The case against m@sk m@ndates in schools

As the Taliban takes over control of Afghanistan, women in that country are facing compulsory masking of their bodies and faces, in accordance with Sharia Law. Simultaneously, in West Virginia, and across the U.S., school boards are being confronted by angry parents who are pleading with them not to mandate the forcible masking of children in accordance with the strange new religion of mask virtue we’re now facing in America. I’ve previously discussed the fact that masks do nothing to stop the spread of COVID, in general, and that they’re in fact harming children. I encourage you to review that post, as much of the information in it has already been used to defeat mandates in the State of Kentucky (as explained below), and hopefully soon, in West Virginia.

Liberty and freedom aside, mask mandates in schools are pointless, from a common sense perspective, as well as a scientific perspective. And as Galileo said, “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”

  1. Children play almost no role in spreading COVID
  2. Children are at extremely low risk
  3. Masks don’t stop the spread of COVID in schools
  4. Forced masking harms children

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has written about the concept of liberty, in general, as we have defined it in America, and before the Founding, in English history and jurisprudence, dating back to the signing of the Magna Carta, as at its core, the “freedom from physical restraint.” The freedom to breathe, without physical restraint over the mouths of our children, is liberty guaranteed to us not only by our Founding Fathers, our English common law heritage, but also as a natural right given by God.

This information is excerpted by the lawsuit(s) we’re getting ready to file challenging school-level mask mandates being implemented in certain counties around West Virginia. The filed versions, which will be posted here in their entirety, after filing, will contain the actual footnote citations to this material. All of this information is documented.

CHILDREN PLAY ALMOST NO ROLE IN SPREADING COVID-19

A study on the spread of COVID-19 in the Icelandic population in 2020 failed to find a single incident of child-to-adult transmission in over 600 SARS-CoV-2 positive people who were included in the study. The researchers used genome-sequencing and contract tracing to identify the manner of the disease’s spread through the community. The genome-sequencing allowed the researchers to definitively conclude that none of the cases spread from a child to an adult.

Another study from Korea of 107 pediatric cases and 248 household contacts failed to find a single instance of a child infecting an adult with COVID-19. In fact, the study found only one instance of a child infecting anyone, except for one case of a 16 year old infecting a 14 year old sibling. Interestingly, both of the siblings’ parents tested negative.

Sweden did not close schools during either Spring or Fall of 2020 when they received waves of COVID-19 transmissions. They did not require that students or teachers wear masks. The results of a country-wide survey was published on February 18, 2021. The analysis showed that deaths in Sweden’s school children did not increase in the four months of the study period relative to any other period, despite school children being unmasked and attending school. Moreover, it found that nationally, fewer than 10 preschool teachers, and 20 schoolteachers who contracted COVID during the period received intensive care. Fortunately, none of the teachers died. The study showed that the relative risk to teachers versus other professions was, in the case of preschool teachers, 1.1, and for other teachers, 0.43 percent.

The nationwide Swedish results are corroborated by other studies which have found that spending time with children no only doesn’t place adults at greater risk, but is actually protective to the adults. A recent study from the U.K. of more than 12 million adults, shows that while people who lived with children were at no higher risk of contracting COVID-19, for those under 65, they were 25% less likely to die. For those over 65, there was no difference in outcomes.

Several recent studies have shown that when in-school transmission does occur, teachers (who have been masked) are central to those transmission networks. A recent CDC report investigated nine clusters across six school districts in Cobb County, Georgia. Of those nine clusters, eight involved a teacher. In the one cluster where a student was the sole index case, the student only infected other students. Notably all of the children infected were masked all day, except during lunch, which was taken in the classroom.

A recent study in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, a state with a population of 4.1 million, 1,492 schools and 406,000 school age children, concluded that transmission from teachers was four times higher than from students. Moreover, when a teacher was infected, they were 14 times more likely to transmit the disease to another teacher, rather than a student. The study also concluded that a teacher who contracted COVID-19 was 2.5 times more likely to transmit the disease to a child, than a child to a teacher.

CHILDREN ARE AT EXTREMELY LOW RISK

Based on the CDC’s estimated number of infections by age through December 26, 2020, COVID-19 poses a significantly lower risk to school age children than the flu. For children age 5 through 17, data shows that COVID-19 is 1/4 as deadly as the common flu.

CDC data also shows that on average, people dying of COVID-19 had multiple co-morbidities (3.8). In New York City, data shows that of all deaths, only 0.5% of them occurred in people who did not have a comorbidity. Antibody studies of those infected established that 1.6 million people in New York City had been infected. Even among the older age groups, the risk of death for healthy people from COVID is similar to that of dying in childbirth – 3 out of 10,000 – and several times higher than their risk of dying by accidental death. 

On May 19, 2021, New York magazine published a story highlighting new studies showing that the pediatric hospitalization numbers for COVID have likely been dramatically inflated throughout the country. The first study, published in the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, was conducted by Stanford researchers and examined 117 reputed COVID hospitalizations among those under 18 at a children’s hospital in Northern California. They found that just 7.7% exhibited severe illness and 12.8% critical illness. Overall, 45% were classified as “unlikely to be caused by SARSCoV2,” and it appears that most of the others weren’t suffering life-threatening illness.

The second study, published in the same journal, found in America’s fifth-largest hospital that, among patients younger than 22, 40% had “incidental infection,” only 47% were “potentially symptomatic,” and just 14% were “significantly symptomatic.” They further found that “Fifty-five percent of incidental and 47% of potentially symptomatic patients had at least one identified comorbidity, while 90% of significantly symptomatic patients had at least one.”

As Drs. Monica Gandhi and Amy Beck wrote in a commentary for Hospital Pediatrics that accompanied the two studies, “Taken together, these studies underscore the importance of clearly distinguishing between children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 found on universal testing versus those hospitalized for COVID-19 disease.” They further conclude that the data also “greatly overestimate the true burden of COVID-19 disease in children.”

In addition to the revelations that pediatric hospitalizations have been wrongly attributed to COVID, the CDC has stated based on an analysis of death certificates that 35.2% of all reputed pediatric COVID deaths “could not be plausibly categorized as either a chain-of-event or significant contributing condition.”

MASKS DON’T STOP THE SPREAD OF COVID IN SCHOOLS

On June 8, 2021, the Boone Circuit Court in the Commonwealth of Kentucky issued a judgment order following extensive litigation and an evidentiary hearing held on May 17, 2021 in a lawsuit against the Governor of Kentucky, challenging his executive orders pertaining to COVID, including his mask mandate. On June 15, 2021, that order was expanded to apply statewide in Kentucky.

