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Even [insert group] deserves a vigorous defense

13

Posts

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    dojango wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Jonathan Adler makes the case better than I can:
    My primary concern is that if it is appropriate to attack law firms and attorneys based upon the identities or positions of their clients, and if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear. While there is little doubt the House could obtain capable representation without King & Spalding or Paul Clement, other groups might not be so fortunate. That is what is ultimately at stake here.

    That whole post is worth a read through, as is his link to commentary by Steve Sanders, former Indiana state coordinator for the Human Rights Campaign from 1998–2002 and a member of the Obama campaign’s national LGBT steering and policy committee.

    Edit: The end is nigh, I've found myself in agreement with the L. A. Times:
    But the suggestion that it's shameful for Clement or his firm to do so misunderstands the adversarial process. For one thing, with sharp-witted counsel on both sides making the strongest possible arguments, it is more likely that justice will be done. For another, a lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible.

    Really? I would say that a law stands or falls on its own merits and validity, regardless of any 'sharp-wittedness' on the part of the lawyer advocating for it.

    Read through the links. Also, we have an adversarial system in part because we're not perfect beings - intelligent counsel matters. Can I assume you probably know this, and you're being contrary?

  • dojangodojango Registered User
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    Spoiler:

    Read through the links. Also, we have an adversarial system in part because we're not perfect beings - intelligent counsel matters. Can I assume you probably know this, and you're being contrary?

    While I do enjoy being contrary, and I have seen lawyers defending indefensible positions for the sake of their clients, since those clients deserve to have their suits shot down in a open and fair manner, there is nothing inherently wrong with the public expressing their disfavor with lawyers who advocate for indefensible or unpopular positions.

  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I'd love to hear what your alternative is, spool.

    Should outside groups not be allowed to exercise first-amendment rights, therefore they can't criticize a lawyer or firm for taking on a certain case or client?

    Should lawyers no longer be allowed to choose what cases they will and won't take?

    There is no viable alternative, the system is working as intended.

    Additionally, the idea that DOMA needs some multi-million dollar lawyer in order to be "represented" so it can be "honestly defeated" is hogwash. There are no multi-million dollar lawyers defending drunk driving or child prostitution or human sacrifice and our society isn't currently suffering some great moral collapse because we didn't "truly" defeat those ideas.

    This is how the marketplace of ideas works. This is not a bug, it is a feature.

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    Edit: The end is nigh, I've found myself in agreement with the L. A. Times:
    But the suggestion that it's shameful for Clement or his firm to do so misunderstands the adversarial process. For one thing, with sharp-witted counsel on both sides making the strongest possible arguments, it is more likely that justice will be done. For another, a lawyer who defends an individual or a law, no matter how unpopular or distasteful, helps ensure that the outcome is viewed as fair. If DOMA is struck down, the fact that it was defended effectively will make the victory for its opponents more credible.

    I find the response by the NCLR to be more well reasoned:
    In the editorial, The Times takes the curious step of extending the familiar maxim that "every person deserves a lawyer" to the more expansive "every position deserves a lawyer." The first is a fundamental right upon which we base our criminal justice system. The other is a fiction that mistakenly seeks to insulate a shortsighted law firm from criticism for its decision to defend a discriminatory law.

    As the editorial correctly points out, there is an honorable tradition of lawyers defending unpopular and controversial clients. Civil liberties organizations, for example, have repeatedly, and admirably, defended plaintiffs whose views they abhor (such as members of the Ku Klux Klan), in order to protect cherished principles like freedom of speech and assembly. In this case, there is no greater good, no cherished larger issue at stake; the only issue contested is discrimination. There is no venerable tradition of lawyers defending laws that single out certain groups for discrimination.

    A private lawyer is under no obligation -- from a state bar, pursuant to ethical rules, or out of respect for the adversarial process -- to defend an indefensible law. Those who choose to defend such a law do so at the peril of their reputations as fair-minded and just advocates.

    steam_sig.png
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    First off, Congress assuming authority in INS v. Chadha was to prevent allowing the Executive to be able to kill laws by electing not to defend them in court. Considering that, it's closer in analogue to Perry, where NOM as an amicus was allowed to assume defense of Proposition 8 when the California executive abdicated their duty as executor of the law. In fact, the current controversy over Perry is a clear indication that - at best - Congress being able to assume authority is an open question.

    As for Adler and Sander's argument, I would say that boat sailed a long fucking time ago, especially considering the decades-long campaigns to demonize groups like the ACLU, NAACP, and even trial lawyers as a profession. Furthermore, the position I think does dishonor to the greats of the legal profession - men like Bryan, Darrow, and Marshall, who fought for unpopular positions and got demonized for it. It's funny that the ACLU is a perennial conservative boogieman, but the moment that a conservative winds up in a similar position, everyone comes out of the woodwork to defend him.

    Edit: Furthermore, I have to agree with the NCLR's take - the ACLU defends white supremacists in order to protect everyone's right to speech. Clement is defending a clearly discriminatory law...for what purpose, exactly? Has he indicated, at all, on what grounds he thinks a valid appeal of the trial court's decision will be based on?

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    Jonathan Adler makes the case better than I can:
    My primary concern is that if it is appropriate to attack law firms and attorneys based upon the identities or positions of their clients, and if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear. While there is little doubt the House could obtain capable representation without King & Spalding or Paul Clement, other groups might not be so fortunate. That is what is ultimately at stake here.

    Well, no. This is just another guy in the parade of (mostly? entirely?) conservatives making an argument along these lines:

    1) Defending a bad person is necessary and just
    2) Some sort of equivalence between people and laws
    3) Therefore, defending a bad law is also necessary and just

    If nobody stands up to defend an unpopular person, then that person risks being unjustly punished. Absolutely nobody is going to be hurt if DOMA gets overturned. The whole point of the law is to discriminate against gay people, and defending it means you are directly advocating for continued discrimination without any secondary effect that mitigates it. Again, this is the difference between defending a pedophile and defending pedophilia itself.

  • dojangodojango Registered User
    edited April 2011
    First off, Congress assuming authority in INS v. Chadha was to prevent allowing the Executive to be able to kill laws by electing not to defend them in court. Considering that, it's closer in analogue to Perry, where NOM as an amicus was allowed to assume defense of Proposition 8 when the California executive abdicated their duty as executor of the law. In fact, the current controversy over Perry is a clear indication that - at best - Congress being able to assume authority is an open question.

