"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.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

It appears that Apple opposed, but did not defy the court order - contrary to the press coverage

A lot of discussions are raging in the press and social media about the recent court order directing Apple to cooperate with the FBI.

Here is the order.

I would like to diffuse some of the misconceptions created by the coverage of Tim Cook's statement, or rather, how that statement was portrayed by the press.

The order allows Apple to make an application to the court "within 5 business days" from February 16, 2016, or, since there is an indication that Apple immediately received the order, by February 23, 2016.

In that application to the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Apple, Inc. can argue that "compliance with this Order would be unreasonably burdensome".  

The court does not allow Apple any other grounds to contest the order, other than that it will be "unreasonably burdensome" for Apple to comply with the order.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook responded with a statement to Apple's customers announcing that Apple is opposing the order, is planning to fight it and believes that the order creates a dangerous precedent jeoparizing security of personal data of Apple's customers.

Contrary to the press coverage claiming that Tim Cook "has refused to breach privacy" of the iPhone or "won't comply" with the court order (which would be contempt of court and could expose Apple nothing of the kind, at least according to his own statement available on Apple's website. 

In his carefully worded statement, Tim Cook only said he opposed it and will fight it - which can mean, without more, that he will do it by legal means (such as an application to the court that issued it, if it doesn't help, to the higher court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, and if that doesn't help, to the U.S. Supreme Court).

What it means for all of us is that if Tim Cook and Apple lose their fight in courts, there is a possibility that they will comply with the order and create the breach in security of iPhones that the government is asking them to create.

Which would be bad news for all iPhone users, and a defeat of our right to be free from government's spying on us. 

Let's wait and see what happens.


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