Slightly less Random Ramblings

November 17, 2009

Lawyers Write Law, And Then Are The Only Ones To Make Millions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Wicks @ 6:17 pm

Of course, I am sure this was merely a by-product of sincere efforts to assist the poor and oppressed.

 
 

Sent to you by Robert A. Wicks via Google Reader:

 
 

via Techdirt by Mike Masnick on 11/17/09


It’s difficult not to become even more cynical when you read stories like the following one. Sent in by Eric Goldman, it’s about a state law in California that was mainly written by two lawyers: Joaquin Avila, a law professor from Seattle, and Robert Rubin, the “legal director” for the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area. So, here’s the interesting thing: since this state law has been put in place (seven years ago), the only lawsuits have been brought by Rubin’s committee or Avila and they’ve made themselves over $4 million with a few more lawsuits pending and a bunch more threatened (again, all from either Avila or Rubin’s committee).

What a great deal: write a law, and then be the only lawyers to use the law to make millions.

As for the law itself, it was a law that apparently very few people were asking for — requiring that state courts carve out specific districts that favor minority groups, so they are not excluded from local elections. Here’s how the AP describes it:

The California statute targets commonly used “at-large” elections — those in which candidates run citywide or across an entire school district. Avila said that method can result in discrimination because whatever group constitutes the majority of voters can dominate the ballot box and block minorities from winning representation. As a remedy, the law empowers state courts to create smaller election districts favoring minority candidates.

Officials in several California communities said they never heard complaints of voter discrimination until the lawyers stepped forward. In one case, the Tulare Local Healthcare District, now known as Tulare Regional Medical Center, was sued even though its five-member governing board is a rainbow of diversity — two emigres from India, a Hispanic, a black and a white. The lawsuit argues Hispanics, who make up about a third of local voters, have been shortchanged.

Of course, there are many reasons why the exact makeup of a governing board might not match the exact percentage of the population (including the simple fact that most people vote on issues, not the ethnicity of the people they’re voting for). But, even if there was a problem it seems highly questionable that the two lawyers who wrote the bill are now profiting tremendously from it and appear to be the only ones who do so.

It’s stories like this one that make us so nervous about so much legislation. This is the type of law they create: it maysound good (who’s going to argue against diversity?). But, the actual law appears to have been nothing more than a way for these lawyers to go around collecting millions, while disrupting communities and schoolboards, and sending their taxpayer money to these lawyers.

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Things you can do from here:

 
 
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