Category Archives: Human Rights

U.S. Birthright Citizenship, the Diplomatic Immunity Exception, and the New Jersey born, University of Alabama Student turned ISIS Recruit, Hoda Muthana

International media has spotlighted the controversial case of Hoda Muthana–a New Jersey born University of Alabama student turned ISIS recruit. Having become disenchanted with her adopted extremist ideology, and now being responsible for her 18-month-old infant, Ms. Muthana wants to return to her native U.S. home and face justice for her criminal acts.

The U.S. Department of State is demurring her request for a passport, passage, and prosecution, and is further insisting she was never a citizen of the United States at all. Her father has filed suit on her behalf citing that she was born in the United States, has been issued two passports by the United States, and has never had her citizenship previously questioned.

Noting that the Department of State is not arguing Ms. Muthana renounced her citizenship during her odyssey of terrorist accessory to Damascus, outside observers are understandably confused.

For reasonably archaic reasons explained below, this case could be decided on one question of fact: Did her father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, have diplomatic immunity in the United States at the time of her birth?

To answer this question I will define “birthright citizenship,” explain the Parental Diplomatic Immunity Exception, and conclude by applying the law as it exists today to the facts of this case.

Birthright Citizenship Defined

The United States is among few countries in the world that offers “birthright citizenship.” The origin of this right is Section 1 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which in part declares: “All persons born . . . in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States.” The general rule, therefore, is if a person is born within the physical territory of the United States (including U.S. territories, and in many cases, overseas U.S. embassies, and U.S. military bases) that person is automatically a citizen of the Land of the Free.

If a suicide bomber births a baby en route to her high profile target at a D.C. children’s hospital, that baby enjoys an unequivocal right to U.S. citizenship, no matter how deplorable a parents’ behavior.

The Parental Diplomatic Immunity Exception to Birthright Citizenship

There are, though there is no reason any normal person would have ever heard of them, exceptions to birthright citizenship.

The exception relevant to this case: If the child is born physically in the United States, but is shielded by diplomatic immunity through the diplomatic status of a parent, the child is not “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” and is therefore not entitled to birthright citizenship.

Therefore, if Ahmed Ali Muthana, a former Yemeni diplomat to the United Nations, enjoyed diplomatic immunity at the time of his daughter’s birth, the government’s argument goes, then Ms. Muthana has never been, and continues not to be, a U.S. citizen.     

Hoda Muthana was born after her father ceased to be a diplomat, but before the United States was notified that he was no longer a diplomat.

Ahmed Ali Muthana was a Yemini diplomat to the U.N., living in the United States (for International Law purposes, the country a diplomat lives in is called the “host country” and the country he represents is the “origin country.”)  As a Yemini diplomat, he was shielded from the jurisdiction of his host country (the United States) by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961)–more casually referred to as “diplomatic immunity.” His term of office ended on September 1, 1994, more than a month before, his daughter, Hoda Muthana, was born on October 28, 1994. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. was notified that Mr. Muthana was no longer a diplomat on February 6, 1995–more than three months after his daughter was born.

The question of law is this: Does an outgoing diplomat lose jurisdictional immunity from a host country at the time the diplomat’s origin country (in this case Yemen) ceases to recognize his diplomatic status, or at the time the host country is given notice that he has ceased to be a diplomat?

There is a necessary prequal question to this that requires the reader to journey into the obscure abyss of transnational conflict of law: What if Yemen ceased to recognize Mr. Muthana as having diplomatic immunity on September 1, 1994, but the United States, for its own jurisdictional purposes, recognized it through February 6, 1995.?

U.S. courts, in determining jurisdiction at the time of Hoda Muthana’s birth, will apply the Law of the United States even if they conflict with the Law of Yemen.

Absent superseding language in the Vienna Convention or a relevant treaty to which both the U.S. and Yemen are signatories that postdates any contradictory U.S. federal statute, a U.S. court would use U.S. Law to determine the date of cessation of diplomatic immunity.

As the reader may guess, a court in Yemen may find it more convenient to rely on the Law of Yemen.

(Please note that, though beyond the scope of this Essay, there are frequent circumstances when U.S. courts will apply the laws of other jurisdictions to domestic proceedings.)

