1 This is the monthly brief warm-up, as I have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at an obscenely early hour and teach the peculiarities of the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct to about 300 lawyers newly admitted to the bar. And those rules are peculiar, notably Rule 5.4, which allows District lawyers to form multidisciplinary firms, with accountants, economists, professional marketers and other non-legal professionals as partners. Such firms mirror entities in Europe that take international business away from U.S. firms, but are regarded as unethical in every other U.S. jurisdiction, and condemned by the American Bar Association.
2. Yesterday I watched Florida Governor Rick Scott give his pre-hurricane warnings, or tried to, since standing next to him was a signer for the deaf, gesticulating and making more elaborate faces than the late Robin Williams in the throes of a fit. I have mentioned this in the context of theatrical performances: as a small minority, the deaf should not be enabled by political correctness to undermine the best interests of the majority. What Scott was saying was important, and could have been adequately communicated to the deaf citizens present by the signer standing off camera. TV viewers could and should have been able to watch a text crawl following Scott’s speech, or closed captioning. Public speaking involves verbal and visual communications, and having a vivid distraction like a professional signer—many of whom feel it is their duty to add broad facial expressions to their translations—is unfair to both the speaker and his or her audience. This is one more example of a sympathetic minority bullying the majority to establish its power.
3. Ezekial Elliott is a major NFL star, and the league has an interests in not having its major stars cheered while it appears that they beat up women. (The NFL’s problem with domestic abuse is long and damning, going back to fabled running back (and later movie star) Jim Brown, who was a habitual offender. But federal judge Amos Mazzant granted a request by the NFL Players Association yesterday for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to prevent the implementation of the six-game suspension of the Dallas Cowboys running back. The NFL should be able to discipline its player, but when the discipline involves losing millions of dollars, fairness and due process becomes an issue. In Elliott’s case, prosecutors decided that they couldn’t indict him, because the evidence wasn’t strong enough to make a conviction of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt likely. Should that decision limit the ability of the NFL to keep likely abusers off the field? (How many are aware that the most famous sports exile of all, the 1919 “Black Sox” star Shoeless Joe Jackson, occurred after a jury acquitted him of throwing the World Series?) Good question. I would say no, as employers have to protect their business and have a right to do so, but there is no doubt that the potential for injustice is strong.
The comparison is being made now with Tom Brady’s suspension for cheating after various investigations and court challenges found the evidence against him was less than definitive. Cheating that affects what occurs on the field is more serious in the context of a professional sport than off-field misconduct, however, even when the off-field misconduct is criminal in nature. There is another troubling comparison as well: how does this situation match up to the investigation and punishment of alleged sexual assault by students on college campuses?
4. The Associated Press called illegal immigrants “Undocumented citizens” yesterday. As many are pointing out, such terminology is Orwellian. Whatever illegal immigrants are, they are not citizens. Here’s the smoking gun:
We cannot trust the news media. It actively seeks to deceive us for its own political ends.