I'm sure some of you saw this article from Commentary Magazine: "The Ridiculous Ruling Against the NYPD". It's amazing how poor the argument that Seth Mandel makes is.
So, let's go back to ELEMENTARY CONSTRUCTION OF ARGUMENTS!
A straw man is when you take your opponent's argument and replace it with an argument that sounds similar to the original one, but that is, in fact, not the same. It's weaker and sillier in some fundamental ways.
So, what was the argument that Judge Scheindlin made in the decision?
The case was about the stop and frisk policy of the NYPD. It's been a pretty common news story. If you, somehow, haven't heard about it, the policy is relatively simple to explain. If you're black or hispanic in New York, the police stop you and search you. If you're white, you're obviously not a criminal and they let you go. (Incidentally, while someone might call what I just said a straw man, they'd only be partially right, it's a joke that's well borne out by the evidence in the case.)
After the break, The New York Times will explain why this might be seen as a constitutional problem and I will make fun of Republicans some more.
The New York Times explains why this might be seen as a constitutional problem,
She noted that about 88 percent of the stops result in the police letting the person go without an arrest or ticket, a percentage so high, she said, that it suggests there was not a credible suspicion to suspect the person of criminality in the first place.For those of you who don't have a pocket constitution, the fourth amendment reads, "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated."
Thus, easily putting these together, the argument the judge made over 195 pages is that, since the NYPD is letting almost everyone they search go, there must have been no reason to search them in the first place. And, given the vast racial disparities of the people searched, they must not have had any real reason to search them in the first place. Therefore, the policy violates their right to be secure in their persons, violating the fourth amendment. See, easy!
Seth Mandel explains what a vastly more illiterate person gleans from the decision,
Thus we are now aware that Scheindlin has no idea what she’s talking about–not to mention the fact that her reasoning would suggest the officers would be less suspicious if they made more arrests during the stops.Hmmm... Well, for starters, I'd say Judge Scheindlin would have taken issue with the number of arrests that held up in court, rather than the number of arrests that had been made, but that's just me.
Ah, but later in the article he makes an even more hilarious claim:
She doesn’t like the number of stops being made by the police without additional arrests, which would seem to make any constitutional objection to stop and frisk even more acute.Illegal searching, they aren't a problem. Arresting people without evidence and illegally searching them, that would be a problem! He goes on to claim that it would only be a problem to rational (read: illiterate) people, like him, the judge clearly wanted more arrests.
Huh? Is this really the best they can come up with against this case? I'm sure there are better arguments against it. I haven't thought about it, the decision seems pretty good to me, but I'm sure that they exist!
Sometimes, I just can't understand the conservative brain. Law and order is crucially important, but liberty, that's important too. When the two come into conflict, law and order seems to win out. Obviously, for some reason I can't understand, they don't think financial crimes, are crimes, per say, which is why they campaign so hard against them.
The framers of the constitution (when you precede an argument with those words, it means it's originalist, so according to conservatives, it must be correct) did not only intend to protect the captains of industry. It meant to protect the little man as well. The man who has his rights infringed in the streets, the woman who has her home illegally broken into by the sheriff, those who cannot protect themselves, and are buffeted by the most powerful force there is -- the government -- must have rights to protect themselves from that trespass, else society breaks down. The law only matters if all are protected by it. We recognize that it's harder to protect those who are poor than it is to protect those who are rich. But, Stop and Frisk goes out of the way to harm them.
The attacks against this decision, like this one, are especially stupid. They are rightfully mocked. This is an important civil rights battle, and we cannot let the powerless man lose out, as he all too often does.