Hell. YES.

Prop 8 has been struck down. I will blog more about this later; ’til then, revel in this: ‎

“Plaintiffs do not seek recognition of a new right. To characterize plaintiffs’ objective as “the right to same-sex marriage” would suggest that plaintiffs seek something different from what opposite-sex couples across the state enjoy — namely, marriage. Rather, plaintiffs ask California to recognize their relationships for what they are: marriages.”

Love WINS.

Apathy v. Racism

What follows is, more or less, a comment I posted on the now-epic Tea Party and Race post.  I am turning it into a separate post (1) because I think it is a conundrum worth exploring and (2) that comment section may be a bit unwieldy at this point.

…As for the federal Civil Rights Act and expressions of malcontent with said Act… well, my opinion is that intent only matters to a certain degree – at some point you have to address results. In other words, one can philosophize all day long about the nobles ideas behind one’s opinion, but noble ideas don’t trump results.

So, if the ‘noble idea’ that you are espousing is no federal governmental intrusion, but a lack/repeal of federal gov’t intrusion would result in some state’s infringing upon the basic federal rights of some of the citizens, you don’t get a [total] pass [on the actual results of the implication of said idea]. This kind of ‘let them eat cake’ mentality simply doesn’t work in reality.

It’s all well and good to say that people should not shit on each other; but I think we all have to agree (or maybe just those of us in certain areas) that *if* the federal government were not “intruding,” our kind would not be welcome. And by “our kind” I mean whatever particular group/belief/etc that is pilloried for simply trying to exercise the same rights as everyone else.

And don’t get me wrong – I still hold a serious thing for Libertarianism. We were very close for a long time, and even though we have parted ways, I would like to think that we are still friends. I just realized that it wasn’t me; it was everyone else. As I moved through education and from the service industry to the professional industry, I realized that but for federal protection of federal rights, those rights would be utterly meaningless.

And if we allowed a “patchwork” approach on nationwide interests like public education, we would only see the poor states get poorer and less educated while the rich got richer. And we would not be a Union in any sense of the word because we would self-segregate faster than you can say the Pledge of Allegiance.

… I should make it clear that I do not think [a person is] a racist; I don’t think [their] position is racist, and I don’t think [their] statements can be interpreted as racist [simply because they are advocating a stance that the Federal Gov’t has no business enacting legislation regarding civil rights].

I think there is a space between racists and people actively advocating for equality, though. And while I don’t believe in a my way or the highway/you agree with me or you are a racist approach, I *do* believe that people in the middle should be aware that sometimes their stance encourages and supports a status quo that is not equal for all people. Again, this doesn’t mean that they are racist, but it may mean that something they support – for whatever reason – will likely have a disparate/unfair impact on people who are already generally in a weaker bargaining position.

If I Would Have Known You Were Coming, I Wouldn't Have Eaten the Whole Damn Cake.

This Post Will Not Contain Any References To Coke Or Porn…

…because I am a classy lady.

So, in case you haven’t heard, Virginia Thomas, wife of SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas, is indeed hopping on the tea party train. She has started a group called  Liberty Central Inc. Liberty Central is reportedly a nonprofit lobbying group created for the purpose of organizing activism around a set of conservative “core principals.” You can read more about this story here at the LA Times.

Now, politics aside (if such a thing is possible), I don’t have any particular dislike for Justice Thomas. And certainly a SCOTUS justice is FAR FAR more qualified to opine on just about anything than am I.  That said, I do think it incredibly disingenuous to constantly deride the more progressive side of the court for engaging in judicial activism, when the originafederalists are doing exactly the same thing.

ALL judges engage in judicial activism; if they aren’t, then they are not doing their job. As I see it, every decent judge has or should have some sort of articulable judicial philosophy. And every judge, through experience, gains insight on the law not reflected in the letter of the law. Simply put – if a judge is actually judging, there is no way that he or she will not necessarily engage in what is referred to as judicial activism.

