"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, July 4, 2017

South Carolinans in need of new glasses or contact lenses - South Carolina new law, sponsored by optometrists, "protects" you - from new technology

New technology making goods and services cheaper and better is good.


Maybe not in South Carolina.

Not for people in need of new glasses or contact lenses, anyway.

Because there exists a new technology - in the form of a smartphone app, affordable to a wide range of consumers - that can read your retina, access your need for a lense and bypass an optometrist.

Would an optometrist do a better job than a smartphone app in assessing your needs for a new contact lense or glasses?

It is debatable.

First, a smart app does not cost much or long to develop, and is cheap.

On the contrary, medical equipment in an optometrist's office is expensive, as well as an optometrist's services - and is necessary built into the price of your lenses.

Moreover, an optometrist most definitely cannot afford to replace his medical equipment with newer one every year while retina reading and assessing smartphone app can be enhanced daily.

And, isn't it the consumer's final choice whether he or she wants or does not want an optometrist to advise him (presumably, with a higher level of precision), what kind of glasses/contact lenses he needs rather than a retina-reading smartphone app?

Not so, asserts the South Carolina optometrist association that lobbied a legislature that:

  1. passed South Carolina House and Senate;
  2. was vetoed last year by the then-governor Nikki Haley; and
  3. the veto was overridden by South Carolina Senate.
So, now we have the law that prohibits the sale of eye lenses and glasses in South Carolina without an optometrists' prescription.

And the law, of course, is called Eye Care Consumer Protection Act.

The company that was selling online eye tests - OpterNative (out of Chicago, IL), has moved out of South Carolina after the Governor's veto was overridden.

Now, are South Carolinan patients in need of new glasses or a contact lense better off now?

The shameless optometrist-lobbied legislation did not protect consumers - it only prevented consumers from saving money on eye tests, and stripped them of their choices of providers of services.

Which brings me to a million-dollar-question as to any and all occupational licensing - if it exists for protection of consumers, why not allow consumers to OPT OUT of it?  And choose providers according to their own volition instead of from lists pre-approved by the government?

After all, if the government pre-approval/licensing of any professionals exists to just HELP consumers in their marketing and choice of providers, can't we, the consumers of any licensed services, tell the government - thank you for your help, but no, thank you?

And if not, why not?

Why the government thinks it can treat their own boss, their sovereign, the People (who are also consumers of various services of providers licensed by the government) as mentally incompetent in need of being forced to accept high-priced services we may not want - or need?

Do you want to pay less for your glasses?

Like $60 for glasses AND online vision test - as Opternative offers?

I certainly do.

But now, South Carolinans cannot get that order fulfilled in their own state.  They will have to go to another state to do that - which, in terms of costs, defeats the purpose of saving.

Great job, South Carolina Optometrist Association.

You won, we lost.  For now.

Yet, your temporary victory may turn out Pyrrhic.  Like Luddites in the 19th century, weavers destroying weaving equipment, you will not be able to stop technology from progressing.

Imagine that we would be forced, nowadays, in the 21st century, to buy weaved fabrics from individual weavers and not from factory manufacturers, because, under the guild-lobbied legislation, that was supposed to be "better for us".

The Optometrists Association's fight with technology - instead of embracing it - appears as bad.

Of course, nobody wants to see their income derived from costly training and licensing, disappear because of technology.

But, that's life, and, the concept of consumer PROTECTION should not be put on its head in order to shield service providers from doom brought on by technology - which HURTS consumers.

And, your efforts to stop technology (which hurts consumers, and you know it) only shows that occupational licensing, "even" of doctors, is nothing but a sham where a cheaper technology is available.

Consumers must be given a choice of buying what they need from whoever they need, approved by the government or not.

It is that simple.

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