"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.

Friday, October 6, 2017

#BanBumpStocksNow. On selective hand paralysis of Barack Obama, U.S. Congress - and President Trump

Every day in the media nowadays is just another time for Trump-bashing, or for bashing somebody from his administration and/or family.

Today was no different.

The social media were bashing KellyAnne Conway, for the audacity to accuse the previous president, Barack Obama, for not introducing regulation of the so-called bump stocks - devices that transform semi-automatic rifles into automatic rifles.

I will pass on vulgarities spewed towards Kellyanne Conway. 

It is understandable why Conway is the target of such vulgar ire from anti-Trump commentators - she was retained as the leader of now-President Trump's election campaign and won that campaign for him.

Of course, she must be the worst, and must be bashed relentlessly - about her intellectual and mental abilities, her looks etc.

The avalanche of sewer language that commentators endowed Kellyanne Conway with was incredible.

But, what really caught my attention was a discernible thread of argument, repeated again and again, by different people - that former President Obama asked, begged and tried to cajole the U.S. Congress to regulate bump stocks, and even cried (on camera) because Congress refused to do so - and, for that reason, Kellyanne Conway's finger pointing at Obama who could have prevented the tragedy in Las Vegas was not pointing in the right direction.

Here is how this argument was presented:

Note the focus - "Obama had no support from a Republican controlled legislature".

The same idea, "Congress blocked him at every front", with some insult thrown in for good measure.

Here is yet another variation of the same idea:

I do not know whether George Voinovich said anything of the kind, or whether anything in this statement is true.

But, let's assume that what #TimAdkins, #JesseKershaw, #NancyRuthKeener and those who "liked" or "loved" their statements, believe - is absolutely and positively true.

So, let's agree that the following is true:

Former President Barack Obama wanted "dearly" to introduce a sensible gun control legislation - and specifically, to control bump stocks - but, Republican-controlled Congress did not let him.

And that's why bump stocks remained unregulated.

A good, convenient argument, right?

Well, there is an 800,000 people-strong hole in that argument, and its name is - #DACA.

Because, the same as gun regulation reform, the "Republican-controlled Congress" refused to introduce immigration reform legislation, too.

But, that did not stop Barack Obama from turning around, grabbing a sheet of paper into his fidgety fingers and signing DACA as an Executive Order.

Which takes us to a question - why Barack Obama could not do the same with regulating bump stocks.

Selective hand paralysis?

By the way, for purposes of full disclosure - I voted in presidential elections in this country only once.

In 2012.

For Barack Obama.

And, what I do agree in criticism of Kellyanne Conway for her finger-pointing into the past is - Barack Obama is a former president now.

And, the power to issue executive orders, as well as the choice to put pressure upon the Legislature to introduce

  • real gun control legislation that will ban once and for always automatic and semiautomatic weapons in possession of civil population, as well as all devices that turn rifles into such weapons - is in the present President's court, AND
  • real increase in efficiency of law enforcement preventing proliferation of illegal weapons through the Mexican border and selling them within the U.S.
is in the hands of another man.  President Donald Trump, and his administration, which Kellyanne Conway is part of.

So - why is the Trump administration spending time criticizing the predecessor instead of actually ACTING NOW?

Let's not engage in nit-picking as to who did what wrong and when.

Let's concentrate on the real issue, here and now.

People DIED.  A lot of people died.  A lot of people were injured.

We cannot bring back the dead.

We cannot, in many instances, health to the wounded.

But, we can help victims' families pay for the funerals, support children and dependents left without support, help the wounded help their medical bills.

And we sure can put pressure on BOTH our Legislature AND our current President to come together, drop infantile behavior and introduce effective measures to make sure such shooting would not happen again - or at least to significantly reduce the likelihood of it happening.

President Trump must shed his own selective hand paralysis, grab that pen NOW, while bump stock is selling like there is no tomorrow after the tragedy in Las Vegas, and issue an Executive Order to ban bump stocks NOW, as an interim measure.

And then, U.S. Congress owes to us to introduce sensible gun-control and anti-illegal-weapon-proliferation legislation - which the President must enforce.

Because, without such legislation - for many of us who would want to just peacefully spend time with friends, listen to the music and celebrate family events, like many people who went to that Las Vegas festival did - there may be no tomorrow.

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