In determining U.S. Law, a court would look for guidance in the language of U.S. treaties and statutes. If a court finds relevant direction from both a treaty and a statute, U.S. Constitutional Law requires the court to apply the language of the treaty or statute that came into effect later in time. (Federal statutes and treaties are coequal in authority, so if one contradicts the other, the law created later governs as if it repealed the contradictory language of the other.)

U.S. law likely terminates diplomatic immunity at the time a diplomat leaves his official capacity as recognized by the origin country.

The Vienna Convention, relevant treaties and federal statutes, seem silent on the question of the effect of a delay of notice to a host country on a former diplomat’s diplomatic immunity. Absent authoritative caselaw, international custom, or a history of relevant behavior between the U.S. and other Vienna Convention signatories, courts will reluctantly consider public policy.

Public policy strongly supports the view that the U.S. retroactively terminates its recognition of diplomatic immunity at the time a diplomat leaves his official capacity as recognized by the origin country.  This is necessary to avoid the potential of the absurd result outlined below.

When discussing the subject of diplomatic immunity the question often arises: “What if a diplomat goes on a killing spree in the host country?”

Since diplomatic immunity is a right held by the origin country, and not a right held by the diplomat, the origin country can, and often does, waive the diplomatic immunity of a wayward agent abroad.  It cannot do this, however, if the unstable agent is not actually recognized by the origin country as having diplomatic status.

Let’s assume that Yemen stopped recognizing Mr. Muthana’s diplomatic immunity in September of 1994 but that the U.S. generously extended it’s recognition to February 6, 1995 when it received notice of his ceasing to be a diplomat several months prior.  With Yemen unable to waive a right it does not acknowledge exists, Mr. Muthana would, arguably, be unprosecutable for any bad behavior in the United States during the interval.

To avoid such an absurd result, the U.S. would need to recognize the date Mr. Muthana left his role as diplomat as the effective date of his loss of diplomatic immunity whenever the U.S. was served of actual notice that he was no longer recognized by Yemen as a diplomat.

Such is the policy that should be followed whether a recently-ex-diplomat kills a baby, or procreates a new one into existence on U.S. territory.

Since Hoda Muthana’s father did not have diplomatic immunity at the time of her birth, she was both born in the United States and subject to its jurisdiction making her a citizen with the right to return home and subject to U.S. prosecution.

This case is more straightforward than commentators and pundits argue. U.S. law likely requires the Department of State to recognize Ahmed Ali Muthana as loosing his diplomatic immunity on September 1, 1994–more than a month before his daughter was born in New Jersey–making both him and her subject to the jurisdiction of the United States at the time of her birth. The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution therefore bestows upon her birthright citizenship which, absent a revocation of citizenship, survives her treasonous behavior.  She and her child are entitled to admission to the United States where she would be immediately taken into custody for her crimes.

Ironically, should it be determined that she is not a citizen of the United States, while she would effectively become a stateless individual, the U.S. would also be giving up jurisdiction to put her on trial for what would otherwise be her crimes against the United States.

Her practical alternatives are therefore these: Be imprisoned in the Land of the Free, or just be free.

Irish Citizens Abroad Returning Home to Vote for Marriage Equality

Ireland is hugely predicted to vote "yes" in today's constitutional referendum on marriage equality.

Ireland is hugely predicted to vote “yes” in today’s constitutional referendum on marriage equality.

Huge numbers of Irish citizens are returning from abroad to vote “yes” in today’s constitutional referendum on marriage equality. Is it just because they want to be there for a historical moment?

Maybe, but also, probably because that is the only way they can vote. In Ireland, a voter must vote in person and be named on the official registry of voters.

There are exceptions for military, national guardsman, diplomats and their spouses, whom are eligible to vote by mail. Potentially also eligible are people with disabilities, students studying away from home, people who work abroad, prisoners (yes, prisoners can vote in Ireland), and residents of hospitals and nursing homes.

Those living abroad are ineligible to vote because their names are not on the official registry of voters. Thus, they have to return “home” to vote.

