If it were, there wouldn't be so many liberals with law degrees.
n rocket science you cannot change the realities of the landscape which govern how a physical object behaves under the physical forces acting on it. In law you can. Congress can pass new laws whenever it wants. It can amend old ones and make them less or more complex, or repeal them altogether. It and the state legislatures can trump any of the judiciary's decisions by respectively proposing and ratifying amendments to our constitution. Through these legislative bodies we the people can change the realities of the landscape which govern how a political or legal object behaves under the political or legal forces acting on it.
To think our laws belong to lawyers is wholly un-American. They belong to all of us, whether private citizen or chief justice of the supreme court. Their protection must equally apply to every person. Our constitution — that instrument from which all our nation's laws derive their legitimacy and force, and to whose support every federal, state, and local public servant is bound by oath or affirmation — was itself ordained and established by us. We, not our servants, are the only keepers of our nation of laws.
If justice — or the prevention of injustice — is the purpose of those laws, then we should also remember and recognize who's responsible for establishing justice in this country. (Hint: it isn't lawyers.) As Plato remarked: "Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens." That is, no matter what law happens to be on the books, unless the people themselves demand justice and are convinced such law serves to promote it, the efforts of all the lawyers, police officers, judges, and presidents in the world are helpless in giving that law real effect. Regarding the law's purpose, Frederick Bastiat said that
- the statement, the purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign, is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.
But when the law, by means of its necessary agent, force, imposes upon men a regulation of labor, a method or a subject of education, a religious faith or creed — then the law is no longer negative; it acts positively upon people. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own wills; the initiative of the legislator for their own initiatives. When this happens, the people no longer need to discuss, to compare, to plan ahead; the law does all this for them. Intelligence becomes a useless prop for the people; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.
On the other hand, if income and job security for lawyers is the purpose of our laws then we're already screwed. No matter what lawyer happens to be on the bench she'll be more concerned with serving her colleagues and promoting her profession than any justice we may demand. The only way to completely thwart such purpose is to declare that a conflict of interests always exists in all cases where those who publicly make, administer, and interpret the law and those who at any time privately practiced it for profit, are the same. This means shutting down at least that side of the revolving door between government service and the legal profession which allows entry from the latter to the former. A constitutional amendment requiring this might read:
- No person shall be President or Vice President of the United States, a Senator or Representative in Congress, member of a state legislature, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who shall have engaged in the practice of law and received any compensation for his services therein.
courtesan of the court or other specially privileged title. No more occupational conflict of interests or appearances of impropriety
among jurists and counselors. Still, what a non-lawyer does after leaving government service — including becoming a lawyer — is her business.
No doubt a lawyer will look beyond our constitution to counter with representations of a judge's qualifications which basically say the following:
But cases are complex. A judge who is unable to see the clear appositeness of Adumbrate v. Subliminal, 666 F.2d 1313 (9th Cir. 1983), cert. denied, in light of the more stringent tests set forth in Ex plicable Mullingagain, supra, is completely clueless! For the above reasons, therefore, only lawyers should be judges.
Lawyer, sue thyself. Our constitution establishes no prerequisites, not even age or citizenship, to anyone's serving as a federal judge. Certainly only lawyers
have been supreme court justices; although nearly two in five had no prior judicial experience
. But as our own heritage proves, not all judges in this country have been lawyers:
- By the middle of the thirteenth century, lawyers so monopolized the courts in London that the King was forced to decree that, except for a few special causes, litigants were entitled to plead their own cases without lawyers.... [In America] mistrust of lawyers made appearance in court without benefit of counsel the preferred course. Lawyers had no position of honor or place in society in early colonial days. The pioneers who cleared the wilderness looked down upon them. For example, the Massachusetts Body of Liberties of 1641 expressly permitted every litigant to plead his own cause and provided, if forced to employ counsel, the litigant would pay counsel no fee for his services.... In early colonial days, the rule of informality was a necessity in court proceedings since most presiding judges were not lawyers. By the time of the Revolution, legal proceedings had become more technical and reliance on precedent had evolved, both of which required people trained in legal interpretation. As the decades of the 18th century passed, legal questions became more complex and the need for skilled attorneys was recognized. Enough individuals had gone into law so that by the time the First Continental Congress commenced, 24 of the 45 delegates were lawyers, and in the Constitutional Convention, 33 of the 55 members were lawyers. Nonetheless, the number of lawyers although growing was still few, many judges were still laymen, and the legal process still remained sufficiently simple to permit persons whether rich or poor to plead their own causes.... During the 1700s most citizens were literate and nearly everyone read a newspaper. There were numerous libraries and bookshops in Boston, Philadelphia, and New York by the time of the Revolution. This broad literacy and the people's political involvement in their democratic institutions transformed the average American into a citizen-lawyer. [Iannaccone v. Law, 97-6045, 142 F.3d 553 (2d Cir. 1998, internal citations omitted)]
The "our laws are now way too complex" chicken and the "our courts are now way too overpopulated by lawyers" egg argument I'll save for another post. Suffice it to say that in an era that produced the most astoundingly monumental and universally inspiring legal document in all of human history
, the case was most of our judges had never privately practiced law.
|The law – a profession whose general principles enlighten and enlarge, but whose minutiae contract and distract the mind.|
|—Harvard College freshman|
Joseph Story, 1798.
