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No Discipline Required

December 21, 2020

A piece that pushed for Trump's election lawyers to be disbarred got this columnist thinking: Who would hire Rudy Giuliani or Sidney Powell going forward?

Milt Policzer

By Milt Policzer

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

What’s the penalty for insanity? Do we need to punish people for being dumb? How are we harmed if it’s obvious someone is lying?

I know these are deep, unanswerable philosophical questions, but I found myself asking my cat about them the other day after reading a Los Angeles Times column with the headline “Column: Trump’s election lawyers should be disbarred.”

Should they?

The cat wasn’t sure but the Times writer seemed to think so or at least thought the lawyers should be disciplined for making false statements and arguing theories that shouldn’t have the adjective “legal” placed next to them.

This, obviously, is not the least bit practical.

Completely ridiculous arguments get made in court all the time. There would be an awful lot of lawyers out there getting kicked out of the profession. Courts and bar associations would be swamped with litigation over whether crazy lawyers deserved their discipline.

Think of the nuttiest lawyer you know. Do you really want to spend years in a disciplinary fight with that person? If they’re willing to spout bizarre nonsense on behalf of a client, imagine what they’d do in their own defense.

Crazy people have stamina.

And what’s the point anyway? Trump’s lawyers lost and made themselves look bad. Isn’t self-inflicted punishment enough?

Think about it. Who, with a modicum of sanity and a legitimate case, is going to hire Rudy Giuliani or Sidney Powell? They might as well have disbarred themselves.

Besides, disbarring them would have consequences — they’d end up with full-time jobs at Fox or OAN. Do we want that? I don’t think so.

Shopping Aid. The ABA Journal has offered a holiday “gift guide” for lawyers which, I guess, could be helpful. There’s not a lot there and most of the suggestions could work for anyone, not just lawyers. You can buy laptops and puzzle mats for your kids too.

Fortunately, I’m here with a few more ideas for your last-minute lawyer gift shopping.

A Rudy Giuliani “I’m Just Tucking in my Shirt” coffee mug. You won’t want to drink out of it, so you never have to worry about washing it.

Gavel-headed pencils from the Supreme Court Historical Society gift shop. Your lawyer friends probably haven’t written with pencils in decades, so these will be primarily used for nervous tapping and courtroom fantasy role-playing.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cooler. What better place to store your drugs? No one will think to look there.

A Major League baseball signed by O.J. Simpson and F. Lee Bailey. Because neither of them played Major League baseball.

A Perry Mason apron. He was overweight, so he must have been a great cook. Your lawyer friends will force confessions out of their dinner guests.

A sheet of Earl Warren 29-cent postage stamps. The easiest way to put your ideological stamp on correspondence.

A portrait of former U. S. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. Keep yourself and your associates in line with a stern-looking conservative staring from the wall.

I hope this helps. Happy holidays!

Categories / Op-Ed

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