The law and lawyers

I’m taking some heat for daring to weigh in on the Sumi decision yesterday. After all, I’m not an attorney. How dare I have an opinion on the law!

That’s the problem with law in general today. I subscribe that the law as written should be easily understood by everyone. After all, we are subject to these laws. Isn’t it reasonable to think we should be able to understand them on the merit of the words included?

Not so says at least one liberal elitist in the profession. I can not possibly have the level of understanding he possesses. My opinion is useless and may even be harmful. Thinking on the law is best left to those trained in the profession.


When we allow elitists to stand between us and the law, we subject ourselves to the elitist interpretation and not the law itself. Resist the temptation to succumb to someone’s opinion because they argue they are smarter than you are, more educated than you are, or simply because they know better. It’s my experience that’s usually not the case at all. It’s simply their ego talking. Your opinion is one of the most unique things you possess. Why not give it the value it deserves?


  1. John Foust says:

    Complexity and nuance are over-rated. Judges and lawyers should just be able to do what their gut tells them to do. If I can’t understand something, we should burn it! Just because I have an opinion, it must be valuable!

  2. How like you to twist my opinion in an attempt to diffuse it.

  3. John Foust — the answer to the question never asked.

  4. 🙂

  5. gnarlytrombone says:

    I don’t see where he’s beating you over the head with legal arcana or waving off amateurs. All he did was note the basic distinction between an injunction and a judgement.

  6. True. With a whole lot of you’re-too-stupid-to-understand in between.

    I do see his point about 19.97(2), but I think to apply any remedy, including the right to injunction, you have to say the law exists as passed first. From what I understand, that’s not at all the thinking. I’m still arguing Sumi can not keep the law from being made.

  7. John Foust says:

    You can subscribe all day long to the notion that the complex should be simplified enough for J. Random Blogger to understand, but that won’t make it so. Having an opinion is one thing. Getting upset when someone points out that your opinion might be wrong is another. Me? I know I’ve been wrong. I appreciate the pursuit of understanding complexity. Yup, you don’t need multiple degrees to do it. Your objection to Sumi doesn’t arise from legal objections, does it? It arises from your gut’s desire to hear she’s wrong. You don’t want her to be right, right? You don’t like Illy T’s snark. Does that mean he’s wrong, too? If you’d rather read a legal blog that talks about leaves and ordering your hubby to take pictures of statutes wearing scarves, switch to Althouse.

  8. And if you want to see a blog template-ripoff with homoerotic pictures or creepy stalker tribute sites, visit one of the piles of crap John Foust puts out on the Internet.

  9. Once again you twist the words. I am not upset that someone thinks my opinion might be wrong. That’s fine. Disagree. It allows the other an opinion. My complaint regards those who feel I should not have an opinion, or those who twist my opinion into something that was never stated in order to discount it.

    My objection to Sumi has nothing to do with my gut, and everything to do with the way any individual should be allowed to read and understand the laws she is using to defend her position.

    PS to Seeker: Cool it. You are close to crossing the line again. Stay if you can behave, but otherwise, you’re out.

  10. John Foust says:

    What? Gus/Mickey, is that you? Cindy lets BadgerBloggers comment here?

  11. Now you aren’t making any sense, John.

  12. gnarlytrombone says:

    “a whole lot of you’re-too-stupid-to-understand in between”

    Come on, now. He called you out – with a good helping of snark – because you made an unconditional statement about the judge’s competence based on a false premise. That’s gall, not stupidity.

  13. John Foust says:

    I was talking to Seeker. He talks like Gus/Mickey, the BB mascot who crank-called my office.

    I for one am glad Cindy has an opinion and I’m not just saying that because I think the above blog post is hilarious. As with any complex subject, if you want your comments to be considered seriously and not risk ribbing, I’d say you’ll need to bone up on the lingo and concepts within that subject or profession. There are popularizers of law, as with any subject. If you want to join a discussion between aficionados, it can even help to ask simple, pointed questions. Just don’t expect the legal and legislative profession to rewrite two centuries of opinion and law at a conceptual and semantic level suitable for high-school students.

  14. No, he put his opinion on his blog. If he wanted to “call me out” he could have done it in comments on my blog under the original post. As I suggested last week when this happened, go defend Illy T on his blog. I never mentioned him here. I’m fine with letting my opinion on how the law should be available to everyone stand.

    Perhaps this is a fitting song to wrap up the comment:

  15. No problem Cindy. I just don’t like the neighborhood gadfly going around criticizing blogs, when he puts out pure schlock.

    And John, give it up with the crank call story already. Either press charges against Mickey O’Leary or let it go. Nobody cares whether you were cranked called, and quite frankly, you make Mickey guilty until proven innocent.

