March 12, 2009

Legal geekery ahead!

(Bear with me - I do have a point at the end of all of this)

So apparently Justice Souter said that he undergoes a "sort of annual intellectual lobotomy" when the Supreme Court term begins in October, a condition that he said lasts until the end of the term the following summer.

I'm going to avoid the obvious snark here and punt over to Althouse's reaction

Whinging and, seriously, I'm not lying, an actual (tl;dr) point follow:

I understand this completely.  What I do all day, basically every day, is read judicial opinions and briefs from opposing counsel.  I am then responsible for writing the responses thereto.  I'm not sure I can explain the utter contempt I have for the intellectual capability and basic grammar skills of the legal profession.  Seriously, it's nearly impossible to overstate just how poorly written is most of this work.  It's like pushing my brains though mush on a constant basis.  Today's example?  I'm responding to a motion to exclude an expert for not linking a. to b. when the expert says "In my professional opinion, A was directly caused by B."  I'm very tempted for my brief in response to consist of the following:  HANDS HANDS ALL OVER THE PLACE

Okay okay okay the long belabored point. An overwhelming number of those who are elected to office, who serve in various administrative capacities, who work as staffers and who man the regulatory agencies have law degrees.  I am utterly convinced that many of the problems with statutory interpretation and regulatory actions and the like stem from the fact that lawyers cannot write a declarative sentence to save their life.  I'm quite serious about this.  Lawyers don't know basic grammar.  Lawyers view clear and uneqivocal statements with terror.  Everything must have an exception or an exclusion or some type of wriggle room.  Every.  Freaking.  Thing.  So when you have lawyers directly writing the laws, well, you wind up with the tax code. 

There's also the fact that lawyers aren't even 1/1,000th as smart as they think they are.  Really, the skill set involved isn't that intellectually tasking.  Me take words.  Me make words say what I want.  Me SMRT!   Yeah.  No.  For some reason I cannot fathom, a facility with language has been elevated to the heights of intellectual capability.  Please.  You know what's hard?  Building a bridge.  Designing a building.  Coding a piece of software.  Playing pretty little games with pretty little words isn't real work.  It is also not the apotheosis of professional accomplishment.  I am extremely good with words.  I would rather be extremely good with a hammer.  

All of this leads me, in a circuitous fashion, to Obama and the Beltway Elite.  This is a universe in which the premise that being able to make a statement, do the opposite and then spin that is considering a wonderful thing. Not simply a wonderful thing, it's the highest possible accomplishment in that world.  It's the press and Clinton and the press marveling at how well he lied with no care given to the fact tht he, you know, LIED.  There's no comprehension that it's not a game.  There's no understanding that words really do have actual implications.  It's Obama and the comments about NAFTA and being shocked that the Canadian government would think that he actually meant what he said. 

My take on the Obama Administration so far is that this is just another brief to them. It's just another law school class.  It's just another intellectual exercise.  Hey, if they change their position mid-stream, well, that proves what agile and creative thinkers they are.  The concept that there is an actual physical reality outside of their lofty heights is beyond them.  The concept that words have meaning and actions have consequences is something that can simply be handwaved away.  I mean, hey, so next time you take the opposite position. That's simply how the game is played. 

Okay.  Done now.  If anyone survived the tl;dr, I thank you.  I'll try to make up for content with girls and guns later.

Posted by: alexthechick at 12:34 PM | Comments (137) | Add Comment
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