Another tidbit U.S. citizen’s may find interesting, certain categories of non-citizens are able to vote in specific elections. Non-citizen residents can vote in local elections. British citizens may vote at Dáil elections (lower house of Irish Parliament), European elections (such as elections for European Parliament) and local elections. E.U. citizens can participate in European elections and local elections.

If you happen to be reading this and you are Irish, in the U.S., not only don’t U.S. citizens have to vote in person, political parties and candidates actively encourage “early voting” (limited voting stations sometimes open weeks in advance of the official “election day.”) and vote-by-mail, a program which is open to any U.S. citizen and also begins weeks in advance of the official “election day.” The reason for this is it allows political parties and candidates to track who had voted and concentrate further messaging toward those known to have not yet voted. The reason voters like it is because it allows them more flexibility in how and when they vote. Conversely, many political activists wait to vote in person on election day because then they continue to get campaign mailers until the day of the election and thereby know what the opposition is messaging.

Residents of most U.S. territories may also vote in U.S. elections provided they reside in the U.S. at the time of the election. Anybody convicted of a felony may not vote in any election until their civil rights have been restored. In some jurisdictions this happens automatically upon a prisoner’s completion of sentence (including non-incarceration probation and payment of fines and restitution) and in others there is a formalized application process.

Non-citizens are ineligible to vote in all elections without exception. The mere notion of such an idea might make a very socially conservative’s head explode.

To learn more about voting in Ireland you can visit here.

A Picture of a Bench from My First Trip to a Conflict Zone

Latin Bridge in Sarajevo

Latin Bridge in Sarajevo

My first trip to a conflict zone was to Serbia and Bosnia in 1999. This bench, located on the Latin Bridge in Sarajevo, commemorates the location where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914, the immediate cause of World War I. The historical plaque that had been attached to the bench to explain its significance had been recently stolen because it was written in Cyrillic and also because, as the gunman was considered a hero at the time of the assassination, the plaque was rather laudatory in nature.  Today the plaque has been replaced with something more neutral and reads, in English, “From this place on June 18, 1914 Gavirlo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophia.”

My Condolences to Singapore on the Passing of Founder Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew, founder and former Prime Minister of Singapore, 1923-2015

Lee Kuan Yew, founder and former Prime Minister of Singapore, 1923-2015

Dear Singapore:

The world has lost a giant today. A political strategist of the highest intellectual caliber, he is survived by three children, including current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (who I have had the honor to meet), seven grandchildren, and the proud and prosperous island nation he founded, cultivated, and governed.

To all my Singaporean friends, colleagues, teachers, and leaders whom I have had the privilege to serve, learn, teach, research, organize, and bond over a meal or drink with, I offer my deepest heartfelt grief, sadness, and respects on the passing of your nation’s founder, Minster Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

Minister Lee was an iconoclast with a vision to turn a small, poor, vulnerable and recently occupied island into an economic powerhouse with respect for the rule of law, gender equality, religious tolerance, and ethnic harmony.

While there will always be debate about his means–he used both carrot and stick to bring and retain power, authority, and order–there can be little reasonable debate about the ends. While there is a wealth gap (as there is in the country where I write this and almost everywhere else in the world), and an odd clause in our countries’ bilateral free trade agreement requiring Singapore to legalize chewing gum for “medicinal” purposes, where once were a collection of sleepy undeveloped villages–like the ones that remain today in nearby countries which are presently embroiled in political and religious conflict and with even more pervasive economic troubles–today is a multi-cultured cosmopolitan metropolis where CEOs of banks pick up their chicken rice from the same stall as the migrant workers who built your city-state at a wage (albeit with unequal bargaining power) they negotiated. Literacy is high (in multiple languages) and distributed without discrimination. The government is transparent and is quickly responsive to its citizens (though they encourage them to voice their grievances in a rather controlled and courteous manner suspicious to those in some other wealthy, stable nations).

Though he has left this world, he has left Singapore with a hugely gifted, talented, and potentially more liberal son in Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Under his stewardship, I am certain investors, nations, foreign talent, and all of Singaporeans can look forward to continued stability, prosperity, and the always achingly slow, but inevitable evolution toward liberalization of civil and political human rights.

