"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.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Comedians as legal authorities running judicial decisions

On June 26, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court, in striking down the regulation of "eyebrow threading", referenced on page 22 of its decision, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, stating in Footnote 90 that "A few yeas ago, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show lampooned state efforts to regulate hair braiding.  See The Daily Show (Comedy Central television broadcast June 3, 2004), available at Http://".

Here is the piece from Jon Stewart's show referenced by the court.

On August 26, 2015 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has cited to John Oliver's "Last Week Tonight" on page 6 of its decision, bottom of footnote 2, as a support for the court's ultimate decision to declare that Guam violated taxpayers' constitutional rights by refusing to provide to them tax refunds based on the long-criticized claim that citizens of the U.S. territories are not entitled to the same constitutional protections as citizens of U.S. states.

The 9th Circuit went against the U.S. Supreme court precedent providing that the newly acquired territories were populated by "alien races" that do not understand that "principles of the Anglo-Saxon laws" and, therefore, the U.S. Constitution, the Constitution of the country that acquired the territories, does not have to apply to those territories.  

Here is the list of cases, all of them decided 114 years ago, that the 9th Circuit rejected.

  • De Lima v Bidwell, 182 U.S. 1 (1901)
  • Goetze v. United States, 182 U.S. 221 (1901)
  • Dooley v. United States, 182 U.S. 222 (1901)
  • Armstrong v. United States, 182 U.S. 243 (1901)
  • Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901)
  • Huus v. New York and Porto Rico Steamship Co., 182 U.S. 392 (1901)

Here is the piece by John Oliver's show that was referenced by the court.

And here is a decision of another Circuit court, of June 6, 2015, that upheld the 1901 theories of the U.S. Supreme Court about "insular cases - alien races".

Here is the names of justices that were serving on the U.S. Supreme Court at the time of the 1901 "insular cases - alien races" decisions:

  • Melville Fuller  - a white dynastic judge, he was 68 at the time of the decisions;
  • David Josiah Brewer - a white son of a religious minister, classmate of Supreme Court Justice Henry Billings Brown, was 63 at the time of the decisions;
  • Henry Billings Brown - classmate of U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Josiah Brewer, joined the court one year after Justice Brewer, was 65 at the time of the decisions, is "famous" as being on the majority opinion in Plessy v Ferguson that upheld racial segregation in public facilities;
  • Goerge Shiras, Jr. - son of a wealthy white brewer, another member of the majority in Plessy v Ferguson, 69 y.o. at the time of the "insular cases - alien races" decision;
  • Howell Edmunds Jackson - son of a doctor and a daughter of a Baptist minister, white, his father was elected into the Legislature of the State of Tennessee, was later a mayor of Jackson, Tennessee, was 69 at the time of the 1901 decisions;
  • Edward Douglas White - son of the former governor of the State of Louisiana, grandson of a doctor & U.S. Representative & a judge, upheld racial segregation in public facilities in Plessy, 56 y.o. in 1901;
  • Rufus Wheeler Peckham - his father was a lawyer, then judge, then a Congressman; was 63 y.o. at the time of the 1901 decisions;
  • Joseph McKenna - son of Irish immigrants, was 58 y.o. at the time of the 1901 decisions.

So, the decisions of a bunch of racists from the turn of 20th century, who were predominantly "sons of the American nobility", rich privileged elderly uppity white males, continue to deprive people of their constitutional rights 115 years down the road, out of their graves.

If you think that the 9th Circuit case was some kind of a cave relic, think again.  At the same time as the Guam case was litigated, this year of 2015, the Obama administration was fighting the lawsuit of residents of the American Samoa that denies babies born there American citizenship on the same "insular cases - alien races" theory.

And in the D.C. Circuit case, the court has actually upheld the "insular cases - alien races" theory against people who are born in the American territory owned by the United States, but denying people living their American citizenship or protection of the U.S. Constitution. 

At least one out of two appellate court agreed that racism is umconstotutional, and John Oliver clearly helped clear the court's perspective.  The other, a D.C. Circuit court no less, is still playing games around the issue. 

 Judging by the "deterrent effect" of comedians as to at least some courts, seeing that courts are guarding themselves against being made into the laughing stock of the entire world, there is hope that the reform of the corrupt American system is possible.  Through comedians. More power to and more work for John Oliver.

And - let's run more comedy shows on idiotic court theories, because John Oliver will not be able to address the "pearls of wisdom" of American courts in several lifetimes.

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