    As for Adler and Sander's argument, I would say that boat sailed a long fucking time ago, especially considering the decades-long campaigns to demonize groups like the ACLU, NAACP, and even trial lawyers as a profession. Furthermore, the position I think does dishonor to the greats of the legal profession - men like Bryan, Darrow, and Marshall, who fought for unpopular positions and got demonized for it. It's funny that the ACLU is a perennial conservative boogieman, but the moment that a conservative winds up in a similar position, everyone comes out of the woodwork to defend him.

    Well, NOM clearly shouldn't have had standing in Perry since they suffered no specific legally recognizable harm from the law in question. At least, as I remember the decision in the World Wildlife Federation case. Merely disagreeing with the law doesn't give you standing, you have to suffer a concrete injury, something more specific and personal than "well, I would like my children to be able to see Pandas in the wild". But NOM is a private party, while Congress is not.
    So I think that INS v. Chadha was saying that Congress could step in to defend a law that it passed if the executive branch did not. Because in INS v. Chadha, the law in question was designed to allow Congress to overturn certain immigration decisions made by an executive agency. So although the procedural process is a bit different, the decision in INS allowing them to defend the law is still applicable.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    dojango wrote: »
    First off, Congress assuming authority in INS v. Chadha was to prevent allowing the Executive to be able to kill laws by electing not to defend them in court. Considering that, it's closer in analogue to Perry, where NOM as an amicus was allowed to assume defense of Proposition 8 when the California executive abdicated their duty as executor of the law. In fact, the current controversy over Perry is a clear indication that - at best - Congress being able to assume authority is an open question.

    As for Adler and Sander's argument, I would say that boat sailed a long fucking time ago, especially considering the decades-long campaigns to demonize groups like the ACLU, NAACP, and even trial lawyers as a profession. Furthermore, the position I think does dishonor to the greats of the legal profession - men like Bryan, Darrow, and Marshall, who fought for unpopular positions and got demonized for it. It's funny that the ACLU is a perennial conservative boogieman, but the moment that a conservative winds up in a similar position, everyone comes out of the woodwork to defend him.

    Well, NOM clearly shouldn't have had standing in Perry since they suffered no specific legally recognizable harm from the law in question. At least, as I remember the decision in the World Wildlife Federation case. Merely disagreeing with the law doesn't give you standing, you have to suffer a concrete injury, something more specific and personal than "well, I would like my children to be able to see Pandas in the wild". But NOM is a private party, while Congress is not.
    So I think that INS v. Chadha was saying that Congress could step in to defend a law that it passed if the executive branch did not. Because in INS v. Chadha, the law in question was designed to allow Congress to overturn certain immigration decisions made by an executive agency. So although the procedural process is a bit different, the decision in INS allowing them to defend the law is still applicable.

    I think NOM was allowed to defend because it was the least shitty of a bunch of shitty options - it would have been an even worse precedent to allow a challenged law to go undefended by the executive. The point still stands that in this case, the Executive did defend the law, lost, and has ultimately chosen to not appeal the decision. There's really no ground for Congress to get involved.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I'd love to hear what your alternative is, spool.

    Should outside groups not be allowed to exercise first-amendment rights, therefore they can't criticize a lawyer or firm for taking on a certain case or client?

    Should lawyers no longer be allowed to choose what cases they will and won't take?

    There is no viable alternative, the system is working as intended.

    It seems to me that this system tends to benefit the side with the deepest pockets or the best PR, which is exactly Alder's concern... that by attacking K&S we're kicking the legs out from under the argument against attacking the ACLU. I'm not sure that's a good place to go. It's true that this sort of thing happens to the ACLU a lot, not to mention FIRE and the EFF and others.

    That doesn't make it right, and a race to the bottom helps no one, which brings me to my alternative - some measure of restraint. That you can do something does not mean you should do it!

    I have to sigh at the passive construction in those questions of yours, partly because they hide the paternalistic, statist assumption under them. Why must the opposite of a person doing some undesirable thing be an unspoken 'they' forcing the person to behave? Not only that, you're setting up straw men here. My objection is not to K&S changing its mind, nor is it to outside groups exercising 1st amendment rights (which you damned well knew, but you're being obtuse) - my objection is to a campaign of financial harm as blackmail to force K&S to back off their decision. This is the line I think we shouldn't have crossed, and no I'm not advocating legal restrictions on crossing it again... I'm saying we shouldn't have, and more's the pity because the escalation may have consequences none of us like.

    And yes, so far as I'm aware it is an escalation - if there are conservative groups who attempt to cause the ACLU financial harm by intimidating its donors, I've never heard of them. I'm likewise unaware of any college campus where an official has casually mentioned he'd be willing to entertain a ban on their recruitment activities.

    This is why I find the NCLR's argument less than compelling, but in fairness it was written 3 days ago, before K&S backed out.

    ----

    Side question - Angel disagrees with Wikipedia's entry on DOMA. It claims that the DoJ did file an appeal in October of last year... can they withdraw it? Have they? Is that even allowed? I assume there's some sort of filing deadline for saying "nevermind" but I have no idea how this part of the procedure works.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Eh, they obviously made the calculation that it's worth more to them not to have a reputation of defending a bigoted law, and trying obfuscate the checks and balances of government even more.

    NCLR's reasoning has nothing to do with funding of the legal organizations.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • DeebaserDeebaser Alpha Teemo Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    That you can do something does not mean you should do it!

    I would more correctly apply this argument to other aspects of this situation:

    Just because the DoJ can appeal a federal court ruling to heavily tax a widow, doesn't mean they should appeal a federal court ruling.

    OR

    Just because the majority in the house (apparently) can hire external counsel at taxpayer expense to perform an end run around the executive, doesn't mean they should spend a few hundred thousand dollars to try and tax a widow's estate at a loss.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Tenek wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Jonathan Adler makes the case better than I can:
    My primary concern is that if it is appropriate to attack law firms and attorneys based upon the identities or positions of their clients, and if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear. While there is little doubt the House could obtain capable representation without King & Spalding or Paul Clement, other groups might not be so fortunate. That is what is ultimately at stake here.

