Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill All The Lawyers

Daisy-Mae Schmitt
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jan 27, 2009

Philip K. Howard is back. The lawyer who loves to hate other lawyers has returned, after a six-year hiatus since his last attorney-bashing book.

In a prominently featured op-ed Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Howard, who practices corporate defense law, cunningly found a way to use President Obama’s inaugural call for a “new era of responsibility” to once again argue forcefully against the value of the rule of law.

The threshold problem for our new president, writes Howard, is that “the growth of litigation and regulation has injected a paralyzing uncertainty into everyday choices.” Law and lawyers, he insists, have turned “Yes We Can” into “No You Can’t.”

Who knew that human motivation could be so broadly and easily quashed by the fear of lawsuits?

Helping that little old lady across the street? No way — she might turn around and sue me.  Patting a child on the back for a job well done? Nuh-uh -– I’m not going to risk getting sued for fondling children. And doctors providing real care for patients?  My god, Howard warns, these days they’re actually ordering medical diagnostic tests just in case not providing a necessary procedure gets them sued and drives up their malpractice insurance payments.

For the past decade, Howard has been distraught about how children can’t play in the playground, teachers can’t teach schoolchildren, doctors can’t treat patients and nobody can provide all the wonderful nurturing help that their true natures would lead them to — if the law would just stop getting in their way.

I can’t help thinking that this all sounds eerily like the attitude of former President George W Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney toward the law when it came to prosecuting their “war on terror.”

United Nations Convention Against Torture? Article III of the Geneva Conventions?  U.S. Constitution?  Those laws have caused too many problems — they’re restricting our ability to torture people. We need our own lawyers, like John Yoo, to write us memos saying we don’t have to follow those inconvenient restrictions; except that those restrictions were designed to protect the legal rights and freedoms — of other people.

Howard is apparently too busy exercising his own personal freedom railing against lawyers to read the business pages, such as those of the Wall Street Journal, which, each day, document in excruciating detail how the government’s utter failure to enforce a range of laws and to regulate large swaths of the financial industry have led to a near-collapse of the global economy. Or to notice the widespread belief and grave concern — among conservatives, no less — that the government’s $700 billion unregulated, no-strings-attached bailout, which was intended to let major American banks and corporations exercise their free choice in spending public money, hasn’t really worked out that well after all.  Citigroup just reportedly spent $50 million of that money on a brand-new corporate jet.

Well, that’s freedom for you.  Or rather, for Citigroup executives.

That’s the problem with the lawyer-bashers. It’s not about the lawyers.  Howard is a lawyer, and presumably, he has no problem with the 500 or so the other corporate defense lawyers he works with at his firm.  (Coincidentally, he’s a partner in the same firm as Attorney General-nominee Eric Holder, who from all indications doesn’t have a problem with law or lawyers.) It’s the law itself that Howard doesn’t like.

But then, if you don’t have law, you just have power.

Daisy-Mae Schmitt | Daisy-Mae is obsessed with inventing new ways to create awesome content that's absurdly useful and successful, with over ten years of editorial and inbound marketing experience. She also serves as a reporter, strategist, interviewer, mentor, and therapist for in-house contributors and clients.


Giffords shooting leads nation to introspection and political finger wagging

In the wake of the shooting in Arizona this weekend that critically injured Rep.

EPA Administrator Addresses Concerns About Oil Spill Waste Management

At a hearing of the national oil spill commission today, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson addressed concerns about waste disposal from

E-Verify Mandate Begins Today

The Obama administration today begins implementation of a new mandate to require all federal contractors to check the legal status of their employees to confirm

EPA administrator defends allowing Florida to write its own water pollution rules

The EPA seal (Pic via The Environmental Protection Agency has come under fire for its decision to allow the state of Florida to write its own water pollution rules (known as “numeric nutrient criteria”). EPA Regional Administrator Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming is now firing back, writing that the Agency commends the state Department of Environmental Protection for its draft of a proposed standard. A host of environmental groups filed suit in 2008, seeking to compel the EPA to implement a strict set of water pollution standards in Florida, arguing that the state was in violation of the Clean Water Act.

EPA administrator fires back at critics in op-ed

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson (Pic by USACEpublicaffairs, via Flickr) EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson penned a new op-ed for the Los Angeles Times , criticizing House Republicans desperately seeking to undermine the authority of the agency they have dubbed a “job killer.” Arguing that the environment affects red states and blue states alike, Jackson writes that “it is time for House Republicans to stop politicizing our air and water.” As head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Jackson has faced harsh criticism from House Republicans and GOP presidential candidates who say the agency’s regulations are an undue burden on businesses that have to cut jobs simply to comply with clean water and air rules. Presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann  has pledged to end the EPA if she takes office. “Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws,” writes Jackson.

EPA administrator says federal nutrient criteria is a ‘myth’

In testimony given late last week, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that false accusations about her agency’s numeric nutrient criteria to govern Florida waterways are proving to be a detriment to their implementation. # Testifying before the House Agriculture Committee, Jackson said her agency’s work was often “mischaracterized” and addressed several myths surrounding its work

EPA announces hold on nutrient standards if Florida can come up with own criteria

The EPA announced today that it is now prepared to withdraw a portion of its proposed numeric nutrient criteria (a set of standards governing water pollution in inland waters) and delay the portion related to estuarine waters, to allow the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop its own criteria. # From a statement released by the EPA earlier today: # EPA recognizes that states have the primary role in establishing and implementing water quality standards for their waters. Therefore, EPA is prepared to withdraw the federal inland standards and delay the estuarine standards if FDEP adopts, and EPA approves, their own protective and scientifically sound numeric standards

EPA Analysis Says Climate Bill’s Cost for Households Would Be ‘Modest’

All the attention on the energy front today is going to the BP spill, but the Environmental Protection Agency quietly released its long-anticipated analysis of

EPA and California Near Deal on Fuel Efficiency Standards

Two weeks ago, the Obama administration raised fuel efficiency standards by an average of two miles per gallon -- a modest change that disappointed some

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.