"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.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The prison inmates' strike and its (non)-coverage in the U.S.

Since September 9, 2016 there is an ongoing strike in this country, of prison inmates protesting slave labor and conditions in prison.

The inmates are protesting that they are either paid much less than the minimum wage for work essential for running the prisons - as well as for the for-profit prison industry - or not paid at all.

Since the for-profit prison industry puts "lockup quotas" into contracts with state governments, and those who are caught in the hairs of the criminal justice are predominantly the poor and the minorities - mass incarceration in the U.S., mostly through plea bargains, is clearly a plan to obtain people's labor for free, making them work for free in ghastly conditions not subject to judicial review.

The inmates are protesting, through a strike, conditions in prison (of life, guard brutality and dismal medical care) - because their legal remedy to seek justice from courts regarding prison conditions is cut off by: 

While many lay commentators on topics of prison conditions and medical care express an idea that those in prison must provide for themselves or go hungry and without medical care, first, there is an 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and, where the sentence imposed by a court of law in accordance with a statute is loss of liberty, prison system cannot add to that:

Note that not only inmates are denied medical care, but also their unborn children who are, I guess, subject to some kind of weird punishment for crimes of their mothers.

The only major media source that has reported on the prisoners' strike is a foreign source - "The Guardian", a respectable British newspaper.

Within the U.S., the strike is subject to an apparent mass media boycott and is being reported only by activist sources, bloggers and social media.  The only major media source that so far reported the strike was The Wall Street Journal that reported that prison authorities are not yielding to prisoners' demands and are not providing any concessions so far.

I guess, in a country with mass incarceration, slave labor and conditions of that mass incarceration is not a newsworthy subject.

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