Harvard Law School Must Teach its Students Better

I thought it was just me. I thought that only I misunderstood the proper meaning of the word “must,” and erroneously thought that when applied to a judge, it forced him or her to perform, or refrain from performing, a particular action. I know better now, of course: when Judge Lettow of the Court of Federal Claims (where my lawyer filed on my behalf the First/Fifth amendment lawsuit, Overview Books v. US) adjudicated it based on government’s argument that the government lawyer never presented, but which Judge Lettow, in the goodness of his heart, himself invented out of thin air on government’s behalf, I thought Judge Lettow did something that a judge must not do – adjudicate a case to which he made himself a party (or, if you will, adjudicated a totally bogus case, and attached the result to a real one). Yet, when I sued Judge Lettow for the fraud he so obviously committed by underhandedly replacing government’s argument, I was informed that the dictionary definition of the word “must” does not apply to a federal judge. “You must” in that context becomes “please do whatever pleases you.” Rules are no rules; federal judges have the right to act “maliciously and corruptly;” in federal courts, words have no meaning.

That the Webster definition does not apply to a federal judge was yet again confirmed to me when, because the entirety of Judge Lettow’s argument was proven to be factually wrong (it blatantly contradicted findings of government’s own just-published study), we re-filed the case and Judge Vitaliano of the Eastern District court declared that, because the government filed to dismiss, he must consider our argument as true. Good start, bad finish: in the goodness of his heart Judge Vitaliano replaced my lawyer’s argument with its exact, polar opposite, and ruled against us by considering the opposite of my lawyer’s argument, rather than my lawyer’s actual argument, to be true. When I sued Judge Vitaliano, his colleague Judge Garaufis declared Judge Vitaliano’s slight-of-hand no less than “the classical application of the judicial function,” if I remember the language he used correctly.

But, again, this is just me – someone totally unlettered in the lore of judging, incapable of leaving the shackles of base common sense and ascending into the high empyreans of lofty judicial thinking. Of course, a legal professional cannot possibly fall into the same base error of thinking that the word “must” obligates a judge to doing what the rules say he “must” do?

Think again – by considering the case of one Brian King, Jr. (If you wish to consider it really closely, the case number is 17-cv-00309, Southern District Court of New York)

The gist of it is that Mr. King, a Harvard Law graduate, fell into the very same error as the unlettered yours truly: just like me, he thought that court rules were actually meant to be binding on the judge! Just like me, he thought that when rules said that a judge must do something, it obligated that judge to do it! Just like me, he thought that there was due process!

As follows from the complaint, he thought for instance that just because the court’s rules state that the accusing party must be present in the court for the hearings to happen, it followed that the hearings could not proceed in her absence. When that proved not to be the case, he complained – in accordance to rules. When suchlike obviously unprofessional behavior of insisting on following the rules caused the judge to suspend Mr. King’s law license, Mr. King thought – based on the rules for such proceedings – that he would be notified, and would be able to defend himself. Likewise, he thought that, if his firm’s documents were subpoenaed, he’d be notified so he could comply – again, simply because the rules said so. His reliance on the rules did not pan out; as you can see from the complaint, none were followed.

But the question here is – how can a Harvard Law school graduate be so naïve? How can he not know that rules are not rules, that words are not words when it comes to judges? That the due process is just a word, without any meaning?

I lay the blame for this bizarre state of affairs squarely on his school, which should have educated him better. I guess at Harvard Law they do teach judicial procedure – but clearly, they don’t teach it well. Who knows – perhaps Harvard professors also think that in courts, words and rules matter? That judging is not arbitrary?

Perhaps, they use textbooks that teach those silly notions?

I do not know; yet let me recommend to Harvard Law School professors some better, more reliable literature on judicial procedure to use in the class. And why just give the titles? Let’s provide the entire judicial procedure textbook (written originally in French as an extension of a Greek text, and given here in the English translation by Elizur Wright):

That innocence is not a shield,
A story teaches, not the longest.
The strongest reasons always yield
To reasons of the strongest.

A lamb her thirst was slaking,
Once, at a mountain rill.
A hungry wolf was taking
His hunt for sheep to kill,
When, spying on the streamlet’s brink
This sheep of tender age,
He howl’d in tones of rage,
‘How dare you roil my drink?
Your impudence I shall chastise!’
‘Let not your majesty,’ the lamb replies,
‘Decide in haste or passion!
For sure ’tis difficult to think
In what respect or fashion
My drinking here could roil your drink,
Since on the stream your majesty now faces
I’m lower down, full twenty paces.’
‘You roil it,’ said the wolf; ‘and, more, I know
You cursed and slander’d me a year ago.’
‘O no! how could I such a thing have done!
A lamb that has not seen a year,
A suckling of its mother dear?’
‘Your brother then.’  ‘But brother I have none.’
‘Well, well, what’s all the same,
‘Twas some one of your name.
Sheep, men, and dogs of every nation,
Are wont to stab my reputation,
As I have truly heard.’
Without another word,
He made his vengeance good–
Bore off the lambkin to the wood,
And there, without a jury,
Judged, slew, and ate her in his fury.

For your information, Harvard Law School professors, it is this that is going on in the courtrooms; teach your students accordingly. There was no need for Mr. King to learn through his nose, by losing his law license, that there is no such thing as due process, and that when applied to judges, words have no meaning. He should have been taught that right in the class.

And perhaps, a professor teaching this would have paused, and asked “but is it right?”

And perhaps, after questioning the current practice of waiving Webster definitions of words that are applied to judges, a way could have been devised to keep judging from being arbitrary – so that decent, honest people like Mr. King, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and a Harvard Law School graduate, did not have to suffer from the injustices of our so-called “justice” system?

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