Of all the Justices, I always wish that Thomas would get out and about more. He is so, well, quiet. And when he does speak, he is articulate and drily humorous. I know conservatives generally expect all liberals, progressives, and non-fundies to be filled with foamy hate at the mere thought of anyone with whom they disagree. While I am not filled with joy by the concept of “originalist” or “federalist” constitutional interpretation, I don’t think that it necessarily follows that I must also dislike a person who follows such an approach. Unlike a pundit or other such vile creature who makes a living off of being an obnoxious persona, I think arbiters of thought can and do exist as people distinct from their philosophies.

Take, for example, the awesome relationship between RBG and Scalia. Shit, if they can get together and share an elephant, then there should be hope for us all. Sometimes agreeable people simply disagree – certainly when it comes to academic matters that do not directly affect either party on a personal level.

But I think it is the latter part of that statement – that the argument cannot focus on things that personally impact the speakers – that is the key to understanding why there is so much animosity coming both from and towards teabaggers. If they were simply out to discuss Constitutional matters, as they often claim to be doing, then I would think reasoned discourse would be possible. However, when the Constitutional matters are either a veneer or a side item to other more personal matters, dialogue is not really possible.  I have no desire to engage in a Constitutional debate with someone waiving a sign declaring Obama is a Muslin [sic].  Conversely, they are not going to believe anything I say because I am a liberal and therefore have a liberal agenda.

Likewise, the healthcare debate has become too internalized to be rationally discussed. Everyone comes to that table with their mind made up. I, for one, am tired of the talking points. I am tired of hearing people going on and on about 10th Amendment this, or socialism that when most of the time, they have no fucking idea what they are talking about. Quit acting smart and just SAY WHAT YOU MEAN.

I think we should have a single-payer system. I believe the Constitution grants Congress the authority to enact such a system. More importantly, I think that in a capitalist society, the Government has a duty to act to preserve and protect the interests of the Citizenry from Corporations. Especially where, as here, it is undeniably clear that our quasi-free market is allowing Corporations to profit to the gross injury of the majority of the citizenry.

If you think otherwise, fine. But don’t give me some bullshit argument that you heard from Glenn Beck. Tell me why YOU think it is wrong for our government to restrict the healthcare industry in order to protect the citizens. Tell me why YOU don’t want our taxes going to the welfare of the general public health – specifically why we draw the line at healthcare.  Tell me how YOU think things are going to get any better if we don’t do something to fix them – or tell me why you think they are just fine.

In the meantime, I am going to go make some tea and leave you to gaze upon some freshly baked bread…

French Bread

Maybe I’m Just Not That Into You.

Dear Person Who Has Called My Office Seventeen Thousand Times Today:

I gather from the many, many messages that you have left that you are in need of legal services. Due to the excessive number of messages, and the fact that my caller ID shows that you called about every four minutes from 1:27 p.m. through 5:38 p.m., I assume you believe that you have some sort of emergency. Maybe you are concerned that I have somehow missed every one of your 873 calls. Or perhaps you have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the telephone works. Regardless, propriety compels a bit of candor and insight as to our particular situation.

First, if I am not in the office, I will not take your call. If you leave a message – and trust me, dear reader, a SINGLE message is truly all it takes – I will return your call as time and ability allow. If you have an emergency – well, I cannot help you. My office line is not a legal 911 and the particular number you called is unpublished. The truth of the matter is that anyone that calls needing “emergency” legal services from me is truly calling the wrong person. I am not that kind of a lawyer.

Second, I am neither inclined nor required to return every call that is made to my office. I run a small, boutique firm. I don’t advertise. I only take clients on referral and yes, I am very selective about what work I will take.  I do not do any criminal trial work whatsoever (and yes, failure to pay child support is technically criminal, which you should know if you are calling me from jail). I also do not do any domestic/family law work (and yes, failure to pay child support is also family law, which you should know if you are calling me from jail about a child support order).  So if you call and leave a garbled message about needing me to help you get out of jail for not paying child support, I will probably not call you back.

