Monday, February 14, 2011

Chuck69,com's Bee-otch of the Day: Judge Robert Jonker

Name: Robert Jonker
Age: 51
Occupation: Federal Judge, United States Federal Court For the Western District of Michigan
Last Seen: Grand Rapids, MI
Bee-otched For: not being a friend to dope smokers
All I can say is thank you Lord that I'm not a Walmart employee. 

For the past several years, we've been looking at the case of Joseph Casias, who was fired from the Walmart in Battle Creek for smoking pot. Problem is, he's legally allowed to smoke it. In 2008, voters in the state of Michigan voted to legalize medical marijuana through a proposal. So, if you have a prescription, you can go ahead and toke away. In Casias' case, he has battled sinus cancer which has affected his speech and a brain tumor that is inoperable. According to Casias, marijuana has helped him 'take the edge off' of his pain from his cancer. 

He was employed at the Battle Creek Walmart for five years from 2004 to 2009 and was Employee of the Month several times. However, he was injured on the job and sent to a clinic where naturally they did some drug tests to determine if he had drugs in his system. Of course, he tested positive for marijuana and Walmart fired him for his drug use. Even though he showed his managers his medical marijuana card and only smoked after work and not before or during his shifts, the company stated that they have a zero tolerance policy for drugs, medical or not. 

Last June, the American Civil Liberties Union's national and Michigan chapters filed a lawsuit against Walmart and the Battle Creek manager who fired him. However, last week, the federal judge from the US Federal Court for the Western District of Michigan tossed out the case. 

Judge Robert Jonker - and yes, that's his official photo above - wrote a 20-page opinion claiming that the state's medical marijuana laws only give limited protection for workers and that defending medical marijuana users in the state would protect what he called "a new protected class of workers in Michigan". 

In a statement, Casias' lawyer, Daniel Grow said, "We are disappointed that the court would not let the people of Michigan, through our own state court system, interpret Michigan law. This case should be remanded to a Michigan court so a Michigan jury can hear Joseph's claim. A federal court judge shouldn't have eroded a state law that was overwhelmingly adopted by a ballot initiative." 

However, Walmart spokesperson Greg Rossiter told Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD-TV "We’re pleased with the judge’s ruling today. We’re sympathetic to Mr. Casias’s condition but, like other companies, we have to consider the overall safety of our customers and associates, including Mr. Casias. As states like Michigan allow this treatment, employers are left without any guidelines except the federal standard. In these cases, until further guidance is available, we’ll always default to what we believe is the safest environment for our associates and customers." 

Tragically, the judge who tossed out the case is a right-winged prick. Robert Jonker was born and raised in Holland, which is a notoriously conservative town. He attended Calvin College, which is also notoriously conservative. It's owned by the Christian Reformed Church and its most-famous graduates include many members of the DeVos and Van Andel families and Wayne Huizenga. The Prince family - including Erik, who was the former head of Blackwater/Xe - have a convention center named after them at Calvin. 

Jonker eventually got his Juris Doctor at the University of Michigan Law School and held his private practice for many years. However, in 2007, he was nominated the seat on the federal court that was given up by Gordon Quist when he became a senior judge, and received his confirmation later that year by the senate.
Oh, and the man who nominated him was none other than the same man who nominated far-righties as Samuel Alito, Chief Justice John Roberts and failed justice Harriet Miers mainly on their religious beliefs. Yep, good 'ol George W. Bush. 

As a matter of fact, six out of the seven judges that make up the West Michigan Court were appointed by Republican presidents, the oldest - 95-year-old Wendall Niles - was appointed by Richard Nixon in 1974. The sole judge on the panel appointed by a Democrat is Richard Enslen, chosen in 1979 by Jimmy Carter.
Of course, an overly-Republican court means stupid rulings will be passed. One of the federal judges, Robert Bell, ruled in 2006 that Grand Rapids' unconstitutional strip club ordinance could go forward. Bear in mind that Bell's son, Rob is a wealthy Grand Rapids preacher whose Mars Hill Church makes over $6 million per year. (BTW, the elder Bell was a Reagan appointee, hint, hint, nudge nudge.) 

Last week, I was having an email conversation with a man who wished that I was more conservative with my writing. Yeah, I would if the damned Repukes woke up for once and started caring for the working class who work for chump change and come home every night to an empty bed. After all, most Repukes have had everything in life handed to them, mainly money and women. Don't people like Judge Jonker know that marijuana is SAFER than alcohol? I mean, who has DIED from marijuana abuse? Plus, it is linked to curing some cancers and is a more safe painkiller than many of the other painkillers out there. The people of Michigan have spoken and they wanted marijuana to be legal, at least for those with prescriptions. 

Sadly, Wendall Niles will probably die before Obama's term is up, so the president better choose somebody who is more for the people than somebody who bows to big corporations like Judge Jonker. Let me tell you something: in recent weeks, I've been doing most of my shopping at a small grocery store here in Grand Rapids called Gordy's, located near 44th on Division. It's small, its aisles are cramped, its carts' wheels are broken and some of their prices are a little inflated, but their meat department rocks. One reason why I shop there is because it's probably one of the smaller grocers in town. I'd rather give my money to the small guy in Grand Rapids over snotty billionaires in Arkansas or even Fred Meijer who is now the richest man in Michigan (and sadly these days, even Meijer's veering too far to the right since their book department's overstocked with right-winged hatred, plus the fact that they dump blinders over Cosmo at their checkout). 

In all, I hope a larger court - maybe even the Supreme Court - will hear Mr. Casias and will determine that medical marijuana laws do protect EVERYBODY and not stoners. Just because a man smokes pot doesn't make him an idiot. It's time that people hear the truth about pot and not BS that conservatives have been telling people for years. 

Remember, left is right.  


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1 comment:

  1. I'm a liberal and I disagree with this ruling, but I have met Judge Jonker on several occasions and your characterization of him as a "right wing prick" doesn't really suit him. Far from it, in fact. Lots of guilt by association in your condemnation of him, too. Let your critique of the ruling stand on its own, spare us the ad hominem stuff.