Saturday, June 4, 2016

Trump's Rise to Imagined Authoritarianism Shows More Lawyers Desperately Needed

Some people insist that America has too many lawyers.  They point to things like a purported massive temporary surplus of new JDs and phone books teeming with schmucks desperate for retainers with that precious fourth digit...


As law professors have tried to explain to the uneducated public, the Rule of Law - in fact, the stability of democratic republican virtue - is directly dependent on the number of lawyers to enforce constitutional values.  In math form:

More Lawyers = Exponentially Better Rule of Law

And yet, despite American law schools trying to meet the nation's legal needs, we are on the brink of disaster.
And, in what was a tipping point for some, he attacked Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the Federal District Court in San Diego, who is overseeing two class actions against Trump University.

Mr. Trump accused the judge of bias, falsely said he was Mexican and seemed to issue a threat.

“They ought to look into Judge Curiel, because what Judge Curiel is doing is a total disgrace,” Mr. Trump said. “O.K.? But we will come back in November. Wouldn’t that be wild if I am president and come back and do a civil case?”

David Post, a retired law professor who now writes for the Volokh Conspiracy, a conservative-leaning law blog, said those comments had crossed a line.

“This is how authoritarianism starts, with a president who does not respect the judiciary,” Mr. Post said. “You can criticize the judicial system, you can criticize individual cases, you can criticize individual judges. But the president has to be clear that the law is the law and that he enforces the law. That is his constitutional obligation.”
Yes, we are on the verge of our Republican nominee for President being a man without respect for the nation's judiciary.  Were Trump a lawyer, some bar association would be giving him the Ministry of Love makeover when the docket next had time.

But he's not.  He's a non-lawyer, and his lack of respect for the Rule of Law and the secured pedestal cage in which we place judges is appalling.

But it was entirely preventable.

Mr. Trump's brash calumnies against the judge handling his civil matter are unpleasant, but instead of whining about authoritarianism and populist critiques of a completely reasonable and laudable application of the judicial system, let's do something about it.

If more lawyers means a greater respect for the Rule of Law, there's only one solution that we know will work to ensure that Trump's view remains a minority one, if not a belief washed from the social picture entirely.  More lawyers.

Sure, we could come up with other solutions, like just not voting for blowhard demagogues who can't even respect a straightforward civil proceeding.  Or, we could take the easier approach and simply enroll more people in law school.

If everyone in Trump's circle - or even Trump himself - had a law degree, there would be more of an understanding of the abhorrence of his conduct.  His outbursts are a symptom of too few lawyers.  This is what we call proof, and it is what wins trials.

At a minimum, this episode should put into perspective the whinging nonsense we hear about 10,000 new lawyers being jobless every year.  Even were that true - and I think we can all agree the employment numbers are bogus, yes? - the temporary hindrances to a few thousand at the start of their careers are worth slightly less than national confidence in the Rule of Law.

Indeed, Hillary Clinton, like many establishment candidates before her, has a closet full of skeletons and an attic's worth of baggage.  But at least she and her fore-bearers respected the Rule of Law sufficiently to evade or manipulate it.  Trump, going after it head-on with cheap slander and media-mode potshots, is an odiousness we can ill afford.

We need more troops in the rank and file.  I don't care if it takes 100,000 or 200,000 law graduates a year, by God we are going to support the Rule of Law against reality show dictators. 

The overwhelming odds are that there is a law school within 100 miles of where you, dear reader, are currently sitting.  Please make a donation or nudge a lemming.  Preferably full price-paying.  Support building law schools where they are desperately needed, in places like New York, Massachusetts, Florida, California.  America needs you now more than ever.


  1. Captain Hruska Carswell, Continuance KingJune 4, 2016 at 2:48 PM

    Just like Kerry forgot POLAND, YOU forgot Illinois. We need at least 6 more law schools. 1. Peoria 2. Rockford 3. Galesberg 4. Danville 5. Springfield 6. Alton. All of those locations are 100 miles or greater from a law school. There are only 97,000 of us. I can't believe you forgot ILLINOIS!!!!

    1. While I can agree that Illinois needs more law schools, all of those locations are within 100 miles of a law school except Galesberg, which is only 109 miles from the University of Iowa.

      I would be remiss if lemmings in the middle of Illinois saw this and were instantly disheartened.

  2. Oh come on! Some judges are just a bit too brazen.

    There is nothing wrong with Trump drawing attention to what he perceives as a biased judge.

  3. Clearly, the threatened rule of law needs cannon fodder, I mean brave front line troops, in the form of vastly expanded law student enrollment. But it must be acknowledged that the patriotic response by our nation's youth has been disappointing, to say the least. Whereas past generations, in times of national crisis, have given the last full measure of devotion, these miserable brats refuse to make the lesser sacrifice of their financial and professional futures.

    We need law school conscription. Every community must host a draft board of distinguished law professors and InfiLaw executives to ensure that every college educated young person able to bear overpriced caselaw books is enlisted in the perilous struggle for rule of law. The gravy train of the scammers, by the scammers, and for the scammers shall not perish.

  4. "The gravy train of the scammers, by the scammers, and for the scammers shall not perish."

    Can we put that to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic"?

    And the Truth Shall be Marching On!