Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Another HN h/t.
The judge denied reconsideration of his own incredibly wrong decision and I was left unable to explain to my clients why they were being penalized for doing exactly what the contract required them to do. The most awful feeling I had in ten years of law practice was that "Mr. Jones" feeling, from the Bob Dylan song: "There's something happening here, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Jones?" All too often, in state court, there was the feeling that what happened had nothing to do with the law and everything to do with the inner workings of a club of which I was not a member. The New York state courts, in New York City, are owned by the Democratic party. Judges are elected for fourteen year terms in elections where they are faced with no serious opposition; endorsement by the local Democratic club ensures election. The people who are selected are all too often not intellectual luminaries or legal scholars (unlike in the federal system) but are attorneys who have been associated with the Democratic party for many years and are up for a reward (typically, they are the ones who do not have enough on the ball to be elected to the state legislature or city council). They see the same lawyers every day, many of whom are also involved with the party, and if you are a complete outsider, as I was, you will probably not win the same number of your cases, or at least of your motions, as an insider.