So just to clarify:
1. At midnight, Bloomberg sends in 3000 cops to clear Zuccotti, which they do, smashing up the village (deeply dysfunctional, somewhat crime-ridden, occasionally yucky, but nonetheless a real community of some kind) which has been built there in the last two months. They bust up the library, which I take personally.
2. Bloomberg states during the night that people will be able to return to Zuccotti at 8 am.
3. Judge Lucy Billings issues an injunction in the middle of the night saying that the matter will be decided at 11:30 this morning, but until then, Bloomberg doesn’t have the authority to just smash the place up. Says that all may return to Zuccotti immediately, to await midday ruling.
4. Bloomberg, in a phenomenal statement, says that basically, although he would LIKE to stick with reopening the park at 8 am, now he CAN’T, because Billings has issued the injunction, and he wouldn’t be able to have a free hand to protect Brookfield Properties (a company of which Diana Taylor, the Mayor’s steady sweetie, is a boardmember). Basically, he says he felt comfortable letting people back in as an autocrat, but not as an official subject to judicial control. This is understandable; I’m sure Lord Vetinari feels the same way. In the mayor’s words,
We are now ready to re-open the park, but understand that there is a court order which we have not yet actually received enjoining us from enforcing Brookfield’s rules and so the park will remain closed until we can clarify that situation.
Really? Now, I’m all in favor of personal executive authority, don’t get me wrong, and I do think that there are occasionally times when leaders need to act in defiance of unjust laws to protect the interests of their people, but there is a difference between authority and authoritarianism. There’s actually an extensive literature about this in relation to child-rearing. And I’m pretty sure that Bloomberg’s actions post-injunction (and possibly pre-injunction) fall into the category of authoritarian.
“John Marshall has made his ruling,” said Apocryphal Andrew Jackson; “now let him enforce it.” (So much pithier than Actual Andrew Jackson, sigh.) He was responding to Justice Marshall’s pro-tribal sovereignty Worcester v. Georgia ruling, which overturned a Georgia law that meddled with natives’ rights on tribal lands. If Bloomberg continues to take a leaf from Jackson’s book, as he did last night, I assume he will invade Florida on a flimsy pretext (people’s grandparents not ponying up with the birthday money?) and take it over for the greater glory of the Empire State.