Woe Unto You Lawyers

Woe unto you, lawyers!

By FRED RODELL

Professor of Law, Yale University
Written in 1939

Fred Rodell archive online

By Walter Olson  Few American critics of the legal profession have made as big an impression as Fred Rodell, perhaps best known as the author of Woe Unto You, Lawyers (1939, and reprinted since then) and of the funny and still much-read attack on the stylistic failings of law scholarship, “Goodbye to Law Reviews” (Virginia Law Review, 1936, published when he was just 29). Rodell went on to teach at Yale Law where he was one of the school’s best-liked teachers, noted especially for his course on persuasive legal writing, which trained many leading legal journalists; as Charles Alan Wright notes in his obituary appreciation, Rodell was never admitted to the bar and never practiced law.

Read in its entirety:  Woe unto you, lawyers! 


Fred Rodell Dies                                           

 June 7, 1980

Fred Rodell, 73, a retired professor of law at Yale University who became known for his scathing attacks on the legal profession and its members, died Wednesday at the Yale-New Haven Hospital after a heart attack.

Considered one of the deans of iconoclasts, he, at the same time, won esteem for his knowledge of the U.S. Constitution and as a civil libertarian.

Mr. Rodell served at Yale from 1933 until his retirement in 1973 because of poor health. He had spent his time quietly since then at his home in Bethany, not far from New Haven.

But his impact remained, mostly through his books and the many articles he produced over the years for various legal and other publications.

The best known of his books were “Woe Unto You Lawyers,” published in 1939, in which he took off on lawyers and the legal language, and “Nine Men,” a political history of the Supreme Court from 1790 to 1955, in which he analyzed court decisions. It was published in 1955.

“He was and is a debunker and an iconoclast, a fellow who liked to sweep away cant and mumbo jumbo and self-importance and pretentiousness, (but) I think a good many of our present-day perceptions reflect pretty much what he was saying more than 40 years ago,” Justice Potter Stewart, a Yale Law School graduate, said recently in an interview for the National Law Journal.

At the time of Mr. Rodell’s retirement, former Justice Abe Fortas, wrote to his former teacher:

“Here’s to Give ’em Hell Fred Rodell. Irresponsible, irreplaceable, irrecusable, irrefragable, irrefutable, irreversible, irrevocable, irremovable and totally irresistable.”

Not everybody felt as kindly toward Mr. Rodell, certainly not one of his favorite targets, Justice Felix Frankfurter, nor the Harvard Law School faculty which he considered open game.

Even the Yale Law School faculty did not escape his jabs. And for that, he and his friends believed, he paid a price.

Most tenured faculty members are named to an endowed faculty chair. Mr. Rodell badly wanted that honor, but he never received it. The late Justice William O. Douglas, who was a friend, once explained it this way:

“He was always true to the nonconformist mold in which he was cast, and some of those prized fringe benefits passed him by because the status quo represents almost every campus.”

Mr. Rodell did not prick, he slashed the pomposity of the legal profession and the gobbledygook of the language its members used. He was brutal when it came to attacking footnotes, which he called “the flaunted Phi Beta Kappa keys of legal writing.'”

There was nothing personal in his reference to that key. He had earned one, himself, at Haverford College. A native of Philadelphia, he graduated from Haverford in 1926. After attending the University of London for a year, he entered Yale Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 1931.

Mr. Rodell was a special legal adviser to Gov. Gifford Pinchot of Pennsylvania for two years before returning to the Yale Law School as an assistant professor.

In the recent interview with the National Law Journal, Mr. Rodell acknowledged that he had not “followed legal stuff for the last five years.. I can’t keep my mind on one thing for very long.”

He said then he took pride in some of his accomplishments, “his legal writing course which had been copied by other law schools, his continued emphasis on plain English, his support for the (Justice) Warren Court,” the Journal reported.

There were other things he had done over the years. He had been a contributing editor to The Progressive and to Scanlan’s Magazine.

He had served on the board of directors of Cooperative consumer’s Inc. in New Haven. He had been a consultant to the Council for Democracy and State Defense Council.

He also had been a member of the Bethany Zoning Board and the Bethany Town Commission.

Mr. Rodell’s first two marriages, to Geraldine Watt and then to Katherine Clay Cowin, ended in divorce. He married the former Janet Learned in 1954.

In addition to his third wife, he is survived by a son, Michael, of his second marriage, of New Canaan, Conn., and two grandchildren..

