I’m Going to Saginaw

In a landmark decision a three judge panel on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Cincinnati declared that chalking tires to enforce two hour parking limits is an unconstitutional act violating the 4th Amendment unreasonable Search clause. From WaPo:

The age-old parking enforcement practice of tire-chalking is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, saying it violated the Fourth Amendment’s bar on unreasonable searches.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in a first-of-its-kind decision, ruled that marking a car’s tires to gather information is a form of trespass requiring a warrant, similar to police attaching a GPS to a vehicle to track a suspected drug dealer.

Parking attendants across the country have been chalking tires with big white lines for decades in zones without meters to enforce of time limits and issue tickets. It’s a substantial source of revenue for many cities.

The decision, while undoubtedly bringing joy to parking scofflaws everywhere, could cost some cities money, either from lost revenue or having to install meters where none exist.


The case came from Saginaw, Mich., where lawyer Philip Ellison engaged in a Facebook rant in 2016 after his law partner, sitting in his chalked car, got ticketed while the two talked on the phone.

Ellison said a friend, Alison Taylor, saw the Facebook post and got in touch to complain about her 15th ticket in two years. She, as plaintiff, and he, as lawyer, filed a civil rights suit against Saginaw and a named parking enforcement officer who Ellison claims “issues more than 95 percent of the tickets.”

“We made a federal case out of tire-chalking,” said Ellison, who is seeking refunds for his client and others caught by chalking. He acknowledged some surprise at his victory, as he could find no comparable chalking precedents.


A lawyer for Saginaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Washington Post – April 23, 2019

No, I’m sure he didn’t – so everyone load up the station wagon – we’re going to Saginaw. Who says the law ain’t fun?


46 thoughts on “I’m Going to Saginaw”

  1. while thinking of fearless leader’s return upon the sale of trail head south, stumbled upon a law term I don’t remember hearing about in property 101  – but then the brain tends to forget such traumas – “gazumping” across the pond:

    Gazumping is a term used to describe a situation in which the seller of property accepts a verbal offer from a potential buyer but subsequently accepts an offer from another party. It can also be used to refer to a situation where the seller raises the asking price before formally signing a contract, after having verbally agreed a lower price.

    Despite the practice often resulting in the potential buyer facing unrecoverable costs (such as survey costs, conveyancing fees, mortgage arrangement fees, etc.), gazumping is legal in England and Wales, as well as several other countries. This is because the exchange of contracts is something that takes place relatively late in the property buying process, following the property survey, the receipt of a mortgage offer, and so on, and as a result there is typically a delay of several weeks or even months between the verbal acceptance of the offer and it becoming legally binding.

    During this period the seller may become tempted by a higher offer, although gazumping may not always be on the basis of financial matters. It can also refer to a situation in which a seller decides to reject an offer for some other reason, such as to accept another party’s offer who may be able to complete the purchase more quickly, i.e. if they already have a mortgage offer in place, or are first-time buyers and so not part of a property ‘chain’.


  2. pogo, was this the Rachel bit from last night you wanted us to watch?

    As House Democrats issue a new subpoena for former White House Counsel Don McGahn, Rachel Maddow looks at why it is so difficult for Donald Trump to sue to stop congress from issuing subpoenas.
  3. Pat, the Rachel segment I was referring to was in the 1st 10 minutes of the show. She touched on the subject about maybe 15 minutes into the segment you posted but that was it just a passing mention. The one I was talking about was a more in depth discussion of waiver.

  4. A little joy in the middle of all the political anger:  Happy 85th Birthday to Shirley MacLaine

  5. Love Shirley. She’s had so many wonderful roles in her career. I absolutely loved her in The Turning Point. 

  6. i’m partial to her film debut in “the trouble with harry”

    and to her weezer role in “steel magnolias.” 

    a good quote therein: The only reason people are nice to me is because I have more money than God.

  7. Pogo…  that’s an interesting article.  Parking tickets are such a nuisance.  The only place we ever get them is in Woods Hole MA.  They have parking meters all over the place that will only except 2 quarters for a half hour.  You have to go out and keep feeding the meter just to eat lunch there.   We used to love several restaurants there where you could rub elbows with some very smart marine people…  loved listening to the conversations.  But alas…  we got tired of the parking tickets and stopped eating there several years ago whenever we’re on Cape Cod.

  8. Flate, ya beat me to the Lefty……but only cause I got a funky machine I can hardly figure out.
    Still and all, ya beat me fair and square.