    Well, no. This is just another guy in the parade of (mostly? entirely?) conservatives making an argument along these lines:

    1) Defending a bad person is necessary and just
    2) Some sort of equivalence between people and laws
    3) Therefore, defending a bad law is also necessary and just

    If nobody stands up to defend an unpopular person, then that person risks being unjustly punished. Absolutely nobody is going to be hurt if DOMA gets overturned. The whole point of the law is to discriminate against gay people, and defending it means you are directly advocating for continued discrimination without any secondary effect that mitigates it. Again, this is the difference between defending a pedophile and defending pedophilia itself.

    Your analogy is bad, because there are not tens of millions of people who believe pedophilia is proper behavior. This might be a settled question in our minds, but ours isn't the dominant opinion - ABC and the Washington post put the support number at 53% back in March. They consider that a "record high" number.

    It's not settled in the public mind, and a strong defense of DOMA that leaves no reasonable angle unexplored at the end is the best way to end the discussion. As I said in the beginning, it's not a victory if the other side fails to show up.

  • FencingsaxFencingsax Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    For some reason, it sounds similar to the reasoning that corporations deserve individual's rights, and it seems bullshit to me.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    First off, it is not "blackmail" to exert financial pressure on K&S to change their mind. To say so is to basically state that K&S somehow have a right to the money of others.

    Second, there is a vast difference between defending a man (which is what the ACLU does) and defending an idea (which is what Clement is doing.) The ACLU upholds the rights of individuals, even if they then use those rights to spew some of the most noxious rhetoric ever. But, as I'm sure you can agree, not every idea merits defending. Clement has chosen to defend discrimination - that choice is on his head.

    (Oh, and FIRE? They're pretty much a conservative astroturf organization. When one of your big wins is defending a professor who put a racist as fuck question on his exam, you are doing it wrong.)

    Third, if you don't think the constant demonization of the ACLU has affected their ability to raise funds, well...I have a bridge I'd like to unload cheap.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    First off, it is not "blackmail" to exert financial pressure on K&S to change their mind. To say so is to basically state that K&S somehow have a right to the money of others.

    Second, there is a vast difference between defending a man (which is what the ACLU does) and defending an idea (which is what Clement is doing.) The ACLU upholds the rights of individuals, even if they then use those rights to spew some of the most noxious rhetoric ever. But, as I'm sure you can agree, not every idea merits defending. Clement has chosen to defend discrimination - that choice is on his head.

    Third, if you don't think the constant demonization of the ACLU has affected their ability to raise funds, well...I have a bridge I'd like to unload cheap.

    I'll be interested to hear what Clement says about the case after it's over. I do agree that not every idea merits a vigorous defense but it seems to me he's defending a law, not an idea, and more to the point he's arguing that a previous judge got the law wrong in his decision. Weren't you at pains to suggest I didn't understand this very thing earlier? What changed? Anyhow, that's a couple of steps away from defending discrimination, and it seems pretty hyperbolic to accuse him of it.

    You'll have to source these problems with ACLU funding due to demonization by conservative groups. I'm more likely to buy a bridge off you than I am to accept any assertion of fact you care to make.

  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    That doesn't make it right, and a race to the bottom helps no one, which brings me to my alternative - some measure of restraint. That you can do something does not mean you should do it!

    It sort of does.

    Barring some compelling reason to avoid in exercising their first amendment rights, any political group is within their rights to discourage or boycott activities they dislike.

    If you say "well other people do it to the ACLU but you shouldn't because you're better!" that's not really a compelling argument. There's nothing inherently immoral about exercising your rights in this manner, and if you believe that free marriage for all sexualities is ethically important there's a significant argument that failing to utilize the pressure you can bring would be immoral. People donate money to gay-rights groups because they want gay rights to be a successful political issue. If people were concerned that homosexuals are being too mean to law firms, they could form a political action group called "Concerned Citizens Against Homosexuals Being So Mean to Lawfirms Who Represent Laws That Discriminate Against Homosexuals." Then people could donate money to that group if they wanted and they could attempt to enact and support their own agenda.

    Marketplace of ideas. Working as intended.
    I have to sigh at the passive construction in those questions of yours, partly because they hide the paternalistic, statist assumption under them.

    I'm so glad you found a dictionary and simultaneously discovered an ability to be passive aggressive. Whether a statement is paternalistic or statist is irrelevant, particularly because you immediately fail to identify why these traits are bad (so there's no argument presented to support your complaints) while simultaneously refusing to provide anything resembling evidence as to what specific statements or arguments are "paternalistic" or "statist," combined with a (likely intentionally) vague definition of what those traits even mean within this dialogue, you're essentially communicating absolute nonsense.

    If you want to provide some context to make your remarks resemble something meaningful, please do so.
    Why must the opposite of a person doing some undesirable thing be an unspoken 'they' forcing the person to behave?

    How exactly do you intend to enforce this rule otherwise? Wag your finger at all the naughty homosexuals being so mean to the law firm? Perhaps we should give a stern talking to to any fascists who oppose the ACLU? "How dare you act in a totally legal manner that I personally find to be insufficiently civil. GOOD DAY TO YOU SIRRAH! GOOD DAY!"

    That and $5 will get you a $5 cup of coffee.
    Not only that, you're setting up straw men here.

    Asking you to provide a meaningful alternative to the scenario you are arguing agaisnt is not a straw man. I'm asking you to provide an alternative. I'm refusing to provide one for you. That's actually kind of an anti-strawman.
    My objection is not to K&S changing its mind, nor is it to outside groups exercising 1st amendment rights (which you damned well knew, but you're being obtuse)

    I don't really care what your objection is unless you're capable of providing a meaningful alternative. "Outside groups are mean!" is not a meaningful position in this context.
    - my objection is to a campaign of financial harm as blackmail to force K&S to back off their decision.

    Boycotts are not financial blackmail. I should not need to tell you this explicitly, but here we are.
    This is the line I think we shouldn't have crossed, and no I'm not advocating legal restrictions on crossing it again... I'm saying we shouldn't have, and more's the pity because the escalation may have consequences none of us like.

    You don't have any criteria for why we "should not" cross this line. Why shouldn't a political organization created specifically to exert pressure in favor of gay rights do just that? If you donate $100 to the "elect John McCain fund," you want that $100 to go to electing John McCain, not $100 towards asking Fox News to be more honest.