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KINKY KOZINSKI

Of the deluge of sexual-harassment stories gushing forth in recent weeks, one of the most disturbing — one of the creepiest, really — has also been one of the least noted: the allegations involving federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski.

There are, certainly, more egregious fact patterns. But of the powerful and prominent men who have been accused of preying on powerless women, Kozinski occupies an especially troubling role: There are few jobs whose occupants are more insulated from scrutiny than that of federal judge.

The insulation is appropriate; indeed, it is constitutionally mandated. Yet as we have seen in case after case, Harvey Weinstein to Charlie Rose to John Conyers Jr., it may be precisely that untrammeled power, the sense of invulnerability from consequences, that enables such abuse. When you’re a star — or a judge — they let you do it.

A week ago, The Post reported allegations that included Kozinski calling a clerk into his chambers to show her pornography and ask whether it aroused her; suggesting to a clerk for another 9th Circuit judge that she should work out naked; and making other court staffers uncomfortable with sexual innuendo or outright ogling. Friday evening, the allegations crossed the line into unwanted physical contact, with additional women coming forward, including four — a law student, a lawyer, a law professor and a former judge — who described Kozinski touching them without consent.

Bad enough, because Kozinski holds a lifetime appointment to the federal bench, where his duties include hearing appeals involving sexual harassment and sexual assault. Bad enough, because a judge and law clerk enjoy a relationship that is at once uniquely intimate and inherently unequal.

But it would be wrong to understand Kozinski as just one among 179 federal appeals court judges. He is among the most influential and celebrated, an icon among conservatives and — perhaps another explanation for why the reports about his behavior took so long to surface — a reliable “feeder judge” for those seeking Supreme Court clerkships.

Kozinski has always been known as a brilliant, transgressive provocateur. His willingness to push the boundaries not only of stodgy judicial writing (“The parties are advised to chill,” he concluded one opinion) but also of stodgy judicial behavior was part of his charm, or so it seemed. In 1996, Kozinski wrote for Slate about going — at the invitation of a law clerk, gender unstated — to an outre “lingerie party” that included a “bondage peep show.”

CONTINUE READING


RELATED

Getting Rid of Predatory Judges

Alex Kozinski’s retirement doesn’t end the discussion about sexual harassment in the judiciary

 

First Amendment Wins Again!

The Volokh Conspiracy

Court order banning speech about a person (and banning gun possession by speaker) reversed

 May 2, 2016

I’ve blogged often about how criminal harassment bans, “cyberstalking” bans and restraining order laws have been morphing: They began by restricting unwanted speech to a person, but they’ve often been used to restrict speech about a person.

Many recent appellate court decisions, fortunately, have been rejecting this process. Here’s the latest example from the Florida Court of Appeal (Scott v. Blum) reversing a “stop talking about plaintiff” order. (Incidentally, like many such orders, this came with a ban on gun possession by the defendant.)

First, the facts (some paragraph breaks added throughout):

Mr. Blum is a process server and a member of the National Association of Professional Process Servers (NAPPS). [Randy] Scott is a former process server and former member of NAPPS…. Mr. Blum testified that Mr. Scott sent emails about Mr. Blum and Mr. Blum’s family, partners, and former employees to 2200 NAPPS members.

The emails consisted of links to articles, blog posts, or videos. In some instances, the articles or blog posts were written by Mr. Scott. The tenor of the emails, articles, blog posts, and videos was derogatory, and the allegations within them were potentially damaging to Mr. Blum’s business and reputation. Copies of the emails supported Mr. Blum’s testimony.

Mr. Blum testified that none of the emails were sent directly to him but that he knows about them because they were forwarded by the recipients to him or he received phone calls about them. The emails, articles, blog posts, and videos did not contain threats against Mr. Blum. However, Mr. Blum claimed that the content of the emails, articles, blog posts, and videos caused him emotional distress; he had trouble sleeping and eating, the emails were constantly on his mind, and he constantly had to defend himself to people.

Mr. Scott testified that his emails discussed many people within NAPPS or connected to NAPPS and were not directed at Mr. Blum.