At the May 17 evidentiary hearing in that case, Stephen E. Petty, P.E., CIH, testified as an expert witness on the issue of the validity of mask mandates as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Court noted that Mr. Petty has previously served as an expert witness in approximately 400 cases related to toxic or infectious exposure, personal protective equipment (“PPE”), and as a warning expert. The Court also noted that he served as an expert in the Monsanto “Roundup” cases, and for those in the Dupont C8 litigation, and that in connection with his service as an expert, he was deposed nearly 100 times and has provided court testimony in approximately 20 trials. The Court found that Mr. Petty holds nine U.S. patents, has written a book comprising nearly 1,000 pages on forensics engineering, is a certified industrial hygienist, and a recognized expert with the Occupational Safety and Health Agency. 

The Court made the following findings regarding Mr. Petty’s testimony:

Mr. Petty explained that the field of his expertise is “to anticipate and recognize and control things that could hurt people, everything from making them sick to killing them.” He testified that, in this context, he has analyzed the use of masks and social distancing in connection with Covid-19. He testified that both the six-foot-distancing rule, and mask mandates, are wholly ineffective at reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are worthless, he explained, because they are not capable of filtering anything as small as Covid-19 aerosols. In addition, masks are not respirators and lack the limited protections that respirators can provide.

The N-95 respirator, which he states is in the bottom class of what may be classified as a respirator, is rated to filter 95% of all particles that are larger than .3 microns. However, a Covid-19 particle, which is only between .09 to .12 micron, is much smaller. Mr. Petty further explained that an N-95 will not even filter above .3 microns if it is not used in accordance with industry standards. Among the requirements, respirators must be properly fitted to seal along the face, and they also must be timely replaced. Mr. Petty stated that N-95 masks, which he said are often utilized as surgical masks, are “not intended to keep infectious disease from either the surgeon or from the patient infecting each other” but only to catch the “big droplets” from the surgeon’s mouth.” 

According to Mr. Petty, masks have no standards, are not respirators, and do not even qualify as protective equipment. In contrast, respirators have standards, including rules that state respirators may not be worn by persons with facial hair, must be fitted to ensure a seal, and must be timely replaced—or, as in higher end respirators, the cartridges must be replaced to prevent saturation. In addition, standards for respirators also require users to obtain a medical clearance because the breathing restriction can impair lung function or cause other problems for persons having such limitations. Putting those persons in a respirator can harm their well-being. 

Concerning the effectiveness of respirators, Mr. Petty explained that it comes down to “big stuff” versus “small stuff.” Big stuff can be taken out by the body’s defenses, such as its mucus tissue, where droplets can be caught and eliminated. The small stuff, however—like aerosols—are more dangerous. Masks cannot filter the small stuff. According to Petty, because Covid-19 particles are comprised of aerosols, it is really, really, small stuff. And, as he pointed out, an N-95 is designed to filter larger particles. Even for particles as large as .3 micron, Mr. Petty testified that an N-95’s effectiveness is in direct proportion to its seal. In fact, he stated it becomes completely ineffective if 3% or more of the contact area with the face is not sealed. 

Mr. Petty testified that masks leak, do not filter out the small stuff, cannot be sealed, are commonly worn by persons with facial hair, and may be contaminated due to repetitive use and the manner of use. He emphatically stated that mask wearing provides no benefit whatsoever, either to the wearer or others. 

He explained that the big droplets fall to the ground right away, the smaller droplets will float longer, and aerosols will remain suspended for days or longer if the air is stirred. Mr. Petty testified that the duration of time that particles remain suspended can be determined using “Stoke’s Law.” Based on it, for particles the size of Covid-19 (.12 to .09 micron) to fall five feet would take between 5 and 58 days in still air. Thus, particles are suspended in the air even from previous days. And so, he asks, “If it takes days for the particles to fall, how in the world does a six-foot rule have any meaning?” 

Mr. Petty acknowledged that both OSHA and CDC have recommended that people wear masks. However, he called this “at best dishonest.” As an example on this, he pointed to CDC guidance documents where, on page 1, it recommends wearing a mask; but then on page 6, admits that “masks, do not provide . . . a reliable level of protection from . . . smaller airborne particles.” According to Mr. Petty, those agencies have smart individuals who know better. Mr. Petty points out that, even before March 2020, it was known that Covid-19 particles are tiny aerosols. And on this, he states that he insisted that fact early on. He also points to a more recent letter by numerous medical researchers, physicians and experts with Ph.D.s, asking the CDC to address the implications of Covid-19 aerosols. During Dr. Stack’s subsequent testimony, he also acknowledged that Covid-19 is spread “by . . . airborne transmission that could be aerosols . . . .” 

Finally, Mr. Petty pointed to another recent study by Ben Sheldon of Stanford University out of Palo Alto. According to that study, “both the medical and non-medical face masks are ineffective to block human-to-human transmission of viral and infectious diseases, such as SARS, CoV-2 and COVID-19.” The Court finds the opinions expressed by Mr. Petty firmly established in logic. The inescapable conclusion from his testimony is that ordering masks to stop Covid-19 is like putting up chain-link fencing to keep out mosquitos. The six-foot- distancing requirements fare no better. 

While the American CDC was being “dishonest,” the European CDC recently posted an update to their masking guidance, advising that, “Evidence for the effectiveness of non-medical face masks, face shields/visors and respirators in the community is scarce and of very low certainty.”

In May of 2020, the CDC published a report on non-pharmaceutical measures for protecting against pandemic influenza in non-healthcare settings. After reviewing all of the studies worldwide, the CDC found “no reduction in viral transmission with the use of face masks”:

Although mechanistic studies support the potential effect of hand hygiene or face masks, evidence from 14 randomized controlled trials of these measures did not support a substantial effect on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza. We similarly found limited evidence on the effectiveness of improved hygiene and environmental cleaning.

In mid-2020, one of the world’s foremost influenza researchers, Dr. Donald Milton was quoted in the New York Times observing that, “We’ve been studying the flu for 102 years and still don’t know for sure how it’s transmitted.” In the study itself, Dr. Milton elaborates:

Influenza virus is a pathogen of global health significance, but human-to-human transmission remains poorly understood. In particular, the relative importance of the different modes of transmission (direct and indirect contact, large droplet, and aerosols (airborne droplet nuclei)) remains uncertain during symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.

