When I was in law school I worked for the Kentucky Bureau of Reclamation, whose original mission was to reclaim all the land in the state that had been devastated by unregulated strip mining. There were parts of the state that looked like the mountains of the moon, stripped and barren, littered with red acid water catch basins.
The Environmental Protection Act was passed in 1970, when the catch-phrase by environmental groups, “Sue the bastards” began echoing throughout the halls of state and federal government. The law school class succeeding mine doubled-in-size, nearly half of them engineers, not liberal arts grads. When I left in 1971 we had a staff of about 15 at our HQ at the state capital, plus regional field offices. When I returned to visit in 1976, in a new state office building, that department covered an entire floor, with hundreds, mostly lawyers.
And the movement changed too. By 1976, at my last Army post, when I returned to civilian life, except for dope-smoking hippies who invaded the wilder canyons of Arizona, one rarely ran into a genuine bird-watching, tree hugging preservationist out there. The new environmentalists all carried briefcases, and in truth, did a lot of suing.
So I quit being one.
Since then, suing the bastards has become ubiquitous, no longer targeting Big Business to make them stop some outrage or the other, but just to inflict pain. And the little guy was always an easy target.
And the Trial Lawyers Association made this even easier, as virtually no state or federal politician, most of whom are lawyers anyway, would legislate a “loser pays” rule into legal outcomes from civil law suits. Think about it. A millionaire could sue a man of modest means out of spite, and even if the court ruled in favor of the little guy, the cost of litigation could still break his bank.
And if the government, state or federal, is one of the parties, criminal or civil, they are protected by law. For instance, Special Counsel Mueller is probably paid an executive pay rate, but below that of DOJ Sessions, or $210,000. Mueller’s staff will be paid a lesser rate, all the way down to about a GS-13 equivalent, $76-$96K.
Government officials are immune from lawsuit and even in case of negligence, the limit of damage is set by law (Federal Tort Claims Act.) So no matter how much the Mueller team may have lied, denied defendants their rights, or even destroyed innocent men (none of these things as yet proven, I might add) they cannot be sued for their misconduct.
This is not new law, actually very old law. What is relatively new is the meanness and indifference government lawyers go about their business of using their legal ability to financially ruin a person, as a way to compel or coerce cooperation.
In searching for the source of this meanness, I always harken back to the “sue the bastards” mantra from the early 70s, only the emphasis not on the “sue” part, but on the “bastard” part.
With the environmental movement that was launched on Earth Day, 1970, there was the fundamental belief that the private sector was fundamentally evil, and that it should be restricted to small mom-and-pop store front operations; fish-mongers, delis, haberdashers, what the French called the “petite bourgeoisie”; the small business part of commerce “l’etat c’est moi” could indulge and tolerate.
Replace “bastard” with “deplorable” and you have the modern political climate in America. That the deplorables would actually go out and find the largest small business bastard in America, then elect him with the specific mission of taking the “c’est moi” out of “l’etat” was what can only be described by an act of Providence.
Most of the immunities the government has had it has enjoyed for a very long time. It has always had the power to break a citizen by first breaking his bank. What formerly drew the line where honor and commonly-shared certain common rules of reciprocity once stood.
The environmental movement, as the spawn of Marxist-Leninist ideology, saw the world in terms of Them and Us, Them being the bastards.
This attitude, where no bad thing can befall an enemy that is not just, also exists in virtually every NGO in America, many of whom are funded by federal grants, so actually have no skin in the game when they sue. The Open-Immigration groups are especially mendacious and vocal on this account.
So, with this in mind, rethink the 5th Grade school teacher who calls the police instead of the principal, about a little boy who draws a picture of a pistol. She has just imposed a $1000 “fine” on the family (legal fees associated with clearing the kids record) and sent a chilling message to the entire community of parents…that they are virtually untouchable by citizens, but can bankrupt them is they make too much of a stink. Just like Waco. The Parkland school system cover-up is second only to their police department cover-up for misdeeds that allowed a 19-year old kid to gun down 17 students.
Stormy Daniels is suing Donald Trump, and this Michael Avenatti guy is her lawyer, only she’s not paying him. Who is? Gloria Allred represented several former I-want-to-“date”-a-movie-star groupies in the Bill Cosby case, only who paid her? Or the time she appeared on camera with one of the women who falsely accused Roy Moore. Who paid her? (She’s long been thought to be a pass-through for other money.)
Soros money is often mentioned in this regards, but let’s just say “Soros-like” money, for if you have a good left-wing plan to bring harm to Americans, there’s a rolodex filled with names to apply to for funding. On the Left good ideas for doing bad are always in high demand and “sue the bastards” and “drive them into bankruptcy” gambit is the best gambit in town.
A reclamation fund for victims of the “Legal Left” and the deep state legal system is needed, and should be easy to contruct. I’d like to think President Trump knows how to get that ball rolling. But do the Mercers? The Koch Brothers?
Whether Robert Mueller is a patsy or an official Inquisitor, I’ll withhold judgment. I haven’t yet developed a unified theory. But he does seem to have cynically destroyed innocent in the past, and that’s a notch against. For me, that’s a real character flaw. That is one arrow that needs to be taken from his, and his team’s quiver. Mike Flynn bears no resemblance to Al Capone, and that should matter.
Mike Flynn was a public servant all his career. Not a millionaire. Mike Caputo a middle-type consultant, also not a millionaire. The same for Rick Gates.
I can think of all sorts of ways to level the playing field, some even legal. But our first duty is to protect the innocent, and just because they can be found on Wikipedia, does not make them fair game.
The citizen, even the rich citizen, much less the semi-affluent, comfortable citizen should never have to watch his life’s savings so up in smoke in a few months of legal expenses, while his/her torturers have absolutey no skin in the game.
The Sue the Bastards game that is now being played in America is mean and unfair.
As Mark Twain once said, “It’s illegal!”, “It’s un-constitutional!” “It’s un-American!”
It is French.
There is a serious flaw in our legal system that has nothing to do with the pursuit of truth or justice. While I am sure President Trump will find ways to reclaim for those who have been forced to pay the next-to-the-last full measure just for working for him, the greater mission is to ensure that the Mueller team and every other one that comes along behind them realizes that they are not authorized to skin more than themselves invest.
(Enjoy this? Then visit VeteransTales.org and make a small donation to our own 501c3-pending reclamation project.)