Far from seconding Dick the Butcher's motion, a reminder that everyone is, under our constitution, "qualified" to serve on any federal bench by no means disparages lawyers or their profession. While personally they may lack a sense of fairness and most other forms of common decency, lawyers can and do occupy a useful place in front of that bench. My contention is with our allowing them also a place behind it. (Hence the phrase "monopolized the courts.") Moving, rather, two other clichés, I would that we conservatives keep our eyes on the real prize, instead of missing the judicial forest for the judge or justice trees.
Our goal isn't to one-up liberals by putting our gals and guys on the courts instead of theirs. Our goal is to make the courts relatively irrelevant to our normal, everyday lives. To push this matter along more quickly, a second section might be added to the above constitutional amendment which reads:
- Section 2. The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, or on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall submit rulings and orders of the supreme court to the people of the several states, which thereupon shall not be valid unless approved by the electors in a majority of all the states within one year from the respective dates of their submission; provided that no ruling or order shall be submitted more than seventy days after it was issued, and that no conviction of treason, felony, or other crime shall be affected.
We shouldn't play the liberals' game of trying to use judgeships as the strongest way of advancing the hopes and dreams we have for our country. That's the problem. Courts were never meant for such use; and have become the corrupted abominations they are now because liberals and some others set out to make them that anyway. I want the courts to settle specific cases that hardly affect anyone except similarly situated litigants — not make policy "affecting all our lives" (© 2005, Chuqy Schumerde
We need to pull down those pedestals they've perched themselves on, which they mainly use to look down on us, our rights and our liberties. We need to return that usurped control over our lives solely to all of us, where it rightly belongs, and re-empower our two elected branches of national government. Finally, as we conservative pioneers clear the political and legal wilderness of nutty liberal ideas, we must for the sake of all our freedoms ensure that the courts have a strictly limited position of honor and the least possible instrusive place in society. It virtually won't matter who's on the supreme or any other court once we make it again the case where courts really don't matter all that much to us or our elected representatives.
Assuredly lawyers love the power they believe they get from a near-imperialistic court system to which they as "officers" belong and whose decisions "affect all our lives." Such shamelessly egocentric arrogance, unmatched by even congressmen and presidents, is just begging us freedom-loving citizens to crush it and to put judges back in their proper place of merely umpiring cases, not engineering society. Adios, too, to every chance liberals have of ever setting up federal judges as philosopher-kings, of ever gaining any kind of power in this country through the unconstitutional backdoor of politically-driven rather than legally-driven court decisions and procedures, and of ever using that illegal system to criminalize non-liberal thought. A lawyer-judge here and there is not, however, going to have any real chance of changing this corrupt system. It is up to us to change it, if not outright gut it.
|Abraham Lincoln, a miserable failure most of his life in both business and politics, was also a self-taught lawyer. A very successful one too. So how hard can it be?|
This is why I am exasperated and a little dismayed by the hue and cry I've heard raised against one single lawyer, Harriet Ellan Miers, now President Bush's former nominee to serve as an associate justice on the supreme court of the United States. From an early summation of the arguments against and the dissatisfaction with her nomination, to the lavender herring of her answers last century to some Dallas homosexual group's questionnaire as well as an intraconservative mud-battered one of this substituting "which" for "that". From the 57 typed, single-spaced pages showing the nominee's answers last week to a Senate questionnaire (full text; PDF format) which didn't sound at all insulting or incomplete with respect to her regard for either the questioners in that August Body™ or their questions, to a progeral's opinion that if "Miers is capable of causing the right to weep, wail and gnash its teeth, she can't be all bad," which did sound every bit insulting and incomplete with respect to his regard for both the questioners outside it and their questions. From Miss Miers' court testimony over 193 months ago in which she characterized the Federalist Society as a "politically charged" organization, to her speech less than 6 months ago before that same organization praising it for stimulating "an on-going debate about the principles of the Constitution," adding that "our nation is better for it" and "as this debate has raged your organization has grown tremendously." From other speeches over a decade ago in which she offered the Self-Determination Test, to E Tu Dobson previously giving her a passing grade on the Religious Test. From Melanie Morgan's open letter politely asking our president's supreme court nominee to withdraw, to finally the latter's letter to our president the day before yesterday withdrawing her nomination. At this point I think it only right to ask who among her critics, or anyone else for that matter, would be willing to stand in her shoes even a minute, much less as long as she had through a politically electrified pre-confirmation hearing "process" which, unwittingly or not, resulted in making the suit of our president — the same president those of us out here believe in and trust deeply enough to have turned out in record numbers just to get him elected — appear now studded with a full regalia of puppeteers' strings from above and one or two ill placed daggers from the back?
