"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.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Law professors shy away from getting serious about academic value of their own work. It will cost too much for them to be honest.

I wrote on this blog recently about how law professors turned submission process of law reviews as a race to the top in search of a better employment, at the expense of law students, and how law reviews have no academic value because they are reviewed and accepted for publications not by "peers" of professors, but by law students who do not even have a completed law degree.

Law professors continued discussion of that sticky subject on their own blog.  It is interesting that the most critical comments came from anonymous participants, and that law professors branded those valid comments as "snarky".

Yet, the commentator under the picturesque nick "YesterdayIKilledAMammoth" only said this:

"Anything short of peer-review will not make law reviews more legitimate to outside disciplines."

Which was absolutely true.  Who cares about the value of law reviews if they are sorted out and accepted by students, often from their own law professors or their friends, in exchange for grades and careers?

And, the "Mammoth" also said this:

"While, I applaud at least one proposal to get us going, the proposal begins with funding and participation problems--which are death knells for any meaningful reform.

Law professors need to decide two questions. First, do they want to be part of the larger academic world? And second, do they want to influence the practical world? If the answer to either of these is 'yes', then systemic change is needed.

If the answer is no, then we'll continue to watch the growing obsolescence of legal research."

Legal research is not get "obsolete", it gets computerized, so the law professor may soon go the way of the mammoth - possibly, that's why they don't want to change anything about how they operate, no matter how wrong.

Trying to get the piece of the pie before it disappeared...

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