"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, January 6, 2016

Jonathan Lippman's "legacy" - continued

In my previous blog of December 31, 2015, I started to cover Judge Jonathan Lippman's new rules of attorney discipline.

I mentioned that, as in previous rules, attorney regulation in New York is regulating what is not defined by law ("practice of law", "unauthorized practice of law"), so the whole regulation is a sham.

I also mentioned that the way it is done is a sham, too, because Judge Lippman's new rules (issued on December 29, 2015) perpetuated the scheme where unsupervised market players handle attorney regulation, which is a violation of civil and criminal Sherman Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court and Federal Trade Commission made determinations about occupational regulatory schemes run this way in February of 2015 and in October of 2015, respectively.

Since (now retired) Judge Lippman imposed super-majority of unsupervised market players as regulators of their own legal profession as a uniform "court" rule, he openly defied federal law.  

Moreover, since consumers (whose alleged "protection" is heralded as a justification of attorney regulation in the first place) are not allowed any opportunity for a decisive vote in attorney regulation (because of super-majorities of attorneys on regulatory boards), attorney regulation is a sham for that reason, too.

It is simply an elaborate smoke screen, perpetuated by Lippman, to protect the legal protection, which Lippman was re-joining on retirement, from competition.

Lippman so far illegally formed a PAC (financed by the just-convicted Sheldon Silver's law firm) to advocate for the change of the New York State Constitution in order to add 10 years to his "service" on the New York State Court of Appeals - New Yorkers rejected that possibility at a referendum.

That was self-serving enough, and donations by leading lawyers and law firms to that PAC, in order to keep Lippman in power for 10 more years, looked pretty much like a bribe.

Now, Lippman issues rules that provides iron-clad protection for him as a now-private licensed attorney from competition.

As self-serving an act as you can expect from Lippman.

Of course, restriction of competition by private cartels hurts consumers.

Of course, Lippman acknowledged that 2 mln New Yorkers every year cannot afford an attorney.

Of course, Lippman claimed at every corner that if "we cannot close the justice gap, we should just as well close our courthouses".  I was at a law school graduation where Lippman personally delivered that adage with me as a witness, and he did it several times before that and several times, as far as I could find on the Internet, after that graduation.

I do not see courthouses closing, even though: 

  1. the "justice gap" remains there for years and decades, even though 
  2. attorney regulation continues while being
    1. regulation of the vague and amorphous concept of  "practice of law" which is not defined in the law, 
    2. regulation for purposes of restriction of competition, 
    3. regulation that gives consumers absolutely no say in how they are "protected", or, rather, how the market of legal services is protected by representatives of big law firms who sit on disciplinary committees from their competitors, solo individual attorneys who provide legal services at a reduced price and pro bono.

Lippman also advocated for judicial pay raises and raised judicial salaries twice, while the previous salaries were more than adequate.

With this appeasement, Lippman is a hero of New York judiciary and can count on a lucrative post-retirement position, either as some "hearing officer", or "consultant", or "expert", or lecturer, or a partner in a law firm that will be touting him to get favorable decisions from courts - at a financial gain to Lippman, of course.

Lippman's "legacy" is also described here as an elaborate set of deals orchestrated through Lippman by his just-convicted buddy Sheldon Silver.

Yet, because of Lippman's high position from which he retired, of New York State Court of Appeals judge,  and because the necessity for members of the legal profession to brown-nose judges for survival, New York legal elite and judiciary, who received a boon from Lippman through judicial pay raises and the new rules issued on December 29, 2015, claim that Lippman is a great jurist who left behind himself a great legacy.

Yet, the only great legacy Lippman is leaving behind himself is a legacy of corruption and, same as his buddy Sheldon Silver, of making public service a private fiefdom.

In that Lippman excelled.


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