I’m grateful to Kevin Underhill and his Lowering the Bar post for many, many things. My daily medicinal dose of long, loud laughter, for one. Today, since he’s posted a follow-up to a sporadic story he covers about the legal woes of the Insane Clown Posse, I’m extra grateful.
Because I just finished John Sandford’s Gathering Prey, the “gathering” part of which has to do with juggalos and clown faces and what they get up to at their gatherings. Yeah, it’s a novel but let me tell you: aside from Lowering the Bar’s satirical, factual info about clowns and their stuff, I have no intention of gathering further facts about them. In other words, I am content to accept Sandford’s fictional and very lively representation of this…what is it? A cult? A cultural movement? An excellent setting for an excellent violent criminal procedure novel?
Whichever. Here are Kevin’s opening paragraphs. I admit that my suggested descriptions of this group are not as marvelous as the U.S. government’s “a loosely organized non-traditional hybrid gang subset.” (Maybe I should include a link to my essay on why legal documents are so impossible to read. [Appropriately, the essay begins with an extract from movie dialogue created by a famous trio of clowns.])
Last Thursday, the Sixth Circuit reinstated the lawsuit by ICP and certain Juggalos (the group’s fans) challenging the FBI’s classification of Juggalos—collectively—as a “hybrid gang” in its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. (NBC News, link to decision). More specifically, it referred to the Juggalos as a “loosely organized non-traditional hybrid gang subset,” which is enough of a hoot all by itself that I won’t again repost my joke about it although I continue to think it was pretty good.
While I pretty much agree that for the FBI to describe a group of music fans this way is, as Violent J described it at a press conference, “flat-out ridiculous and un-American bullshit” (FORAB), the specific legal issue on appeal was whether the plaintiffs had standing. That is, whether the district court was right to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that the plaintiffs had not sufficiently alleged an “injury” caused by the misclassification. The Sixth Circuit held that they had alleged enough to go forward.
Source: Lowering the Bar
P.S. And here’s a Black’s Law Dictionary definition of “legal standing.” (What? You thought I was going to duck into Black’s for the “hybrid gang” thing?) Well, a small correction: Black doesn’t define “legal standing.” It defines “standing,” as…
A party’s right to make a legal claim or seek judicial enforcement of a duty or right.◊ To have standing in federal court, a plaintiff must show (1) that the challenged conduct has caused the plaintiff actual injury, and (2) that the interest sought to be protected is within the zone of interests means to be regulated by the statutory or constitution guarantee in question.
P.P.S. And I now have to take Gathering Prey back to my library and pay them a few pence because it’s overdue.