Federal Law Prohibits Conspiracy to to Prevent a Person from Exercising Rights

We live in a era when more and more people want to prevent Americans from exercising their right of free speech, their right to exercise their religion and other constitutional rights.  Federal law, i.e., 18 United States Code Section 241 provides:

“If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or

If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

They shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both”

Federal law also provides that a person who is denied his or her rights may sue the people who are responsible for the denial.  42 United States Code Section 1985(3) states:

Depriving persons of rights or privileges

If two or more persons in any State or Territory conspire or go in disguise on the highway or on the premises of another, for the purpose of depriving, either directly or indirectly, any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws, or of equal privileges and immunities under the laws; or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of any State or Territory from giving or securing to all persons within such State or Territory the equal protection of the laws; or if two or more persons conspire to prevent by force, intimidation, or threat, any citizen who is lawfully entitled to vote, from giving his support or advocacy in a legal manner, toward or in favor of the election of any lawfully qualified person as an elector for President or Vice President, or as a Member of Congress of the United States; or to injure any citizen in person or property on account of such support or advocacy; in any case of conspiracy set forth in this section, if one or more persons engaged therein do, or cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured in his person or property, or deprived of having and exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the United States, the party so injured or deprived may have an action for the recovery of damages occasioned by such injury or deprivation, against any one or more of the conspirators.”

Ousted Manager of Cave Creek Sues Town over Firing

Arizona Republic:  “A former Cave Creek town manager is suing the town over the manner in which he was fired from his position of more than 10 years.  Usama Abujbarah and his lawyer, Daniel Bonnett, filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court last Wednesday, claiming that Cave Creek and its Town Council violated Arizona’s Open Meeting Law.”

President Obama on President’s Authority to Take Unilateral Military Action

In 2007 former constitutional law professor Barack Obama answered a question about the President’s authority to unilaterally cause the U.S. to take military action.

Q. In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)

OBAMA:  The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

Obama was also asked about the ability of the federal government to conduct searches without a warrant.

Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.

Income Tax Law Complicates Donations to Hotshot Families

Arizona Republic:  “Tax concerns could force the families of the 19 hotshots killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire to wait until next year to receive their share of $4.7million in donations collected in the wake of the tragedy.  Officials with two firefighters associations in Phoenix and Prescott, which have collected more in donations than any other groups, said Friday that they are worried the families could receive the cash only to be hit with a giant tax bill.”

Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal

Rolling Stone: “The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education – saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy. . . . But the dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal – the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008. . . . Tuition costs at public and private colleges were, are and have been rising faster than just about anything in American society – health care, energy, even housing. Between 1950 and 1970, sending a kid to a public university cost about four percent of an American family’s annual income. Forty years later, in 2010, it accounted for 11 percent. Moody’s released statistics showing tuition and fees rising 300 percent versus the Consumer Price Index between 1990 and 2011.”

What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy

Wall St. Journal:  “An entrenched surveillance state will change and distort the balance that allows free government to function successfully. Broad and intrusive surveillance will, definitively, put government in charge. But a republic only works . . . if public officials know that they—and the government itself—answer to the citizens. It doesn’t work, and is distorted, if the citizens must answer to the government. And that will happen more and more if the government knows—and you know—that the government has something, or some things, on you. ‘The bad thing is you no longer have the one thing we’re supposed to have as Americans living in a self-governing republic,’ . . . . ‘The people we elect are not your bosses, they are responsible to us.’ They must answer to us. But if they increasingly control our privacy, ‘suddenly they’re in charge if they know what you’re thinking‘.”

Scottsdale’s Rural/Metro Files Bankruptcy Petition in Delaware

Rural/Metro Corp., a Scottsdale-based company that provides fire and ambulance services for hire in 21 states, filed a petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.  Lenders will loan the company $75 million and it will get additional cash of $135 million during its reorganization.  Rural/Metro was acquired by Warburg Pincus for approximately $438 million in 2011.

New Health Care Ruling May Not Change Tide

azcentral.com:  The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of some provisions of the “Affordable Care Act” (Obamacare).  At this point, however, an article in azcentral.com explains why analysts expect that the ruling will not change the tide that will cause more employees in Arizona to pay more fees for health care.  Employers are choosing plans that force employees to front the first $1000 to $10,000 of their health care before their coverage begins.  As a result, an increasingly well-researched population of patients will use the internet to pick and choose which procedures they can afford just as they might pick from a cafeteria line.  This seems to set up patients and doctors alike for failure.  Lawyers, however, should become busier drafting waivers and releases to ensure doctors are able to perform the services patients request in these isolated circumstances.

Large Sized Sugary Drinks To Be Banned In New York

New York Times: “New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.”