Additionally, if you are already calling me 5,495,692 times a day demanding I help you and I haven’t even met you yet, chances are I am not going to enjoy being your attorney. So most likely, I will talk to you and politely tell you I will not represent you. It’s not me; it’s you. While I do have a few clients who are somewhat high maintenance, I have worked with them for years OR I have other reasons that make the relationship worth it. But, generally speaking, I am not going to even have an intake discussion with someone who has already demonstrated an inability to respect the attorney/client relationship.

Third – and this apparently is not well-known – I am not required by any law or rule of ethics to provide legal services to everyone who demands such from me. For example, if you are upset because your landlord evicted you after he saw you naked and you think that is discrimination, I will most likely decline to work for you (real story). And no, despite what you saw on that t.v. show, I am not “required” to help you, you cannot have me arrested for not representing you, and I am certainly not going to “do you a favor” and just call the landlord and threaten him (also real story).

Fourth, I am not, under ANY circumstances, required to give out legal advice for free when you cold-call me. And just because “some other lawyer did” does not mean that I will. And it certainly does not mean that I have to. And no, swearing at me is not going to convince me. Perhaps you should contact that other lawyer.

The fact that I have a JD does not mean that I am required to dispense legal advice to you; nor does any ethical consideration require me to do so. In fact, as a rule, I NEVER give out legal advice on the phone to someone I have never met because I consider it unethically stupid and dangerous. My legal services are provided for pay and only in accordance with the terms of a properly executed Retention Agreement.

Lastly, I am not going to provide free legal services for you. Don’t even ask. And when I tell you my hourly rates and the required retainer, don’t try to bargain with me. My rates are very reasonable and my retainers are exceedingly fair. If you can’t pay the retainer, then you can’t pay me for my work, so I would be an idiot to do that work – end of story.

The fact that you may have heard that I did such&such for so&so has nothing to do with you. Perhaps this may sound a bit too callous, but I do too much work for free as it is and there are too many people out there who are legitimately in serious need of free or reduced cost legal services for me to waste time dickering over a 10K retainer with someone I know full well has the ability to pay.

We regret that we cannot help you at this time. Thank you for your interest in the SFL Law Firm. We wish you the best in your further endeavours.

Sincerely,

SFL

Cake of Regret

United States of Skittles

And a little random awesomeness to round out the day:

H/T Southern Beale

Citizens United v. FEC: The Moral High Road to Corporate Dominance

“It is not judicial restraint to accept an unsound, narrow argument just so the Court can avoid another argument with broader implications. Indeed, a court would be remiss in performing its duties were it to accept an unsound principle merely to avoid the necessity of making a broader ruling. Here, the lack of a valid basis for an alternative ruling requires full consideration of the continuing effect of the speech suppression upheld in Austin.”  J. Stevens, Citizens United v. FEC.

No. Judicial restraint would be refusing to hear a case on the grounds that the arguments presented were unsound and there is no clear and compelling argument presented for judicial intervention in the legislative process.

I.  INTRODUCTION

Last week SCOTUS handed down Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Long LONG story short, this case involved a challenge to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (you may know this as the McCain/Feingold Campaign Reform Act. For the sake of brevity, I will refer to it hereinafter as BCRA), specifically to U. S. C. §441b, which prohibits corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for speech that is an “electioneering communication” or for speech that expressly advocates the election or defeat of a candidate.

To put this in perspective, SCOTUS has previously determined that restrictions on corporate spending to support or oppose political candidates were kosher, Austin v. Michigan Chamber Of Commerce, 494 U.S. 652 (1990) and upheld numerous provisions of BCRA in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, No. 02-1674 (Decided December 10, 2003), including the provisions that limited spending by corporations and unions.

