Amendment 1 discussion

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I am knowledgeable enough about Constitutional Law to know that the strict lines that separate constitutional actions from non-constitutional actions are gray (or grey, if you prefer.) During my 1L year, I crawled my way through the required Constructional Law class. From Marbury v. Madison  5 U.S. 137 (1803) to Bush v. Gore 531 U.S. 98 (2000), case after case, I read the brilliant decisions of our great Justices. Decisions that paved the freedoms that we enjoy today. Decisions that over-turned and barred pillars that this country was founded; prejudice and equalizing pillars. Decisions that schooled our state judicial systems on the meanings of “All men created equal” and “Liberty for all.” I approve and support Federalism, but thanks Jesus for the fortitude and overall intelligence of SCOTUS.

My 3L year, I took First Amendment Law for fun and to be able to speak boldly at networking events. The finest way to back an argument is with case law, my friends. This class involved reading historic and non-famous cases concerning the first amendment and writing 10+ page analytical essays, weekly. It was work; it was fun work.

There it is; there is all of my constitutional law knowledge, which is almost nothing yet exponentially more that the above-average American citizen. The popular phrase of the past couple of years is “this/that is his/hers/their constitutional right(s).” This statement should be reserved for our Justices of SCOTUS; our experts on the Constitution. This post is a long time coming, but was ultimately sparked by this ABC News article, “Duo gets prison time for racial slurs, death threats at black child’s birthday party,” written by Enjoli Frances and Steve Osunsami. Please, read the article and watch the video now. It is a short read.

What about the above situation, and others like it, is constitutional and unconstitutional?

GIVEN #1: It is constitutional to have a birthday party outside. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the peaceful assembly of people. We, as Americans, are afforded the freedom to assemble/gather/fellowship for almost any reason, including birthday parties, church services, rallies, races and … confederate flag meetings.

Given #2:  It is constitutional to ride around in trucks laced with confed. flags.

Given #3: It is unlawful to verbally threaten the life of another person and to point a weapon at another person. “A person is guilty of a misdemeanor when he intentionally and without legal justification points or aims a gun or pistol at another, whether the gun or pistol is loaded or unloaded.” Official Code of Georgia Annotated) O.C.G.A. § 16-11-102 (2010)

The gray, strict line is somewhere between Given #2 and Given #3 as well as somewhere between Amendment 1 & Amendment 2 (my thoughts of which I’ll write about on a later date) of the U.S. Constitution. Amendment 2 states, in pertinent part, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Isn’t that nice. Let us get this one nuance straight. The 1st Amendment affords U.S. citizens who are expressing their rights protection from the government and prohibits the government from restricting these rights. The 1st Amendment does not protect you from opposing opinions from your family, real friends, or Facebook friends, it does not protect you from your private sector boss and it does not protect you from the media; only a governmental entity. (Discrimination and retaliation are for other posts.)

Here is what I want to scream at people, but I lack the energy: U.S. citizens have the right to us flagassemble, peacefully, for any reason in almost any public place. Peacefully means to not threaten or harm other persons and property. It is unconstitutional to incite riots or to “ruffle people up” to cause harm. It is unconstitutional to assemble in a such a way that makes others feel threatened or unsafe. For all you “feeling unsafe is relative” people, just stop. Us lawyers are masters of the “reasonable person” analysis and can dump a definition of “feeling unsafe” down your throat so fast you would not have time to choke. I’m back … therefore, those confed. flag supporters who simply drove past the party were not charged or convicted of any crime. Those incredibly smart individuals who threatened the party goers and showed their weapon are in jail.

Again, I stress, persons who work for the government have limited 1st Amendment rights while they are representing the government. For example, the U.S. Postal wo/man must keep his/her political views to their selves until their route is finished. Also, children have limited constitutional rights, most importantly privacy rights, simply because they are children. The police can enter any school, break any lock, enter any locker, and search any bag because safety is of the utmost priority.

Okay, I digress. In conclusion, yes, we have rights afforded to us by the U.S. Constitution. We don’t have every right available under the sun because, even though it hasn’t seemed like it during the past couple months, we live in a civilized society. These rights are printed, published and available for our everyday study. I will not get into the Original Intent vs. Living Document debate in this post; you can read that discussion/argument elsewhere. I strongly urge all literate persons to study the Constitution before paraphrasing it. All illiterate persons should find the audio versions; check your local library.

law school at night

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My review of “Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez

Novel: “Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.”

Author: Luis J. Rodriguez

Genre: Non-Fiction

This is my personal review of “Always Running”. Disclaimer, I am not a novelist, journalist, or editor; I’m a lawyer. The views expressed in this post are all my opinions and I have no degree to back these opinions.