  9. In Columbia, we have meters. Don’t need to feed them if you have handicapped plates and can stay all day long provided the handicapped individual is an occupant of the vehicle when parked.

  10. Wow the dumbing down of the Supreme Court hand in hand with two lawyers who apparently have no other clients
    Big win for them but stupid and causing a big problem for a lot of cities

  11. The Saginaw case caught my eye because (a) it is such a chickenshit case to go to the Federal Circuit Court level and (b) I had personal experience with aggressive parking enforcement for a few years back in the late 1990s, early 2000s when I worked for a law firm in “downtown” East Bumfuck, WV that didn’t have parking for the attorneys and there wasn’t a paid lot on our end of town, so we we forced more or less to park on the   I’d get a ticket or 2 per day on average.  At the end of the month I’d take all my tickets and go negotiate a settlement with the parking ticket guy at the police station.  We got to be friendly – it was like a joke.  Under that system I paid about $150 per month for parking.  Now that I’m in an office next to one of the cheapest parking lots in town I pay $25 per month for parking.  (When I go to NYC to visit LP it costs me $35 – $60 per day in a paid lot, depending on how much inconvenience I’m willing to bear to park and pick the car up.) You might say parking in East Bumfuck is a bargain.

  12. A lot cities now have neighborhood parking and that is how it is enforced.   People in SF will go nuts if they can’t have neighborhood parking because most places don’t have parking spots.   
    So many things will be upended by this.  Just plain stupid

  13. KC, you’re right.  Of course that ruling only applies to the tire chalking practice in time-limited “free” parking spaces I suspect, and it would at best apply only in the 4 states in the 6th Circuit

  14. Well, SFB is doing his best to make sure his idiocy is not left in question.

    By John Wagner

    April 24 at 10:22 AM
    President Trump suggested Wednesday that he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if Democrats move to impeach him — a notion that legal experts said showed a misunderstanding of the Constitution.
    It was unclear how Trump would legally justify such a move, since the Constitution delegates impeachment proceedings to Congress, not the courts. Trump mentioned the idea briefly in morning tweets in which he lashed out at Democrats who are continuing to investigate him following the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.
    “I DID NOTHING WRONG,” Trump wrote. “If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not only are there no ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ there are no Crimes by me at all.”
    A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate on what the president would seek from the court.
    The notion was ridiculed by several legal experts, including Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor, who accused Trump of “idiocy.”
    “Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate,” Tribe wrote on Twitter, adding that Trump apparently thinks his recent court appointments would give him a “ ‘get out of jail free’ card.”
    Joshua Matz, a lawyer who specializes in constitutional law, said that Trump’s tweet “reflects a profound misunderstanding.”
    While it’s possible that the court could play a role on “collateral disputes” arising from an impeachment proceeding, it has “no constitutional warrant to second-guess the substance of an impeachment judgment,” Matz said in an email.
    “If the President were to seek judicial intervention in that fashion, the courts would almost certainly refuse to hear the case on the ground that it is a ‘political question’ textually entrusted to Congress by the Constitution,” Matz said.

    The dumbass probably doesn’t know that there are 3 articles that apply, one each, to the 3 branches of government and that those articles define the constitutional powers of each branch.  
    By the way, it is a shame and a sin that Laurence Tribe has never been appointed and confirmed to the Supreme Court.

  15. 4 states so far…but there are a lot of lawyers with nothing to do in all the other states too

  16. Well, at least they would have one “chalking” case to cite as authority.  But this is really just an expensive nitwit case that doesn’t stop enforcement although it does change how enforcement can be accomplished and will introduce some inconvenience for enforcement.  If you read it there is an alternative that presumably most parking enforcement officers have in their pocket –  and almost everyone now has the ability to exercise the alternative – take a picture of the car.  It actually would be more compelling since the phone puts a time stamp on the picture.  In the end it might have an effect on tire marking chalk sales, but it won’t, or shouldn’t, do anything to prevent local parking revenue enforcement.

  17. As far as evidence of the violation goes I don’t think that a photo is inferior to a chalk line – inf act it is far superior.  It would be in the first instance just to document that the car is in the space at a given time.  2 hours later – if it’s still there, take a 2nd pic and write a ticket.  The 2 pics are more evidence if the ticket is contested than the chalk mark that is no longer on the tire after the car drives off. 