    You've continually failed to provide any reason for any of these outside political groups to act in the manner you desire. Its not within their goals. It isn't within their mission. They gain nothing by doing so, and even if there was some implicit moral "rightness" to never actually pressuring a business to change a practice you disagree with (not a position I am willing to concede, but let's pretend for this brief moment), there's no indication that disarmament by, say, the GLBT coalitions will do anything to protect the ACLU.

    There's no evidence in any of your arguments that "escalation" will happen or any escalation will be changed by the participation of these presumably mean GLBT groups. Are we to believe that this is the first time a political group has ever placed pressure on a law firm to drop a client? Was this some kind of new and novel thing, previously impossible to consider? But now that some angry gay liberals have been mean to a law firm, the floodgates are open whereas they were previously closed...... why?
    And yes, so far as I'm aware it is an escalation - if there are conservative groups who attempt to cause the ACLU financial harm by intimidating its donors, I've never heard of them.

    This is the second time you've used the term "intimidation." This is a painfully inaccurate term, and I once again ask if you would like to pass a law preventing these groups from exercising their first amendment rights. If yes, please tell me how you would like this law to function. If no, please explain why you believe this intimidation should be allowed.

    I'm not interested in getting into a tit-for-tat about "Liberals are SO MUCH MEANER THAN CONSERVATIVES LOOK AT HOW MEAN THEY ARE TO LAW FIRMS!" That's nonsense and I'd like to believe beneath these boards. If for some reason you actually believe that the idea of pressuring a law firm is new and exciting, you are welcome to send a thank you note to whatever group you're blaming this on for thinking of something so completely unheard of:

    Lobbying for a political outcome. Unheard of.

    Two goats enter, one car leaves
  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    Tenek wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    Jonathan Adler makes the case better than I can:
    My primary concern is that if it is appropriate to attack law firms and attorneys based upon the identities or positions of their clients, and if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear. While there is little doubt the House could obtain capable representation without King & Spalding or Paul Clement, other groups might not be so fortunate. That is what is ultimately at stake here.

    Well, no. This is just another guy in the parade of (mostly? entirely?) conservatives making an argument along these lines:

    1) Defending a bad person is necessary and just
    2) Some sort of equivalence between people and laws
    3) Therefore, defending a bad law is also necessary and just

    If nobody stands up to defend an unpopular person, then that person risks being unjustly punished. Absolutely nobody is going to be hurt if DOMA gets overturned. The whole point of the law is to discriminate against gay people, and defending it means you are directly advocating for continued discrimination without any secondary effect that mitigates it. Again, this is the difference between defending a pedophile and defending pedophilia itself.

    Your analogy is bad, because there are not tens of millions of people who believe pedophilia is proper behavior. This might be a settled question in our minds, but ours isn't the dominant opinion - ABC and the Washington post put the support number at 53% back in March. They consider that a "record high" number.

    It's not settled in the public mind, and a strong defense of DOMA that leaves no reasonable angle unexplored at the end is the best way to end the discussion. As I said in the beginning, it's not a victory if the other side fails to show up.

    There are millions of people who support pretty much any position. Sometimes you have to leave the country to find most of them, but they still exist. A large chunk of homophobia is going to go away when the people who have it die, regardless of any court decision.

    That said, the question of whether I personally think it's a bad idea to defend a law is a function of whether I personally think it's a bad law, not whether other people agree with me. I'm certainly under no illusion that opposition to gay marriage is going to melt away once it's overturned by SCOTUS. I want to see DOMA killed and if nobody can be bothered to defend it, so much the better. If the other side fails to show up, it's still a victory. If you lose, it's most certainly not a victory.

  • BubbaTBubbaT Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    It seems to me that this system tends to benefit the side with the deepest pockets or the best PR, which is exactly Alder's concern... that by attacking K&S we're kicking the legs out from under the argument against attacking the ACLU. I'm not sure that's a good place to go. It's true that this sort of thing happens to the ACLU a lot, not to mention FIRE and the EFF and others.

    If the extent of K&S's conviction is "is it profitable?", then how vigorous a defense of DOMA would they have provided to begin with?

    Those other groups you mention actually believe in the cases they take. They're pressured, financially and socially, all the time as a result of their convictions, but they keep at it anyways because they believe.

    K&S doesn't believe in DOMA, they were just going through the motions to collect a paycheck. If they actually believed, they'd still be on the case.

  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Backing out because you think it's unpopular: not really ballsy, but whatever. They are fully able to do so, there is no law saying that a private legal company is required to defend a group. May be shitty, but the company is free to put their reputation on the line by taking and then dropping cases. If they do it often or for poor reasons, they'll lose business. If they do it for good reasons, they'll probably gain business.

    Backing out because you think it's illegal? I'm actually okay with this. If you sat down, looked at all the angles and went "nope, this case should flat out fail and has no legal leg to stand on", and dropped your client? Totally cool. I wish more law firms would sit down with clients and go "so yeah, as much as you think this is a good idea, we're not willing to sit around and fight out a case with no actual legal ground to continue. At this point, it's just harassment."

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    There's no need to be condescending, especially when it's apparent you haven't read any of the half-dozen or so links I offered, or else just disregarded them.


    spool32 wrote: »
    That doesn't make it right, and a race to the bottom helps no one, which brings me to my alternative - some measure of restraint. That you can do something does not mean you should do it!

    It sort of does.

    Barring some compelling reason to avoid in exercising their first amendment rights, any political group is within their rights to discourage or boycott activities they dislike.

    It sort of doesn't. You went right back to whether it's within their rights, which no one is arguing about...

    If you say "well other people do it to the ACLU but you shouldn't because you're better!" that's not really a compelling argument. There's nothing inherently immoral about exercising your rights in this manner, and if you believe that free marriage for all sexualities is ethically important there's a significant argument that failing to utilize the pressure you can bring would be immoral.

    This is #10 from the playbook, ethics section: "'You do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments." I don't agree with that view of means and ends, and I think the confrontational orientation is ultimately destructive to all sides.

    I'd like to hear the "significant argument" you didn't put forth - Clement spoke to that idea a couple of times in his resignation letter, saying in part: "defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do. The adversary system of justice depends on it, especially in cases where the passions run high. Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law.”. That's the line, and it's one Sanders agreed with (links back on pg4) when weighing the moral and ethical issues.

