Laws are sand, customs are rock. Laws can be evaded and punishment escaped, but an openly transgressed custom brings sure punishment. —Mark Twain Let me write the songs of a nation, and I care not who writes its laws. —Scottish politician Andrew Fletcher If law, like politics, is downstream from culture, get ready for some backflow: the Supreme Court’s reviled 2005 eminent-domain decision Kelo v. New London is now a motion picture. Korchula Productions’ Little Pink House — referring to Suzette Kelo’s home taken by her city and given to Pfizer Corp — premiered in February at the Santa Barbara Read More
[The courts] may truly be said to have neither force nor will, but merely judgment….” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist no. 78 On behalf of our deserving and longsuffering client, my firm recently won reversal of a $5.1 million judgment that was given to a successor trustee on a missing promissory note. Missing, as in, the trustee had never seen it, and never even thought to look for it — though his predecessor did make off with at least $2 million in trust assets (not including later funneling cash to Liechtenstein and spending a night in jail for contempt). This resulted in Read More
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Legal News _April 2017 “You may not be interested in law, but law is interested in you.” —Leon Trotsky * * Well, no, Trotsky didn’t quite say that. The quote attributed to him says “war,” not “law.” But Trotsky didn’t say that either — he said “dialectic,” a word whose meaning takes a lawyer’s skill to twist and torture it into something resembling “war.” But I am fairly certain misquoting a misquote is not actionable. And if it is, well, that’s what the asterisk’s for. But the misquote is no less true for being misquoted, and and the derivative misquote Read More
Legal News _March 2017 “Litigation is a ritualized form of fighting.” —Tony Piazza Oliver Wendell Holmes once said our Constitution “is made for people of fundamentally differing views.” But the ecumenical spirit can be taken too far: Holmes himself took Alger Hiss as a law clerk, who became a Soviet spy. Michael Novak, the eminent philosopher and diplomat who departed from us last month, offered sounder advice: “Freedom cannot grow—it cannot even survive—in every atmosphere or clime. In the wearying journey of human history, free societies have been astonishingly rare. The ecology of liberty is more fragile than the Read More