Infection control guidance for pandemic and seasonal influenza assumes that most transmission occurs during symptomatic infection, predominantly via large droplet spread at short range. Thus, social distancing measures are often proposed to mitigate the spread and impact of a pandemic; and hand washing and respiratory etiquette are promoted to reduce transmission. Evidence to support the possibility of aerosol transmission has grown over recent years and leads to controversies about when and if filtering facepiece respirators (and other precautions designed to prevent inhalation of aerosols) versus surgical masks (mainly capable of reducing large droplets and some fine particles) should be used to protect healthcare workers, particularly during a severe pandemic.

While the CDC was clinging to an outdated understanding of flu transmission, a large number of scientists proactively forced their hand, along with the World Health Organization (“WHO”), to finally acknowledge that aerosol transmission of COVID was a major, and perhaps the dominant, method of transmission for the disease. 

In another study by Dr. Donald Milton, he discusses the inefficacy of masks in containing aerosol virus particles:

Together the studies show that surgical masks can limit the emission of large droplet spray and aerosol droplets larger than 5 µm. However, surgical masks are not as efficient at preventing release of very small particles. It is well known that surgical masks are not effective for preventing exposure to fine particles when worn as personal protection. We had hypothesized that when used as source control, exhaled droplets might be large enough prior to evaporation to be effectively captured, primarily through impaction. This appears to be true for virus carried in coarse particles. But the majority of virus in the exhaled aerosol appear to be in the fine fraction that is not well contained.

Dr. Milton wrote that, if aerosol droplets are smaller than 5 microns, “It is well known that surgical masks are not effective for preventing exposure to fine particles when worn as personal protection,” and that “the majority of virus in the exhaled aerosol appear to be in the fine fraction that is not well-contained.”

A 2013 study showed that 87% of infectious aerosols were less than 4.7 microns, which is smaller than what is effectively trapped by a surgical mask, and suggested re-evaluation of then-existing WHO guidelines on the efficacy of surgical masks in the prevention of virus transmission in healthcare settings. That study didn’t further define the size of virus particulates below the threshold of 4.7 microns – though other studies have.

A 2008 study found that during normal breathing, significant amounts of virus was shed, and that “over 87% of the exhaled particles were under 1 [micron] and less than 0.1% were larger than 5 [micron].” The authors estimated that the majority of the aerosols were less than 0.5 micron, which is ten times less than the 5 micron level that Dr. Milton notes as being the threshold below which surgical masks are no longer effective.

A 2018 study further demonstrated that the majority of infectious virus was found in fine aerosols, and that the primary source of generation for those aerosols was simply breathing – not speaking – and showed “that sneezing is rare and not important for – and that coughing is not required for – influenza virus aerosolization.”

A June 2020 study from two Wuhan hospitals showed that COVID virus particles were of similar size to traditional influenza particles. The study reported that COVID virus was found in aerosols between 0.2 and 0.5 microns.

The CDC relied on a study from the American Chemical Society for their double-masking recommendation, as well as their multi-layer homemade mask recommendation. However, the study data shows that with 1% gaps (which are much smaller than what is observed in real life), the filtration of N-95 masks drops between 12% and 34%, depending on particle size; surgical masks drops down to 44-50%, and the homemade cotton/silk masks drops to around 20%. The argument that “even a little protection is good,” is flawed. Research suggests that it’s the smallest particles, carrying the least amount of virus which are the most infectious and cause the most severe disease as they deposit deep within the lungs, and that they can be infectious at very low doses – as little as 300 to 3000 viral copies. Moreover, normal breathing produces roughly 38,000 viral copies within the fine aerosols in a half hour.

A study performed  in the 1980s, to assess the effectiveness of surgical masks at containing particles during surgery, found that when placing “tracer” particles on the inside of the mask, in every single case, these particles were subsequently found in the patient’s wound. These “tracer” particles were much larger than COVID particles just by virtue of the fact that they were observed through a microscope. The aerosols that appear to carry COVID and flu are substantially smaller than what can be observed through a microscope. 

Emerging empirical evidence establishes that mask mandates have not worked. Rational Ground performed a county-by-county analysis of case growth for those counties with mask mandates, and those without, between 5/15 and 12/15. The results are shown below. Nationally, cases were roughly 40% higher, 27 cases/day/100,000, in those counties with mask mandates, vs. 17 cases/day/100,000 in those counties without. 

After Texas lifted their mask mandate on March 3, 2021, new COVID cases dropped by 49% through April 7. Meanwhile in Michigan, New York and New Jersey, cases rose by 60% and were 333% higher than Texas. 

In West Virginia, there wasn’t a single day after the issuance of the mask mandate where cases were lower than they were before it. In fact, cases rose 1789% afterwards. West Virginia’s hospitalizations for COVID coincidentally happened to follow the same natural curve as neighboring states with a similar climate (IL, IN, KS, MO and OH).

The prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine published a Danish mask study which examined the difference in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates among people who did not receive a recommendation to wear a mask, compared to people who did receive a recommendation to wear a mask. The results of this massive real-life controlled experiment show that the group that received a recommendation to wear surgical masks in April experienced a 0.38% lower infection rate than the control group that did not wear masks. That is about one-third of one percent, which is so low that it could just be statistically random variances that demonstrate no definitive efficacy even to that infinitesimal level. There was a total of roughly 3,000 people in each group of the study, which would make this the largest study ever conducted on the efficacy of a mask recommendation. “The recommendation to wear surgical masks to supplement other public health measures did not reduce the SARS-CoV-2 infection rate among wearers by more than 50% in a community with modest infection rates, some degree of social distancing, and uncommon general mask use,” concluded the authors. “The data were compatible with lesser degrees of self-protection.”

In accordance with this, the past 10 randomized controlled trials identified by the CDC on the spread of influenza showed zero efficacy of mask-wearing against the flu.

In a July 2020 CDC study, 85% of those convalescent COVID patients surveyed reported that they wore masks always or most of the time during the lead-up to their infection period. More than 70% of those outpatient individuals who tested positive reported always wearing masks. Just 3.9% reported never wearing a mask.

The CDC survey illustrates the reality of COVID transmission around the world, which for the most part took place after strict mask mandates had already been in place.

