The importance of the word "otherwise."

Discussion in 'Political Opinions & Beliefs' started by Lee Atwater, Apr 14, 2024.

  1. Lee Atwater

    Lee Atwater Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I am happy to take on the likes of you in any debate you choose. But it should be noted that this........"would instead promote fallacious arguments about liberal judges agreeing with your fringe liberal bloggers".......unsubstantiated nonsense exemplifies the lack of rigor you bring to every argument.

    As stated earlier I agree with this and what follows.

    When interpreting a statute, "we begin by analyzing the statutory language, 'assuming that the ordinary meaning of that language accurately expresses the legislative purpose.' " Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Ins. Co., 560 U.S. 242, 251, 130 S.Ct. 2149, 176 L.Ed.2d 998 (2010) (cleaned up) (quoting Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557 U.S. 167, 175, 129 S.Ct. 2343, 174 L.Ed.2d 119 (2009)). If a statute's language is clear, then that language controls. The Supreme Court has explained:

    [C]anons of construction are no more than rules of thumb that help courts determine the meaning of legislation, and in interpreting a statute a court should always turn first to one, cardinal canon before all others. We have stated time and again that courts must presume that a legislature says in a statute what it means and means in a statute what it says there. When the words of a statute are unambiguous, then, this first canon is also the last: judicial inquiry is complete.
    Conn. Nat'l Bank v. Germain, 503 U.S. 249, 253-54, 112 S.Ct. 1146, 117 L.Ed.2d 391 (1992) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); accord Rotkiske v. Klemm, — U.S. —, 140 S. Ct. 355, 360, 205 L.Ed.2d 291 (2019) ("If the words of a statute are unambiguous, this first step of the interpretive inquiry is our last."). Therefore, "[w]e must enforce plain and unambiguous statutory language according to its terms." Hardt, 560 U.S. at 251, 130 S.Ct. 2149.

    https://casetext.com/case/united-states-v-fischer-64

    If the legislative purpose was to restrict the statute to matters only involving documents, why include.....

    (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object's integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or

    (2) otherwise obstructs
    , influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,
     
  2. CornPop

    CornPop Well-Known Member

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    So what you're saying is you're citing an unrelated case because it says you need to look at an "ordinary meaning" of language while ignoring that you do this when the legislation is vague or there is little to no background for its meaning. This is what you do when there's confusion over obscure terms of legislation and there's debate over the definition of those obscure terms. It's not something you do when there is no historical debate over the meaning of the word.

    And you're ignoring the fact that the SCOTUS just last month AGAIN needed to interpret the use of the word "otherwise" in a statute, and that decision was unanimous. They said you can't just tack it on at the end and pretend it's standing on its own because it's not. It MUST be used in conjunction with the reference to the terms that proceeded it. What proceeded C2? DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE. That also happens to be what the law was written for. Nowhere in any legislative history or in enforcement had it ever been used to prosecute people for something completely unrelated to evidence. Because your interpretation is not what the law says, and that is not what the intent of the legislation was for. And you know that you're wrong, which is why you're citing unrelated cases that don't attempt to define the word "otherwise" as used similarly in this statute. Because if you looked at judicial precedent that is actually relevant you'll find that you have no leg to stand on.

    upload_2024-4-23_16-12-50.png

    The fact of this case is that the left wants to call January 6th an insurrection despite not being able to charge anyone with insurrection because the statute doesn't apply. And they're afraid of charging a bunch of people with petty misdemeanors so they had to hunt all federal laws looking for something, anything, to hang on to in order to hit hundreds of people with felonies. And the best they could come up with was a 20-year-old law that was drafted for the sole purpose of combating SEC & evidence violations that Enron engaged in. It has nothing to do whatsoever with an "insurrection" or generally delaying a proceeding. It is about destroying evidence and/or preventing evidence from being used in a proceeding. As the SCOTUS has always said, you don't get to use "otherwise" in a criminal statute to be a catchall for everything in the world regardless of whether or not it is relevant to the proceeding terms of the legislation.

    Find me any criminal statute with the word otherwise in it that was interpreted by the courts to mean something not related to the proceeding terms of the statute. There are a ton of criminal statutes with the word otherwise in them. This should be an easy task for you to find a relevant case to support your position.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2024
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  3. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    I think the meaning of the statute is clear as clear can be. "Otherwise' is a simple word, with a clear meaning, it means 'apart from that, these/this/those.. etc., can or may apply. But, in the citation, the use of "otherwise" functions to introduce a general or additional case: It implies additional forms of obstruction not specified in the list that precedes it. I mean, what else can it mean?

    Either that, or the conservatives on the court are scouring the etymological landscape, searching for some escape route for the rioters to help their buddy, Donald Trump.

    That's probably it, and if it is it, this court is not serving America very well.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2024
  4. CornPop

    CornPop Well-Known Member

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    Otherwise in criminal statutes cannot be removed from the previous terms of the statutes. That's what the law says over and over again. As the Supreme Court just said AGAIN today during oral arguments, you only look to a dictionary if it is not a common word used in legal language that has an understood meaning. "Otherwise" is an extremely common word, and there is no doubt what it means when used in a criminal statute. It's not a catchall to mean everything unrelated to the statute.
     
  5. Patricio Da Silva

    Patricio Da Silva Well-Known Member Donor

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    Well, the meaning of 'otherwise' varies somewhat, in about three or four fundamental ways, based on context.

    But, That was essentially my point. Thank you.
     

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