Continue Reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/02/court-order-banning-speech-about-a-person-and-banning-gun-possession-by-speaker-reversed/?utm_term=.be93d44ebee8

Landmark SCOTUS Ruling

Victory! Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Steal Money From The Innocent

By Jack Burns

Colorado, like most states, forces convicted criminals to pay court costs, fees, and restitution after they’ve been found guilty. But the question arises, “What happens when someone who’s been found guilty, has paid their dues, and then has their convictions overturned on appeal? Do they get their money back?” Not in many states, like Colorado. But all of that has changed after a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

The state not stealing money from innocent people sounds like common sense, right? Well, unfortunately, in the land of the free, it was necessary for SCOTUS to step in and tell the greedy state that they do not have a right to steal people’s money.

According to Forbes,

defendants, Shannon Nelson and Louis Madden, were convicted for sexual offenses and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, fees and restitution. Between her conviction and later acquittal, the state withheld $702 from Nelson’s inmate account, while Madden paid Colorado $1,977 after his conviction. When their convictions were overturned, Nelson and Madden demanded their money back.

Colorado refused, even after the plaintiffs won in a state-level appellate court. The state, instead, insisted that if they wanted their money back, they’d have to file a claim under the Exoneration Act, forcing the defendants to once again prove their innocence to retrieve their funds. The plaintiffs appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, who sided with the citizens in a 7-1 ruling, declaring Colorado’s law unconstitutional.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for the court declaring “the Exoneration Act’s scheme does not comport with the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.”

Ginsburg wrote that Nelson and Madden are “entitled to be presumed innocent” and “should not be saddled with any proof burden” to reclaim what is already theirs. In other words, they shouldn’t have to demonstrate they’re not criminals after the court has already made such a determination. According to Forbes:

Ginsburg forcefully rejected Colorado’s argument that “[t]he presumption of innocence applies only at criminal trials,” and not to civil claims, as under the Exoneration Act:  “Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions.”

The decision, on its surface, may not seem like much but holds promise for putting an end to the much criticized practice of local law enforcement agencies around the country who engage in civil asset forfeiture.

The Free Thought Project has worked diligently to highlight such fiscally abusive practices taking place all around the country. Take for instance rapper Blac Youngsta’s recent run-in with the law back in January.

He was detained by Atlanta police withdrawing $200,000 cash from his bank account. He’d planned to take the money and buy his favorite sports car but police were notified and Youngsta was detained as being a possible bank robbery suspect.

Youngsta and his entourage were apprehended while police pointed their weapons at them. The so-called authorities then put everyone in handcuffs, confiscated their personal weapons, and took half of the rapper’s $200,000 withdrawal saying he could get it back after it was processed as evidence at police headquarters.

In essence, the police seized his money and forced the rapper to reclaim his own funds after proving he was entitled to it. They robbed him. The police shakedown made international news and smacked in the face of common sense, as many were left scratching their heads and asking how police could get away with doing what common street thugs often do, take other people’s money.

Matt Agorist with TFTP reported, from 1998 to 2010, more than 12 billion dollars was raked in from law enforcement at all levels of government. This translated into the government taking away 600 million more dollars than all the robberies and thefts during that same period, making authorities seem more crooked than the individuals they’re trying to arrest.

And the practice isn’t limited to local law enforcement either. As we previously reported, the “DEA seized more than $4 billion in cash from people since 2007, but $3.2 billion of the seizures were never connected to any criminal charges. That figure does not even include the seizure of cars and electronics.”

The Inspector General of the Justice Department concluded their practices constituted a threat to everyone’s civil liberties, and now, apparently, the SCOTUS agrees. Everyone is entitled to due process under the law and are likewise entitled to keeping their assets once they’re found not guilty in criminal court. It’s a good day to be an American. Maybe now law enforcement at all levels will stop such controversial practices.

Jack Burns is an educator, journalist, investigative reporter, and advocate of natural medicine. This article first appeared here at TheFreeThoughtProject.com.

Government Based Racketeering

Congressional Testimony: Dr. Sheila Mannix to Bill Windsor of Lawless America in Chicago, Illinois

Credit Copyright: http://www.lawlessamerica.com/

Funding Fraud in the Courts

Image result for mn state flagThe MN state court system is once again begging for more funding. The judicial branch is seeking a $51.4 million increase over its current funding levels. The bulk of the request ($42 million) would pay salary and benefits for judges and staff.

Chief Justice Gildea stated that “Public safety is jeopardized when we do not have a fully-funded, functioning judiciary.”  No, I think public safety is jeopardized anytime anyone sets foot in a courtroom! Throwing money at a corrupt institution just creates more corruption.