I purchased “Always Running” from Barnes & Noble while Christmas shopping in December 2016 with my cousin. Our plan was to read the novel at the same time and discuss. That did not happen. I began the novel in January 2016 and didn’t finish it until March 2016; my vice is that I read multiple books simultaneously. I am pleased to have finished it because it was fantastic.

“Always Running” follows “It Calls You Back” written previously by Rodriguez. (I have not read “It Calls You Back.) The back cover of the “Always Running” partly describes the novel as “… a vivid memoir that explores the motivation of gang life and cautions against the death and destruction that inevitably claims its participants.” The author is the main character, Louie, and the novel/memoir is told in the omniscient, first person. The book tells the many tales of Louie from his childhood to the legal age of eighteen. It outlines the hardships of the average Mexican-American living in Southern California, the importance/destruction of gang life, police brutality towards minority groups, the carnal sexuality of minors, and the failures of the public school system.

As a Black-American, I have been focused on the unfair and brutal treatment of Blacks at the hands of whites in America. It was a change of perception to read about the gross treatment of Chicanos at the hands of whites in America. Rodriguez’s stories of his childhood are synonymous to the heart wrenching stories I read, today, about the mistreatment of black youth in schools and by police officers.

“Always Running” is written for the socially aware, world changing audience. It is not for the reader who enjoys happy endings and a release from the real world. Upon finishing this book, I felt a renewed sense of purpose and call for action.

My only negative comment is that the novel is not in perfect chronological order. This was a minute inconvenience and I only mention it for complete transparency. I’m not sure about the topic of “It Calls You Back,” but I will be reading it soon.

You Have To Be Twice As Good to Get Half As Much, Even When Your Boss is Black

The Poet Within Me

Two months ago, I started my first big girl job. Fresh out of college and ready to face the challenges this new transition would throw at me, I could not wait to get started. Before I interviewed with the company I would eventually accept a position for, I did my research by searching their website. As I scrolled through the “Leadership Team” page, an impressed grin spread across my face; the CEO (a woman) and COO (younger man) were both black. Lit.

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I like the Bar-tender.

I’m at the end of the road and parking in my spot. That’s right … I passed the Florida and I have been sworn in to practice law. I just turned 25 and my career has just started. In case you missed it, I am an Immigration Attorney and I absolutely love it! I work for a private firm, therefore, I help immigrants and undocumented persons obtain U.S. citizens and legal permanent status. I also help persons to bring their family members, who live in other country,s to the U.S. I have always been an humanitarian and now I’ve made it my living.

The blog will continue to focus on my legal career; some important stuff and some not so important stuff. First, I will reminisce about law school. Law school was long, hard and spirit breaking. It was not a good time. It was nice to meet new people and live in a different areas; IT WAS AWESOME PARTYING IN LOUISIANA. But, the school work was grueling. The work was more difficult at Louisiana State than at Florida International. I believe that I became a better student at LSU, but I learned more law that I can use at FIU. I am grateful for both experiences. These three previous years felt like four years and I will never look back and say, “Man, I miss law school.”

Now, let’s talk about studying for the bar. In my mind, I believed that studying would be difficult, but doable, like law school. Unfortunately, I was totally wrong. Studying for the Florida bar was the hardest thing that I have ever done. I’m not a naturally smart person. I have to study to do well. I can’t procrastinate. Since, I know myself I put the metal to the floor. I studied 7 days a week. My day of studying started at 9 am and ended at 11:30 pm with breaks for driving, lunch, dinner and the gym. I missed so much friend and family time and I didn’t get to travel like I normally. I only went to the beach ONCE. During those three months my anxiety was higher than I’ve ever felt. I couldn’t control the overwhelming feeling in my body. I didn’t cry because it’s not in my nature, but I also couldn’t eat. It was all worth it, though, because I PASSED and now I’m literally tied down to the state of Florida haha

Now, I am an Immigration Attorney. I’m doing something that actually affects the well-being of other people. With law school and the bar behind me I can finally take a breath and have fun. I’m writing this post from the beautiful city of San Francisco while I’m visiting my friend Izze.

That’s it for now. I’ll keep y’all posted, pun-intended. Swag & Love.

Hey friends!! I know I’ve been ghost for a while, but now I am back = ) Here’s a concise rundown of my life since my move to Miami …

I moved back to Brandon, Florida

Started studying for the Florida Bar

Graduated From Law School

Rescued a Doberman Pinscher Puppy

Took the Florida Bar & (presumably) fell to the Florida Bar

… The last few months have been incredibly hectic and stressful. My anxiety has given me an eating disorder; I haven’t been consuming enough calories per day. YOU KNOW I LIKE TO EAT.