In January 2008 Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, released a “documentary” bashing Hillary Clinton.  Citizens United’s intent was to run the video on cable television via video-on-demand 30 days prior to the primaries. Citizens United also put out tv ads promoting the documentary on regular and cable television. Citizens United then filed a declaratory judgment action (effectively an action that asks a Court to determine the rights of a plaintiff, sometimes indistinguishable from an improper request for an advisory opinion) and requested injunctive relief proclaiming that it was not subject to the restraints of §441b. In its claims for relief, Citizens United made a number of arguments pertaining to a narrow construction of the statute in addition to the generic claims that the statute itself was broadly unconstitutional. NB:  this is a standard approach – one ALWAYS sets up a blanket assertion of fundamental unconstitutionality to balance out the more narrow – and realistic – unconstitutional as applied arguments.

SCOTUS, in a jaw-dropping example of sua sponte policy making by the conservative arbiters of judicial restraint, ignored all the narrowly drawn arguments and determined that this case could only be decided on large-picture 1st Amendment grounds, coyly found that Citizens United had not waived any such arguments, and then proceeded to overrule long-standing precedent and determine that corporations have the right to engage in unlimited and unfettered political spending in the guise of free speech.

To say this decision came as a shock is an understatement. Most people thought this was just a quirk of a case, and one that would be decided on very narrow grounds thus having scant little impact on future political speech activity. Not so much. For those of you who like to torture yourselves, you may read the opinion here in its 180+ page glory, including the very eloquent, if stunned and horrified, dissent penned by Stevens. For those of you that don’t feel like engaging in such an endeavor would be a good use of your time – or may be likely to increase your rage level beyond the range of acceptable – I will give you a quick and dirty summary of WHY the conservative wing of the Supreme Court, the so-called bastion of judicial deference, decided that it had to go all judicial activist on the collective ass of the citizenry. Bottom line? Because it is *GOOD* for us.

II.  SUMMARY.

A.  Support of Candidate A and Attacks on Candidate A’s Opponents Are Two Legally Distinct Activities.

“[B]y definition, an independent expenditure is political speech presented to the electorate that is not coordinated with a candidate.” In other words, the majority insists that there is a meaningful and substantive difference between giving a bazillion dollars to Candidate A to get him/her elected and spending a bazillion dollars to get Candidate A’s opponent defeated. First, if we were a multi-party country, this argument might actually have some (very little) merit. However, as we are inarguably a two-party system, money spent to defeat Candidate B is inherently money spent to elect Candidate A.

Think of it this way:  Leno want the Tonight Show back from Conan.  Wal-Mart, being generally evil, wants Leno to get the Tonight Show. Under the Citizens United theory, Wal-Mart cannot give Leno more than $2,400 to assist him in his jackassery.  However, Wal-Mart can spend unlimited amounts of money to get Conan to leave.  What, praytell, is the substantive distinction here? Is SCOTUS trying to pretend that tanking Conan doesn’t necessarily promote Leno? Or, and this is my thought, is SCOTUS simply being difficult and insinuating that Congress set up this false distinction, so they will have to live with it?

Either way, I cry bullshit on this line of reasoning.

B.  There is No Principled Way to Distinguish Between “Media” Corporations and “Other” Corporations.

Basically, EVERY argument of principles/moral/philosophy/religion/politics boils down to this simple diametric:  ‘slippery slope’ v. ‘de minimus.’  In other words, unspeakable horrors will/may result v. you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.

Here the majority engages in the long-favored rhetoric of those adhering to an unprincipled argument – insist, instead, that the other approach would result in greater lack of principles down the road. Bait and switch – NICE! What the majority “fears” on this issue is that the provisions of BCRA at issue, if left unmolested, would prohibit “…[i]nternet sources, such as blogs and social networking Web sites, …[from] provid[ing] citizens with significant information about political candidates and issues” as the language of section 441b “…would seem to ban a blog post expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate if that blog were created with corporate funds.”  [NB: As Steven’s dissent rightly points out at fn 31, these provisions are expressly inapplicable to print media; so unless your blog is spoken word, the majority’s alarmist potentials do not apply.]

