The Legal Community: a Bulwark of the Republic


In my previous post I described how the things that shape the careers of successful lawyers and judges differ dramatically from the incentives that shape the careers of Republican politicians.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that successful lawyers are better people than successful Republican politicians. It just means that there are big differences between the two categories, in respect of the kinds of people who get promoted and the the kinds of people who get chewed up and spit out. For example, some of the partners in big law firms are terrible people, but they are almost never the kind of terrible people who bring poor judgment to bear on important decisions involving their clients’ affairs.

I believe this is the fundamental reason why we’re seeing ever-increasing signs of resistance to Trump’s nonsense on the part of the legal community—even that part of the legal community that would like to vote Republican.

I could give you the example of Wachtell Lipton’s George Conway. Or the numerous legal decisions that are beginning to go against Trump. But let me point specifically to two straws in the wind.

One is the New York Times November 21 article, Why Big Law is Taking On Trump Over Immigration.

The other is the remarkable new pissing contest between the President and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. This, it seems to me, is a very hopeful development. On Thanksgiving Day, Lord, make us thankful for righteous pissing contests.

Perhaps I read too much into Roberts’ statements, but it seems to me that this is the memo he is sending to his fellow right-winger judges:

Listen up, we sold our souls to this guy to get all those Federalist Society judges that now have their butts planted on the bench. But the guy to whom we sold our souls is circling the drain. If we don’t want to circle the drain with him, then we had damn well better draw a line between us and his banana republic nonsense, and we had best draw that line very quickly.