"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.

“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).

“This case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission. For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his principles at any cost.

It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to humiliate and degrade it.” In Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429 (1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.

“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The collective reading of the writing on the wall - can "prominent members of the bench and the bar" turn back the wheel of history?


Chief Judge of the State of New York Jonathan Lippman, 
  • the very one whose buddy Sheldon Silver was just indicted for fraud/theft of honest service of a public official, in federal court, 
  • the very one who climbed to power with the help of that same Sheldon Silver, and 
  • the very one who authors decisions in the Court of Appeals distinguishing constitutional violations into "substantial" and "insubstantial" - made a huge step (at least this is how it is announced) to change how attorneys in New York are being disciplined.

For that purpose, Judge Lippman appointed a "statewide commission" to review attorney discipline and make it (allegedly) more effective and consistent (consistent with what - nobody knows, right now the only consistency it shows is with the whims of the judiciary and politically connected attorneys who "serve" in the disciplinary committees).

The commission consists of 40 members, 3 of them non-attorneys, but all three of the non-attorneys are the "yes"-men (and women) for the attorney grievance committees.

Who are the lay individuals who had the happy occasion to have been appointed to "serve" in the distinguished company of the "prominent members of the bench and the bar" who came together to consider what to do with regulation of the legal profession which can soon either die on its own or be struck down by federal authorities as unconstitutional and designed and enforced with anticompetitive motivation and not with consumer interests in mind?

Here are the "winners":

Consumer No. 1 of 3, Rita DiMartino - a "lay" member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division 1st Judicial Department where the ratio of attorneys to non-attorneys is 5 to 1 (12 lay members out of 73 members total, so it is 61 attorneys, 12 non-attorneys.  Do you think there will be any times when, with such a ratio, Rita DiMartino could carry through a "no"?  That's it, that's why she is simply a bobbing head of the committee, a puppet put into the commission to declare to the public - see? we put A CONSUMER as a member of our "statewide commission".

Consumer No. 2 of 3, William T. McDonald, a "lay" member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the Appellate DIvision 4th Judicial Department where the ratio of attorneys to non attorneys is 6 to 1 (63 attorneys, 9 non-attorneys).  As you understand, that's one more decoy for the public demonstrating that A CONSUMER of legal services was appointed to the "statewide commission" thinking how to save the sinking ship of the legal profession without deregulating it - which is the call of times.

Consumer No. 3 of 3, Akosua Yeboah, a "lay" member of the Attorney Grievance Committee of the Appellate Division 3rd Department where the ratio of attorneys to non-attorneys is 6 to 1 (18 attorneys to 3 non-attorneys), if one forgets that one of the non-attorneys, Dr. Hany Ghaleb, is married to an attorney and former judge Jhilmil "Jill" Ghaleb, then it will be 19 interested market participants to 2 consumers of legal services.  With a ratio such as this, no "no" votes from Akosua Yeboah will ever be carrier, so this person is yet another decoy of the system to show that A CONSUMER was appointed both to the grievance committee and to the "statewide commission" as to how to fix the system that was designed to be corrupt and self-serving.

Of course, the ratio of market participants over consumers in the "statewide commission" is 37:3, or 12.33: 1.

I understand that "prominent" attorneys, even though they command high fees and will fight tooth and claw to keep those high fees at the expense of the consumer, are, on average, not really strong in math.

Yet, when a bunch of
 market participants get together, invite a couple of entrenched decoys to serve as a distraction for the public while consumers are otherwise excluded, and try to decide how to save their high fees and their monopoly to serve the consumer base that predominantly cannot afford their services and is hurting because of it - please, don't call it service to the public!

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