In 2008, a report was written by a committee of judges to show how the judicial branch costs could be reduced by $50 million or more annually-while also increasing judicial efficiency. There were 51 recommended reforms however, few are being implemented.

Minnesota Courts Waste Tens of Millions of Dollars Every Year

Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea MNCCOURTS.GOV

 

MPR News Reporting on state politics and government

Chief Justice makes funding plea for MN courts

Tim PugmireTim Pugmire April 20, 2017

The chief justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court is urging state lawmakers to provide adequate funding for the state court system.

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea testified Thursday during a conference committee hearing, where House and Senate negotiators were working out the differences between their budget bills for judiciary and public safety. She said it was a rare appearance by a chief justice in such a gathering.

Gildea, who is the administrative head of the judicial branch, reminded committee members that the courts are a vital part of the government’s basic functions.

“The judiciary is not a mere state agency,” Gildea said. “The judiciary is a branch of government and it deserves to be funded as such.”

The judicial branch is seeking a $51.4 million increase over its current funding levels. The bulk of the request ($42 million) would pay salary and benefits for judges and staff.

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton included the full amount in his budget proposal. The House and Senate bills provided only partial increases.

Gildea said the judicial branch made a “modest, targeted” request that is needed to process cases in a timely manner and ensure access to justice.

“Public safety is jeopardized when we do not have a fully-funded, functioning judiciary,” she said.

Funding for the courts also came up earlier in the day during a private meeting that included Dayton, House Speaker Kurt Daudt and Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka.

Dayton told reporters that he stressed the importance of funding the chief justice’s full request. He said he hears about the growing demands on the court system every time he interviews candidates for judicial vacancies.

“Every one of them talks about the increased case load in their particular judicial district,” Dayton said.

Daudt, R-Zimmerman, said he appreciates and respects the judicial branch. But Daudt also stressed that he’s trying to keep spending in check.

“We have to decide how to take those resources and spread them across all of state government,” Daudt said. “We have to make decisions and sometimes you have to prioritize. Sometimes it means that people get 75 percent of their request, not 100 percent.”

Gazleka, R-Nisswa, said he was trying to schedule a meeting with Gildea to listen to her concerns.


Instead of granting the chief justice’s request, we need to keep the pressure on to initiate an investigation of criminal acts, due process violations and corruption among judges and legislators in Minnesota.

Read how other states developed teams to crack down on public corruption.

Federal Funding Fraud Underlying the ‘Cottage Industries’

Excerpts Below:

Dr. Sheila Mannix is the Co-Founder of Illinois Family Court Accountability Advocates (IFCAA). She states, “After working these past six years to help stop the apparent State-court based crimes which literally exploit the nation’s children as “commodities” in judicial system “profit centers,” I’ve found that an essential factor is differentiating between, on the one hand, the behaviors of traumatized parents being forced to watch their children irreparably harmed while being retaliated against, defamed, and impoverished and, on the other hand, the irrefutable sociopathic behaviors observed in public officials who have fiduciary obligations to stop that which they are participating in and enabling. I believe Mr. Fitzgerald summed it up best on June 27, 2011 after the solid conviction of ex-governor Blagojevich on 17 counts of federal crimes; he said, “There is legitimate politics. There are gray areas. Selling a Senate seat, shaking down a children’s hospital and squeezing a person to give money before you sign a bill that benefits them is not a gray area. It’s a crime.” Likewise, the evidence indicates that what is going on in the venue provided by the nation’s State courts in which private assets and federal funds can be unlawfully accessed are not “legitimate judicial proceedings” but crime, specifically, apparent violations of Federal funding laws and other Federal civil and criminal laws including alleged racketeering activity among public officials and State court actors.”

In addition to helping provide evidence to state and federal authorities in pursuit of indictments of allegedly corrupt public officials including Mormon judges, Mannix has networked with Virginia citizens as well as Utah citizens, the latter of which have specifically called upon their Mormon GOP state legislators to launch an independent forensic audit of all Federal taxpayers’ dollars coming into the State’s family court-related programs.

“No one will be able to balance any government budget until the public corruption involving hundreds of billions of the nation’s taxpayers’ hard-earned income, which, in part, is literally being using to perpetrate that which the U.S. Congress voted it is to prevent, specifically, child and elder abuse, domestic violence, parental deprivation, and child support avoidance, is stopped once and for all by more criminal investigations, forensic audits, and tough new laws which result in the loss of pensions in entirety and deterrent-based, long-term prison sentences for involved officials acting in positions of public trust. Onward for the children.”