As the only lawyer (that I know of) practicing in Florida with a law degree from the National University of Singapore (LL.M. in International and Comparative Law) I will continue to advocate Floridians to invest in a Singapore that invested in me.

It is Singapore that allied with the United States during the cold war, is our partner in free trade, uses much of its huge Sovereign Wealth Fund to invest in the United States and its partner countries and in return encourages U.S. foreign investment by offering low (sometimes no) tax rates on income earned in Singapore.

Very importantly, Singapore kindly provides a safe harbor and home to the U.S. Navy’s sailors and ships of the 7th Naval Fleet.

With love, friendship, and respect,

Richard Junnier, Esq. (NUS Alumni, 2009 cohort)

Richard Junnier's 2009 gradation ceremony at the National University of Singapore College of Law with an LL.M. (a legal post-doctorial masters' degree) in International and Comparative Law.

Richard Junnier’s 2009 gradation ceremony at the National University of Singapore College of Law with an LL.M. (a legal post-doctorial masters’ degree) in International and Comparative Law.

Richard Junnier with Simon Chesterman at the reception celebrating the graduation of the 2009 NYU@NUS cohort. Mr. Chesterman is currently Dean of the National University of Singapore and is considered one of the world's foremost experts on International Law. Richard was his research assistant.

Richard Junnier with Simon Chesterman at the reception celebrating the graduation of the 2009 NYU@NUS cohort. Mr. Chesterman is currently Dean of the National University of Singapore and is considered one of the world’s foremost experts on International Law. Richard was his research assistant.

Rick Scott Rescheduled an Execution so Pam Bondi could go to a Fundraiser

Pieter Bruegel's ("little") Tower of Babel

Pieter Bruegel’s (“little”) Tower of Babel

In August, 2013, Governor Rick Scott rescheduled the execution date of Marshall Lee Gore from September 10th to October 1st.

Marshall Lee Gore raped, strangled, and stabbed Robyn Novick and dumped her body in rural Miami-Dade county. Marshall Lee Gore also killed Susan Roark after a chance encounter at a convenience store.  Susan Roark was 19.

Their names were Robyn Novick and Susan Roark.

Why would Governor Scott delay the execution of a teenage murdering maniac?  Was it because the Supreme Court was concerned that Gore was too mentally ill, thereby reducing his moral culpability and personal agency, (so the argument goes) to execute?

No.

Rick Scott delayed the execution of a rapist-murderer because on the day of the scheduled execution, September 10, 2013, Attorney General Pam Bondi had also scheduled a campaign fundraiser.

There was a conflict in her schedule you see–so she decided to change the date of what she presumably considered the less-important affair–the execution of the murderer of Robyn Novick, 30, and Susan Roark, 19.

It was her kickoff fundraiser, so perhaps she was concerned about the arrangements her wealthier supporters had made? Maybe she felt uncomfortable asking them to rearrange their calendars to accommodate an execution?

I wonder if the families of of Robyn Novick and Susan Roark thought it was inconvenient for themselves to rearrange their calendars to accommodate a political fundraiser? Or, instead, did they think it one further indignity for their loved one’s memory to endure?

It was a parting shot from the state of Florida expressing we don’t really care about you; we just pretend for the cameras. 

Governor Scott says he didn’t know the Attorney General’s reason when she asked for the delay.

I guess Rick Scott didn’t believe that the lives of  Robyn Novick and Susan Roark were even important enough to ask why.

But they were still going to kill somebody over it–provided they could agree on a convenient time.

As somebody who works and researches human rights issues, both domestically and in the field, I believe that a legitimate government should never kill its citizens. However, if there is going to be an execution, this is how it should take place.

Therefore, it’s not that I’m angry that this person lived for another three weeks; I would have been content to have let him breath until his natural death provided it be behind bars. I’m angry about why–this evil who was so evil he didn’t know he was evil–breathed the extra three weeks.

If you do support the death penalty and wonder why the Supreme Court allows appeal after appeal about the Constitution’s “cruel and unusual clause” and the “arbitrary application” argument–this is why.

