcement officers in furtherance of overthrowing an oppressive government, as that person defines it. Please correct me if that's not what you believe.

Clayton said...

You are completely correct. Do you want to take the opposite view, that if the government started rounding up Jews, gypsies, Jehovah's Witnesses, and political opponents, then gassing them in concentration camps, that we would be wrong to use deadly force to stop that?

Many years ago, I worked with a spoiled rich kid liberal who argued that using force to stop a democratic government that was engaged in genocide would be "fascist." Is that your position? That stopping genocide is fascist?

m said...

Bubblehead,
Thought you were a submariner. I'm guilty by association via OPNAV 874. However,our country was founded on the idea that the people had the right to overthrow an oppressive government (their justification is set out in the declaration of independence). 2nd Amendment was to ensure the people continued to have the means under the new government. DC Court of Appeals ruling upheld by SCOTUS said:

To summarize, we conclude that the Second Amendment
protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right
existed prior to the formation of the new government under the
Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for
activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being
understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the
depredations of a tyrannical government (or a threat from
abroad). In addition, the right to keep and bear arms had the
important and salutary civic purpose of helping to preserve the
citizen militia.

But as Mr. Cramer points out-- even the Declaration of Independence states that violent rebellion is not to be undertaken lightly. "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

Bubblehead said...

I believe that, given Clayton's scenario, of course it would be right to violently oppose that government. I also believe that the 2nd Amendment gives us a right to arms to overthrow the government if necessary. However, I believe that no one should be prosecuted for exercising their Constitutional rights, and I think you'd agree that a person who shot a soldier because he disagreed with the government's oppressive policies should be prosecuted (as in this case); therefore, one does not have a Constitutional right to shoot Soldiers and Law Enforcement officers, only to prepare to do so. I hold that the act of waging rebellion against the government would be extra-Constitutional, but may be backed up by a higher law ("God's Law", or "Natural Law", or whatever you want to call it). If you believe that Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad should be prosecuted, I hold that you also don't believe the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to armed rebellion against a government they consider to be oppressive.

Clayton said...

Wow! You just agreed with the idea that started out castigating me for: "I believe that, given Clayton's scenario, of course it would be right to violently oppose that government. I also believe that the 2nd Amendment gives us a right to arms to overthrow the government if necessary."

I am not sure what your original point was: that not everyone that claims that they are trying to overthrow an oppressive government is right? Well duh.

Bubblehead said...

There's a big difference. You believe that people who shoot Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers in the course of trying to overthrow an "oppressive" government shouldn't be jailed; I say they should, and it would not be unConstitutional for a government to do so. I believe that the 2nd Amendment doesn't give us the right to overthrow the government; as I stated, it gives us the right to prepare to do so, but any overt action would be extra-Constitutional. (If you don't believe as I said you do, please provide other examples of rights that you believe people have that they should be jailed for exercising.)
Again, maybe my point is too subtle, so I'll restate: Given that no one should be jailed for exercising their Constitutional rights, and given that people should be jailed for shooting Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers, therefore there is not a 2nd Amendment right to shoot Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers. Sometimes, however, moral or Natural law dictates that this is the appropriate action, and the Founding Fathers recognized that, ensuring we have the arms to follow the Higher Law if needed.

Clayton said...

"There's a big difference. You believe that people who shoot Soldiers and Law Enforcement Officers in the course of trying to overthrow an "oppressive" government shouldn't be jailed;"

Where did I say that? One of the points that I made in that article was that use of deadly force "must be proportionate to the governmental tyranny; must be narrowly focused on particular individuals responsible for
those crimes; and avoid innocent loss of life."

Now, are you arguing that those who kill the guards at a concentration camp should be punished for their actions? In practice, a government evil enough to engage in genocide is certainly not going to back down from punishing those who interfere with the genocide. Should they? No. You apparently think that stopping genocide should be a criminal offense. That's the difference between us.

"I say they should, and it would not be unConstitutional for a government to do so."

So why should we be obedient and respectful to a government that engages in genocide?

Bubblehead said...

Where did you say that? About 5 comments up, where I said: "I'm still coming up with the point that you believe the 2nd Amendment gives people the right to shoot Soldiers and law enforcement officers in furtherance of overthrowing an oppressive government, as that person defines it", after which you said: "You are completely correct." Let's try something else: Do you believe that someone who robs a Federal Reserve depository in order to finance their preparations for violently overthrowing the government should be jailed if caught? In your scenario, suppose someone considers a prison where drug dealers are being held to be a "concentration camp", and kills the guards in order to free the "oppressed prisoners of conscience". Should that person be punished by the state for "exercising their 2nd Amendment rights". It sounds like your interpretation of the Constitution is "the government is oppressive when I say it is". Why isn't it oppressive when Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad says it is? Why aren't you working to have him freed, if you do in fact believe that people shouldn't be punished for exercising their Constitutional rights?

Clayton said...

"Do you believe that someone who robs a Federal Reserve depository in order to finance their preparations for violently overthrowing the government should be jailed if caught?"

Yup. A bank isn't oppression.

"In your scenario, suppose someone considers a prison where drug dealers are being held to be a "concentration camp", and kills the guards in order to free the "oppressed prisoners of conscience". Should that person be punished by the state for "exercising their 2nd Amendment rights"."

Yup. Not for exercising their 2nd Amendment rights, but for murder.

"It sounds like your interpretation of the Constitution is "the government is oppressive when I say it is". "

Yup. You seem to agree with me. You agree that a genocidal government needs overthrowing.

Bubblehead said...

How about the person who stores their fertilizer truck bomb that they're going to use to blow up the local federal building in case the government starts oppressing them, which is then struck by lightning and blows up their neighborhood when they aren't home. Is that person protected from prosecution by the 2nd Amendment?

Clayton said...

A bomb (especially a big bomb) is unlikely to qualify as "arms" within the meaning of the Second Amendment. Such a scenario is no more protected by the Second Amendment than brandishing a firearm.

Epsilon Given said...

Clayton touched on it in his essay, and Jeff Snyder (in another essay about the same topic) discussed it in a little more debt, but there are certain things you need to consider before you start a violent revolution:

1. Is your cause really just? I may think that the government is oppressive because they want to put me in prison, but if they want to put me in prison because I stole something, or murdered someone, then I'm not going to shed any tears over that person being arrested and/or killed in the process of being arrested. And I feel this way despite wanting to do away with prisons, and preserving the death penalty in some sort of "avenger of blood" or "outlaw" way.

2. Even if the government is overly oppressive, if the people aren't on your side, your revolution is going to be pointless. In this scenario, it's simply best to keep your head low, and to try to educate everyone else on what it means to be free. Otherwise, the population is just going to look at you as "a malcontent and a madman" (to use a phrase from John Locke, quoted by Snyder). Indeed, this is exactly the reaction that McVeigh created with his little stunt; and when Waco itself was happening, I was just in Junior High, I think, and I had that same attitude as them. It wasn't until I read about Waco years later that I understood how tyrannical our government was acting towards those Branch Davidians.

In any case, practically by definition, when you attempt to overthrow a tyrannical government, you should expect the government to put you in jail for your actions!