  18. The Democrats are partisan. Imagine that. 
    The republicans are not partisan. Imagine that.

  19. I figure that the reason trump is sooo concerned about tax dox is that he took deductions for his girlfriends’ trips to Planned Parenthood and for child support payments made to various secret families of his. Maybe one of his kids is an anchor baby – uh – I mean, besides Barron.

  20. …Tribe wrote on Twitter, adding that Trump apparently thinks his recent court appointments would give him a “ ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

    one more tweet by the twit that not just insinuates it’s his court now but brags they are in his pocket beholden and loyal will backfire bigly.  can’t imagine those lifers on the bench will want to go down in history as being bought and sold by the lowlifer who put them there.  

  21. Bloomberg:  Trump Erroneously Claims U.S. Supreme Court Role in Impeachment


    The House “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and the Senate “shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments,” according to the Constitution. A 1993 Supreme Court decision says the courts have no role to play in that process, although Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over a Senate trial.

    Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated by Trump, wrote in the Minnesota Law Review in 2009: “If the President does something dastardly, the impeachment process is available. No single prosecutor, judge, or jury should be able to accomplish what the Constitution assigns to the Congress.”

  22. Ms Pat, You’re prolly right. They have well-remunerated jobs for life and gobs of respect, just as long as they keep their noses clean. 
    On the other hand, somebody with a lot of rubles might want to prevent pence from becoming president. That person might produce TEN$ of M!LL!ON$ of rea$on$ for $upporting trump’$ uncon$titutional bull$hit.

  23. NYTimes: In Push for 2020 Election Security, Top Official Was Warned: Don’t Tell Trump

    WASHINGTON — In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election.

    President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president.

    Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.

    But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”

    Even though the Department of Homeland Security has primary responsibility for civilian cyberdefense, Ms. Nielsen eventually gave up on her effort to organize a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect next year’s elections.

    As a result, the issue did not gain the urgency or widespread attention that a president can command. And it meant that many Americans remain unaware of the latest versions of Russian interference.

    This account of Ms. Nielsen’s frustrations was described to The New York Times by three senior Trump administration officials and one former senior administration official, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity. The White House did not provide comment after multiple requests on Tuesday.

    After this article was published on Wednesday, Mr. Mulvaney said through a spokesman, “I don’t recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting.”


  24. Goodness April 24 seems to be popular.  Barbra Streisand showed up nine years after Shirley:


  25. Obviously, any appeal to the Constitution to head off impeachment is a fool’s errand. It would be more practical for trump to appeal to the Secretaries of the Army and Navy to handle an impeachment threat. An emergency flight to Moscow, ala kim philby, would be the most likely to succeed. 

  26. the atlantic:

    The Mueller Report Was My Tipping Point


    Let’s start at the end of this story. This weekend, I read Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report twice, and realized that enough was enough—I needed to do something. I’ve worked on every Republican presidential transition team for the past 10 years and recently served as counsel to the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee. My permanent job is as a law professor at the George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School, which is not political, but where my colleagues have held many prime spots in Republican administrations.

    If you think calling for the impeachment of a sitting Republican president would constitute career suicide for someone like me, you may end up being right. But I did exactly that this weekend, tweeting that it’s time to begin impeachment proceedings.

    Let’s go back to the beginning. In August 2016, I interviewed to join the pre-transition team of Donald Trump. Since 2012, every presidential election stands up a pre-transition team for both candidates, so that the real transition will have had a six-month head start when the election is decided. I participated in a similar effort for Mitt Romney, and despite our defeat, it was a thrilling and rewarding experience. I walked into a conference room at Jones Day that Don McGahn had graciously arranged to lend to the folks interviewing for the transition team.

    The question I feared inevitably opened the interview: “How do you feel about Donald Trump?” I could not honestly say I admired him. While working on Senator Marco Rubio’s primary campaign, I had watched Trump throw schoolyard nicknames at him. I gave the only honest answer I could: “I admire the advisers he’s chosen, like Larry Kudlow and David Malpass, and I admire his choice of VP.” That did the trick. I got the impression they’d heard that one before. I was one of the first 16 members of Trump’s transition team, as deputy director of economic policy.

    In time, my work for the transition became awkward. I disagreed with Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and trade. I also had strong concerns about his policies in my area of financial regulation. The hostility to Russian sanctions from the policy team, particularly from those members picked by Paul Manafort, was even more unsettling.