Richard Junnier: Making a legal analysis of Fangate

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

After watching Charlie Crist accept the Democratic nomination for Florida Governor at his election night party, my friends and I fled the ruckus to a nearby hotel to enjoy a drink in privacy. Apparently we were not alone in this idea.

This My View was originally published with the Tallahassee Democrat.

The organizers of the Oct. 15 gubernatorial debate have accused Charlie Crist of breaking the rules. From a legal standpoint, that simply isn’t true.

A contract is an agreement courts will enforce. To be enforceable, the agreement must be made for a legal purpose (no drug deals), must be mutually agreed to by people (yes, this includes corporations) with capacity (incorporated or 18, sober, and sane) and must include “adequate” consideration (you can’t sell your Ferrari for $1, but you can for $1 and a rug, for reasons better left to a future article). Though not ideal, some contracts can be made orally, while others, like the sale of property, must be written.

A person enters into a contract when he has “accepted” an “offer.” If a person is sent a contract but sends back a signed altered version of it, it is a “counteroffer” and thereby necessarily rejects the original contract. The second person may reject the counteroffer, accept it, or respond with another counteroffer. Under certain circumstances, the second person may accept the counteroffer through omission or inaction.

That is likely the case here:

The organizers sent both the Crist and Rick Scott campaigns an identical debate agreement, which stated that no electronic devices could be used, “including fans.” This was the organizers’ “offer.” Scott’s campaign accepted the offer and the Crist campaign signed the agreement but added the statement “With the understanding that the debate hosts will address any temperature issues with a fan if necessary.”

Florida law would treat the Crist’s altered contract as a “counteroffer” and therefore a rejection of the organizers’ offer. Assuming that the Scott campaign knew about the counteroffer, and the various parties, including the Crist campaign and the debate’s sponsors and organizers began to rely on the agreement by expending money and resources toward promoting and preparing for the debate, the Scott campaign effectively “ratified” the Crist campaign’s “Fan Amendment” through its inaction to object.

(If the organizers failed to notify the Scott campaign of the counteroffer, than the Crist campaign was still entitled to the fan and the Scott campaign’s attorney is also likely entitled to an animated conversation with the debate organizers.)

This new agreement allowed for Crist to have his fan if he felt the temperature warranted it, and created a duty for both Crist and Scott to appear for the debate. When only Crist appeared, Gov. Scott (in my opinion) was in breach of contract.

Moreover, had he not finally changed his mind after a fun but uncomfortable seven minutes, Scott may have even been liable for the damages caused to the debate sponsors, organizers and the media outlets that spent good money traveling to an event promising two candidates.

Finally, the obligatory caveat. I have seen and read what appear to be the relevant documents, but there may be other applicable documents I am unaware of, so please don’t confuse this My View for a proper legal memorandum.

Richard Junnier is the immediate past chair of the Leon County Democratic Executive Committee and also has served as its special counsel for campaign finance and election law. He practices both election law and contract law throughout Florida. Contact him at rjunnier@junnierlaw.com.

Why it’s Important to Support President-designate Thrasher

After the shuttle dropped us off at Doak Campbell Stadium, it was time for pictures with the Seminole cheerleaders! Living the dream, though, perhaps not my own.

After President Barron’s shuttle dropped us off at Doak Campbell Stadium, it was time for pictures with the Seminole cheerleaders! Living the dream, though, perhaps not my own.

To my fellow Seminoles:

Some of us supported Mr. Thrasher’s hard-fought endeavor to be the next President of Florida State University. To those, it is appropriate to acknowledge congratulations and our allegiance to FSU.

To those, including myself, who are disappointed in the duly appointed Board of Trustees’ decision, many warned of a potentially consequential academic brain-drain and drop in FSU’s reputation as a deeply committed Carnegie One Research University.

The decision having been made, it is time for us to come together to prevent such dire predictions.  

Some have expressed their discontent with promises to discontinue alumni donations, to cause the enterprises or research foundations they helm to withhold grants, and most seriously, a few, among them some of the great scientists on Earth, have suggested that they will resign research and teaching positions at the Florida State University we all love.

Well, that’s not very helpful.

Please, don’t do that.

I will borrow the farsighted argument of David Cameron on the eve of what was the potential Scot succession:

John Thrasher will not be here forever.