Before the masking issue became political, Dr. Anthony Fauci scoffed at the notion that wearing masks would serve any use in the COVID pandemic. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” he told “60 Minutes” on March 8, 2020. “The masks sold at drugstores aren’t even good enough to truly protect anyone,” Fauci told USA TODAY’s editorial board on Feb. 17. “If you look at the masks that you buy in a drug store, the leakage around that doesn’t do much to protect you. … Now, in the United States, there is absolutely no reason to wear a mask.” Several weeks later, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, appearing on “Fox & Friends” on March 31, 2020, stated that studies showed that medical students who wear masks touch their faces 23 times more often, and thus one has to assume that “wearing a mask improperly can actually increase your risk of getting disease.”

FORCED MASKING HARMS CHILDREN

The states with the strictest mask mandates also happen to be the states with the fewest children learning in-person. The myth being perpetuated by the CDC that they know how to control COVID, has robbed roughly half of the children in the U.S of more than a year’s education.

The first results of a German study of over 26,000 children and adolescents show 68% of parents reported impairments in their children as a result of forced mask-wearing, including the following side effects: irritability (60%), headache (53%), difficulty concentrating (50%), decreased happiness (49%), malaise (42%), impaired learning (38%), and fatigue (37%). The data reported 49.3% less happy children and 44% children who do not want to go to school anymore. 25.3% of the children stated they have developed new anxieties. In each case, children in the age category 7-12 years were affected most. In additional, there is the “fear of stigmatization both by wearing and not wearing a mask in the social environment.” Many parents also reported nightmares and anxiety disorders that relate to masked people whose facial expressions and identity are not recognizable to the children.

A 2010 paper from Harvard University observed that damage can be caused by exposing children to endless fear and anxiety: “Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow, learn, and develop healthy brains and bodies is not only good for the children themselves but also builds a strong foundation for a thriving, prosperous society,” wrote the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child for Harvard University. “Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain.”

Data released on June 11, 2021 by the CDC shows that suicide attempts by children 12 to 17 years old spiked substantially during the pandemic, including a rise of 50.6% for girls from February 2021 through March of 2021. The study theorizes that the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic may have been toxic to the mental health of young people. They noted that, “Young persons might represent a group at high risk because they might have been particularly affected by mitigation measures, such as physical distancing (including a lack of connectedness to schools, teachers, and peers)….”

Dr. Mary Rutherford testified as an expert witness in the area of public health medicine at the evidentiary hearing in Boone Circuit Court. Dr. Rutherford obtained her master’s degree in public health at John Hopkins University, with a focus on epidemiology. She worked for Dr. Fauci for a total of nine years, the first six at National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the latter three at the National Institute of Health. She co-authored an international, peer reviewed article titled, “Multi-treatment of Early Ambulatory High Risk SARS/COV-2 Infection.” She testified that she has treated nearly 100 patients for COVID-19 in her private practice. She is board certified in addiction medicine, and is the past Chair and current board member of the American Academy of Family Physicians. 

Dr. Rutherford testified that studies analyzing the effect of government mandates on COVID infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths, formed the basis for her opinion that “government actions such as border closures, full lockdowns and a high rate of COVID-19 testing, were not associated with statistically significant reductions in the number of critical cases or overall mortality.” She also testified that “the strigency of measures settled to fight pandemia, including lockdown, did not appear to be linked with the death rate.” Moreover, Dr. Rutherford opined that government interventions actually lead to more deaths overall, and that instead, the focus should have been only on those determined to be high risk, such as those over 70 years of age. Dr. Rutherford testified that, in her opinion, “the government’s actions have inflicted more harm and death.” 

Researchers in Germany conducted a blinded randomized controlled trial of 45 children wearing masks and measured the baseline carbon dioxide levels during inhalation and exhalation behind various masks as compared to the levels of unmasked children. The results are concerning:

We measured means (SDs) between 13 120 (384) and 13 910 (374) ppm of carbon dioxide in inhaled air under surgical and filtering facepiece 2 (FFP2) masks, which is higher than what is already deemed unacceptable by the German Federal Environmental Office by a factor of 6. This was a value reached after 3 minutes of measurement. Children under normal conditions in schools wear such masks for a mean of 270 (interquartile range, 120-390) minutes. The Figure shows that the value of the child with the lowest carbon dioxide level was 3-fold greater than the limit of 0.2 % by volume. The youngest children had the highest values, with one 7-year-old child’s carbon dioxide level measured at 25 000 ppm. (Emphasis added.)

The German researchers concluded that there is a concern of forced mask wearing causing hypercapnia, and as such, children should not be forced to wear masks.

Common sense dictates that children forcibly masked in school settings engage in substantial mask re-usage. In some circumstances, such as re-using already-worn masks, mask usage can cause more harm than good. A study published in the Physics of Fluids scientific journal demonstrated that wearing a used mask is potentially riskier than wearing no mask at all. Researchers found that wearing a mask “significantly slows down” airflow and alters “particle motions near the face,” making people using already-worn masks more vulnerable to inhaling aerosols in the nasal region.

A group of parents contacted a lab because they were concerned about the potential of contaminants on masks that their children were forced to wear all day. They sent their kids’ face masks to the lab for analysis. The press release issued on June 16, 2021 announced that the following “11 alarmingly dangerous pathogens” were found on the masks:

  • • Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumonia) 
  • • Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis) 
  • • Neisseria meningitidis (meningitis, sepsis) 
  • • Acanthamoeba polyphaga (keratitis and granulomatous amebic encephalitis) 
  • • Acinetobacter baumanni (pneumonia, blood stream infections, meningitis, UTIs— resistant to antibiotics) 
  • • Escherichia coli (food poisoning)
  • • Borrelia burgdorferi (causes Lyme disease)
  • • Corynebacterium diphtheriae (diphtheria)
  • • Legionella pneumophila (Legionnaires’ disease) 
  • • Staphylococcus pyogenes serotype M3 (severe infections—high morbidity rates) 
  • • Staphylococcus aureus (meningitis, sepsis)

Half of the masks were contaminated with one or more strains of pneumonia-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with one or more strains of meningitis-causing bacteria. One-third were contaminated with dangerous, antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens. In addition, less dangerous pathogens were identified, including pathogens that can cause fever, ulcers, acne, yeast infections, strep throat, periodontal disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and more. 

At this point, what difference does it make?

In the time of C.S. Lewis, fear of nuclear annihilation was the fear of the day. Rather than let the fear destroy our lives, Lewis argued that, when nuclear annihilation comes, if it does, let it find us doing useful things, and leading productive lives:

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. ‘How are we to live in an atomic age?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of air raids, an age of railway accidents, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors — anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things — praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts — not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. 

