It has been said that one of the virtues of law is “predictability”. Through gardening I have observed that nature’s laws are far more predictable than those made by humans. If you nurture plants they will grow. As a lawyer I have observed that the consequences of following the laws made by humans are not predictable. Sometimes people will be punished if they do not follow the law. If you are rich, you will be likely be rewarded when you break laws that increase your profits. Especially, if you are former clients of the Attorney General deemed “too big to fail.” Nature is not always fair. But it is predictable and it is not corrupt.
I live on a mountaintop about an hour away from Seattle. I got out of bed instantly upon waking Friday morning, which occurred almost a half hour before my alarm was scheduled to sound. I immediately showered and put on the suit I had picked out the night before to wear during oral argument at 10:00 a.m.. It was not even 7:00 a.m. and I found myself fully groomed. I thought about whether I should just hang around for a while or leave. “Better early, than late,” I reasoned and drove down the winding gravel road and out the gate. To my surprise, there were hardly any cars until just before the city limits. I got to the Courthouse about 8:30 a.m. and hung out in the law library. I knew I was going to lose this summary judgment motion. Judge Linde had already dismissed my clients claims that the other defendants had not complied with Washington statutes while pursuing nonjudicial foreclosure proceedings. She had done this without affording my client (a borrower who simply wanted to insure he paid off the mortgage loan to the correct party) any opportunity to obtain discovery consistent with our court rules. This discovery ruling, holding a borrower was not entitled to discovery if s/he had knowledgeable foreclosure lawyer, was a “first”; not only in Washington, but the United States. Up until Judge Linde’s discovery rulings, all litigants in Washington had the right to obtain pre-trial discovery consistent with the rules. Why borrowers facing the financial … Continue Reading
It seems more than happenstance that I became aware of Bill Burke’s passing in time to attend his memorial this morning. Bill was William T. Burke and Professor William T. Burke and his school of Law and Marine Affairs at the University of Washington is the primary reason I wound up here in Washington State. Bill was a good friend, teacher, and mentor to many of his students, including me. The high regard for him and his family filled the University’s Urban Horticultural Center this morning. I was moved by the photos of him as he passed through his life. Our shared humanity is illuminated by the stages we all go through. It seemed that anyone who got to know Bill got to know him well. His humor was infectious. His passions numerous. His intellect was staggering. It is not an understatement to report that William T. Burke is one of the giants among those who have brought order to the oceans and been instrumental in the development of the law of the sea. As I drove to his memorial I thought about what Bill Burke had done with his life; he had contemplated and helped to initiate a new world order. He was proof that change can result from the passions of good people. His passing is eclipsed by his life and his work, which will continue to make a difference. #williamtburke #lawofthesea #universityofwashingtonlawandmarineaffairs
Even after the Revolutionary War started most colonists were not in favor of declaring complete independence from Great Britain. Notwithstanding initial battles with the British, most colonists believed some sort of governmental relationship with Great Britain was necessary for commerce and the social order. Public opinion changed in this regard only after King George III overreacted and ordered the Royal military to “crush” the colonists. It was only after British tyranny trampled on more of the Colonists that the people united to declare their independence. Most Americans today sense that something is terribly wrong in their country. Many want to blame each other; the “deadbeat debtor”; the homeless, the immigrants. The bickering goes on and on, while the banks through the governmental officials they own (or control) evict people from their homes producing waves of homeless refugees who seek to survive on our streets. The banks and the government the banks control tell us its getting better. It is not. It is getting worse. And tragically, maybe that will turn out to be a good thing historically. Because as the bankers take more homes; enslave more students; and violate more laws with impunity the tyranny which has become America will appear so evil that we, the people, will not tolerate the problem any longer. The problem is “money”. As the world has evolved what was once envisioned as a “medium of exchange” convenient for facilitating the exchange of labor and goods has become a commodity manipulated by sociopaths. Nowadays the manipulation of … Continue Reading
Larry’s birthday is over. I am still reflecting on my recent intuition that the “American Dream” has usually been more about “money” than “liberty”. There is a part of me that sincerely wants this observation not to be true. My own experience teaches that I must constantly reexamine my perceptions. For example, as a young man in the late sixties I wrote a thesis (which I still have stored away someplace) on why the federal government was better at protecting people’s rights than were state governments. While I think this observation might have been true at that time (during the Warren Court era), it certainly is wrong today. In the nineteen eighties and nineties state supreme courts began interpreting state constitutions in ways that frequently afforded greater protection of constitutional rights than Rehnquist and later Courts found were intended by the framers of the United States Constitution. Looking back, it is apparent why my hypothesis that the federal government would better protect citizen rights was proved wrong. The original seven articles of the United States Constitution seek to preserve liberties through a structure of checks and balances placed on the exercise of governmental power. As previously discussed in this blog these included a.) the separation of powers in the federal government; b.) a federalist government composed of dual and competing sovereigns; and by later amendment c.) oversight of the exercise of governmental powers by juries composed of citizens. The Declaration of Independence authored in 1776 proclaims all men have rights: … Continue Reading
LARRY’S BIRTHDAY It was Larry’s birthday. We were standing at the end of a long line to get into the Tulalip Buffet, which was where he had chosen to eat. I don’t like lines and was checking email on my phone, when this guy joined the end of the line. I don’t recall when I became aware that he and Larry were talking, but at some point I joined the conversation. The stranger was a Canadian. He had been born in the Philippines, but emigrated to Canada with his family as a boy. He lived mostly in Vancouver, BC now, but said he and his family had a house on the “res” here. I took that to mean the Tulalip Reservation. He owned residential rental properties in both Canada and the United States. His business was best in Marysville, Washington, he said, because of the higher percentage of renters in the population and the amount of rent he could charge them. His hair was black. He looked younger than both Larry and me. Turned out he was older than Larry. He liked the United States for many reasons. The one which struck me most was because in cities like New York and Las Vegas “the parties don’t start until Midnight”. I told him my “midnight party days” were over. And as we waited in the slow moving line our conversation evolved into what this pleasant Canadian Filipino gentleman liked about the United States and why its citizens should not talk … Continue Reading