"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, July 13, 2016

A warning to authors - your word that you did NOT author a creative work is not the end of story nowadays. You can be sued to say that you did.

A very interesting lawsuit is reported from Chicago, Illinois.

A well-known artist is sued to have him admit that he is the author of a painting - which he denies.


Maybe, but when big money is involved, I guess, anything goes.

Some expert advised the owner that a painting he bought years ago for $100 is now worth millions of dollars because of the suspected authorship of the painting.

The painting was sent to the suspected author for expertise, he said that he was not the author.

And now he is being sued.

Imagine the implications of the lawsuit.

You rise from obscurity and become a famous artist.

Your paintings start to sell for a good amount of money.

As a hypothetical, somebody claims that he or she has a painting that looks like it follows your style - and has a signature that looks like yours.

You know it is not yours - and say so.

And you are sued?

And are forced to admit the painting is yours - or that you do not recall painting it because you were in a LCD-induced delirium?

In order for the owner to be able to sell it for millions of dollars using your fame and reputation?

And you will have to pay heavily to get out of that lawsuit?

Think how many people will drum up look-alike copies and file lawsuits against famous artists for "authentication-through-litigation" if this lawsuit is allowed to continue.

I hope that the lawsuit ends in a summary judgment for the artist - with award of attorney fees against the plaintiff.  Because, if the alleged author says the painting is not his, it should be the end of story.

I will follow this fascinating display of greed and report on it on this blog.

Stay tuned.

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