The majority further insists that under the current law, Congress could theoretically ban showings of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Because “[a]fter all, it, like Hillary, was speech funded by a corporation that was critical of Members of Congress. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington may be fiction and caricature; but fiction and caricature can be a powerful force.”

Really? So now Congress, in addition to attempting to limit campaign contributions, is also necessarily attempting to limit obviously protected free speech?

Come on

C.  Not Allowing Corporations Free Rein To “Speak” Is an Infringement on OUR First Amendment Rights.

Warning – this may nauseate you.

The majority additionally asserts that their decision to grant the full unfettered political speech rights of a U.S. human citizen to corporations is to protect US – the U.S. citizens.

When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought.  This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves.

So yes, restrictions on a corporation’s ability to spend a kabillion dollars to get its favored candidate elected infringes on our 1st Amendment rights to hear them “talk.”  And why does this suck for us? Because, apparently, corporations are inherently good and all-knowing (ummm…does this mean they are God?). The majority gives the following as ‘support’ for its rape-stand of an argument:

The Government has “muffle[d] the voices that best represent the most significant segments of the economy.”  McConnell, supra, at 257–258 (opinion of SCALIA, J.).

And “the electorate [has been] deprived of information, knowledge and opinion vital to its function.” CIO, 335 U. S., at 144 (Rutledge, J., concurring in result).

By suppressing the speech of manifold corporations, both for-profit and non-profit, the Government prevents their voices and viewpoints from reaching the public and advising voters on which persons or entities are hostile to their interests. Factions will necessarily form in our Republic, but the remedy of “destroying the liberty” of some factions is “worse than the disease.”  The Federalist No. 10, p. 130 (B.Wright ed. 1961) (J. Madison).

Factions should be checked by permitting them all to speak, see ibid., and by entrusting the people to judge what is true and what is false. The purpose and effect of this law is to prevent corporations, including small and nonprofit corporations, from presenting both facts and opinions to the public.

D.  The Dissent’s Concerns Are De Minimus Because Corporations Can Spend to Influence Already

Just in case, or perhaps it is their usual response to liberal slippery slope arguments, the majority observes that its actions are really not that big of a deal and will likely not result in some sort of Atwoodian policorporodystopia because corporations already have the ability to buy their candidate.

“Even if §441b’s expenditure ban were constitutional, wealthy corporations could still lobby elected officials, although smaller corporations may not have the resources to do so. And wealthy individuals and unincorporated associations can spend unlimited amounts on independent expenditures.”

But never fear, actual living breathing human people, for SCOTUS assures us that “[t]he fact that speakers may have influence over or access to elected officials does not mean that these officials are corrupt.”

III.  CONCLUSION

So, what does this opinion mean? And what the hell do we do?

Well, it means, quite simply, that SCOTUS has greatly expanded the constitutional rights of a corporate “person.”  So now, in addition to simple and logical “rights” like ability to bring or defend a judicial action, a corporation now enjoys rights that seem necessarily tied to human existence and experience.

And yes, it does open the door for rampant corruption. Or, if you prefer, takes what was a very open, regulated, and transparent “window” and just gives the whole damn building to Wal-Mart. And yes, that may well be histrionic, but it simply illustrates my point that ALL things are either a slippery slope or de minimus. And when it comes to corporate involvement in elections, yes, I tend to fall on the slippery slope side.

Because a corporation simply is NOT a U.S. Citizen in the same way that you or me or my child or Bill Gates or my odd-bird neighbor is a U.S. Citizen. A corporation does NOT in any way whatsoever have the same interests at stake in a political election – its interests are SOLELY economic. A corporation cannot get laid off, get sent to war, go to prison, get married, have a family, get an education, go on welfare, get a divorce, retire, collect social security, be born or die.

And it is utterly offensive to everything on which this country was founded to suggest that a corporation is fundamentally ‘the same’ as a human U.S. citizen.

