Monday, October 6, 2008

"Uncle Grumpy on: Lawyer's Work "

Sometimes, I think you miss Uncle Grumpy. He’s mentioned frequently in comments. One person even asked if he was married. When I passed that along to Unc…well, he just spit. You know, like, “Oh, pshaw!” For the record, the Unkster remains single. To paraphrase the Groucho Marx line, Uncle Grumpy asserts: “I would never marry anyone who’d want a person like me for a husband.”

I worry about some of my uncle’s opinions. Maybe I’ve got him on too tight a leash, but I’m frankly, reluctant to let him platform his “certainties” on my blog. The man has some provocative perspectives, and as much as I say, “It’s him, not me”, I’m concerned you’ll think it’s really me. It’s him. Believe me. It’s totally him.

This is one of his tamer outings. Unless you’re a lawyer. If you’re a lawyer, there’s a chance you’ll be offended. Maybe more than a chance. Nobody enjoys being criticized or demeaned. Even if they deserve it. Especially if they deserve it. That wasn’t Uncle Grumpy talking. That was me.

The rest is pure him. Really.

Uncle G? The floor is yours.

Thanks, Nephew. You’re a good boy. Maybe a tad lily-livered but that’s all right. Wimping out is a small price to pay for personal safety. Look at that. He gives me a chance, and I impugn his integrity. Well, what do you expect? I’m me.

Okay. Lawyers.

Let’s get this out of the way first. I have nothing against lawyers. They’re just people doing a job. They didn’t make the rules they work under, they’re simply governed by them. If those rules happen to be slippery, slimy and slithery, it’s not the lawyer’s fault. At least, not the current lawyer’s fault. Lawyers from the past made up the slippery, slimy, slithery rules. It’s their fault. But those guys are dead.

Today’s lawyers cannot be blamed for the slippery, slimy, slithery rules that dead lawyers made up. Of course, when they became lawyers, they clearly knew what the deal was, and they said, “I’m in.” They gotta take responsibility for that, don’t they?

Also, now that they’re lawyers, they can fight to get the slippery, slimy, slithery rules they don’t agree with altered or expunged. I’m on the outside of this one. Is a lot of that kind of stuff going on?

What do I mean by slippery, slimy, slithery rules? I’ve already spoken about the adversarial system. That’s a bullcrap arrangement right there. Two lawyers, stretching the truth as far as they can get away with, and that’s supposed to lead to justice? Sure, it will. Now, pull the other leg, so they’ll be even.

Here’s the thing that’s chafing my gums today. It’s not the lawyers. It’s the legal system, which is administered by lawyers, but let’s not swirl down that privy hole again. Let’s press ahead.

The Legal System.

The legislature passes a law. The people have spoken. The community’s against some activity being practiced or threatening to be practiced in their locality, and they alert their representatives that they’d like a law passed saying, “You can’t do that here.” It’s very simple.

“We don’t want it.”

“You can’t do that here.”

That’s the law.

Typical example? Gambling.

I take no stand on gambling on moral grounds. If you want to throw your money away, that’s your business. Though you might want to avoid getting addicted to the process and impoverishing your family. That can be a problem.

I, personally, am allergic to gambling. I played Blackjack in Vegas once. I lost twenty dollars in five minutes. Watching the dealer slip my twenty down a slot in the table, I suddenly developed a huge hive on my face. It just popped up. A big, itchy… That was it for gambling. My money went down a rat hole, and it gave me a rash!

A lot of people like gambling. But a lot of people don’t, and, apparently, they’re in the majority. How do I know that? Because it takes a majority to get laws saying, “You can’t do that here” passed. A minority tells their legislators, "We don't want gambling", and the legislators go, "So?" You have to be a majority. Or a minority so passionate about the issue that if you don't do what they want, they'll kill you.

Forget about lotteries for the moment. Forget about off-track betting. Forget about Internet gambling, “Bingo” parlors, and point spreads printed in newspapers. This country’s hypocrisy over gambling will make the top of your head blow off. Judging by the statutes, there’s a consensus, at least, on casino gambling.

There is no casino gambling in any state except Nevada. That’s the law. (Gambling is a state controlled issue.)

Then the lawyers step in. And they study that law. Word by word.

State laws about gambling stipulate – I haven’t read any of them, but it appears, by observation, to be the case – that casino gambling will not be permitted on state land. The lawyers read that law on behalf of their clients – people who want casino gambling, for profit or enjoyment – and the lawyers go,


They then read the law again, to make sure they were right about the “Hm.”

And they realize they were. The statute says:

“No gambling on state land.”

What do the lawyers notice, because that’s their job – to notice what’s stipulated in the law, and, often more importantly, what’s not stipulated in the law?

The lawyers notice that the law says, “No gambling on state land” but it doesn’t say, “No gambling on state water.”

“Glory Oskie! We’ve found a loophole!”

The law prohibits you from gambling on state land. But the law does not prohibit you from gambling on state water.

Ipso facto: Floating casinos on barges.

They can’t touch us. It’s totally legal. The law has not been broken.

Well, not the letter of the law, but what about the spirit? What about the will of the majority, who instructed their legislators to prohibit gambling in their state?

“If they didn’t want to have gambling on water, they should have said so in the law.”

Can you imagine anyone saying, “I am opposed to gambling in my state. But if the gambling occurs on water, I have no problem with it”? The majority wanted no gambling. What did they get? Gambling. Why did that happen? Lawyers and loopholes.

“If you didn’t want gambling on water, you should have said so in the law.”

And by the way…

Indian reservations.

Indian reservations?

“Indian reservations are unquestionably on land. But they’re not on state land; they’re on Indian land. The law says no gambling on state land.
Ipso facto: Casinos on Indian reservations.

Wow. These guys are brilliant!


It’s possible people actually wanted gambling, but, desiring to appear morally upright, they wanted to pretend that they didn’t. Or, they wanted casinos, but not in their neighborhoods (their neighborhoods being neither water nor Indian reservations). The statute could have been deliberately constructed in such a way that they could get what they wanted, and still have gambling.

Pretty tricky, huh?

What members of which profession do you think dreamed that one up?


Anonymous said...

Funny you mention this, a wise man told me just today that lawyers are the primary reason our government can't simply be honest and do its job. They're probably the reason we can't catch all the terrorists too, but that's just my opinion, and I'm anything but wise.

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder if the law says, “No murders on State land.” Boy, what a loophole that leaves, eh? “I made him stand on a chair before I shot him. If you didn’t want any murders in State air, you should’ve written the law that way.”

The thing I don’t get about Indians is why they don’t take more advantage of their situation. They can set up casinos and sell tax-free cigarettes because their reservations are considered sovereign states. They make their own laws, not subject to control by the surrounding States.

So why don’t they sell tax-free booze to go with the cigarettes? Don’t tell me it’s the old, “fire water bad” stereotype. And while they’re at it, they could legalize and sell marijuana, too.

With just a little imagination, and a bit of moxie, native Americans could be the wealthiest, rather than the poorest people in this country.