Monday, March 30, 2009


The Wages of Stupidity

Ed Brayton has already mentioned that a federal judge has ordered McCreary and Pulaski counties in Kentucky to pay the legal fees to the ACLU, after it won a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2005.

The counties have been represented throughout by the ridiculous Matt Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel and dean of the law school of the equally ridiculous Liberty University. That was their first stupidity.

The counties argued that the fees requested from the ACLU were unreasonable, among other reasons because the attorneys spent too much time on tasks such as legal research. District Judge Jennifer B. Coffman ruled that the fees were reasonable for a complex case that required 1,300 hours' work over 10 years. And then she pointed out their second and third stupidity:

The counties started the court battle by posting standalone copies of the Ten Commandments that were "indisputably unconstitutional" at the time, then fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend their actions, Coffman said.

"The defendants 'cannot litigate tenaciously and then be heard to complain about the time necessarily spent ... in response,'" Coffman wrote, citing an earlier court opinion.
If you are going to stupidly flaunt the Constitution, there is a point when you should cut your losses and run. That's especially true when:

McCreary County is one of the state's poorest, and is hard-pressed at times to fund police protection and other services.
It's hard to see how the county's elected officials can look themselves in the face after wasting time and money on such foolery when they can't pay for basic services. But their last and most egregious stupidity is that they are still listening to Staver:

However, the high court left open the possibility that the counties could someday post the Ten Commandments with other documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, so that the displays would have a secular purpose, not a religious one.

That is one issue on appeal now -- whether the counties have cured what one appeal panel called their "blatantly religious" motive for putting up the Ten Commandments in the first place.
Staver has apparently told them that, if the counties win the case on appeal, they won't have to pay the ACLU. As David A. Friedman, lead attorney for the ACLU, points out, the counties wouldn't have to pay all of the $400,000 in that case but the ACLU would still be entitled to a significant fee award, given that it won the original case and appeal.

As a great philosopher once said: "Stupid is as stupid does."

Don't you mean flout, not flaunt?

And if it weren't for stupid ideas, the creos would have no ideas at all.

Bob Carroll
Actually, according to Merriam-Webster, "flaunt" has taken on the meaning of "to treat contemptuously."

English retains all the constancy to be expected of a language invented by Norman soldiers trying to get laid by Saxon tavern wenches.
Ironically, the 10 commandments have become a golden calf to the religious right. They spend their time worshiping the statues they created.
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