They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds.” – C.S. Lewis

Federal Lawsuit Filed in the Creepy Cops Caught on Video Case

The lawsuit was filed today on behalf of Dustin Elswick, against Putnam County, West Virginia, along with four police officers involved in the infamous “Special Enforcement Unit.” These are the cops who were caught on hidden camera searching the inside of Dustin’s home. Although they cut the wire on an outside surveillance camera, they were apparently unaware of the cameras inside the home.

This is a federal “Section 1983” lawsuit alleging the violation of federal constitutional rights; namely, the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. A warrantless search of your home is automatically unconstitutional in the absence of one of two exceptions: consent, or exigent circumstances (emergency), neither of which apply here. Two prior federal lawsuits have already been filed against the SEU thus far for similar allegations in the Johnson case, as well as the Dillon case. The remedy is an award of money damages, along with reasonable attorney fees and expenses.

There was an internal investigation, as the news reported, but we never received information about the outcome. That sheriff has since been replaced.

Here’s the Complaint:

Here’s the original video:

Here’s the update video:

Another Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed against the Putnam County “Special Enforcement Unit”

This week we filed a second federal civil rights lawsuit against the Putnam County, West Virginia so-called “Special Enforcement Unit.” This is the same “SEU” guys who were featured in the Dustin Elswick video. This case features one of the victims who came forward after the Elswick video became public.

It involves a young man who was visiting a friend’s house, on his way to go fishing. The SEU just happened to raid his friend’s home, without a warrant, keeping my client in handcuffs for an extended period of time while they searched the house. Apparently they found a small amount of pot in the friend’s house and a couple hundred dollars in cash, which they took. No paperwork documenting the event was ever provided in response to our FOIA requests. There were no criminal charges.

We’re alleging multiple civil rights violations, including unreasonable search and seizure and excessive force, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Here’s the Complaint, in full.

Response Brief Submitted in the Enlivant Vaccine Mandate Case

Today we filed our response brief to Enlivant’s motion to dismiss in our wrongful termination lawsuit in McCutcheon v. Enlivant, currently pending in the Southern District of West Virginia. The lawsuit challenges the right of private employers in West Virginia to discharge employees for not taking the EUA vaccine. Here’s the filing.

Seeking to temper the otherwise harsh results that would obtain where a discharge from employment was impelled by the employer’s desire to contravene public policy, an exception to the common law doctrine of at-will employment was established. See Frohnapfel v. ArcelorMittal USA LLC, 235 W.Va. 165, 772 S.E.2d 350 (W. Va. 2015); See also Wright v. Standard Ultramarine and Color Co., 141 W.Va. 368, 382, 90 S.E.2d 459, 468 (1955) (recognizing that at- will employees serve at will and pleasure of their employers and may be discharged at any time, with or without cause). That exception, created in Harless v. First National Bank, 162 W.Va. 116, 246 S.E.2d 270 (1978), provides: 

The rule that an employer has an absolute right to discharge an at will employee must be tempered by the principle that where the employer’s motivation for the discharge is to contravene some substantial public policy principle, then the employer may be liable to the employee for damages occasioned by this discharge.

Id. at 116, 246 S.E.2d at 271, syllabus; Frohnapfel v. ArcelorMittal USA LLC, 235 W.Va. 165, 772 S.E.2d 350 (W. Va. 2015). The Court has identified the areas from which public policy may be gleaned:

‘The sources determinative of public policy are, among others, our federal and state constitutions, our public statutes, our judicial decisions, the applicable principles of the common law, the acknowledged prevailing concepts of the federal and state governments relating to and affecting the safety, health, morals and general welfare of the people for whom government—with us—is factually established.’ 

“To identify the sources of public policy for purposes of determining whether a retaliatory discharge has occurred, we look to established precepts in our constitution, legislative enactments, legislatively approved regulations, and judicial opinions.” Syl. Pt. 2, Birthisel, 188 W.Va. at 372, 424 S.E.2d at 607. “Substantial public policy” has been defined by the Supreme Court as “not just recognizable as such but be so widely regarded as to be evident to employers and employees alike.” Id. at 745, 559 S.E.2d at 718. The Court recognized in Syllabus Point 3 of Birthisel that ““[i]nherent in the term ‘substantial public policy’ is the concept that the policy will provide specific guidance to a reasonable person.” 188 W.Va. at 372, 424 S.E.2d at 607. The Court has looked to whether regulations or licensing statutes contained specific provisions that addressed the allegedly improper conduct by the employer. Frohnapfel v. ArcelorMittal USA LLC, 235 W.Va. 165, 170 (W. Va. 2015). 

Here is their memorandum arguing for dismissal:

Discussion from last night:

Fourth Circuit Issues Anti-AR15 Diatribe in the Walker Case

Congratulations to West Virginia’s first Second Amendment “Sanctuary,” Putnam County, in obtaining a new anti-gun diatribe of a published opinion from the Fourth Circuit. This morning, the Fourth Circuit issued a published opinion in the Walker case. Basically, the Second Amendment doesn’t apply to the AR-15, and it matters not that the WV legislature allows its citizens to possess and use AR-15s, because the judiciary decides what peasants may possess – not the state legislature.

I knew it was going to be bad, since at the oral arguments one of the judges likened the AR-15 to the M-16. And he ended up authoring the opinion. You can listen to the oral arguments here, if you missed them.

Join me live at 7pm for a discussion on the ruling:

Fourth Circuit Holds Mass Aerial Surveillance is Unconstitutional

This past Thursday, on June 24, the Fourth Circuit quietly issued an en banc opinion in “Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle v. Baltimore Police Department, which challenged the Baltimore Police Department’s Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) pilot program on Fourth Amendment grounds. In an opinion written by Chief Judge Roger Gregory, the Court held that the AIR mass aerial surveillance program was an unconstitutional search and seizure (at least at the point the data was accessed).

The AIR program “tracks every movement” of every person outside of a structure in the City of Baltimore, retaining 45 days worth of data which is a “detailed, encyclopedic” record of where everyone came and went within the city during daylight hours. Law enforcement can “travel back in time” to observe a target’s movements, forwards and backwards. The Court likened the data to “attaching an ankle monitor to every person in the city,” and noted that, “whoever the suspect turns out to be, they have effectively been tailed for the prior six weeks.”

The Court held that “because the AIR program opens “an intimate window” into a person’s associations and activities, it violates the reasonable expectation of privacy individuals have in the whole of their movements.” Whereas traditional aerial or static camera surveillance have been upheld as reasonable by the courts, those cases “all involve some discrete operation surveilling individual targets.”

