All posts tagged: Guile is Good

The Right Choice for the Wrong Reason

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Democracy's Constitution / Repairing the System

In an earlier post I discussed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to refuse to even to hold hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. That post generated a good deal of interest. So I would like to look now at the Garland nomination from the Democratic perspective. Obama’s motives in nominating Garland do not appear much different from McConnell’s in opposing him; he too was looking at the nomination’s […]

If Bogie Had Gone to Law School

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Book/film List / Legal Fictions

The classic film noir The Maltese Falcon is coming to a theater near you next week. Its star was Humphrey Bogart playing the private detective Sam Spade. Later in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy Play It Again SAm Spade gave the Woody Allen character advice in matters of love. Spade showed the shy Woody how to make love to a woman. But I think Spade can also teach a thing or two about how to […]

The Supreme Injsutice

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Book/film List / Repairing the System / Repairing The Systen

The new sensation in legal circles is the Netflix documentary Making a Murderer The film is a riveting examination of the two trials and appeals of Stephen Avery who in rural Wisconsin was twice convicted, first of sexual assault and attempted murder and later of murder, on questionable evidence. While the film certainly qualifies for the “no lawyer should miss” accolade, since it is ten hours in length, I fear many will. That’s why […]

Villain or Victim?

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Book/film List / Repairing the System / Repairing The Systen

Movies can not only provide great entertainment, but also raise issues well worth our consideration. Spotlight is a good example. It tells how a team of investigative reporters broke the story of widespread child abuse by Catholic priests in Boston that the church hierarchy was covering up. So it’s primarily a press story; but lawyers also play an important role from start to finish One is a solo practitioner, Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci) who has […]

Lawyers without Borders

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Heroes / lawyers without borders

Chinese human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has lost his license to practice law. This op-ed in the NYT tells why. Pu dared to criticize government policy and was convicted under a law which criminalized “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” But the article makes clear that while this was the explicit crime charged, the government’s long standing hostility to Pu was generated by his representation of clients alleging human rights abuses. Doctors have an advantage over […]

More Dangerous than Racism

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Repairing the System / Repairing The Systen

I once read a story about the Hollywood director John Huston. One of Huston’s drinking buddies was a jockey who worshiped Huston, but only received verbal abuse in return. The abuse got to be so extreme that one of Huston’s friends finally confronted him, asking why he was so cruel to a guy who had never harmed him. Huston gave an candid response: “Because I can.” Huston felt that , unless he did something outrageous […]

Less Lawyers = More Injustice

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Repairing The Systen

Two stories have kept popping up in the legal news the past year. One is the law student debt crisis. The other is our broken criminal justice system. We need to connect the two discussions. There are lots of people to blame for the law student debt crisis. One group of culprits is the federal regulators who approved loans to students of “fly-by-night law” schools. Another is the administrators and faculty of traditionally […]

Thanks giving

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We have Louis Brandeis to thank for the insight that “sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Government officials are more likely to correct problems the public is aware of. That’s why Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA), federal state, and local, are so important. Here is a recent NYT article about statistics showing that Chicago policemen accused of misbehavior were seldom disciplined by their department, and when they were, the officer tended to be black or the […]

Atticus Gets Real

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Book/film List / Legal Fictions

As a boy, I was deeply affected by the character of Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s classic To Kill A Mockingbird. Atticus is not only the loving father of Scout and Jem, but also the brave lawyer who defended a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping a white woman in 1930’s Alabama. Before defending Tom in court, Atticus defended him from a lynch mob that attempted to storm the jail where Robinson was […]

Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

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The Sjupremes / Untitled

Here’s a very interesting article about the extra-curricular activities of current Supreme Court justices: Their outings seem to divide into two categories. One is visits to law schools where the justices are treated like living relics; the article’s reference to the “adoring crowd” that greeted Justice Ginsburg at Harvard gets the tone of these events well. These are ceremonial gatherings where any controversial issues are ignored. I remember a visit that Justice Kennedy paid […]