May 5, 2009

To paraphrase Robert Burns, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. The Congress of the United States, in attempting to rein in identity theft and illegal immigration and to prove that they are actually useful, passed a regulation that provides for a two-year prison sentence for a person who knowingly uses the identity of another. The Congress could have said it is a crime to use another's identity and they would have been on solid ground. But that is not how politicians work. They craft legislation in an way to try to cover every possible contingency and to not make anyone unhappy. And in doing that, they generally make a mess of things. Yesterday the Supreme Court issued a ruling in the case of Flores-Figueroa v. United States, in favor of Mr. Flores-Figueroa. Flores-Figueroa, an illegal immigrant, used fictitious SSN and resident alien cards to gain employment. He later, used a real SSN, one not belonging to him. His employer reported Mr. Flores-Figueroa to the federal immigration officials and he was arrested. Mr. Flores-Figueroa was charged with both illegal entry and aggravated identity theft, under the knowingly law. Mr. Flores-Figueroa disputed the charge that he knowingly used someone else's ID. His contention was that since he didn't know he was using an actual persons actual SSN, he hadn't violated the aggravated identity theft law. At trial he was convicted and he also lost on appeal. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "knowingly means knowingly and since Flores-Figueroa had no knowledge of whose SSN he was using, he is not guilt of violating the law. They never said he was a swell guy or anything, just that he didn't violate the law as written. The article about the ruling in the Hooterville Daily Dish generated over 100 comments, most angry and outraged. I find fringe outrage terribly entertaining. Francisco R. wrote: Hey, I "took" that car but I didn't "know" it belonged to someone else. It's not stealing. Francisco apparently forgot that the law about car theft never says that you have to know the car you steal belonged to someone else. Doug P. had an interesting thought: The Supreme Court is wrong in this ruling and someone should challenge the ruling!! Maybe to the Really, Really Supreme Court? John H. attempted to instruct, by writing, The question the article did not answer is what portion of the Constitution did the Supreme Court base this decision on. Afterall, that is supposed to be the basis of all their decisions. John needs a copy of the Constitution. Article III, Section 2, is pretty clear about the scope of the Supreme Courts powers. Their decisions are not strictly based in Constitutional interpretation. Anyway, the wackos are in a dither about this. What else is new? Things in this blog represented to be fact, may or may not actually be true. The writer is frequently wrong, sometimes just full of it, but always judgmental and cranky

11 comments:

Megan said...

Well, it's been a while since I took U.S. Government, but jeez louise.

I like your use of the word fringe.

R.L. Bourges said...

I like the idea of a Really, Really Supreme Court. I think it's high time there be one to set the record straight, once and for all. Which record and on what? Must you ask? ALL records on EVERYTHING. Hmph. The Court could make a law against ranters, too. Applicable with dire consequences. So there. Get those ranters in line! hmph, snuffle, mumble.

Best to you in Hooterville, Merle.

Reya Mellicker said...

There are so many reminders, every day, about why I was never interested in studying the law. Here in DC you can't toss a noodle without hitting a lawyer. But the law? Fuggitaboutit!

Steve said...

"Aggravated" identity theft????

It's embarrassing how people scapegoat their own problems onto the shoulders of those less powerful.

Annie Ha said...

He should know that one doesn't want to get involved with the Really, Really Supreme Court. They're hardcore, man.

Kurt said...

Fringe outrage, that's my Dad's specialty!

It looks like your paper printed Doug P.'s comment for the amusement of others.

Barbara said...

Bravo to Flores-Figueroa! I'm proud of the Supreme Court for doing the right thing. What sort of scapegoats would the Hootervillians (or would it be Hootervillains?) have if they sent back all the illegal aliens?!

Bella Rum said...

I don't care what anybody says, I loved the Supremes.

Nan Patience said...

So let me see if I've got this straight: now people can just pull SSN's out of their ass and use them however they want, and as long as they don't know whose SSN they're using, they're not guilty of identity theft? Come on. I'd say a little outrage is called for.

Merle Sneed said...

Nan,

I completely agree with you about anyone using someone else's ID. I find the whole thing amusing because the dunderheads in Congress can't even get a simple law right.

Coffee Messiah said...

It's all so perplexing ; (