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Op-Ed

Burn it down!

December 20, 2021

If you fight with fire, you'll burn down the forest. But then you get to grow a new forest.

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

Courthouse News columnist; racehorse owner and breeder; one of those guys who always got picked last.

I never understood the phrase “fight fire with fire.” If you throw fire at a fire, don’t you get a bigger fire? It’s a bigger disaster.

I see the saying in a different light (or firelight) now since California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken my recent advice and proposed a law giving private citizens the right to sue gun makers and sellers.

You may recall – and shame on you if you don’t – that I recommended that blue states should copy the Texas bounty hunter concept to stop people from doing red-state-type things that blue staters hate. It’s only fair.

You’re welcome, Governor Newsom. And I thank you for making me suddenly realize that the concept of fighting fire with fire does mean creating a bigger fire but it also means that once everything is burned to the ground, you can start all over again and build something better.

Now certain courts will take this bounty-hunting concept a little more seriously since the fire is raging.

Which brings me to gerrymandering. If there was ever a concept that seemed obviously unfair and undemocratic — maybe even unAmerican if you ignore a lot of history — it’s gerrymandering. And yet we seemed resigned to the fact that certain politicians whom I won’t name seem willing to do anything to win, unfair or not.

How do you stop gerrymandering by people who won’t listen to arguments?

If you started reading at the beginning of this column (and/or have read previous columns), I think you know the answer: more gerrymandering. There’s no better way to convince people that drawing self-serving voting districts is bad than by drawing someone-else-serving voting districts.

Imagine the dismay of legislators in, say, North Carolina and Texas, if suddenly all of California and New York turned blue. Imagine the outrage at the very thought of gerrymandering.

Blue states need to act on this now before democracy dies. Or, rather, democracy needs to die before it’s reborn.

I also recommend that blue people start accusing red people of stealing elections. Political discourse should be fair and balanced.

The Bar, baby! I don’t usually like to undercut people who try hard and (probably) mean well. But sometimes I can’t help myself. I apologize in advance.

We were greeted with the news on Instagram last week that Kim Kardashian passed California’s “baby bar” after failing it three times within the last two years.

Hurray?

I guess this is good news for some people. When I checked the post early last week, it already had 4,232,919 likes. I don’t know if they were liking the bar news or the glamourous courtroom fashion photo that came with it. Does Kim already have 4 million-plus potential clients?

In case you don’t know, you have to take the baby bar in California if you don’t go to an accredited law school. Then you can take the real bar exam when you’re done studying. Kim still has a long way to go before becoming an official California lawyer. Most people have a hard time with this route.

But let’s suppose Kim eventually passes the bar exam. What next? What kind of law is she going to practice? Who would hire her and why?

Imagine Kim Kardashian, Public Defender! Imagine the sudden interest in criminal law.

Or imagine Kim Kardashian being hired by a major law firm. What exactly would she be doing there? Spending long nights doing research or posing for the firm website? Are important clients going to demand the lawyer who needed four tries to pass the baby bar?

Or imagine Kim Kardashian opening her own firm. Now try to imagine who would hire this firm. Really, imagine it. I refuse to do it for you.

If nothing else, Kim has boosted the profile of the baby bar. If you Google “California Baby Bar Exam” now, you get Kim Kardashian references. You can even find “baby bar exam questions that Kim Kardashian enjoyed!” on an exam prep site.

Glamour has come to the legal profession.

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