So, if you feel the same way, start contacting ALL your elected officials NOW and insist that they get on the ball with a Constitutional Amendment. Check here or here for more information. And check out the video in my previous post on this matter for more information.

The United States Government is Brought to You By…

I intend to blog about the recent SCOTUS 1st Am/corporate personhood decision in depth, just as soon as I calm down, conquer the raging Idiocracy-themed nightmares, and stop vomiting long enough to read the decision. However, I can write with confidence that I do *not* like this decision one bit and feel very strongly that we need to get our shit together and force our congressional reps to sack up and do the right thing.

Let these fine people tell you more…

H/T to Southern Beale

Cali-Watch, Part 2

You know, I had a feeling SCOTUS wouldn’t allow the streaming of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger oral arguments. I write ‘had a feeling,’ but I STILL kind of thought they would allow it, since they would have had to work a little hard to invalidate the original ruling. Turns out, my feeling was right and the hard work was put in.

Yesterday SCOTUS entered a preliminary order blocking the broadcasting of the arguments on YouTube. You can read the full PC opinion over here and a better eval than I could ever give on the opinion here at scotusblog.com.

I think this ruling is bad. Obviously and admittedly I have at least three agendas at play here. First, I believe in unrestricted access to governmental process (government in the sunshine and all that), especially where, as here, access would not have come to the inconvenience or detriment of any of the parties. Can’t really “embarrass” the state like you can an individual citizen. And second, I am pro gay marriage, believe it to be a basic human/cultural/social right, and also believe it to be a right inherently extended to all US citizens, thus subject to protections of the Constitution. And third, I do not think the government has ANY business regulating what are inherently private matters among consenting adults.

Now, to the opinion. Why is it bad? Because it looks like a political move. And let me clarify that I don’t mean a judicial agenda. I would expect that all Judges and Justices have a judicial agenda – i.e., an approach that defines how they approach the law and a goal for the legacy they wish to leave behind. No, what I mean by ‘political moves’ are when the actions seem motivated by an attempt to reach out and shape the issues before they are actually in front of you or to take jurisdiction over issues that you normally wouldn’t touch. Don’t get me wrong, this is something that goes on regardless of philosophy.

And really? Rather than a political move, it could be a simple prophylactic measure, as there has been a bit of a hubbub about courts NOT wanting video broadcasts to become the way of the court. But still…

First, higher courts don’t generally tell lower courts how to decorate their offices, so to speak. Each court, whether state or federal, is almost certain to have its own local rules, which basically cover anything non-substantive that isn’t covered by the fed/state rules of procedure. Things like what documents need to be filed in summary judgment motions and how/when counsel may approach the bench, what counsel may wear (for real, many local court still had skirt reqs on the books for the ladies until very recently – if you know of some that still do, let me know), how cases may be set, etc. To use their “supervisory power” in a situation such as this one is unprecedented.

Lower courts typically are not a consortium-type setting – meaning that unlike appellate court, there is no panel and each judge has his/her own courtroom, personnel, and ground rules. And perhaps it is a show of respect or just a recognition that these rules have no bearing outside of the individual judge’s courtroom, but the higher courts don’t generally poke their noses in where the rules have absolutely no substantive impact on the citizenry. And since this trial is open to the public AND being heavily covered by the media, I don’t see how testimony integrity or chilling effect is a valid concern.

Cali-Watch…

Professor DAVID LEVINE (U.C. Hastings College of Law): “This is like going to Disneyland for legal scholars.”  NPR

Oral arguments opened today in the federal court challenge to California’s gay marriage ban. This is the first federal question challenge to the validity of gay marriage bans. So yeah, this is pretty big, as this one is expected to wend its way to SCOTUS. Last week, I was pretty excited to read that US District Judge Vaughn Walker was going to allow the arguments to be streamed. But alas, SCOTUS has since decided that whether or not the arguments can be streamed is its decision. Which it hasn’t given us yet, but promises to have by Wednesday. So, until then, we have just the retelling by various news sources.