    But again, you're conflating "it is allowed" with "it should be done". Yes, delegitimizing representation is allowed. Whether pressure groups should engage in the tactic is a different question.
    People donate money to gay-rights groups because they want gay rights to be a successful political issue.
    Do they want gay rights to be a successful political issue by any means necessary? My disagreement with the tactics is part of the marketplace of ideas as well - I agree with HRC's goals but believe they went too far, and others agree. That you disagree doesn't make the opinion illegitimate.
    I have to sigh at the passive construction in those questions of yours, partly because they hide the paternalistic, statist assumption under them.

    I'm so glad you found a dictionary and simultaneously discovered an ability to be passive aggressive. Whether a statement is paternalistic or statist is irrelevant, particularly because you immediately fail to identify why these traits are bad (so there's no argument presented to support your complaints) while simultaneously refusing to provide anything resembling evidence as to what specific statements or arguments are "paternalistic" or "statist," combined with a (likely intentionally) vague definition of what those traits even mean within this dialogue, you're essentially communicating absolute nonsense.
    Highlighted where I indicated the specific statements. Also I handily quoted them for you. Don't let that stop you from mounting the high horse, though! You do it so well.
    Why must the opposite of a person doing some undesirable thing be an unspoken 'they' forcing the person to behave?

    How exactly do you intend to enforce this rule otherwise? Wag your finger at all the naughty homosexuals being so mean to the law firm? Perhaps we should give a stern talking to to any fascists who oppose the ACLU? "How dare you act in a totally legal manner that I personally find to be insufficiently civil. GOOD DAY TO YOU SIRRAH! GOOD DAY!"
    This is # 5 from the playbook (power tactics section). It's like you don't just disagree, but you want to mock me into silence! So much for the marketplace of ideas... but mentioning that was just #4 from the playbook anyway.

    I don't intend to enforce, and don't suggest it's a rule. I think HRC crossed a line twice, I wish they hadn't, and I think it's damaging both to their cause and, as Adler suggested (links on pg4), bad for other less powerful groups than the US Congress: "...if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear."

    Imagining that I was talking about 'enforcing' a 'rule' was...
    Not only that, you're setting up straw men here.

    Asking you to provide a meaningful alternative to the scenario you are arguing agaisnt is not a straw man. I'm asking you to provide an alternative. I'm refusing to provide one for you. That's actually kind of an anti-strawman.
    ... where I might have been vague. The strawman is contained in the implied enforcement by unnamed authorities you buried in your questions, enforcement I never implied or advocated. To address the anti-strawman comment, what you're doing is assuming I don't know #12 from the playbook, and I certainly should've paid some attention to it.
    My objection is not to K&S changing its mind, nor is it to outside groups exercising 1st amendment rights (which you damned well knew, but you're being obtuse)

    I don't really care what your objection is unless you're capable of providing a meaningful alternative. "Outside groups are mean!" is not a meaningful position in this context.
    Ridicule again. It's a favorite of yours!

    I don't have to meet your test for "meaningful", especially when it'll be impossible to do. Even more especially when you don't care about my objection! More and more I wonder if your goal here is not to engage, but to shut me up.

    My alternative is to be default-nice in this prisoner's dilemma. It's a winning strategy in the long term!
    - my objection is to a campaign of financial harm as blackmail to force K&S to back off their decision.

    Boycotts are not financial blackmail. I should not need to tell you this explicitly, but here we are.
    You do care! I guess we can continue.
    The HRC is not only organizing a boycott by law students - they are sending "Informational letters to the firm’s clients and organizations to which they have made charitable contributions informing them of K&S’s decision to promote discrimination". That's a nice euphemism, isn't it? An informational letter, to the firm's clients. It's not quite a horse's head under the covers, but I'm sure the clients will get the message.

    Maybe it's more extortion than blackmail... do what I say or I'll ruin your business. This is different from a boycott, and the target is clearly different from a corporation. At the very least it's intimidation tactics, and while you might be OK with that, when it comes to legal council arguing an unpopular position in a court of law I'm not.
    This is the line I think we shouldn't have crossed, and no I'm not advocating legal restrictions on crossing it again... I'm saying we shouldn't have, and more's the pity because the escalation may have consequences none of us like.

    You don't have any criteria for why we "should not" cross this line.
    And thus my comment at the top. Did you skip over the OP? Clement's resignation letter, the comments by Alder & Sanders, the LAT op-ed?

    There's no evidence in any of your arguments that "escalation" will happen or any escalation will be changed by the participation of these presumably mean GLBT groups. Are we to believe that this is the first time a political group has ever placed pressure on a law firm to drop a client? Was this some kind of new and novel thing, previously impossible to consider? But now that some angry gay liberals have been mean to a law firm, the floodgates are open whereas they were previously closed...... why?
    Adler provides a couple of examples, where outside groups have pressured K&S in the past to drop defense of Guantanamo detainees. Here and here. It was wrong then, and they rightly held the line against the intimidation. That the HRC was more successful doesn't make them more right... unless you agree with #7 from the playbook (ethics section). I don't.

    And yes, so far as I'm aware it is an escalation - if there are conservative groups who attempt to cause the ACLU financial harm by intimidating its donors, I've never heard of them.

    This is the second time you've used the term "intimidation." This is a painfully inaccurate term, and I once again ask if you would like to pass a law preventing these groups from exercising their first amendment rights. If yes, please tell me how you would like this law to function. If no, please explain why you believe this intimidation should be allowed
    False dichotomy.
    Intimidation is the kindest term for HRC's effort, and possessing the right to do something is no argument for whether or not it should be done.

    I'm not interested in getting into a tit-for-tat about "Liberals are SO MUCH MEANER THAN CONSERVATIVES LOOK AT HOW MEAN THEY ARE TO LAW FIRMS!" That's nonsense and I'd like to believe beneath these boards.
    I hope so too. I'm glad you're not interested though - neither am I, which is why I never said, or implied, any such thing.

  • hanskeyhanskey Registered User
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    I do agree that not every idea merits a vigorous defense but it seems to me he's defending a law, not an idea, and more to the point he's arguing that a previous judge got the law wrong in his decision. Weren't you at pains to suggest I didn't understand this very thing earlier? What changed? Anyhow, that's a couple of steps away from defending discrimination, and it seems pretty hyperbolic to accuse him of it.
    What do you mean here?