  16. John, lingo, etc., are great if we’re talking Nascar, but when it comes to the laws by which I should abide? I disagree. They should be written with clarity.

  17. John Foust says:

    Concern troll? Hardly. Check your definitions. Attention whore, maybe. I just love it when bloggers criticize other bloggers by saying they’re vain, attention whores, or not playing fair because they talked about them on a different blog. Such drama!

    Oh brave anonymous Seeker, please call Mickey O’Leary and get the truth if you want it. Don’t take my word for it.

  18. Oh, wow. Wikipedia as your source.

    Daily Kos and Urban Dictionary were down?

  19. John Foust says:

    I’m all for clarity when it comes to laws, too. Problem is, today’s law rests on the shoulders of laws, concepts, and precedent that might go back a millenium… before I was born, at a minimum. There will be plenty of complexity. Definitions and specialized language. References you won’t understand unless you passed through the equivalent of law school. It’s a profession.

  20. gnarlytrombone says:

    “If he wanted to ‘call me out’ he could have done it in comments on my blog under the original post.”

    Yes, my bad. The calling out was directed at the aggregator of the mush, not the author.

  21. John Foust says:

    Well, Seeker, I knew you were using a term incorrectly, and I tried to be polite about it.

  22. Foust, Seeker, take it outside. You’ve been at it for years. Don’t mess up my comments by continuing your argument.

    Foust, of course being an attorney is a profession. However, and I don’t understand why this is so difficult, being subjected to laws is not. That’s why the laws need to be written and interpreted in a way that everyone, yes even a high school graduate, should understand.

  23. John Foust says:

    I suspect we’re not going to find a nice, clear law that says the FitzWalkers need to behave themselves.

    I’m a big fan of the open meetings / open records laws. I think their preamble is pretty clear. Applying it to specifics will necessarily entail complexity.

  24. to be a lawyer you have to complete 4 yrs of college and do well enough in your class to be accepted at a law school. for 3 years you do nothing else but study law according to the way the law profs present it. usually starting with the english common law which language in itself is hard to understand. you must have some knowledge of the british and french language and understand the underlying principles of the common law or you are out. Equity is a separate course in law school growing out of the common law and teach such equitable principles as “clean hands” doctrine and “whoever seeks equity must do equity” and a host of others. so historically the law was written by legislators and interpreted by courts. that is true now. the problem of understanding is common with lawyers to who strive to determine what the legislators meant which is the legislative intent. every case starts with that basis. what does the word MAY mean in many statutes. the law was written by legislators, not lawyers although state lawyers try to clean up the language to make it easier to apply, if at all possible. i have never written a law. so gut legal writing is out. JUDGES AND LAWYERS MUST FOLLOW PRECEDENT. the problem is that there are majority and minority opinions and even slip opinions and attorney general opinions which are used as precedent. don’t blame the judges and lawyers. we don’t write the law. we just buy the books. try reading Ruling Case Law, early english common law. all this stuff is on the internet. (i wish i could understand my medical prescriptions and the generic counterparts. back to the law, latin is necessary to know ; to study and write a bar exam in many states is nerve wracking with the trick questions and the back door issues. also try reading Prosser (Prosser on Torts (no relation to the justice), and common law books on contracts. then throw in the Restatement of Laws series of most common law laws and you will be reading into next winter. Abe Lincoln was self taught. that is a miracle.

  25. BTW. there are primers on the law which are helpful . get Black’s Law Dictionary. it is on every lawyers desk.

  26. Foust, you obviously feel you are failing in your argument or your wouldn’t resort to using anything other than the proper names of those involved.

  27. Cindy I agree with you. It also seems some parts of the law are very easy to understand and those (judges & justices) who wish to not follow it just garble it up with legal lingo.

  28. yo. ho ho. there is no legal lingo. call any attorney and verify that. some people who got hurt in court are mad at the legal system. i dont blame them but one case does not destroy the development of the law since the old testament, to the roman courtyard , the english common law which all have an impact on the
    American legal system. we have 50 states deciding legal issues on laws written by legislators who wanted in good faith to have a good law but were lax in writing it fior everyone to understand.

  29. John Foust says:

    Uhm, Cindy, so when someone resorts to without-end generalizations about “liberals”, it means they realize they’ve already lost their argument? Am I being too technical in questioning meaning? I mean, I wish everything would be instantly understandable, without complexity.

  30. John Foust — the answer to the question never asked.

    And if one knows that the answer WILL be “john foust,” no one will ever, ever, ask the question.

  31. John Foust says:

    Come on, oh anonymous Dad29… give us your true thoughts about Cindy’s post. Silly or deep?

  32. John Foust says:

    I guess Dad29 didn’t have an opinion about Cindy’s logic.

  33. I’m beginning to see why that “John Foust, the answer to the question no one asked” thing is sticking.