How nerdy is it that I thought of those links as spoilers?

[EDIT: UPDATE – SCOTUS has weighed in on the YouTube issue; new post up here]

Now granted, not everyone is a con law nerd. But this case really REALLY has a lot of interesting issues. And I would have expected that the opening arguments would have been exceptionally stellar. AND would have given us a roadmap on how the two sides to this issue intend to lay their respective Constitutional groundwork.

And people – oral arguments are so cool. No really. In my opinion, it is the most exciting part of the process. I think that most people think that the only “exciting” lawyering is trial level work, and that, generally speaking, “trial work” means harassing witnesses, ‘gotcha’ moments, strange rhyme schemes, etc. But this, in my opinion, isn’t the best part. Generally speaking, at a trial court level, people will try to win over the judge on questions of law and the finder of fact (whether it is a jury or the judge sitting as fact-finder) on questions of fact. I have notice that most tv shows portray trials as mostly questions of fact, where the law questions are resolved via tense motions and in camera arguments. I don’t know – maybe it actually is that way in criminal work, which would seem to involve more questions of admissibility, but in civil cases it doesn’t really work that way. I think a lot of how civil cases are handled depends on your jurisdiction’s approach to summary judgment proceedings – but that is a discussion for another day.

My point, which I lost somewhere, was that oral arguments are really where you can see a lawyer work. And while they certainly are “exciting” at a trial level, I am going to try to take this opportunity to sell you on the joy and sexiness of appellate work. Trial work can be very interesting, but nowhere near the jurisprudential ironman challenge that is appellate work. Imagine a trial – just like what you see on your average lawyer show. Now take away the jury, the parties, the police officers, the witnesses, the evidence, and the criminals and you’ve got appellate lawyering! What, I ask you, is more exciting that a room empty of everything but lawyers, judges, and clerks?

NOTHING. NOTHING is more exciting. Appellate arguments are legal discourse in its pure, distilled form. Like that blue stuff that the Bene Gesserits drink in Dune.

If you would like to hear some SCOTUS orals, you can peruse some of the “classics” at www.oyez.org.

No Workaholics Here

I don’t know how this whole ‘workaholism’ thing got to be so popular. It seems like a weird rationalization of unhealthy and unhappy behavior to me, but what do I know? I have times (like now) where I am lucky enough to have sufficient work (note I said “work,” not paying clients – these are two very different things) and am actually at the point where I am going to have to start turning down work. I do not feel comfortable taking on any new clients right now because I think I do not have any additional time to grant to new matters.

Apparently, this is contrary to how most lawyers operate. I am informed that you never turn down work and that you just keep taking new clients, even if you don’t have time to actually talk to them. That seems absurd. I suppose the thinking is that you hire staff and associates to talk take over. I have no desire to do that. Also, it could also be a matter of what kind of work I do. Unlike most solos, I don’t do criminal, or personal injury, or domestic (anymore, that is another story), or social security, or anything like that, so I don’t really have to run with a large client base. In other words, I have a very low-drama practice and I like it that way.

Could I keep taking clients and make a shit-ton of money? Probably. But there is no way in hell I want to do that. I already did the billable hour robot associate gig at several different firms and it is just not for me. I don’t know. Call me lazy, but I just don’t like being that busy or stressed. I am not a “workaholic.” And I personally don’t see the virtue in that. I mean, if you are a workaholic, more power to you, live long and prosper and whatnot, but don’t expect me to do the same. When I am spread too thin, it makes me anxious and I don’t enjoy ANYthing. And I don’t do a good job at anything.

So, in light of that, I am taking the day off to get caught up on family and house shit. Laundry, painting, mowing, raking, cooking, baking, etc.  God I am giddy with delight…

And for those of you who are working today, here is a little food pR0n to ease the pain:

Mile High Lemon MeringueWhat kind of pie is this, you ask?

IMG01143

Mile High Lemon Meringue

Why, it’s lemon meringue!

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