"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.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Time for robot judges?

According to New York Judiciary Law 90(2)(b), this conduct is prohibited to suspended or disbarred attorneys:

"The giving to another of an opinion as to the law or its application, or of any advice in relation thereto." So, the above behavior, in the eyes of the law, is unauthorized practice of law. Let's consider if a person does something like this:
  • understand your questions, 
  • respond with a hypothesis backed by references and citation.
In other words, a person asks a question about the law or its application, and the other person understands the question and answers it, with a "hypothesis" (possible solution) supported by research as to how to apply it based on existing law, with references and applications.

So, it is the practice of law, right?

What if the answering person is a robot?

And, if the valuable "judgment of a lawyer" can be assigned to a machine, what is the whole big thing about licensing?

If people can just ask a machine that is crammed with artificial intelligence to search the world-wide-web and come up with references of the law in a certain jurisdiction and solutions of any legal question.

And why do we need human judges then, with their inflated and ever growing salaries, benefits, entitlements and an entourage of families and friends who they serve - if machines can be better, quicker, fairer, cannot lose temper with you and cannot be corrupted?

For example, robot Ross, if put on the bench, will certainly not seek to spank young male nude criminal defendants and take their nude pictures for later enjoyment.

Or be biased.

Or be sexist, racist, or engage in any other kind of discrimination.

It will be programmed to apply "equality under the law" literally - without regard to status, rank, connection or wealth.


And, there will be no civil rights violations if Robot Judge Ross (or his clone) would apply the law as it is written, not bend it to the whims of those who greased his iron hand better.

What a wonderful world that would be...

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