Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The first thing we do, let's close all the law schools

Seemingly unrelated items

New York Times --

BANGKOK — Not a single shot has been fired by the military since generals overthrew a democratically elected government here last May. Instead, they have depended on the force of paperwork, reams of it, to bring their opponents under control. Hundreds of people have been summoned and forced to sign documents that allow the junta to seize their assets if they become involved with “any political movement.” Stacks of case files clutter the headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, which is pursuing at least seven legal cases against the former government and threatening legal action against hundreds of former members of Parliament overthrown in the coup.

National Review's Kevin Williamson --

In my piece today, I mention that five of the nine Supreme Court justices went to the same law school — Harvard — with three of the remaining four having gone to Yale and one — Justice Ginsburg — having gone to Columbia. Ginsburg, I wrote, is always an outlier. Ed Whelan writes in to correct me: Ginsburg spent the first two years of her law-school career at — surprise! — Harvard, before transferring to Columbia. According to Wikipedia, which never lies, she did this for the charmingly old-fashioned purpose of following her husband, who had taken a job in New York. Which is to say, the intellectual homogeneity of our nine-member national super-legislature is slightly worse than I had suggested. 

The common thread is here that what seemed like an open-ended belief in that the rule of law would make societies better is slowly being seen to have created a rule of lawyers -- another self-interested class which can be rented out by the powers that be.

Ireland has been afflicted by this for a while, but hasn't realized it yet.