Now, that life has slowed down I am excited about being a real person again. I want to exercise like a healthy person, work like a fiscally responsible person, party like a twenty something year old, and love like a God-fearing person. Contingent on me passing the Florida Bar, I will be an immigration attorney come the end of September. I AM SO EXCITED. My beautiful pup, Stella, is getting bigger and smarter everyday; she’s such a princess.

LSU Law c/o 2014

LSU Law c/o 2014

My baby girl, Stella.

My baby girl, Stella.

My happy place!

Guess what … it feels great to know that I will never go back to school. 20 years of school and done. Heck yeah! I will keep ya’ll posted of anything interesting in my life, but I doubt anything super fun will happen. Always remember that what’s for you is for you & what’s for someone else is not for you. God moves your soul, but you move your feet. Fear is healthy. Only those with nothing to lose have no fear. God wouldn’t give you anything that you couldn’t bear. Happy last day of July. May your swagger continue to thrive. – Kiki Jax

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LSU to FIU

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When you’re a child changing schools and making new friends is terrifying and causes a certain dose of anxiety. The new hallways, new kids, new teacher, new atmosphere is more than enough to ruin a kid’s life at least for a week. It most cases that anxiety subsides and the child builds new relationships that rival their old relationships. So, what’s it like when adults go through this anxiety-filled coming of age more widely known as changing schools? Everyone has their own story, but my story goes like this ….

In August, all LSU Law 3Ls (third year law students) were forced to complete a one credit, three day trial advocacy training. It was thrilling in a deadening of the soul sort of way. The program ended at about 4 pm on Wednesday afternoon. I walked out of the law school dragged myself to my Tahoe and drove the 11.5 hours to Tampa. I was home on Thursday, packed up all my stuff, and on Friday moved to Miami. I started class at FIU Law that following Monday.

All of the things that terrify you as a child about changing schools exhilarate you as an adult. The change in scenery, new faces, new professors, and the new climate is all so amazing. The actual structure of FIU’s College of Law is beautiful. It’s modern, efficient, and the climate is well controlled. It’s nice not knowing anyone and no one knowing me. I don’t have to be friendly or talkative. I can just show-up, listen in class, and go home. No one is offended if I just walk right pass him or her. The professors are your normal law professors. As for the atmosphere, people are genuinely nice and happy. It’s probably the combination the perfect weather and palm trees, but people aren’t trying to academically kill each other. I don’t get pushed out of the library by the tension radiating from the tables.

I appreciate FIU College of Law for providing me a relaxing environment for my 3L year. With beaches down the road, concerts twice a month, and the best clubs and restaurants life is great. This is the way school should feel. I do miss a few people from LSU, but overall this move was a wonderful decision. Once, I’m employed this move will get bumped up to a perfect decision. No longer looking forward to graduation.

… Swag on with your cheeky bikinis

Below, is a picture that I took of one of the court yards while relaxing between classes. Not an anxious bone in my body.

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Tonight … We Are Young

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This is an ode to my generation. It’s an informational letter to those who are older than me. This is my response to every time I’ve heard, “You’ll get it one day”, “You have a lot of life to live”, “You’re too young to understand”, “The younger generations are troubled.” If you are a sensitive person please do not read this.

I love being young! It is seriously the best thing ever and I am oh so convinced that people who are over the age of 35 wish that they were 23 years old, also. I don’t want to be older. I don’t want to “get it”; I’m not ready for “one day”. Oldie, why would I want to live like you with what you know?

My life is so good it’s ridiculous. I travel all over the world; I’ve been to 19 different countries. I do wild and crazy things: streaking, hurricane parties, skinny dipping, zip-lining. My friends are more wild and crazy than I am. I’m not pregnant, married, or on drugs. Life would only be better if I drove a 6 series, but that’ll come in time.

I’m sorry ( not really ) that your life is so boring that you sit on Facebook sharing memes and live posting about what is on television. Maybe you should take this knowledge that comes with the years and find a hobby. I hear working out is fun.

Basically, I’m saying that we are young so let us be young. We don’t’ want to know what you know nor do what you do because what you do is boring. To my generation, continue to kick ass. We have really stirred up this country and stirred up this world. No one can stop our drive; our passions are too strong to be stopped. “Tonight, We are young. So let’s set the world on fire .We can burn brighter than the sun.”

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The Longest Yard

I’m starting my 3L year of law school next year … eek. In the grand scheme of things it is not huge news, but in the small bubble that is my life it is everything. I’ve been working towards this moment since that historic day that I walked into my pre-K class; bows in my head and patent leather on my feet.

The craziest thing about this upcoming year is that I will be at FIU Law and not LSU Law. The scariest thing about this upcoming year is that I have to find a job. Maybe visiting at FIU Law isn’t all that crazy. I want to work in Florida so I should be in Florida. Florida is better than Louisiana; Miami is better than Baton Rouge; no rent in Miami and $1050.00 in rent in Baton Rouge. Pretty easy decision. Let’s move on.

