Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Now is the time to spend a brief moment forgetting about the problems of your luxury SUV, and put aside the problems with your new 60 inch LCD HD TV.
There are more serious problems to consider today.

All of us who are proud of the fact that we are lawyers can stand a little taller today. Our brethren attorneys in Pakistan are literally the last line of defense of liberty in a country teetering towards totalitarianism as the General who is President has suspended the Constitution, confined the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to his home, and declared Martial Law. In response it was the lawyers who fought back.

As the NY Times reported on
TUESDAY Lawyers in Pakistan faced down the military:

The Musharraf government’s resolve to silence its fiercest opponents was evident in the strength of the crackdown by baton-wielding police officers who pummeled lawyers and then hauled them by the legs and arms into police wagons in Lahore.
At one point, lawyers and police officers clashed in a pitched battle, with lawyers standing on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below, and the police hurling them back. Some of the lawyers were bleeding from the head, and some passed out in clouds of tear gas.

Armed only with stones and the knowledge of liberty and democracy, lawyers trained to respect the Constitution and the Rule of Law did not go quietly into the night in the face of an oppressive military government. Our colleagues stood firm, the last line of defense of liberty against a government bent on suspending individual rights and the rule of law.

The Pakistani lawyers are led by by Aitzaz Ahsan, a US- Cambridge-trained lawyer. The Lawyers of Pakistan have been confronting the government since the spring of this year when General Musharraf “fired” the entire Supreme Court and placed dozens of Judges under “house arrest.” With the Judiciary under arrest and politicians being intimidated and beaten, the lawyers are the only ones left in Pakistan standing up to the Musharraf regime.

In an age and a time when lawyers get a bad rap as fee seeking obstructionists who have set up a legal system that only they profit from ( and some of this criticism of the legal system in the US rings true to our ears) we can be proud of the fact that at our center (when you slice us in half) remain our core values of respect for the law.

When the Musharrafs and Dick Cheneys of the world gain power and seek to suspend the liberties that make us Americans, it will be the lawyers who will stand united at the courthouse doors and say "No"; it will be the lawyers marching in the streets tell our citizens that what the government is doing is illegal (see: Guantanamo Bay). When the day comes (hopefully never) when some super flu runs rampant through the world- we will turn to our doctors to heal our bodies- and we will depend on lawyers to protect our rights in the face of Presidents and Potentates that are all too quick to declare national emergencies at the expense of Democracy.

The soul of this country is our Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t give rights; what is given can be taken away. The Constitution enumerates and protects those rights that the Framers called God given.

Lawyers who stand against guns to protect liberty are performing holy acts. Some will be beaten, and some may die. Such is the price free people pay for Democracy.

When the twin towers in New York fell, a newspaper in Paris led with the headline “Today we are all Americans.” We’d like to think that for one day we in our legal community can say “Today we are all Pakistanis.”

What the Lawyers in Pakistan are doing should not be ignored.

It is holy.
And it will not be forgotten, for in this Country, these words are holy:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.


Anonymous said...

As your favorite bard noted, if tyranny is what you want, "the first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."

Finally the world sees what is really meant by that oft-misused quote.

Anonymous said...

Can we get Tobin in on that house arrest program. Why ya at it let's stone Phil. R, just for kick's.

Just another view... said...

This is why so many people just don't get what is wrong with comments 20 years later. How Judge Wan stayed a Judge and was not removed...

"In 1987, Daniel Wan was beaten up outside of a bar in Broward County, Fla., by assailants who called him "faggot", repeatedly kicking him and throwing him up against a moving car. He died from his injuries two days later. At a pre-trial hearing, Circuit Judge Daniel Futch jokingly asked the prosecuting attorney, "That's a crime now, to beat up a homosexual?" The prosecutor responded, "Yes, sir. And it's a crime to kill them." To that, the judge quipped, "Times really have changed." Although the judge apologized and maintained he was kidding, he was removed from the case."

(Salon News Reel)

"Yes, the Times have changed. No longer does any type of outrageous judicial expression or action go unchallenged, thanks to technology. Today, with instant media coverage, next day transcripts, and audio and video recordings on demand, everything can easily be presented for review. Courtroom 1001.

Anonymous said...

Rumpole, come back to Planet Earth. Pakistan is a very different society than ours or than any society that you can really understand. If Musharaff falls, guess what's next? It wont be liberal democracy. And they have nukes.

CAPTAIN said...

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Well said, Rump!

Cap Out .....

Anonymous said...

hmmm. I'm not sure if I would be so quick to Judge; we of the Iowa/New Hampshire Primary system; we of the winner take all College of sort-of democracy where the one with the most votes loses; we who elected W. -- an international embarassment. The idea that our representatives should somehow be elected by the people ... good idea ... but so was communism. I would prefer government that works, that delivers, that cares, that puts environment over profit; health and education over building more prisons; that balances personal responsibility with nothing is anyone's fault. If the populace is uneducated and terror-driven regressive islamists, do we all still want democracy for them too? I think not. Fascism seems to work fairly well in the courtroom; and we seem to accept it rather well. Fascist leaning judges here in our little King and Queendom seem to garner just as much respect as others on this blog.

Anonymous said...

They are to be admired standing tall against such crushing power. Let democracy and reason prevail.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

pass the barf bag

fake phil r said...

Sticks and stones make break my bones but stupid comments on the blog will never hurt me.

fake shumie do said...

Im going to Pakistan and I'm taking my Ford with me.

Anonymous said...

HEY - what about our lawyers standing up against the tyranny of not allowing waivers in traffic cases during the blitz!

South Florida Lawyers said...