    It seems to me that defending DOMA is actually defending discrimination, but maybe that's not what you were getting at since you've been getting a bit piled on. I'm not sure that he actually got a chance to defend DOMA in court, so maybe that's what you referring to?

    I'm not sure I'm in love with some of the tactics, in the sense that I wouldn't want them leveled at me, but our politics has become such a caricature of democracy that I'm not really finding I care all that much and I see little harm done in this controversy by pro-gay rights forces compared to the harm done by anti-gay forces.

    I personally would love it if the high road got results, but that's not our political reality. So, I don't mind when a oppressed and reviled minority decides to play hardball to get justice.

    Unfortunately, I'm also aware of some of the truly crazy anti-gay videos and literature out there that claim that any movement toward legal equality for homosexuals is an attack by a vast gay conspiracy to pervert the young to their sinful ways. While most reasonable people will find this ridiculous, alarming numbers of Americans are gulled by this bullshit and then primed to attack this minority as soon as there is any movement towards openness about people's other-than-heterosexuality, or any visible homosexual presence. This has resulted in it being literally unsafe in many American communities to even come out of the closet, because death-threats still are issued and assault against known homosexuals still occurs at alarming rates, and that doesn't even factor in the verbal and psychological abuse hurled upon them particularly in the public schools.

    I bring this up because I do worry that strong action against DOMA and this law firm, which I believe are perfectly justified, will most likely have the unfortunate effect of strengthening the backlash movement inspired by the crazy Christian conspiracy theorists because people are not rational about this issue.

    In fairness, I'm not sure that anything promoting the equality of homosexuals will ever FAIL to incite backlash from ignorant homophobes, so maybe that's not really an important consideration.

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote: »
    I'd like to hear the "significant argument" you didn't put forth - Clement spoke to that idea a couple of times in his resignation letter, saying in part: "defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do. The adversary system of justice depends on it, especially in cases where the passions run high. Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law.”. That's the line, and it's one Sanders agreed with (links back on pg4) when weighing the moral and ethical issues..

    Only if by "agreed with" you mean, "Sanders clothed himself in the mantle of The Lawyers' Duty to the Oppressed to justify keeping his $550-per-hour client when his firm didn't want to keep them."

    I mean, please. Sanders is not a Legal Aid attorney. He was not representing the pro-DOMA groups pro bono or helping them because they couldn't get anyone else to help them. He was a corporate lawyer working for a big corporate law firm for big corporate and government clients. He got business from the House of Representatives as part of his 'book of business' and, apparently, nobody at his firm noticed it was a big controversial issue. They decided they didn't want this particular big, controversial issue and Clement chose to leave and take it with him to another, equally white-shoe law firm.

    So, gee, looks like DOMA backers are going to have their fancy-ass law firm after all; it's just that Firm A decided, for whatever reason (possibly just that Sanders didn't bother to check with his partners before taking the case) didn't want it, and Firm B picked the case up. This happens ALL THE TIME in legal cases.

    If DOMA opponents were issuing death threats to K&S partners, that'd be one thing. They're not.

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Harrisonburg, VARegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If boycotts are blackmail and extortion, should they be illegal?

    Still waiting for a response on this. You call it intimidation, blackmail, and extortion but refuse to say if you think it should be illegal or not.

    Here let me bold it for you:

    Should blackmail, intimidation, and extortion be legal?

    I don't intend to enforce, and don't suggest it's a rule. I think HRC crossed a line twice, I wish they hadn't, and I think it's damaging both to their cause and, as Adler suggested (links on pg4), bad for other less powerful groups than the US Congress: "...if major law firms can be dissuaded from maintaining representation of unpopular clients or causes, then those groups which are truly “marginalized” have the most to fear."

    But this is true regardless of what HRC does. Whatever nightmare bogeyman you're constructing will still attempt to persuade firms and businesses to act how they want.

    If what HRC is doing is wrong on its own you need to make that argument. Not this slippery slope "if HRC does this BEFORE YOU KNOW IT NAZIS WILL BE PRESSURING LAW FIRMS AND THEN WHAT HUH?"

    If what HRC is doing somehow causes other groups to follow suit, you need to provide evidence of that causation.

    If systematically these actions will undermine our legal democracy, you need to advocate for a legal solution.

    "HRC is being mean" is not a convincing argument, nor is "what they're doing is mean and I don't like it." "Other people will do it too" is true regardless of what HRC does. The Racist Nazi Dog-Kicking Party That Hates Rainbows will still attempt to pressure law firms and businesses to support their anti-rainbow agenda, regardless of what HRC does.
    I'd like to hear the "significant argument" you didn't put forth

    If you're a group that supports gay rights, you think gay rights are important. Taking actions that help gay rights are good. Companies and firms that hurt gay rights are bad. I guess "simple" may be more accurate than "significant."

    You haven't provided evidence that boycotts undermine our legal system, so its perfectly logical for a gay rights advocate to say "boycott causes no ethical harm and promotes an ethical good, therefore it is good."

    If you want to assume that boycotts cause some ethical harm, you could still reach the conclusion that the ethical benefits of the boycott outweigh any faults.

    On an unrelated note, I don't care about this playbook you're referencing and do not see how it is valid.

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool32 wrote:
    Intimidation is the kindest term for HRC's effort
    Cite, please.

    Carrot.....that's an opinion not a statement of fact.....

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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    "Intimidation" is a pretty strong and loaded term. It's also a bit ridiculous. K&S is a huge corporate law firm; are we supposed to believe it's afraid of HRC? Nobody except the Homosexual Agenda Conspiracy Theory Of The Month Club believes gays have that much political power.

    This is a case where a wing of the government asked a BigLaw firm to represent it in defending a popular law from challenge by interest groups. A partner at that law firm is personally invested in the case. On reviewing, the law firm decided it would ask the court to permit it to withdraw so that some other law firm could take over. The partner representing them resigned and got a job at another BigLaw firm, which will now step in.

    If this is "intimidation" by HRC, they sure did a shitty job.

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  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    mythago wrote: »
    "Intimidation" is a pretty strong and loaded term. It's also a bit ridiculous.

