I’m drafting my annual “Year of Lowering the Bar” for The Green Bag law review, and as usual when reviewing a previous year’s stupid events I often find myself wondering what else, if anything, may have happened in a particular case. And I sometimes follow up. Here are a few of the results so far.
- Last February, I reported that the Valentine’s Day dance in Henryetta, Oklahoma, had been canceled because of a city ordinance that forbids the operation of any “public dance hall” within 500 feet of a church. See “Congratulations, Lady Who Shut Down Dance by Citing Obscure Law” (Feb. 13, 2017). At the time, the mayor said that the ordinance would likely be repealed at the next city council meeting. Looks like it wasn’t. So congratulations again, lady.
- That same month, Texas Rep. Tom Oliverson introduced HCR 75. See “Bill Urges Texans to Use Correct Flag Emoji” (Feb. 21, 2017). The resolution, which claimed that many Texans have mistakenly been using an emoji that actually depicts the quite similar flag of the Republic of Chile, passed in the House by a surprisingly not-unanimous vote of 127-15-3. (It appears that many of the 15 have a tendency to vote against any nonbinding resolution, presumably thinking they are usually unnecessary.) The bill was then referred to the Senate, where it seems to have quietly expired.
- In March, I reported on Maine Rep. Larry Lockman’s heroic quest to protect those brave souls willing to speak out against the tyranny of a mere 99% of so-called “scientists” and their so-called “mountain of evidence” that Earth’s climate is getting warmer. See “Bill Would Protect Climate Change Deniers From Discrimination” (Mar. 28, 2017). The bill would have made one’s “climate change policy preference” a category of protected “political speech,” but the state’s Judiciary Committee killed it in June 2017.
- ALERT: A comment has been posted to the police blotter item that spawned “Good Reason to Kill #67: Enraged by Xylophone” (Apr. 25, 2017). That comment reads as follows: “I am that woman and it is my xylaphone and the person was asked not to touch it and it was taken without my permission, also the grease was not poured on that persons head it was poured on the musical instrument. This artical contains false information and NWF daily news should retract this statement.” To date, there has been no retraction.
- In a couple of more recent items I discussed Nebraska’s LR269CA, which proposes enabling the state legislature to delegate “sovereignty” to a small area of the state. See, e.g., “More Details (and Questions) About Mini-Nebraska” (Jan. 24, 2018). In the poll asking what that area should be called, the most votes went to “Nomaha,” closely followed by “The Republic of I-80” and the third-place winner, “City McCityFace.” There were also a number of good write-in contenders, including “Babybraska,” “Oblivia,” “Notaxska,” and “What Is This, a Sovereign State for Ants?”—a great Zoolander reference though I think it works better as a state slogan than a name.
- I might be updating you today about the hearing on that bill, which was scheduled for January 29, except that I wasn’t able to watch the live stream all the way to the end. This was partly because one of the committee members kept asking lengthy and I thought unnecessary questions during a hearing on another bill, burning a lot of time. For example, he kept complaining that the governor had called a comment he made on some bill “ridiculous” but then had turned around and endorsed it anyway. Who cares? It slowly dawned on me, though, that the guy asking these questions was none other than Sen. Ernie Chambers, who appeared here several times a while back because, in 2007, he sued God. See, e.g., “Nebraska Man Still Pursuing Lawsuit Against God” (Feb. 2009).
- So I followed up on that, too. God never responded to the lawsuit, but a trial judge said He didn’t have to because Chambers hadn’t shown he had properly served God with a summons. Chambers appealed, making what I thought was the perfectly good argument that because God is omniscient, He doesn’t need to get notice of the lawsuit. But it looks like I never reported on the final and entirely unsurprising outcome, in which the Nebraska Court of Appeals dismissed the suit because it was too abstract and hypothetical to be addressed in court.
- So that’s the guy who was complaining, at length, that the governor called him “ridiculous.”