10 Billion well spent. At least he rounded up Bin Laden for us.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Rump. Pakistan is JUST LIKE the USA!! Do you have any idea what their culture and history is like?

Musharaff is probably the best bet at this time. If its not him, do you really think it will be a liberal democratic person? Of course not, it'll be some sort of religious lunatic. Is that really want you want?

And stop with this BULLSHIT about our Decl. of Independence. They have a totally different tradition. Those words of freedom mean nothing to the vast, vast majority of uneducated, religiously zealous Pakistanis.

The world aint some place where we can all sit around and sign "Kumbaya". Wake the fuck up!

CAPTAIN said...



Are the rumors true? Is the reason why Orlando Prescott has not filed for re-election to his Circuit Court seat because he is eyeing a run for something else?

Could it be that he is looking to compete against KFR or BB or CM?

Of the 46 candidates up for re-election, only he, R. Figarola and JB Cohen have not filed yet?

CAP OUT .....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

proud to be an attorney?? we have a kid trying to outsource legal jobs to India!!!

first with paralegals...maybe we need to do what the pakistani lawyers are doing!

Anonymous said...

"Musharaff is probably the best bet at this time. If its not him, do you really think it will be a liberal democratic person? Of course not, it'll be some sort of religious lunatic." - Whoever this is, do YOU have any idea of Pakistan's history or tradition or (more accurately) current political scenario? The parties with mass mobilisation potential - outside of one province - are NOT religious parties (the PPP for example), and it's fairly certain who will come to power if Musharraf falls. Will that be a liberal and democratic government? I doubt it. But will it be a "religious lunatic"? No.
Notice that all current repression is aimed at lawyers, media, mainstream political parties, and somewhat students, not against Islamic militants. In fact it is directing much needed forces away from that effort. AND it is leaving Islamic fundamentalism as the only outlet for politically repressed and frustrated Pakistanis.

Anonymous said...

Many parts of the world simply could not handle Democracy (See for example Gaza). It is not in our best interest for many parts of the middle east to be democratic. That is what Americans fail to see. Sadaam was a prick, but he could have been, and once was, our prick. He was the one person who could stop radical extremism in Iraq. We killed him, and look what we got. Pakistan is not the USA. I would rather have a goon there than extremists.

Anonymous said...

CAPTAIN, who is CM?????????????????

Anonymous said...

JB Cohen should expect competition SOON. I spoke to a prominent "Jewban" this weekend who is gathering support for a specific and interested opponent.

Anonymous said...

whats up with JB Cohen, a great Judge been around forever. Why is she dragging her feet?

Cap whats the pay between SA to PD to Judge to Clerk. Who is getting more money and who gets the less money?

Anonymous said...

Pakistan's President is/was a General who overthrew the Civilian government in 1999. Now that the P.M. has returned to the country, those that want a return to free elections ( which were just suspended/delayed by the General) and Rule of Law, Pakistan has bombings, Martial Law and a Cheif Justice under house arrrest, guarded by the army.
I salute the brave people, especially our brother & sister lawyers who stand up and say nay to oppression .
D. Sisselman

Anonymous said...

Could it be that he is looking to compete against KFR or BB or CM?

KFR would kick his dick in the dirt. Brummer wouldnt run against him and Carlos Martinez would beat him soundly.

Anonymous said...

Stop smoking dope -- Prescott run against KFR ????


Anonymous said...

"The effect of liberty to individuals is, that they may do what they please; we ought to see what it will please them to do, before we risk congratulations."

Edmund Burke.

How optimistic is the assumption that Pakistan, absent Musharaff or similar strongman, will be a stable, peaceful country? This is, after all, a country which remains unable to control vast areas of its own territory.

Anonymous said...

Typical of the US to look the other way while countries we claim
to be bringing democracy to, go down the path to dictatorship.

Anonymous said...

Look put down the crack pipe! KFR is never going to lose! She has done more for this county and all the PD's and SA"s combined.

My only fear is that BB won't run in 08'. He has done so well for the people heck just read his bio at the PD's web site.

Whom...I really think that 08' will be more of a train wreck than 06' was. Just think JB Cohen with opposition, BB stay's out of the race, that crazy man running for clerk, Josie's back, Shummie's kickin it up a notch and let's not forget it a year away. Will the trinity tour return?

...wheres reality TV producers when you need them.

Nancy Wear said...

When I saw that photo on the front page of the Herald, with the laughing plainclothes "security forces" beating the business-suited lawyer (slamming him in the shin, and more), I thought, "Would I have the guts to stand up to that?" and then I heard an interview on NPR with a Pakistani woman lawyer and human rights activist, who happened to be out of the country when they came for her. To the interviewer's question, she said, "But of course, I am going home [to certain house arrest, at the least]." She could not imagine being anywhere else. I say to the US Government, "You must cancel Pakistan's check" unless and until Constitutional rule is returned.
Perhaps most shocking was the remark of a Musharraf-spokeman who said that the US, post-9/11, was the inventor of the "anything goes when we're fighting terrorism" rule.
This is a major crisis, not just some palace coup.
And this is no time to be anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks Musharraf is the best solution for Pakistan clearly knows nothing about the politics and history of Pakistan within the past 20 - 30 years. Those comments have bought into the Bush administration fostered misconception that Al-Qaeda is poised to take over every country in the region. This is similar to the domino theory in the Vietnam War era, where the Johnson administration advocated the escalation of the Vietnam War otherwise the rest of the Southeast Asian countries would fall to the communists like so many dominoes.

For a brief glimpse of the outrageous overthrow of Pakistan's democratically elected government, try looking up Benazir Bhutto on Wiki. Musharraf, after seizing power, went so far as to amend the Constitution in a direct attempt to keep the people from re-electing Bhutto.