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Jewish World Review Nov. 28, 2000/ 1 Kislev, 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Consumer Reports

Cry no tears for Al,
lawyers are the losers

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- DON'T CRY for Al. Losing was his salvation.

Al is like one of the dogs at the greyhound park. If a greyhound actually catches the mechanical rabbit he's trained to chase around the track, he'll never run after it again. The dog learns that chasing, not catching, is the game.

Al had to be saved from learning the awful truth about the mechanical rabbit. There's got to be a succession of "next years" for Al, who has been running all his life.

Now that Florida has awarded its 25 electoral votes, and with them the presidency, to George W., we can all get on with the rest of our lives. Save the tears for the lawyers.

Lawyers are the losers in Florida. The best estimate is that there are 500 Democratic trial lawyers at work down there for Al. At $750 an hour which is what David Boies charges his clients and Al certainly wouldn't discriminate against the rest of the lawyers, some being black, Hispanic and/or female that comes to $375,000 an hour, just for lawyers.

Not all of them expect to get paid, of course, but if they don't they can try to charge it off to bad debt on their tax returns. Pro bono, to a lawyer, only means laying it off on unsuspecting innocents. The Internal Revenue Service should make a note, as it probably has.

It's not just the money, because trial lawyers, as we know, are not in it for the money. It's about reputation, and some of our leading legal reputations have taken a severe licking in Florida.

David Boies, to begin with. Mr. Boies arrived in Florida fresh from dismantling Microsoft and reducing Bill Gates' fortune from all the money in the world to merely most of the money in the world. He's the superlawyer of the year, the man who never loses. He would dismantle George W. singlehandedly, and send George W.'s lawyers fleeing into the swamps in clouds of chads. Nearly every talking head on television told us so.

The John Marshalls, Learned Hands and Oliver Wendell Holmeses of the Florida Supreme Court swallowed the hype whole, bought his bloviation disguised as argument and sealed so everyone thought the theft of the state's 25 votes with its ruling that vote canvassers should keep on counting until they found enough dimples, indentations, penumbras and emanations to translate into the winning margin for Al Gore. The clincher was Mr. Boies' learned citation of an Illinois case that, so he said, had validated the counting of dimpled chads in an Illinois election.

When George W. filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Superlawyer who's never wrong shrugged and predicted that the Supreme Court would never intervene in the case. This word apparently did not reach Washington, however, because the court promptly announced that it would, too, intervene, and Mr. Boies had until Wednesday to get his brief to Washington. That's brief, the court said, not briefs. Ah, yes, said Mr. Boies (it rhymes with "noise"), he had known all the time that the court would take the case.

Then the Chicago Tribune reported that Mr. Superlawyer's citation of the Illinois case was all wet, too. Mr. Boies had got the citation exactly backwards, the kind of mistake a first-year paralegal from a second-rate correspondence-course law school would know better than to make.

Or maybe it wasn't a mistake. A superlawyer never knows what he can get by with until he tries, particularly with a supreme court in the land of rednecks, alligators, lovebugs and trailer-park yankees on the lam.

And what is there to say about the humiliation of that Supreme Court in Florida, held up by the U.S. Supreme Court as a gang of partisan jacklegs who can't cite straight? Not much, as it turns out, and now they'll be at the mercy of a Florida Legislature of angry Republicans, and lucky if they'll be allowed to keep their parking spaces.

Alan Dershowitz suddenly doesn't look so hot, either. The Harvard perfesser, once the brightest bulb in the faculty lounge, has reduced himself to low wattage with his hysterics night after night on the cable-TV rabble-and-rant shows, dissing Katherine Harris as "corrupt" and a "criminal" simply because she wouldn't agree with his misinterpretation of the law. The perfesser has been hanging out with his clients, O.J. and Klaus von Bulow, so long that he seems to regard women with the contempt his clients do. Katherine Harris should be grateful she did not have to celebrate Thanksgiving in the company of that trio with a turkey and a carving knife.

James Baker, George W.'s Florida mouthpiece (and whatever happened to Warren Christopher?), offered a piece of free advice to the lawyers just after Florida certified the winner. "It's time," he said, "for the lawyers to go home."

Stipulated, and further no deponent knoweth.

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Up

11/21/00: The useful loathing of America's sons
11/17/00: When this is all over, we spray for lawyers
11/14/00: Something murky in the twilight zone

11/10/00: Something sinister in Palm Beach

11/07/00: Low days in the life of the ruptured duck

11/06/00: A little race baiting in the final hours

11/01/00: Creator gets a hard time on the hustings

10/27/00: The sorcerer rides to rescue his apprentice

10/25/00: The founding father with a story to tell

10/23/00: A lonely passion for religious rights

10/16/00: Spending blood on the folly of fools

10/11/00: A big night for the embellisher-in-chief

10/06/00: AlGore's black problem

10/04/00: In headlong pursuit of the bigot vote

10/02/00: A modest proposal for Rick Lazio

09/27/00: When folks at home give up on a scamp

09/25/00: Gore plot exposed! The secret minutes

09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply

09/14/00: Al sets out to find his 'tolerance level'

09/12/00: When it's time for a thumb in the eye

09/07/00: Making a daughter a campaign asset

09/04/00: A footnote to the lie: How he beats the rap

08/30/00: Unbearable lightness of a cyberjournal

08/21/00: Clinton chickens on AlGore's roost

08/16/00: The long goodbye to California's cash

08/09/00: Innocence by proxy is a risky scheme

08/07/00: After insulin shock, an authentic rouser

08/02/00: When it gets hard not to get a little giddy

07/31/00: George W.'s legions of summer soldiers

07/26/00: He's set a surprise --- or a trap for himself

07/24/00: How do you serve a turkey in August?

07/19/00: Would Hillary sling a lie about a slur?

07/17/00: Process, not peace, at a Velveeta summit

07/12/00: The Texas two-step, a nudge and a wink

07/10/00: The Great Mentioner and his busy season

07/05/00: No Mexican standoff in these results

07/03/00: Denting a few egos in the U.S. Senate

06/28/00: Bureaucracy amok! Punctuation in peril!

06/26/00: The water torture of American resolve

06/21/00: The happy hangman is a busy hangman

06/19/00: Dick Gephardt finds a Dixie dreamboat

06/14/00: Taking a byte out of innovation

06/12/00: 'Go away, little boy, you're bothering us'

06/07/00: When a little envy is painful to watch

06/05/00: Fire and thunder, bubble and squeak

05/31/00: South of the border, politics is pepper

05/26/00: Running out of luck with home folks

05/24/00: The heart says no, but the head says yes

05/22/00: A fine opportunity to set an example

05/17/00: The Sunday school for Republicans

05/15/00: Hillary's surrogate for telling tall tales

05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man

05/08/00: First a lot of bluster, then the retreat

05/02/00: Good news for Rudy, bad news for Hillary

04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood

04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks

04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go

04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno

04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)

04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts

03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table

03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day

03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult

03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology

03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain

03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden