Brett Stuff
Judging the Judges
Term Year: 2018

Budha Ismail Jam, et al., Petitioners v. International Finance Corporation

Summary Analysis

DATE: 2019-02-27
DOCKET: 17-1011
NAME: Budha Ismail Jam, et al., Petitioners v. International Finance Corporation

   AUTHOR: Roberts
   JOINING: Thomas, Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch
   GOOD: Yes

OPINION: Dissenting
   AUTHOR: Breyer
   JOINING: None
   GOOD: No

Case Commentary

Jam v. Et Al

In this case, the Jams and Jellies and other (generally, lesser known types of) Fruit Preserves of The World rose up and shook off their Condiment Status Shackles.
Well, that's what I wanted this case to be about.

International Organizations are associations of Member Countries. Much like Corporations have Humans as stockholders, International Organizations have Countries as Members.

These Member Countries (themselves) enjoy certain Immunities and these Immunities (in turn) have been conferred upon the International Organizations of which they are members.
In a previous case, I had likened the nature of this sort of problem as being similar to GLOBAL v LOCAL variables in programming languages. Adding in the twist of an intermediary assignment, and this becomes a question of whether values are passed by VALUE or REFERENCE.
x = 10
y = x
x = 15
y = ?
If values are passed by VALUE, x has the value of 10 at the time of assignment. So, y = 10.

Whereas, if values are passed by REFERENCE, y refers to x. And at the moment, x has a value of 15. So, y = 15.

This, of course (but of course), can get even more complicate, because if subsequently:
z = 20
x = z
y = ?
Then there exist Logics (and therefore, I am sure Programming Languages) in which y has the value of either 10, 15, or 20.

Personally, I think y = x = z = 20 is the easiest to understand (and what I advocate for the Legal System). But I'll be damned if I'll ever use a Programming Language that works that way.

In short, it gets complicated.

As does the law.

Much to my chagrin.

Suffice to say, The Court (who I agree with) decided (in this particular case) we should pass by REFERENCE (y = x = z = 20) and Immunities should be updated over time, while the Dissent Disagreed.

As an Ideological concern, I want Everyone and Everything to be equal under the law. And as such, I would not give Immunity to Governments, their Internal Agencies, and/or (their external ones operating as) International Organizations.

Currently, Lawsuits are:
So basically, I'm saying The System is broken. Wouldn't it be nice if we fixed it. And if The System were working, it wouldn't be such a hardship for Governments to take their licks.

But then, The System is broken. It's only going to get worse. And there's no better way of insuring that things get worse than by putting the Government at risk.

Damned if you do.

Damned if you don't.

As to the case at hand: And there, you are: The Wheels of Justice.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I must go listen to Take It Easy by the Eagles, in which it is advised, "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."

But then again, nobody (and I mean, nobody) tells me what to do.

Judging the Judges

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Programming Languages are filled with all sorts of idiosyncrasies, affectionately know as Gotchas.

Since we haven't come up with a Programming Language devoid of Gotchas, it should come as no surprise that the Legal System is loaded with them, as well.

© copyright 2019 Brett Paufler
A Personal Opinion/Editorial