The AIR program records the movements of a city. With analysis, it can reveal where individuals come and go over an extended period. Because the AIR program enables police to deduce from the whole of individuals’ movements, we hold that accessing its data is a search, and its warrantless operation violates the Fourth Amendment.

Opinion at p. 28

The AIR program is like a 21st century general search, enabling the police to collect all movements, both innocent and suspected, without any burden to “articulate an adequate reason to search for specific items related to specific crimes.

Opinion at p. 32

Since this holding came from the Fourth Circuit sitting en banc, the only where to go from here is to the U.S. Supreme Court.

How to talk to police without a lawyer

Should someone talk to the police without a lawyer present?

  1. The criminal justice system overwhelmingly depends on people to unwittingly incriminate themselves for convictions, which they do.
  2. If a criminal suspect invokes the right to counsel, or the right to remain silent, they generally don’t incriminate themselves.
  3. A criminal suspect need only request a lawyer for all interrogation to stop. They DO NOT need to already have a lawyer – just to ask for one. Just a lawyer in general. These are magic words which stops an interrogation.

Custodial interrogation cannot take place with Miranda warnings and a waiver of the rights to remain silent and the right to have a lawyer present before and during questioning.

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

When are Miranda Warnings required to be read? Miranda warnings are required to be given when a suspect is in custody and being interrogated OR when a suspect believes that he is in custody and being interrogated. “Interrogation” includes not only express questioning but also its “functional equivalent,” namely, any conduct “that the police should know [is] reasonably likely to elicit an incriminating response.” When is someone in custody? That depends. Were they asked to exit a vehicle during a stop? Were guns drawn? Was force used? Were they placed in handcuffs? Were they told they weren’t free to leave?

A suspect can waive Miranda rights, but cannot waive the reading of Miranda warnings by law enforcement. Miranda warnings may need to be read again by police if too much time has elapsed in between the reading of the warnings and the subsequent interrogation.

When are Miranda Warnings NOT required to be given?

Officers can conduct general on-scene questioning as to facts surrounding a crime or other general fact finding without Miranda warnings. Officers can ask about the guilt of others/third parties without giving Miranda warnings. Miranda warnings don’t apply to voluntary statements made prior to interrogation. Miranda warnings don’t apply to statements of guilt made to persons other than law enforcement. Miranda warnings don’t apply if the person interrogated is not in custody.

Miranda warnings are generally not required at traffic stops. See Pennsylvania v. Bruder , 488 U.S. 9, 109 S. Ct. 205 (1988). In this case, the Supreme Court re-emphasized that ordinary traffic stops do not involve custody for the purposes of Miranda, and therefore, police do not need to inform those stopped for traffic violations of their Miranda rights unless taken into custody. Officers can generally ask any questions they want to suspects who are not in custody. See Arizona v. Johnson, 555 U.S. 323, 333 (2009). “An officer’s inquiries into matters unrelated to the justification for the traffic stop . . . do not convert the encounter into something other than a lawful seizure, so long as those inquiries do not measurably extend the duration of the stop.”

What about silence? Post-arrest silence by a defendant after Miranda warnings have been given is inadmissible against the defendant. Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976). If a defendant gives a statement, however, his silence as to other matters may be admitted. Anderson v. Charles, 447 U.S. 404 (1980); see United States v. Mitchell, 558 F.2d 1332, 1334–35 (8th Cir. 1977). A defendant’s pre-arrest silence may be admitted, Jenkins v. Anderson, 447 U.S. 231 (1980) as well as silence after arrest but prior to warnings. Fletcher v. Weir, 455 U.S. 603 (1982).

When can an officer not interrogate a suspect at all?

An officer may not interrogate if the suspect has requested a lawyer.

An officer may not interrogate if the suspect has in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning stated that he wishes to remain silent.

What sort of behavior by officers may render a confession invalid in court?

A confession MAY be invalid if obtained as the result of withholding food, drink or bathroom access. A confession may be invalid if obtained following threats, coercing or tricking a suspect into waiving Miranda Rights. A confession may be invalid if the interrogation is too long; or, If physical force is used; or, If promises to help a suspect if he or she confesses; or, If the officer misrepresents the body of evidence collected against the suspect

Lawsuit Filed Against Chicago Company for Mandating the Vaccination of West Virginia Employees

Today we filed suit against Enlivant, a Chicago company who owns and operates an assisted living facility in Greenbrier County, West Virginia operating as Seasons Place Assisted Living. On June 1, 2021 they terminated my client, Stephanie McCutcheon, for refusing to take an unapproved non-mandatory vaccine for COVID-19.

This is the letter Stephanie received from the Human Resources Director in Chicago after complaining about the company’s verbal vaccine mandate. As you can see, knowing it was a violation of federal law to mandate the vaccine, they attempted to frame her termination as a resignation.

Given that it appears to be a form letter, they have apparently done this to other employees. They have assisted living facilities in numerous states.

Our legal theory is a state-law based claim of retaliatory discharge. Basically, as everyone knows, West Virginia is an at-will employment state. However, there was an exception created in Harless v. First National Bank, 162 W.Va. 116, 246 S.E.2d 270 (1978), which provides that:

The rule that an employer has an absolute right to discharge an at will employee must be tempered by the principle that where the employer’s motivation for the discharge is to contravene some substantial public policy principle, then the employer may be liable to the employee for damages occasioned by this discharge.

The State Supreme Court has defined the areas from which “public policy” may derive:

“The sources determinative of public policy are, among others, our federal and state constitutions, our public statutes, our judicial decisions, the applicable principles of the common law, the acknowledged prevailing concepts of the federal and state governments relating to and affecting the safety, health, morals and general welfare of the people for whom government—with us—is factually established.”

See Frohnapfel v. ArcelorMittal USA LLC, 235 W.Va. 165, 772 S.E.2d 350 (W. Va. 2015)

So federal laws and regulations may form the basis of “public policy.” Now whether that public policy is “substantial” depends on whether it’s “widely regarded as to be evident to employers.” No doubt that requirement is met in this case. A quick google search will reveal an enormous amount of discussion and advice regarding the legality of employers mandating the vaccine. But we shall see….

Here’s the lawsuit, in full, which lays out the facts and law pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccines at the current time:

Here are the exhibits, including the EUA letter to Pfizer:

We are asking for an expedited hearing for a preliminary injunction enjoining Enlivant from terminating employees for choosing not to take a non-mandatory, unapproved vaccine, and directing that my client be re-hired, as well as a declaration that a private employer may not terminate or take adverse action against employees for choosing not to take the COVID vaccine. We are also seeking money damages, punitive damages and attorney fees.

