Legal Fiction

     Lawyers as fictional characters — now there’s a novel idea.
     Get it?
     Novel idea?
     I bring this up because someone has posted what I consider a major challenge on Reddit. This person wants help developing a realistic “working mom” lawyer character for his/her novel set in California Wine Country.
     She or he has some specific questions, but then asks for “alternate approaches.”
     This is where we can have some fun and offer aid to someone who clearly needs it.
     You can tell it’s needed because this person’s fourth question is whether the internet existed for telecommuting in the 1980s and 1990s.
     So I’m guessing this is an elementary school assignment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy making suggestions.
     I’m thinking the working mom lawyer should decide to “officeschool” her kids in between consultations with clients and court appearances.
     Hijinks ensue when the kids — preferably an irrepressible redhead who seems amazed by everything and a Goth girl who likes to roll her eyes — can’t help but get involved in Mom’s cases.
     Clients at first are put off by this but finally realize the kids’ advice is better than anything they ever got from an adult.
     Mom then takes full advantage of her neighborhood and takes up serious drinking.
     Then she invents the internet and becomes the first troll.
     You’re welcome, Reddit poster.
     
     More fiction. While we’re on the topic of legal fiction, I want to send my compliments to the New Hampshire Legislature for coming up with an imaginative and foolproof way of stopping voter fraud: banning ballot selfies.
     You may not have known ballot selfies were a thing. I certainly didn’t until the First Circuit last week struck down New Hampshire’s ban on ballot selfies in Rideout v. Gardner.
     Now New Hampshire residents are free to upload photos with their Yelp reviews of elections.
     You may be wondering why taking ballot photos and sharing them were banned. It seems that state legislators thought that the pictures could be used as proof for voters who were either bought off or were being forced to vote a particular way.
     You’d think this 2014 law resulted from some scandal.
     It didn’t.
     In fact, the court noted, “the legislative history of the bill does not contain any corroborated evidence of vote buying or voter coercion in New Hampshire during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”
     But that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be.
     I know it’s cynical of me, but I can’t help but thinking that politicians were doing their best to disenfranchise people who take selfies.
     I can sympathize with that, but it’s probably an abuse of power. Whether we like it or not, self-absorbed people have the right to vote too.
     I wish they wouldn’t run for the office, but it’s the price we pay for democracy.
     By the way, my favorite part of the ruling is the description of one of the plaintiffs. He’s a guy who apparently didn’t like the candidates so he wrote in the name of “his recently deceased dog” and posted the ballot selfie on Facebook.
     “He was then called by an investigator from the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and informed he was under investigation.”
     Law enforcement in New Hampshire is incredibly vigilant.
     That must be why we never hear about New Hampshire crime waves.

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