The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Careful Where You Point That

Two rulings, from different courts, caught my eye this morning. It would have been more interesting if they’d come from the same court, but it’s still kind of funny. And rather curious.

I present Exhibit A:

The Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts ruled that illegal gun possession is a “passive and victimless crime.” 

The Supreme Judicial Court yesterday ruled that illegal gun possession is a “passive and victimless crime” and that those charged with having illicit firearms cannot be held without bail as a danger to society.

…”While we are cognizant that unlicensed possessors of firearms may use firearms unlawfully, unlicensed possession of a firearm itself is a regulatory crime,” Spina wrote. “It is passive and victimless.”

Spina added: “That a person possesses a firearm without a valid license does not itself pose a substantial risk that physical force against another may result. Rather, it is the unlawful use of a firearm that involves a substantial risk that physical force against another may result.”

Got it. Guns don’t kill people. People who use guns to kill people kill people.

On to Exhibit B:

The U.S. Supreme Court thinks that a lower court needs to take another look at Janet Jackson’s breast.

The Supreme Court on Monday set aside a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, that had overturned a $550,000 fine imposed by the Federal Communications Commission on CBS for the “wardrobe malfunction,” as the fateful moment has been described.

The Supreme Court said the Third Circuit should give “further consideration” to its conclusion last July 21 that the F.C.C. had been wrong to fine the network. A three-judge panel of the Third Circuit said the F.C.C. had not given broadcasters enough advance notice that it was tightening its policies involving fleeting displays of nudity, and that CBS should not have been held responsible for the actions of Ms. Jackson and her performing partner, Justin Timberlake.

..The lyrics sung by Mr. Timberlake at the Super Bowl were arguably not as vulgar, although he seemed to have been overly inspired by them. “Gonna have you naked by the end of this song,” he uttered, just before the big moment.

The exposure of Ms. Jackson’s breast lasted nine-sixteenths of one second, the Third Circuit said. That is barely enough time for the speediest wide receiver to cover five yards on a dry field, but plenty of time to generate litigation that has lasted half a decade, with accompanying lawyers’ fees.

So, breast don’t hurt people, but people who bare their breasts for 9/16 of a second… What?

What confuses me most is that Ms. Jackson at least has a license to carry what got her into so much trouble….

I’m not sure why the two rulings stuck in my head, but they did.

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