    I wasn’t very good at hiding my distaste. We parted ways in October amicably; I wasn’t the right fit. I wished many of my friends who worked on the transition well, and I respected their decision to stay on after Trump won. A few of them even arranged offers for policy jobs in the White House, which I nearly accepted but ultimately turned down, as I knew I’d be no better fit there than I had been on the transition.

    I never considered joining the Never Trump Republican efforts. Their criticisms of President Trump’s lack of character and unfitness for office were spot-on, of course, but they didn’t seem very pragmatic. There was no avoiding the fact that he’d won, and like many others, I felt the focus should be on guiding his policy decisions in a constructive direction. The man whom I most admire in that regard is McGahn, Trump’s first White House counsel, who guided the president toward some amazing nominees for regulatory agencies and the judiciary.


    I wanted to share my experience transitioning from Trump team member to pragmatist about Trump to advocate for his impeachment, because I think many other Republicans are starting a similar transition. Politics is a team sport, and if you actively work within a political party, there is some expectation that you will follow orders and rally behind the leader, even when you disagree. There is a point, though, at which that expectation turns from a mix of loyalty and pragmatism into something more sinister, a blind devotion that serves to enable criminal conduct.

    The Mueller report was that tipping point for me, and it should be for Republican and independent voters, and for Republicans in Congress. In the face of a Department of Justice policy that prohibited him from indicting a sitting president, Mueller drafted what any reasonable reader would see as a referral to Congress to commence impeachment hearings.

    Depending on how you count, roughly a dozen separate instances of obstruction of justice are contained in the Mueller report. The president dangled pardons in front of witnesses to encourage them to lie to the special counsel, and directly ordered people to lie to throw the special counsel off the scent.


    This elaborate pattern of obstruction may have successfully impeded the Mueller investigation from uncovering a conspiracy to commit more serious crimes. At a minimum, there’s enough here to get the impeachment process started. In impeachment proceedings, the House serves as a sort of grand jury and the Senate conducts the trial. There is enough in the Mueller report to commence the Constitution’s version of a grand-jury investigation in the form of impeachment proceedings.

    The Founders knew that impeachment would be, in part, a political exercise. They decided that the legislative branch would operate as the best check on the president by channeling the people’s will. Congress has an opportunity to shape that public sentiment with the hearings ahead. As sentiments shift, more and more Republicans in Congress will feel emboldened to stand up to the president. The nation has been through this drama before, with more than a year of hearings in the Richard Nixon scandal, which ultimately forced his resignation.

    Republicans who stand up to Trump today may face some friendly fire. Today’s Republican electorate seems spellbound by the sound bites of Twitter and cable news, for which Trump is a born wizard. Yet, in time, we can help rebuild the Republican Party, enabling it to rise from the ashes of the post-Trump apocalypse into a party with renewed commitment to principles of liberty, opportunity, and the rule of law.

  27. This is war –Trumpers against the rest of us.  Squish them like little bugs

  28. I’m impressed by Verret’s reasoning. Except for the mention of that drunken bum lawrence kudlow, it’s a wonderful article. It should convince every thinking republican to support impeachment, and that’s the problem.

  29. Oh puleeze — the rest of us knew right away  –thinking goopers  still hung on him to feather their own nests

    The trump Administration has boosted efficiency to an all time high. The Interior Department began an ethics investigation against david bernhardt as he was being sworn in as their new boss.
    trump hopes to do even better, by making the swearing in ceremony simultaneous with the sentencing.

  31. About ten or fifteen years ago I was in a city that stopped chalking tires because they found a better method and the meter people were not fond of walking around cars or leaning out of scooters, to mark the tires.  I do not remember what tool they used, but it was effective in court.

  32. Jamie…  good for Dorothy!  I’ve had a few times I’ve forgotten my canvas bags and have had young cashiers look at me askance when I say I forgot them.  I usually say…  but I did do the one thing that’s best for the planet…   I didn’t breed.  That always shuts them up.

  33. Sometimes I need the bags.   We don’t have regular trash pick and we try to separae everything for re-cycling and you can’t use trash bags –only paper.    And I alws ask for them to double bag because the bags they use are such shit

  34. That’s bad news for Old Joe, Ms Cracker. I haven’t been able to stand tweety bird since the Vince Foster suicide. 

  35. In fairness to Tweety he said Dems can’t beat SFB without beating him in PA and Biden can beat SFB in PA. 

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