    "Intimidation, extortion, and blackmail" are all incredibly ridiculous terms to use in this situation, but here we are. If Spool thinks what HRC is doing is blackmail, extortion, and intimidation, he can argue that point but it makes it very hard to take anything he writes seriously.

    Truthfully, it is painfully obvious that those terms are grossly inappropriate and Spool is only using them because they're "bad terms" and "HRC is bad." However, until he either defends his choice of terminology or changes it, I think its fair game to point out how ridiculous it is.

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  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    spool also doesn't seem to understand that in the Guantanamo detainee cases, it was government representatives applying pressure to these law firms to drop their representation. If Americans Against Arabs had been telling those firms 'stop this or our money goes elsewhere' that would have been very different.

    Nor does he understand the difference between criticizing the methods (boycott) and the motives behind the boycott. If the Southern Baptists boycott Disneyland, I can say they're silly geese for doing so, but that doesn't mean they are engaging in "intimidation" or that the boycott is per se illegitimate.

    I mean, setting aside the silly comparison between "House of Representatives paying five hundred smackers an hour" and "foreign internees being represented pro bono" in terms of ability to secure alternate help.

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  • OptimusZedOptimusZed Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Isn't an organized boycott basically the most idealistically legitimate use of capitalism imaginable?

    When you go back to the philosophical roots to the sort of utopian economic democracy idea that capitalism was built on, the boycott is basically the way the entire system was supposed to be weeding out undesirable elements.

    To call that sort of thing "intimidation" or a "pogrom" is basically saying that unregulated capitalism is a force for evil.

    TL;DR: Apparently Spool and I actually agree on something.

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  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Lots of substance to comment on, but it'll have to wait for the evening.

    But a factual correction:
    mythago wrote: »
    spool32 wrote: »
    I'd like to hear the "significant argument" you didn't put forth - Clement spoke to that idea a couple of times in his resignation letter, saying in part: "defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do. The adversary system of justice depends on it, especially in cases where the passions run high. Efforts to delegitimize any representation for one side of a legal controversy are a profound threat to the rule of law.”. That's the line, and it's one Sanders agreed with (links back on pg4) when weighing the moral and ethical issues..

    Only if by "agreed with" you mean, "Sanders clothed himself in the mantle of The Lawyers' Duty to the Oppressed to justify keeping his $550-per-hour client when his firm didn't want to keep them."

    I mean, please. Sanders is not a Legal Aid attorney. He was not representing the pro-DOMA groups pro bono or helping them because they couldn't get anyone else to help them...

    They decided they didn't want this particular big, controversial issue and Clement chose to leave and take it with him to another, equally white-shoe law firm.
    Sanders and Clement are different people. Scroll back for Sanders's credentials - it's at least partly significant that he agreed with Clement, given his history.

    I guess lots of people don't read links when they've got the bit in their teeth.

    Optimus: That's pretty strained, but I lol'd. ;-)

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I've been reading the news in the legal press on the story, actually. I find it's a more in-depth and accurate source of information than "some guy on the Internet".

    Indeed, I should have typed 'Clement' rather than 'Sanders', but it really changes nothing; this is a case of an arm of the United States government hiring a high-paid lawyer, who apparently didn't run it by his firm properly before jumping in with both feet. Because he's an advocate, he claims that his client is the righteous victim. That's OK; it's his job. What I don't understand is why you're falling for that line.

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  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If boycotts are intimidation, then MLK was a terrorist. We all know that's a stupid concept, so let's all agree that boycotts are NOT intimidation.

    I'm not sure why the conversation didn't stop at 'People deserve equal protection under the law. Ideas don't.' This isn't a person being intimidated, it's an outdated law that people don't want to be seen defending. In terms of the progress of society and the US body of laws, isn't that how unpopular laws are left to die?

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    ETA: As for the Sanders article, spool, it doesn't quite mean what you'd like us to think it means.

    The main point of his blog post is that we shouldn't assume Clement is a homophobe, but that he may be defending some other legal principle by his advocacy. He adds, almost as an aside, that he agrees we should not demonize lawyers for having unpopular clients.

    But he also supports King & Spalding's side of the story, which you derided as lame bullshit:
    In a partnership like K&S, a partner of Clement's stature ordinarily has a great deal of latitude over the matters and clients he chooses to accept. Although apparently that process somehow broke down in this instance, my guess is that Clement -- who would naturally gravitate to a high-risk, high-profile case, and who has vast experience defending Republican policies before federal courts -- took the DOMA cases for their professional and intellectual challenges and rewards, not because he is some sort of right-wing true believer.

    In other words, Clement is a big shot who can pick and choose his own cases, and apparently didn't quite run this by his firm to make sure everybody was in agreement about representing the House of Representatives in defending DOMA. And, indeed, when K&S balked, Clement did what lawyers do every day: took his book of business to a different firm.

    For-profit law firms are businesses. That means they look at other things besides the Moral Rightness of the Client or the legal principle to be vindicated in deciding "do we want to accept this case?"

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  • dojangodojango Registered User
    edited April 2011
    mythago wrote: »
    I've been reading the news in the legal press on the story, actually. I find it's a more in-depth and accurate source of information than "some guy on the Internet".

    Indeed, I should have typed 'Clement' rather than 'Sanders', but it really changes nothing; this is a case of an arm of the United States government hiring a high-paid lawyer, who apparently didn't run it by his firm properly before jumping in with both feet. Because he's an advocate, he claims that his client is the righteous victim. That's OK; it's his job. What I don't understand is why you're falling for that line.

    Actually, he (the high priced lawyer) seems to be claiming that he's the righteous victim, not the client. Which isn't really his job, unless it advances the interest of the client. Which it sort of does, I suppose. But it also is a good boost to the ol' ego.

    And yeah, we shouldn't be falling for that line.

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Good point, but I assume he's doing it to try to drum up sympathy and make it look like the Big Bad Gays scared his law firm into, probably for the first time ever, taking a moral stance.

    Because otherwise somebody might notice that his client is a branch of the Congress, hardly a disempowered group, and that apparently when you work for a law firm, they like to have a little say about what clients you slap their name on. ("Are we going to make money on this case? Is this going to help or hurt our profits?" is about as moral as most law firms get.)