Be that as it may, as members of a principled movement that endeavors to promote Big Ideas for the good of our country and her citizens, it would be very small of us to revel in this withdrawal as anything more than a mere restatement of the same old demand for some larger share of tiny crumbs dropped from the still gluttonous supreme court conference table. What bigger idea is there than totally throwing off that judicial aristocracy and its esquirean pedigree which have plagued our courts too long with a self-serving over-complexity and an ever-increasing enmity between us and our "public" servants, both being corruptive and poisonous to our establishment of justice? Only by so throwing them off will we have any chance of making every judge on our courts completely accountable to We the Very Ordainers and Establishers of that constitution they're bound by oath to support for our benefit — not theirs or their profession's.
To repeat: I don't want liberals on the courts acting like they're our appointed masters in this country. I don't want conservatives on the courts acting like liberals by acting like they're our appointed masters, either. I want American citizens to once again be their own masters in this country because they alone, not any court, are its owners — notwithstanding any judicial ruling, decision, opinion or other attempted usurpation to the contrary. In other words, I don't want either liberal robed masters or conservative robed masters telling all of us what to do to comport with their legalistically trained views on matters that affect all our lives; I want us to tell all of them what they must do to comport with our own electorally expressed views on any and all such matters.
Conservatives have, using copious evidence, effectively made their case to a majority of the American electorate that liberals will and do consider us merely their servants whenever they get to sit on the bench. That's why we're voting them out of office in droves so they'll never even get the chance to appoint one of their own to sit on it. Once it's shown that conservatives (in name only) will and do the same thing — as if it's their turn now to consider us they're servants — we'll toss them out too. A consNObative all-powerful master is no better than a libressive one. Both would tyrannize us and our freedoms with such power.
With specific regard to the supreme court, it is not and should not be considered the be-all, end-all of preventing injustice and protecting our rights in this country. We are. In individual matters, each of us is primarily responsible for that prevention and protection. In any Affect All Our Lives matters, all of us are solely responsible for electing legislators and executives who will respectively define and enforce our government's authority, by and under law, to prevent injustice and protect our rights. This authority may be wide or very limited. Whichever it is at the federal level, we decide through our elected representatives, senators, and president, not through our supreme court. The latter's function and role is only to settle any disputes over the particular manner in which our government is exercising or failing to exercise its lawful authority.
The bottom line is that the arrogance of those who're supposed to serve only us in our courtrooms must be quashed if we're to regain any sufficient control over both them and all our lives. The folks against whom the invective "what egos!" was first uttered must no longer be able to use our legal system as their own personal playgrounds for exclusively strengthening their and their profession's political muscles. The way to achieve this is not by trying to beat liberals at their own game and getting confirmed to the supreme court our appointments of self-important lawyerly tyrants instead of theirs. It is by ensuring there will never be a place at all for any such tyrants in our judicial offices or, indeed, the rest of our public offices ever again. In unreciprocated fairness to ones already appointed and serving, the last section to my Fumigate Our Governments Amendment might read:
- Section 3. This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of the President and Vice President of the United States, or that or the appointment of any Representative or Senator in Congress or member of a state legislature, or any executive or judicial officer, either of the United States or of a state, chosen or appointed before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
In the meanwhile, before Frum & Partners, Esqs., L.L.P. get a chance to resharpen their daggers, let's not try to change the realities of the landscape which govern how we sworn enemies of liberalism normally behave under the intolerant media and other elitist forces acting on us. It's the landscape where conservatives—
- Give a person the chance to be heard before shouting them down and crying "Off with his head!";
- Produce real evidence (usually less than a decade old) backing up their charges against a person instead of relying primarily on feelings that prejudge him guilty;
- Know this president has proven repeatedly that he keeps his promises and is a man of his word, and has, far more than any president since Ronald Reagan, earned our trust;
- Never break the eleventh, or President Reagan's commandment;
- Offer alternatives to things they oppose rather than merely oppose (as in "Give me Janice Rogers Brown, and give the Dhimm al-Qratic Party death!");
- Shake their heads at nervous nellies who trot out mainly dire predictions of doom based on anecdotal evidence (such as the kind that environuts selectively use to "prove" humans cause global warming); and
- In short, do not act like liberals.
Then we'll likely get a nominee not only to our liking but one who's convinced he or she won't be subjected to anywhere near the same kind of prehearing tar and feathering the last one was.
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