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August 26, 2002

Policy Break -- Legal System


I think it's time for all well-intentioned people to declare war on the U.S. legal system. It is a corrupt system, by which I mean one in which personally good people routinely do bad things. It is also a system that is very good at enriching lawyers and very poor at serving any other constituency in society. Which is not to pin all the blame on lawyers. Heck, there's plenty more obloquy to heap on lazy, sloppy legislators, law school educators, power-mad judges and the excessively deferential American press and public. (Hasn't anyone but me noticed the increasingly undemocratic--indeed royal--role judges now play in American politics?)

A challenge to those who believe in the system: let's try one case with conflicting ambiguities in front of multiple juries. To raise the stakes, let's act out the same script with different judges, lawyers, plaintiffs and defendants (actors chosen to be either sympathetic or cold, attractive or plain) If the system works, we should get the same outcome, right? Who's willing to stake money on it?

Gee, why do you think I've never heard of such an experiment being performed? Talk about the power of an entrenched special interest!



posted by Friedrich at August 26, 2002


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