In true “Dog Bites Man” news, Jonathan Turley has taken his unswerving commitment to indulging his Fox News audience with “legal” analysis of every Joe Biden scandal, no matter how loony. He’s barfed out a detailed criminal case against current president based on the theory that he served as vice president in 2018 (spoiler alert: he did not). He’s flogged the theory that Hunter Biden got a “slap on the wrist” because he’d been offered the same plea deal every other federal defendant gets for a first offense of that statute — a theory that forced the DOJ to reverse course and launch an inevitably doomed prosecution of the younger Biden. And declared Joe in a dastardly constitutional breach over student loan forgiveness based on a theory so stupid that even the Biden-hostile Supreme Court looked elsewhere for support.
Now he’s got a new way to derail the Biden administration: dogs. Specifically, Joe Biden’s dogs that keep biting Secret Service agents.
Law professors like newsjacking current events to draft crazy exam hypos, but meditations on dog bites and creating a crushing financial burden upon American taxpayers suggests Turls might have hit his head falling down the slippery slope.
I have been writing for years about the deepening legal problems associated with the biting of secret service agents and others at the White House by the Biden dogs.
Not the flex he thinks it is. Is there anyone at George Washington University Law concerned that the face of their school has devoted “years” to this “deepening” issue?
The repeat offender remains Commander who has at least a dozen biting incidents. Under the common law, Commander is now considered a vicious animal and the Bidens are now strictly liable for such bites.
Sure. What’s the issue of national concern here?
What is notable is that liability for such bites could fall on the taxpayers.
Remember when Turley said it was legally correct that Donald Trump not face a suit over calling E. Jean Carroll a liar because she was “too ugly to assault” because Trump was president? The proper answer is that Trump’s invocation of the Westfall Act was legally vapid (as the court did)… and it would be just as nonsensical here, but Turley’s painted himself into a corner so now he’s got to imagine a world where misbehaving pets are part of a president’s constitutional job description.
There are still media outlets that describe Turley as a “constitutional scholar” in the year of our Lord 2023. Let that sink in.
As for the substantive question of liability:
The Biden case is more analogous to the infamous case from San Francisco involving lawyers and dog owners Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel. They were found both criminally and civilly liable after their two Presa Canario dogs killed apartment neighbor Diane Whipple. Various neighbors had complained about the dogs. The dogs had not bitten anyone but were known to be aggressive. That was sufficient.
The Biden dogs biting several people are “more analogous” to a case where dogs killed a person.
This is beyond parody.
In any event, unlike the Westfall Act shenanigans Trump tried to pull using the lack of defamation claims against the government as a shield, Turley sees an opening for the claims to implicate taxpayers here:
Moreover, courts have barred strict liability claims against the U.S. government: “the Federal Tort Claims Act itself precludes the imposition of liability if there has been no negligence or other form of ‘misfeasance or nonfeasance.’” Laird v. Nelms, 406 U.S. 797, 798-99 (1972).
Yet, there could be negligence in this case as federal employees continue to order Secret Service members and staffers to work around a legally vicious dog. The failure to take reasonable precautions can be used for liability. You cannot just continue to feed federal employees to a president’s dog like they are landing at Normandy as a matter of attrition.
This reads like a desperate 1L throwing spaghetti against the wall of an exam. Joe Biden has unruly dogs. Or maybe they have issues with the Secret Service deleting texts in the January 6 investigation. Either way that’s a problem for Joe Biden and absolutely not worth a sliver of the mental energy this law professor manages to devote to it.
Also… comparing dog bites to D-Day? Not to downplay the seriousness of dog bites, but don’t use the sacrifice of the heroes of the greatest generation as a fucking prop for your preening for the Let’s Go Brandon crowd.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.