"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.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Next time you are mugged in New York City, ask the City Hall why it criminally prosecutes people for honestly earning a living as street vendors of small everyday items

In July of 2015 President Obama has raised the issue whether proliferant occupational licensing in the U.S. is stifling the country's economy and preventing the upwards social mobility of Americans.

Yet, occupational licensing still flourishes, with states and municipalities licensing anything that moves for anything at all.

Licensing usually starts before the business starts to get any money, as a condition to even try to sell products or services.

Of course, under these conditions, only people who already have money can afford paying for the license (and training and documentation needed to obtain it) up front, before any income from the business has started to come in.

And, of course, for people who do not have money and cannot, thus, engage in an honest business, because they cannot afford a license fee, the only way, other than to get a job (which may or may not be possible in the current economy), there is another alternative - steal and rob.  Violent crime.

The easiest thing for a poor person, or an immigrant without any language, to do, is to either cook authentic ethnic food, or sell items he produces or resells from others.

And, both of these professions are licensed.

In New York City, for example, which prides itself on protection of civil rights of immigrants, criminal convictions for the following "criminal conduct":

So, selling to people:

  • a DVD;
  • T-shirts;
  • condoms;
  • sunglasses, or
  • umbrellas - during rain - is a crime in New York City.
But, crimes in the State of New York MUST BE violations of the Penal Code, not of an "Administrative Code" of the City of New York.

Yet, somehow, in all of these cases, convictions for violation of the administrative code of the City of New York were upheld as crimes.

Consider how much profit one would make by selling a few umbrellas, condoms, a DVD, T-shirts, or sunglasses.

Is it worth the effort and expense to put together the necessary paperwork?

It can be a one-time deal, and it will surely be less than a yearly license fee.

New York City Hall is not flexible in this respect.

It does not sell one-day, one-week, one-month or similar short-term licenses - only a yearly license.

And, of course, a rich person will not be risking a criminal conviction for selling several T-shirts - only a poor person will consider earning several dollars worth that risk.

The risk that, as the cases I referenced above, shows, is real - New York City vigorously prosecutes those who still try to earn a living by selling stuff - without a license that they cannot afford. 

Nothing like criminalizing poverty.

So, the next time you are mugged, robbed, stolen from, pick-pocketed, jumped, in New York City - ask the City Hall, why do they are they so vigorously, and stupidly, trying to prevent poor people from honestly earning a living.

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