"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.

Monday, March 21, 2016

On defaults and sovereign immunity - when laws are applied differently to "popular" and "unpopular" litigants, there is no rule of law

It has been reported in the press that last week a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has allegedly issued a default judgment of 10.5 BILLION dollars against Iran in favor of victims of 9/11 - without any evidence that Iran had any hand in 9/11.

I would love to analyze this particular twist in application of default laws and giving or withholding "sovereign immunity" in the United States where an unpopular litigant, "Islamic Republic of Iran", is denied "sovereign immunity", and gets a judgment against it without any evidence that supports the judgment, while a political and financial ally, Saudi Arabia, gets a preferential treatment by the same judge, "sovereign immunity", and a dismissal of an identical lawsuit, by the very same judge, just several months ago, even though Saudi Arabia citizens and legal residents participated in 9/11.

I wrote on this blog about, let's say, identity-specific application of laws in the United States - favoring friends, disfavoring "unpopular litigants", to the point that recently a criminal defender was bypassed for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court because of who she was - a former public defender, courageous and successful.

But, interestingly enough, when I downloaded from the docket report of the case where the default judgment was reportedly made, In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03-cv-09848, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York , the last docket entry in the docket report was 02/05/2016.

So, I am still looking as to where the "default judgment" of Judge Daniels was posted, and, when I discover it, I will run a full report.

Yet, application of sovereign immunity to Saudi Arabia and refusal to apply the same to Iran, on the same topic, by the same judge is bizarre at best.

When courts, or any other governmental officials, bend or break the law to cast stones at "unpopular" people, entities or countries, that means that there is no rule of law, and that the principle of "no rule of law for those we do not like" can be applied against any one of us, at any time.

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