Random Tuesday Morning Thoughts

  • Wise County ramping up with 'Rona:
    • Justice of the Peace #2 office is shut down due to positive case "exposure" by an employee.
    • Casa Torres in Decatur has voluntarily shut down due as well. (Man, the person who told me this better be right.) 
    • The City of Bridgeport pool has shut down for the summer and rentals of the Community Center have been indefinitely suspended due to "extra precautions due to COVID-19."
    • The County Clerk's office remains shut down after positive tests. Edit: It has now reopened.
    • Wise County finally has official new numbers: 33 active cases. (The old record for active cases, I think, was 17 or 18 a couple of months ago. And I'd bet 33 is way too low. Here is the county's long disclaimer about the numbers since the State still isn't being very helpful.)
    • All jury trials are delayed until at least September 1. (This applies to the entire state as of late last night.)
  • Texas (hospitalizations set a new record yesterday; total new cases had the typical delayed weekend reporting down-tick.)

  • I still have extreme doubts that we'll see UIL sports this fall.  But what about college/pro football? Greed and money will certainly push for it to be played, but one thing that hasn't been factored in is George Floyd. "Come again?" you say. Stay with me here. You are telling me that a football game will be played while a predominately white crowd is protected by limiting fans to 50% capacity or less as they watch predominately young black athletes roll around in piles on the ground? What happens when that optic finally dawns on everyone?
    (Looks like they had social distancing in the upper deck)
  • And can you imagine the headaches and scandals if they do try and play? Say, for example, UT quarterback Sam Ehlinger tests positive for the COVID right before the OU game, but says he feels 100% fine. Does the Evil Empire quarantine him for two weeks? How big is the temptation to try to cover up the test and pray no one finds out? Would some other team in a similar situation try to cover the test results up even from their star quarterback? You don't think a team in the SEC wouldn't do that?
    Eyes closed.
    He completed that, by the way, and it was amazing.
  • Breaking: The great Carl Reiner has died. 
  • Either he didn't care that Russia was paying for U.S. soldiers to be murdered ("No puppet!") or, at the very least, he didn't read his security briefing because he was watching Fox and Friends and tweeting. This is not going away. 
  • He's just trolling us and doing a bit, right? 
  • Yesterday's abortion decision is pretty interesting for this reason: 
    • The Louisiana law before the court which restricted abortion was exactly like a Texas law that the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. But the Supreme Court's makeup had changed since then. 
    • Because of that change, there were now enough votes to uphold the abortion restrictions, but something went wrong -- Chief Justice Roberts changed sides. He was in the dissent in 2016 and, if he would have had his way back then, would have ruled that the Texas law was constitutional. 
    • But yesterday he wrote that he would follow the majority in that Texas case and would now vote to strike down the Louisiana law which was currently before the court. Had he changed his mind? Nope. He still thinks the way he did in the Texas case. And that means he thinks the Louisiana law is constitutional. 
    • So why change sides? He voted to strike it down because, in his view, the Supreme Court can't be overruling itself left and right simply because its members change. He considers, as Chief Justice, for it to be his court and his legacy.

  • Always, always, keep Hitler out of it
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  • Legal stuff: I was thinking of what it would be like to try to "pick a jury"/conduct voir dire if everyone on the entire jury panel was wearing a mask. It would be impossible. I've always depended just as much on someone's facial expressions as their answers to questions. (This isn't rocket science. Have you tried talking to someone wearing a mask lately?)  Along those same lines, a witness who were to testify while wearing a mask would probably violate the Confrontation Clause. (Quick research reveals one Texas case where it was error to allow a witness to testify "wearing dark sunglasses, a baseball cap pulled down over his forehead, and a long-sleeved jacket with its collar turned up and fastened so as to obscure [his] mouth, jaw, and the lower half of his nose.")
  • More legal stuff: I can't imagine trying to prepare for the bar exam right now. If it were to be cancelled at the last minute, it would be devastating. But I'm also not sure about every Texas law school dean supporting the possible option of allowing, for this one time only, a law degree taking the place of the need to pass the bar exam. 
  • The inmate population at the Wise County Jail has now hovered in 130s for a few months since the COVID crisis hit. It used to normally average in the 190s. The world hasn't ended just because there are less people in jail, has it?