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  • dojangodojango Registered User
    edited April 2011
    yeah. There's this book, "the Long Goodbye" (not the Chandler one) about a lawyer who spent several years working on a controversial, high-profile pro bono case. And repeatedly he had to run things by his law firm to see if they were cool with having one of their lawyers spend all his time on the case. (They were, since it gave them the cachet of having a lawyer on staff who argued in front of the Supreme Court. Until he took his cachet and found a better law firm to work for).

    So yeah, it seems believable that the law firm likes to have a say in what its lawyers are doing, even if they are making $550 an hour.

  • mythagomythago Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Well sure. The law firm name is going to be associated with the case. Also, nobody likes ugly surprises.

    Since spool asks "what it it were on the other foot", imagine that the firm of Whitebread & Asshole had a large client base of conservative organizations and touted its regular donations to the Federalist Society and Right-to-Life. Senate Democrats hire a Smith, hotshot partner from W&A, to lead their defense of Obama's health plan. Smith doesn't really vet this with his W&A partners first. When the news hits, the Tea Party makes it clear that they do not approve and that they will encourage fellow conservatives to take their business to places other than W&A. Smith then leaves W&A to go work for Ben, Jerry & Garcia, a liberal BigLaw firm that is happy to have his case..

    There is nothing wrong in this scenario. W&A is entitled to have whatever clients it wants, to avoid taking cases that do not fit with its firm's mission, and to decide not to take on cases that will damage its reputation and/or drive away other clients. There is nothing wrong with W&A wanting to vet cases before it puts the W&A name on them. There is nothing wrong with Smith representing the Senate, or deciding his business will find a happier home at BJ&C.

    Nor has anybody in this scenario violated the principles on which lawyers practice. The US Senate is not a poor, indigent client. The Tea Party did not "intimidate" or start a "pogrom"* against W&A. The Senate is not stuck in a desperate place where nobody will help them, and they're sure as fuck not a pro bono client.


    *Let's not even get into what a silly goose you have to be to use a term referencing the wholesale slaughter of Jews out of religious hatred to refer to "some advocacy group complained that a big law firm didn't do what it wanted".

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  • KiplingKipling Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    mythago wrote: »
    Well sure. The law firm name is going to be associated with the case. Also, nobody likes ugly surprises.

    Since spool asks "what it it were on the other foot", imagine that the firm of Whitebread & Asshole had a large client base of conservative organizations and touted its regular donations to the Federalist Society and Right-to-Life. Senate Democrats hire a Smith, hotshot partner from W&A, to lead their defense of Obama's health plan. Smith doesn't really vet this with his W&A partners first. When the news hits, the Tea Party makes it clear that they do not approve and that they will encourage fellow conservatives to take their business to places other than W&A. Smith then leaves W&A to go work for Ben, Jerry & Garcia, a liberal BigLaw firm that is happy to have his case..

    There is nothing wrong in this scenario. W&A is entitled to have whatever clients it wants, to avoid taking cases that do not fit with its firm's mission, and to decide not to take on cases that will damage its reputation and/or drive away other clients. There is nothing wrong with W&A wanting to vet cases before it puts the W&A name on them. There is nothing wrong with Smith representing the Senate, or deciding his business will find a happier home at BJ&C.

    Nor has anybody in this scenario violated the principles on which lawyers practice. The US Senate is not a poor, indigent client. The Tea Party did not "intimidate" or start a "pogrom"* against W&A. The Senate is not stuck in a desperate place where nobody will help them, and they're sure as fuck not a pro bono client.


    *Let's not even get into what a silly goose you have to be to use a term referencing the wholesale slaughter of Jews out of religious hatred to refer to "some advocacy group complained that a big law firm didn't do what it wanted".

    In the same vein of thinking, what would civil rights sit-ins in the 50s and 60s be classified as. There they actively occupied seats for paying customers, instead of a strongly worded letter. They did have strongly worded letters too, and organized a boycott against places that let them shop but didn't let them eat at the lunch counter.

    When companies removed their advertising from Glenn Beck shows due to pressure from liberals, is that intimidation? Threatening a boycott in a letter isn't illegal.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Kipling wrote: »
    mythago wrote: »
    Well sure. The law firm name is going to be associated with the case. Also, nobody likes ugly surprises.

    Since spool asks "what it it were on the other foot", imagine that the firm of Whitebread & Asshole had a large client base of conservative organizations and touted its regular donations to the Federalist Society and Right-to-Life. Senate Democrats hire a Smith, hotshot partner from W&A, to lead their defense of Obama's health plan. Smith doesn't really vet this with his W&A partners first. When the news hits, the Tea Party makes it clear that they do not approve and that they will encourage fellow conservatives to take their business to places other than W&A. Smith then leaves W&A to go work for Ben, Jerry & Garcia, a liberal BigLaw firm that is happy to have his case..

    There is nothing wrong in this scenario. W&A is entitled to have whatever clients it wants, to avoid taking cases that do not fit with its firm's mission, and to decide not to take on cases that will damage its reputation and/or drive away other clients. There is nothing wrong with W&A wanting to vet cases before it puts the W&A name on them. There is nothing wrong with Smith representing the Senate, or deciding his business will find a happier home at BJ&C.

    Nor has anybody in this scenario violated the principles on which lawyers practice. The US Senate is not a poor, indigent client. The Tea Party did not "intimidate" or start a "pogrom"* against W&A. The Senate is not stuck in a desperate place where nobody will help them, and they're sure as fuck not a pro bono client.


    *Let's not even get into what a silly goose you have to be to use a term referencing the wholesale slaughter of Jews out of religious hatred to refer to "some advocacy group complained that a big law firm didn't do what it wanted".

    In the same vein of thinking, what would civil rights sit-ins in the 50s and 60s be classified as. There they actively occupied seats for paying customers, instead of a strongly worded letter. They did have strongly worded letters too, and organized a boycott against places that let them shop but didn't let them eat at the lunch counter.

    When companies removed their advertising from Glenn Beck shows due to pressure from liberals, is that intimidation? Threatening a boycott in a letter isn't illegal.

    Actually, a better example would be the documented advertising boycott of Air America.

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  • jefe414jefe414 The dirtiest Sanchez TortugaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Deebaser wrote: »
    In this case, apparently the house majority leader does. He has decided that this viewpoint is "worthy" enough to hire a lawyer that makes $17,000 a week to defend it in court.

    I have decided that John Boehner is an asshole.

    At least he isn't wasting tax payer money.

    Wait a minute....

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