 Bribes and slush funds in the courts.

Let’s Get Honest! Blog

Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family –and “Conciliation” — Courts’ Operations, Practices, and History

Exposing and Prosecuting Judicial Corruption Through Common Law Discovery (1997)

Judicial Corruption

During 2016 blog “house-keeping” action, I re-read this 1997 Interview published in “Antishyster.com” but found posted in “Famguardian.org” (ads show it to be possibly a conservative/libertarian or perhaps even survivalist mag. So what, if the information in article stands on its own two feet?)  about Los Angeles County and a judges association, what happened to the proceeds from MCLE (Continuing Education) classes, and how to find out.  I added some quotes from it.

This interview has been HIGHLY underestimated and STILL valuable information.  If better understood, it would most likely end any questions about the vailidity of the “Broken Courts / Flawed Practices / (now more promoted as “Safe Child” loose coalitions of specific organizations and on-line followers.)

It would “Shine the Light” for real on the presumptions among these groups of the problem being “Judges, Mediators, GALs and Custody Evaluators  JUST don’t understand perps” or “They believe a psychologically unsound “parental alienation theory” and about any other excuse one might make up to exonerate the exceptionally bad custody and divorce (and visitation) decisions being made nationwide. That premise leads to a predictable solution of “we need more trainings.”  But the trainings is where the money is — and apparently, some of it — getting lost.

In my opinion (see this blog for why), it’s less “they just   don’t understand” and more “they just don’t CARE.” What’s more, think about how much any functional, ETHICAL judge already has invested in his or her career, social and professional life (and/or real estate).  If the core operations are corrupt, which this certainly indicates they ARE, to expose it is basically professional humiliation for having participated in the system, or feigned (?) ignorance, and financial destruction of the sort many parents are already familiar with.  I really think it’s up to the common people to, if possible, use “common law” to go get the financial facts and then compare them to the proper use and destination of public buildings (such as courthouses) and funds raised by private associations which may happen to have judicial memberships, or beneficiaries, regardless of WHAT buildings they are in, IF they violate certain laws.

Originally published 1/24/2013. This Post is Sticky (one of 9 sticky posts) meaning, it stays near the top. Current posts show below all sticky posts. Also, I just moved the “Supervised Visitation” section to a separate post (and of course expanded that one) on 6/6/2013.

File this Article under “What a Difference One Person can Make, if that person: Has Guts, Will Obtain Evidence, Look at Evidence, Come to Logical Conclusion regarding Evidence Obtained AND Publicize It! Includes Marv Bryer’s discoveries, especially in the mid- to late 1990s.

Marvin Bryer’s discoveries began when his daughter was involved in a custody battle for her son. Apparently a judge received a bribe to rule against Mr. Bryer’s daughter, and as a result Mr. Bryer discovered a judicial slush fund bank account, and a common law discovery for overcoming judicial immunity.

Right away, we are in the financial category: Bribe, Slush Fund, Bank account, overcoming judicial immunity.   Also in this (fairly short) post:

Another question: What’s the difference between a “Family” court and a “Conciliation” court? And why are so many programs in the courts being pre-planned by membership of a private nonprofit association which (eventually — after people started pestering it to get its own EIN# and quit hiding and evading taxes under the County’s EIN#) called “Association of Family and ConciliationCourts,” which previously was a “Conference of Conciliation Courts”?

Also in this post:

Report From Judges Blasts California Court Bureaucracy By MARIA DINZEO SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – In a sweeping call for reform of the Administrative Office of the Courts, a report from a committee of judges found the agency has been operated as the director’s fiefdom, has strayed far from its original path and has been deceptive about finances and personnel. The judges also criticized the bureaucracy as top-heavy, overpaid and badly organized. Their long-awaited report proposes a drastic reorganization that includes cutting the staff by one-third and moving the agency from its lavish San Francisco headquarters to a cheaper space in Sacramento.

Exposing and Prosecuting Judicial Corruption Through Common Law Discovery

[in ANTISHYSTER http://www.antishyster.com 972-418-8993 Volume 7 No. 4, p. 51ff]

1997 interview with Marv Bryer.
[ I ASK READERS: ] Can you read 7 pages “for the cause”? And think about it?  If Yes, and If given a brief pop-quiz of about 10th grade level on what it’s talking about, how much of the vocabulary or ideas could you remember?

Read the rest of this entry