The current roster of the Board of Trustees will not be here forever.

Rick Scott will not be here forever.

Even the Koch Brothers, will not be here forever.

Until a meteor hits us at just the right angle, the predicted next ice-age sets in, or leaders with a worrying overconfidence in a better afterlife press the button mutually assuring our destruction, the future of our institution and its Voltaire garden of works must continue to be cultivated–even under challenging economic and political circumstances.

This is because:

Thanks to FSU’s advances in cancer research, such as Taxol, a world with children suffering from cancer does not have to be forever.

Opposite the spectrum of human development, recent discoveries from FSU’s Bienkiewicz Laboratory give us hope that our coexistence with Alzheimer’s Disease does not have to be forever.

If FSU researcher Albrecht-Schmitt’s work with “californium” is repeatedly replicated through peer review, radioactive waste, does not even have to be forever.

Disagreement with the majority of a thirteen-person committee is insufficient cause to jeopardize our role in our university’s future accomplishments and continued academic leadership in the world.

Moreover, the John Thrashers of the world, the science-deniers, the pray-the-gay away folks–they may want you to resign from your research and teaching positions. They may want to promptly replace you with people arguing the “other side” of climate change, evolution, tobacco’s role in cancer, sexual equality, and other celestial teapots. They may want you to “go gentle into that good night.”

Your resignation may merely be misidentified as surrender to those who appreciate and understand you most–your supporters, your students, your colleagues who cite your works, those whose livelihoods depend upon your grants and lab budgets, and the segments of our society who do not wish to be drowned under rising sea levels.

It is understandable that you may yearn to succumb to the serene siren’s song that the world isn’t fair and doesn’t appreciate your tireless effort–many of you have suffered divorce and alienation in your quest for knowledge helpful to a seemingly apathetic and unappreciative universe. Consider, however, explaining to a kid with cancer that you suspended your research while looking for employment and funding elsewhere because politics plays too much of a role in Florida’s higher education–you may find an unsympathetic audience.

You chose and endured great hardship to be public intellectuals, and you therefore voluntarily chose to be responsible as scientists, philosophers, artists, and academicians to “rage against the dying of the light” in a world where science-deniers, the nihilists, and wealthy special interests occasionally win the day at the ballot box.

The community needs you to fulfill that responsibility now more than ever.

Some of you have tenure–he cannot make you leave; only you have that power–don’t cede it.

To consider changing where you live and where you work just because the titular head disagrees with you is to give him far more power than he, or his supporters, actually have or deserve.

The faculty, TAs, and students collectively have more actual power to determine the direction of FSU than a single human being–whatever the net-worth of his supporters and whatever his title.

Meanwhile, he has offered to fundraise a billion dollars in one hundred days.

Enthusiastically support him in this endeavor–then spend every dollar of it producing peer reviewed experiments and empirical research to prove his and the Koch brother’s ideas wrong.

If you are feeling particularly charitable, consider giving him a chance. Wait for him to make actual objective mistakes while sincerely working with him to help succeed in bettering FSU before demanding his tarring and feathering. It is possible he wants to pour all of his energy into making this school be the best it can be on its own terms and that he is able to divorce his personal opinions from the process–he wouldn’t be the first political leader to do such in search of a legacy.

The only other remedy is to go get the pitch forks while others rally the village people and see if that makes him more likely to listen to your grant proposals and objections.

In my limited experience in life, this strategy rarely works.

Whatever you do, please don’t give up. Continue to donate; continue your support–FSU is bigger than one man and it is bigger than all of us. It is an idea of intellectually honest cooperation to further the sciences, the humanities, and the observable truth.

Don’t let our transient disagreement with the transient Board of Trustees in its choice of a transient leader distract from the accomplishment and promising future of a 150 plus year Carnegie One Research University and its hundreds of thousands alumni and the hundreds of millions who have, knowingly or not, benefited from its discoveries.

The decision of who shall be FSU’s next President is done.

Please join me in offering full support to FSU’s Seventeenth President-designate, the Honorable John Thrasher.

If his actual job performance suggests such allegiance is unwarranted, I have confidence that we will respond appropriately.

