Image for post
Image for post

(Note: This is part 3 of a series in which I examine opinions written by Amy Coney Barrett during her tenure on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. My intention is to gain and provide insight into her approach to legal analysis, beyond the headlines and partisan spin. Part 1 can be found here; Part 2 can be found here.)

Federal Tort Claims: Chronis v. The United States

Anna Chronis had an annual checkup at University of Illinois Mile Health Center in June 2015. As part of her physical, she underwent a gynecological exam, which she says left her bruised and in pain. Chronis made several attempts to contact the doctor who performed the exam, the Center itself, and finally the Health Center grievance committee. She wrote letters, detailing her injuries and the costs incurred due to her receiving follow up care for them. The bills, mileage and expenses she claimed added up to $332. None of her requests for help received a response, so Chronis, a Medicaid beneficiary, wrote a letter to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency who oversees the programs. In her letter, she stated that she believed the Health Center was liable for the damages caused by the doctor they employed and that she incurred many out-of-pocket costs for seeking follow-up treatment. She included a numbered list of what she sought; number 3 was “restitution”. She attached dozens of pages of copies of her correspondence with the health center, including her letter to the grievance committee in which she specifically asked for $332 as restitution for her out-of-pocket costs. …


Image for post
Image for post

(Note: This is part 2 of a series in which I examine opinions written by Amy Coney Barrett during her tenure on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. My intention is to gain and provide insight into her approach to legal analysis, beyond the headlines and partisan spin. Part 1 can be found here. Part 3 is here.

Prisoner’s rights: John McCottrell v. Marcus White

Plaintiffs John McCottrell and Dustin Clay were inmates at Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois. The two were eating lunch in the prison dining hall when two other inmates began to fight. Guards subdued the fighting men and were placing them in restraints when two other guards, defendants Marcus White and Labarin Williams, who were stationed in a “guard tower” overlooking the dining hall, fired their shotguns into the hall. …


Image for post
Image for post

(Note: This is part 1 of a series in which I examine opinions written by Amy Coney Barrett during her tenure on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. My intention is to gain and provide insight into her approach to legal analysis, beyond the headlines and partisan spin. Part 2 can be found here. Part 3 is here.

In anticipation of the inevitable confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to take over for (not replace) Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, there is a lot of nervous hand-wringing/fist-pumping on Twitter and elsewhere, as the ideological factions prognosticate about how she might come down on some major social battlegrounds. …


Image for post
Image for post

A Supreme Court Justice who throughout her life and career believed strongly in liberal ideals and civil rights hoped that someone other than a conservative Republican would choose her successor. This seems to be an extremely obvious statement to me. The woman stayed on the bench through multiple bouts of cancer and to an age to which most of us will be lucky to survive in hopes of preventing that very thing. And yet when the late Justice Ginsburg’s granddaughter revealed the sentiment, there was an indignant uproar on the right making accusations of fraud and dishonesty.

Really, GOP? You don’t think that Ruth Bader Ginsburg fervently wished that Trump would not be the one to nominate her successor? …


Image for post
Image for post

I’ve heard it said that the average person on the street can’t name 5 current Supreme Court justices. That’s hard to believe for the politically dialed-in, unfathomable to someone who makes a living in law. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, though, transcended the niche minor celebrity of top jurists. She became an icon to women, to feminists, to liberals, to many lawyers across the political spectrum. She was a hero to me.

I would like to write a thorough and scholarly tribute that touches on some of her most influential opinions or noteworthy dissents, highlighting the legal brilliance for which she deserves to be remembered. …


Image for post
Image for post

I remember the Jack Daniels bottle.

I was lying on the floor in the doorway between the hall and the living room. I turned my head to the right and saw it on a low shelf. It was college apartment decor, a large Jack Daniels bottle being used as a candlestick, brightly colored wax having dripped down and solidified around the neck.

I could reach out and grab it. I did reach out and grab it. I held it just a second or two, trying to decide whether I could hit him in the head hard enough to knock him out, like a movie heroine could do, or if I would succeed only in angering him into hurting me more. …


Image for post
Image for post

August 22, 2020 — I hopped up on the scale yesterday and saw a number I’ve never reached before, not even at my most pregnant. It was not surprising; I do own a mirror, and the snugness of my clothing tells the tale.

Before you start to there-there me and tell me it’s not that bad and I’m being too hard on myself and I probably look fine, let me assure you, it is that bad, no I’m not, and no I don’t. I’m very overweight and it is not healthy. …


Image for post
Image for post
The United States Senate — Office of Senator Kamala Harris [Public domain]

I deserve it, really. My chickens are coming home to roost.

Back in 2016 I couldn’t understand how anyone not predisposed to voting for Trump could possibly “throw away” their vote on a third party. Didn’t those Never Hillary people get it? If they didn’t vote for her, they were voting for racism, misogyny, greed. Evil in a red necktie. What privilege they must have, being immune to the consequences. No matter how they hated her, didn’t they see that they had to vote for her to save others from those same consequences?

Fast forward to 2020, where I now find myself the outcast among some of my Democrat and liberal friends. Former friends, apparently. Because I said aloud what I was thinking: I don’t know if I can bring myself to cast a vote for Joe Biden. …


Image for post
Image for post

On March 1st, 2020, Spc. Shelby Tyler Jones, a soldier stationed at Fort Hood, was found shot to death outside a convenience store near the base. Police say the shooting happened about half a mile away, at a strip club.

On March 10th, Specialist Christopher Wayne Sawyer, 29, was found dead in his residence on base. At the time, officials stated that while foul play was not suspected, neither had it been ruled out. The Army has released no further information on his death..

Specialist Freddie Delacruz, 23, was one of three people shot to death, including another Army veteran, at an apartment complex off base on March 14th. …


Image for post
Image for post

The term “serial killer” evokes images of wild-eyed mugshots, made-for-tv-movie characters who capture the attention of America, even if in horror. Ted Bundy, Zodiac, Son of Sam. But the “big names” are only scum on the surface of a deep, black lake of evil humanity. While we look askance at the creepy loners, the Dahmers of the world, others, like Reta Mays, do their wicked work quietly, right under our collective noses.

If you don’t know who Reta Mays is yet, we will get to that in a minute. First, let us define terms in case anyone questions whether she “counts” among the Gacys and Rippers of the world. The FBI applies the term “serial killer” to offenders who commit two or more murders with a period of time in between. The period in between can be days to months, even years, though it often shortens as the killers find it harder to resist their compulsion. …

About

Em Carpenter

I write about social issues, politics, true crime, an occasional poem, and whatever else strikes my fancy. @wvesquiress.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store