Back To The Past

     I’ve got a gun. You’ve got a time machine. Let’s kill Hitler.
     – Steven Moffat
     Sorry to nerd out on you like that, but that line was so wonderful I had to repeat it – and, of course, reflect on the concept.
     If we had a Tardis and a free hand to change legal history, where would we go?
     Consider the endless amount of hand-wringing, not to mention voluminous dissertations in appellate rulings, over the thought processes of guys who lived 200 years ago. Wouldn’t it be so much simpler if we could go back in time and ask the Founding Fathers (whoever they are) what they thought of video games and corporations who can talk?
     I’d recommend stuffing them into the time machine and appointing them to the present Supreme Court, but then they wouldn’t be back in history and they might not be our Founding Fathers any more. The time line would be more messed up than an average Supreme Court opinion, so we’d have to be satisfied interviewing them in the past.
     Sorry. Nerding out again.
     But wait … all we’d have to do is bring the chosen nine founders to the present to decide important cases and then send them back again. White landowners will finally get the recognition they deserve in court….
     I’ve got to get control of myself. This could be too much for history – what if a founding father brought a fully-charged iPod back to his own time? Would he be still be a founding father if he got caught with porn? I shudder to think….
     So back to the idea of responsibly changing legal history. If you could make some judicious edits, where would you go? A couple of ideas:
     Save Mrs. Palsgraf! It’s not that I think that the concept of foreseeability in tort law is a bad one. I just don’t see why the poor woman has to be sacrificed for it.
     Let’s save her from the domino effect on that railroad platform and then see what court comes up with the same legal precedent sometime later. It’s an interesting experiment in time travel and proximate cause.
     Bush v. Gore. You’re probably thinking I want to change the outcome of this one, but how could I do that? I’m a mere time traveler.
     What I would do is manage to somehow waylay one of the justices so that the vote turned out to be four to four.
     Imagine how much less stress we’d be under today if we were still trying to figure out who won the Florida election in 2000.
     The Second Amendment. Just a little simple editing is all I’d ask. Point out to the guy that wrote the thing that it’s just a tad ambiguous. Is he talking about authorizing militias or guaranteeing homeowners the right to put cannons on their front lawns?
     And why doesn’t California have an armed force to keep invaders from Arizona away?
     Would it hurt to be a little clear about this stuff?
     History needs editing.
     STUPIDITY PENALTY. I don’t quite know what to make of a recent ruling in a U. S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit case called Li v. Holder but it now appears that if you’re going to sneak into the United States, you’d better do it in a safe manner.
     The ruling upholds a decision to deny asylum because a guy from China decided to stick himself inside a metal box welded to the bottom of a car to cross the border from Mexico. An immigration judge ruled that if this guy got asylum, it would encourage other people to stuff themselves into metal boxes and risk being fried.
     Apparently if he had just walked across the border, he would have been fine. We want to encourage safe illegal border crossing.
     Don’t look at me. I just report this stuff.

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