In the meantime, one of FSU’s greatest strengths and defense mechanisms is its sense of humor. I chose to go to FSU for the same reasons I chose to be amongst most people and institutions I associate with–because of a demonstrable lighthearted humor, cooperation,   and kindness.

So, say now, why are all the Environmental Science textbooks at Strozier Library now in the “fiction” section?

Of course, they won’t be. (But it’s still okay to make a joke here and there.)

Remember, “the fun never stops.

Respectfully,

Richard Junnier, Esq.

President, Junnier Law, P.A.
Immediate Past Chair of the Leon County Democratic Party

From November 2012 through January 2013, Richard served as a member of a White House Work Group assembled to successfully discuss and organize grassroots opposition to the Sequester, the Fiscal Cliff, and federal debt default.

From November 2012 through January 2013, Richard served as a member of a White House Work Group assembled to successfully discuss and organize grassroots opposition to the Sequester, the Fiscal Cliff, and federal debt default.

Thank you, Scotland!

The Tower of London may return to its previous use? Well, no, obviously not.

The Tower of London may return to its previous use? Well, no, obviously not.

Okay, goodnight all!

As you read this please listen to Scotland the Brave.

Despite the fact that a “Yes” vote would have meant the “Full International Lawyer Employment Act,” I’m grateful for my ancestral homeland’s “No” decision. While we would have collectively figured out a solution, it would have temporarily been profoundly detrimental to the International economy’s interests, U.S. interests, England’s interests, Scotland’s interests, and I believe, the World’s interests.

Thank you, Scotland!

For those of you who voted for Independence, I applaud your activism and know you’ll keep Westminster to their promise of greater sovereignty.

Though you came short of your goal, you have changed the U.K. forever and Wales, Northern Ireland, England, and, most importantly, the democratic process are the better for it.

You are outstanding examples of the human species!

Thank you,

Richard

Junnier Law, P.A.

My Comment to the FSU Board of Trustees on their Potential Appointment of a Creationist President

Junnier Law, P.A., Richard Junnier, Esq.

Junnier Law, P.A., Richard Junnier, Esq.

September 17, 2014

Dear Honorable Florida State University Board of Trustees:

I believe it is wholly inappropriate to appoint an individual who neither believes in evolution nor climate change President of a Carnegie One Research University.

Today, FSU is known for being on the cutting edge of cancer research, hosting a Nobel Laureate who helms the world’s largest electromagnet, and, ironically, producing a meteorology program that is one of the world leaders at studying climate change.

I fear that if Mr. Thrasher is appointed–virtually overnight–with the assistance of sensationalist news outlets and blogs, the hyperbole of the Daily Show, a well-deserved sardonic interview aired on the Colbert Report, and being the punchline of a succession of jokes on late night monologues–we will instead be known singularly as the University with a creationist President.

It’ll just be another jab at a state that appears to get nothing right.

Beyond that, there is his temperament to consider.

His conduct during his campus student-faculty discussion evidenced an individual not responsive to questions or criticism. When two students–quite appropriately–laughed at his “I’m not a scientist” answer to a question about the existence of climate change, he threatened to discontinue the proceedings.

That is unlikely the optimal attitude necessary to foster debate and discuss diverse ideas among a group of wily and confidently opinionated faculty and students. When I interview candidates and they threaten to leave the employment interview, as a rule, I move on to the next applicant.

He also obfuscated a series of questions including those as basic as quizzing his knowledge of the scientific method and evolution. A President should be able to offer concise and responsive answers to complicated questions let alone basic ones. It is embarrassing that students and faculty even thought such questions were necessary–but apparently they were.

If Mr. Thrasher is appointed, I easily imagine our university’s top talent will get their CVs in order and high school students interested in science and engineering will look elsewhere for their college education. Sure, he can probably fund raise $1 Billion; but our reputation is worth far more than that.

Bill Nye (the Science Guy) appeared at FSU last night to give a lecture. During the Q&A he was asked about the prospects of potentially having a creationist university president: “Well, I find it heartbreaking.”

I do too.

Respectfully,

Richard Junnier, Esq.
Junnier Law, P.A.