A job; are you joking here? I’ll be 24 in 3 months. Am I even old enough to be a practicing attorney?! I am excited about no longer being in school. [School sucks; don’t do it.] I know what type of law I want to practice; Immigration. That’s a good start, I think. But, where do I want to live? Do I want to work in a medium-sized firm or a small firm? Do I want to open my own firm? Do I want to work for USCIS? What am I doing? But, this is what I want to do, so I have to do it.

I want to help aliens immigrate to the U.S. This country was built on the fed up Europeans taking land, this land, that they wanted and claiming it as their own. Why should things be different now? You want to be a U.S. citizen … cool … let’s do this! I have been working a lot with Immigration Law and learning more and more each week. I love it. It is such rewarding work. Of course, there are nuances, as with any area of law, but that’s what keeps it exciting. As the laws on Immigration change more and more aliens are going to need the help of knowledgeable Immigration attorneys. With my INA on my right and the Internet on my left I am ready to do my part to contribute to the greater good of society.

It’s the 4th quarter with 1 min. left on the clock of my formal education.  Whether I run straight, left, right, pass or hand off  this last yard is what counts. I’ve got too much swag not to win this.

I Wanna See You Workout …

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Law School is a drain on a person’s mental health. All of the reading, studying, and legal- social interactions can be rough at times. But, I signed up for that. I knew coming in that my mind would be vigorously worked. Unfortunately, sometimes all the mental activity affects my emotional health and all that obnoxious jazz. The one thing that I have control over is my physical health. Exercise is so important to me because it helps me keep my sanity that law school attempts to tarnish. 

It’s amazing to see a person gain a considerably amount of weight while in law school or lose a considerably amount of weight while in law school. It’s amazing; it really is to watch people blow up from all the eating and not exercising. On the other side, people start exercising in school and shrink down; that’s pretty fascinating, also. While school creates a lot of stress, one’s physical health should not be taken for granted.

Below is a workout that I like:

  1. Low Intensity Cardio: 20 min.
  2. 75 Squats
  3. 15 Pushups
  4. 1 min. Wall Sit
  5. 100 Jumping Jacks
  6. 20 Hip Thigh Raises
  7. 10 Burpees
  8. 10 Lunges
  9. 1 Min. Plank
  10. Repeat #2-9, 3 times
  11. Low Intensity Cardio: 20 min.

As a law student, I’m glad there is physical activity to bear some of the burden. There’s no swag in excess fat = )

 

 

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Dual Program: J.D. & M.R.S.

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So, the J.D. is the easy part. What about the M.R.S? How does a crazy “young woman” jump into the sea of professional academia and find that one special fish that’s just for her? Don’t wait for me to tell you because I have no idea. But, society has labeled me as having a Type-A personality; therefore, I will attempt to intellectualize it for you.

First, getting married must be in your 5-year plan. One has to want to get married. That’s simple enough. My 5-year plan includes graduation, obtaining a full-time job, barhopping, and traveling. Marriage? Planning a wedding takes like a year. Also, if I’m getting married that means that I’m not dating all them men that I’m meeting at all these bars. NO check mark.

Second, dating within the law school or your chosen professional school must be a viable option for you. Eww, date within this law school. This school consists of 500 gossipers and 250 random hookups. I do not want to be a part of that. Let’s not forget that men in law school have this warped superiority complex where they feel like they are super special because they are in law school. Pssh, boy please, law school ain’t nothing special. I like spending time with men in different occupations so we can have interesting conversations and learn things about each other. No check mark.

Third, you must be willing to make new friends. You have to be at least acquaintances with your significant other’s friends. Especially, in law school, the more friends the merrier. NOT. I don’t do new friends. I don’t like people. I fail this part. No check mark.

Fourth, you must be willing to move to any part of the country. After law school, your spouse could get a job anywhere. I’m only living in central/South Florida. No Check mark.

Fifth, you must be a romantic. I think this is the most important factor. For love to find you, you must be open to love. What is love? How do you know when you have it? Don’t answer this if you’re the person who says, “I love you” to all of your significant others. I may not be sure about love, but I’m sticking with the notion that one doesn’t or hasn’t loved 3 different people. I’ve witnessed way to much infidelity to be pro-love at this point in my life. That’s my personal opinion.  I’d say I’m too young for love, but let’s be real I’m not that young. NO check mark.

According to my own theories I will never get married, which will fit well with my cynical view of marriages. In case you are confused, I’m single not lonely. Maybe when I become lonely, I will open myself up to love and happiness and give up the hot men and fast cars. Until then … “quiro sentir tus labios, besadome otra vez.”

Swag on … mis amores = )