Media Reports:

https://wvrecord.com/stories/602196867-employee-sues-assisted-living-facility-after-she-was-fired-for-refusing-to-take-covid-vaccine

The “Outlaw Barber” Arrested for Refusing to Close During the Lockdown Files Civil Rights Lawsuit

Today we filed suit in the case of the “Outlaw Barber,” Winerd “Les” Jenkins, a 73 year old combat veteran and former 27-year Deputy U.S. Marshall, who was arrested for refusing to close his barbershop during the Governor’s lockdown in April of 2020. We filed a Section 1983 civil rights lawsuit in federal court, in the Northern District of West Virginia.

The case was detailed last year in a Federalist article titled, West Virginia Barber’s Arrest Shows Failings Of The Bureaucratic State:

When Winerd “Les” Jenkins first became a barber, Neil Armstrong hadn’t yet set foot on the moon. For over five decades, Jenkins has made a living with his scissors and razor. For the past decade, he’s worked his craft from a storefront in Inwood, West Virginia. At Les’ Place Traditional Barber Shop, you can get a regular men’s haircut for $16 and a shave for $14—but come prepared to pay the old-fashioned way: in cash.

His insistence on “cash only” isn’t the only thing that’s old-school about Jenkins. He lives with his wife of 52 years on a small farm, where the couple raises rescued animals. He believes in paying his bills on time. He doesn’t use the internet, email, or text messaging. And he’s skeptical that his profession can become illegal overnight merely on the governor’s say-so.

He was ultimately arrested by two deputies from the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, who transported Mr. Jenkins for incarceration and charged him with “obstructing” an officer. The prosecuting attorney’s office of that county then aggressively prosecuted Mr. Jenkins for the better part of a year, until the judge finally dismissed the charge in January of 2021, finding that it would be a violation of Mr. Jenkins’s constitutional rights to prosecute him for violating the governor’s executive order.

We asserted two separate violations of Mr. Jenkins’ Fourth Amendment rights (unreasonable search and seizure and false arrest), as well as a violation of Mr. Jenkins’ First Amendment rights. It’s already been assigned a case number. Read it for yourself:

I’ve already revealed the body cam footage from one of the deputies, which caught much of the interaction on video:

Packing the Courts, and why it’s bad

Joe Biden won’t answer the question about whether he’ll attempt to pack the U.S. Supreme Court, until the day after the election – so he’s claimed. What is “packing the Court,” and why is it such a terrible idea that even Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned against it?

The Constitution did not specify the number of justices to sit on the Supreme Court. That’s up to Congress. For the past 150 years or so, Congress has maintained that number at 9. An odd number is required, so as to avoid the rather-anti-climactic tie vote. With a 9 member Court, a 5-4 decision, or better, wins the case. With the loss of RBG, the American left loses a crucial vote on the Court, which is why they are threatening to increase the number of justices on the Court, so as to counteract her replacement with Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Thus, if Biden wins, and if Congress is able to increase the number, they could create a left-wing majority on the Court by increasing the number of Democrat-nominated justices.

But the problem with any such plan is, that eventually the other side will return to power and retaliate accordingly. What we then end up with has now become a super-legislature, rather than a Supreme Court, as the Founders intended. Even RBG herself was against Democrats’ 2019 threats to pack the Court:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in an interview Tuesday that she does not favor proposals put forth by some Democratic presidential candidates who have advocated changing the number of Supreme Court justices if the Democrats win the presidency.

Ginsburg, who got herself in trouble criticizing candidate Donald Trump in 2016, this time was critical not of any particular Democratic contender, but of their proposals to offset President Trump’s two conservative appointments to the court.

“Nine seems to be a good number. It’s been that way for a long time,” she said, adding, “I think it was a bad idea when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the court.”

https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744633713/justice-ginsburg-i-am-very-much-alive

To pull it off, the Democrats would really need to add 4 new liberal members to the Court, which would create a 7-6 majority. Setting long-term retaliation and consequences to the Court aside, the results would be disastrous to the Second Amendment:

A 7-6 progressive majority on the court would very likely overturn decades of precedent that have protected gun owners from both state and federal attempts to deny them their Second Amendment rights. Millions of American gun owners would be subject to these changes and the laws, which Democrats, some of whom are committed to confiscating guns, would impose.

5 Major Ways America Will Fundamentally Change If Biden Packs The Court, The Federalist, by David Marcus, Oct. 9, 2020.

Free speech would be nonexistent:

The most obvious change to free speech laws that would come with a progressive majority on the Supreme Court would be the overturning of the 2010 5-4 Citizens United decision….. More broadly, speech laws such as those that exist in New York City requiring people to use preferred pronouns even if they do not believe that gender is mutable, would find a much kinder hearing in the new court.

5 Major Ways America Will Fundamentally Change If Biden Packs The Court, The Federalist, by David Marcus, Oct. 9, 2020.

Abortion, obviously:

The progressive reading of Roe v. Wade is almost limitless in its scope and perhaps the only question mark would regard the ability to kill babies even after they are outside of the mother. Beyond that, it is very likely that almost any state restrictions would be shot down.

5 Major Ways America Will Fundamentally Change If Biden Packs The Court, The Federalist, by David Marcus, Oct. 9, 2020.

Religious liberty:

Several religious liberty cases such as Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poorhave been closely decided of late. It is safe to assume these decisions would be reversed. Practicing Christians and members of other faiths would face far greater restriction in living their faith in their public life. Our understanding of how we may practice our religions would undergo a major change, abandoning the American tradition of public faith, and limiting religious expression to the church and the home.

5 Major Ways America Will Fundamentally Change If Biden Packs The Court, The Federalist, by David Marcus, Oct. 9, 2020.

Election laws:

In all likelihood, a new progressive majority would be open to efforts to abolish the electoral college, to allow statehood for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and to allow voting by people in the country illegally. All of these changes would skew towards the Democrats and could very well result in one-party federal rule of the United States.

