Free Speech Friday: The First Amendment – One Sentence, 10,000 annotations

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

U.S. Const. Amend. I

Welcome to the first of a new monthly series here on Lawyers & Liquor, which we’re calling “Free Speech Friday.”  I’m your host, the Boozy Barrister.  Over the next however long it takes us, we’re gonna take one Friday a month to discuss legal issues of free speech and constitutional law here, both areas that I, as a shitty shit lawyer in Shitadelphia, Shitsylvania am not overly familiar with.  So, this will be a learning experience for both of us, as Boozy pursues edification and then, like the loving momma bird that I am, promptly turns to vomit up the knowledge into your eagerly cheeping mouths.

Yes, I know, that’s probably someone’s fetish.  Put it back in your pants, Pete.  We got law to talk about.

More specifically, we have one specific law to talk about, being the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.  You can see the whole fucking text of the thing above, one sentence that lasts 45 words and has caused more goddamn trouble to the courts than anything else.  One sentence that has been used to guarantee the rights of everyone from activists marching for racial equality to assholes picketing funerals.  45 words that have been interpreted to allow folks to spout 14 words in city center when they seek to do so.  Often contentious, and always loud, the First Amendment is, as author and Huffington Post journalist Naomi Wolf said, “designed to allow for disruption of business as usual. It is not a quiet and subdued amendment or right.”

In other words, it is the right to be fucking loud and, in general, do so without fear of restriction from the government.  But how, exactly, did we come about gaining that right, written into the very foundational documents of our nation’s history?  And why?

That’s what we’re talking about today on Free Speech Friday:  the birth of the First Amendment and the why of why we have it.  So sit back, grab some popcorn, and let’s get going with an impromptu legal history lesson.

Continue reading “Free Speech Friday: The First Amendment – One Sentence, 10,000 annotations”

Pride Month Special: “One True Pervert In the Courtroom” – The Trial of Dale Jennings

Here at Lawyers & Liquor we tend to dedicate the third Friday of every month to the discussion of a fetish.  But June has five Fridays, and, as a quick glance at my calendar just informed me, we’re about halfway through this month.  So I thought it may be neat, given that this is a month bedecked in the rainbow vomit and glitter-cannon parades that is Pride, to talk about something more on point with that shit:  Let’s talk about the history of the LGBTQ+ treatment at law in the United States.

That’s right, Boozy’s sticking on the way-too-tight tank top and trimming his beard to make this website the legal version of Growlr for one day only as we dive into the historical treatment of the LGBTQ+ community within the United States.  So smear on your best body paint, cuddle up with the spouse you previously couldn’t marry, and call that one homophobic Aunt that everyone has just to tell them to fuck right off as we talk about Dale Jennings, and how the LAPD totally George Michael’d the fuck out of him…and in doing so helped kick off the modern LGBTQ+ rights movement as we know it today.

…Fucking talk about some shit backfiring, eh?

Continue reading “Pride Month Special: “One True Pervert In the Courtroom” – The Trial of Dale Jennings”

“Fees Fi Fo Fum”: The English Rule and The American Rule, Part 1

Good morning and welcome back to Monday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where I try to recoup all the goodwill I burned through in recovering from an injury and being a general roustabout in anything not case related by redirecting you all away from my flagrant ignoring of my responsibilities on this site and back towards the questions of law, fact, and fun that tend to pop up profanely here.  Isn’t that just one hell of a run-on sentence? Anyhow, I’m your hobbling host the Boozy Barrister, here to pour seething hot rage and recommendations into your eyeholes as we keep trucking on through the dark night of litigation finance.

You may remember that last week, before I disappeared into the netherworld of lazy lawyers in their off time, I spoke about the threats that are coming to bear on the Legal Services Corporation, the federal agency that provides grants to legal aid non-profits and assists them in letting the indigent have their day in court.  The whole reason we have to have organizations like this is because, frankly, if someone hires me to bring a lawsuit or defend one I expect to get fucking paid as a result. Now, some of you out there are saying “Boozy, I thought lawyers only get paid if you win!” To that I say: Do I sound like the type of guy who takes cases on contingency? I like eating my meals. The only gambling I ever do is at the pai gow table, surrounded  by hard-smoking and hard-drinking Chinese businessmen screaming things in Mandarin and Cantonese (neither or which I speak).  I’m not gambling in the office.

I mean, I would if I could, but it’s been hell on wheels trying to get the partners to recognize the need for a pai gow table in the conference room.

No, in most cases us American Attorneys get paid win, lose, or draw.  You may go home with empty pockets and a judgment against you, but I go home with my check or I don’t sally forth into the legal battlefield with you in the first fucking place. And that, for many people out there, is the problem.  But…what if I told you there was another way?  And there may be one, too, if we dig back through the past and examine the alternative method of paying for a lawsuit…which is what we’re doing this week.

But first, let me explain the two historical methods of paying for a lawsuit: The English Rule and the American Rule.

Continue reading ““Fees Fi Fo Fum”: The English Rule and The American Rule, Part 1″

Freaky Friday: The Ghosts of Justice Denied

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

As the night falls and the moon rises, we’ll take a journey this week far beneath the law library into the catacombs where the bones of lesser lawyers line the walls and guttering torches light the way. That’s right, it’s time to enter the legal crypts for another monthly edition of Freaky Friday here on Lawyers & Liquor, where we talk about the morbid, morose, paranormal, or unsettling parts of the law and legal history. So settle in and sit a spell as we pull down a dusty tome of dark legal, and illegal, knowledge to drop on you. Especially this time, as we talk about the ghosts of America’s past, both figurative and literal,  of those denied justice, sentenced to death, and executed by the whims of the mob and the animus of illogical hatred.

But first, a warning:

Today’s post will contain graphic historical images and content. There is no nudity, but it will be disturbing. There will be dead people. There will be people killed for their skin color. Feel free to avoid the post this month. I’ll be back next month with another one that’s more light-hearted.

Continue reading “Freaky Friday: The Ghosts of Justice Denied”

Freaky Friday: Lawyers Are Deadly

Let’s just be honest, the law does not attract the most savory of professionals.  I mean, by and large, lawyers are learned professionals who exist to help other people with their legal problems, and do so as a manner of calling. However, we have a disproportionate number of fucking psychopaths lurking in our profession. I mean…a really fucking disproportionate number of psychopaths.  As one attorney told a researcher:

 “Deep inside me there’s a serial killer lurking somewhere. But I keep him amused with cocaine, Formula One, booty calls, and coruscating cross-examination.”

Isn’t that just comforting? Just those two sentences shatter the image of the local lawyer as being the stalwart Atticus Finch and makes them more of the Patrick Bateman type of person in your head, doesn’t it? But that’s ridiculous. One man does not a profession speak for. I mean, how many lawyers could really be off their goddamn rockers, right? It’s not like you’re going to go into your local attorney’s office and immediately get chased down the hallway by some 40-ish lawyer with a bad combover wearing a Brooks Brothers suit and wielding a motherfucking axe, right?

….Say, do you like Huey Lewis and the News?

Well let me put on this album and tell you about the blood on the hands of two particular members of our profession in this month’s Freaky Friday.

Ignore the newspapers taped to the floor.  I don’t have a dog.

Continue reading “Freaky Friday: Lawyers Are Deadly”