5 Major Ways America Will Fundamentally Change If Biden Packs The Court, The Federalist, by David Marcus, Oct. 9, 2020.

So what stopped FDR from packing the Supreme Court back in the 1930s? It happened during the Great Depression, when FDR was pushing his socialist New Deal programs, only to have them struck down by the conservative-majority Supreme Court of the early 1930s. President Roosevelt sought to solve the problem sooner, rather than later, so he introduced the “Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937,” commonly referred to as the “court packing plan.” This would have allowed him to appoint up to 6 additional justices to the Court for every justice older than 70.5 years, or who had already served 10 years or more. In reality, a conservative majority had developed on the Court, and like Biden, he was willing to add justices to create his own new majority, consequences be damned:

From the outset of his presidency, FDR had known that four of the justices—Pierce Butler, James McReynolds, George Sutherland and Willis Van Devanter—would vote to invalidate almost all of the New Deal. They were referred to in the press as “the Four Horsemen,” after the allegorical figures of the Apocalypse associated with death and destruction. In the spring of 1935, a fifth justice, Hoover-appointee Owen Roberts—at 60 the youngest man on the Supreme Court—began casting his swing vote with them to create a conservative majority.

When Franklin Roosevelt Clashed With the Supreme Court—and Lost, By William E. Leuchtenburg, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2005.

FDR indirectly attacked the Court, claiming publicly he was concerned about their age, rather than the ideological point of view of its majority:

 FDR recognized, though, that a direct assault on the court must be avoided; he could not simply assert that he wanted judges who would do his bidding. The most promising approach, it seemed, would be to capitalize on the public’s concern about the ages of the justices. At the time of his reelection, it was the most elderly court in the nation’s history, averaging 71 years. Six of the justices were 70 or older; a scurrilous book on the court, The Nine Old Men, by Drew Pearson and Robert Allen, was rapidly moving up the bestseller lists.

When Franklin Roosevelt Clashed With the Supreme Court—and Lost, By William E. Leuchtenburg, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2005.

A 1937 political cartoon with the caption ‘Do We Want A Ventriloquist Act In The Supreme Court?’ which was a criticism of FDR’s New Deal, depicting President Franklin D. Roosevelt with six new judges likely to be FDR puppets.
Fotosearch/Getty Images

FDR basically lied about his motivations. Rather than admit to the American people that he was playing politics, and attempting to enact his progressive legislation without interference by the conservative court, he feigned concern over the age of the justices:

“A part of the problem of obtaining a sufficient number of judges to dispose of cases is the capacity of the judges themselves,” the president observed. “This brings forward the question of aged or infirm judges—a subject of delicacy and yet one which requires frank discussion.” He acknowledged that “in exceptional cases,” some judges “retain to an advanced age full mental and physical vigor,” but quickly added, “Those not so fortunate are often unable to perceive their own infirmities.” Life tenure, he asserted, “was not intended to create a static judiciary. A constant and systematic addition of younger blood will vitalize the courts.”

When Franklin Roosevelt Clashed With the Supreme Court—and Lost, By William E. Leuchtenburg, Smithsonian Magazine, May 2005.

Similar to what would happen in 2020, the result was all-out war between the branches of government, and between the political parties:

While it was never voted on in Congress, the Supreme Court justices went public in their opposition to it. And a majority of the public never supported the bill, either, says Barbara A. Perry, director of presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.

“Congress and the people viewed FDR’s ill-considered proposal as an undemocratic power grab,” she says. “The chief justice (Charles Evans Hughes) testified before Congress that the Court was up to date in its work, countering Roosevelt’s stated purpose that the old justices needed help with their caseload.”

“It was never realistic that this plan would pass,” Perry says. “Roosevelt badly miscalculated reverence for the Court and its independence from an overreaching president.”

This Is How FDR Tried to Pack the Supreme Court, by Lesley Kennedy, Jun 28, 2018.

The battle lasted 168 days. It’s difficult to imagine how it would play out in the era of social media and biased news. But even then, it was ugly:

Roosevelt’s message touched off the greatest struggle in our history among the three branches of government. It also triggered the most intense debate about constitutional issues since the earliest weeks of the Republic. For 168 days, the country was mesmerized by the controversy, which dominated newspaper headlines, radio broadcasts and newsreels, and spurred countless rallies in towns from New England to the PacificCoast. Members of Congress were so deluged by mail that they could not read most of it, let alone respond…..

This Is How FDR Tried to Pack the Supreme Court, by Lesley Kennedy, Jun 28, 2018.

At the time, the FDR liberals showed little concern for the Supreme Court as an independent and important branch of government. If other countries could enact these programs, then so should we be able to do so….

If Roosevelt won, opponents warned, he would destroy the independence of the judiciary and create an evil precedent for successors who wished to “pack” the court. If Roosevelt lost, his supporters countered, a few judges appointed for life would be able to ignore the popular will, destroy programs vital to the welfare of the people, and deny to the president and Congress the powers exercised by every other government in the world. Although the country divided evenly on the issue—about as many were for Roosevelt’s plan as against it—the opposition drew far more attention, especially on editorial pages……

This Is How FDR Tried to Pack the Supreme Court, by Lesley Kennedy, Jun 28, 2018.

The Bill was ultimately defeated, but FDR still got what he wanted in the end. The historians’ lesson of the affair, as relayed to us in 2005, is perhaps more credible than any we would receive today, in the era of over-politicization of all fields of academia. So pay attention to the parts in bold:

The nasty fight over court packing turned out better than might have been expected. The defeat of the bill meant that the institutional integrity of the United States Supreme Court had been preserved—its size had not been manipulated for political or ideological ends. On the other hand, Roosevelt claimed that though he had lost the battle, he had won the war. And in an important sense he had: he had staved off the expected invalidation of the Social Security Act and other laws. More significantly, the switch in the court that spring resulted in what historians call “the constitutional revolution of 1937”—the legitimation of a greatly expanded exercise of powers by both the national and state governments that has persisted for decades.

The 168-day contest also has bequeathed some salutary lessons. It instructs presidents to think twice before tampering with the Supreme Court. FDR’s scheme, said the Senate Judiciary Committee, was “a measure which should be so emphatically rejected that its parallel will never again be presented to the free representatives of the free people of America.” And it never has been. At the same time, it teaches the justices that if they unreasonably impede the functioning of the democratic branches, they may precipitate a crisis with unpredictable consequences. In his dissent in the AAA case in 1936, Justice Stone reminded his brethren, “Courts are not the only agency of government that must be assumed to have capacity to govern.” These are lessons— for the president and for the court—as salient today as they were in 1937.

This Is How FDR Tried to Pack the Supreme Court, by Lesley Kennedy, Jun 28, 2018.

As RGB knew, even the mighty FDR was wrong to attempt to destroy the SCOTUS by increasing the number of justices as a means to an end for temporary political goals. However enticing it might appear, it’s going to hurt everyone in the end.