Monday, February 03, 2003

This one really got my attention. It seems that the American BAR association would like to have a law passed that would not only prohibit any non lawyers from giving advice on the law, but assign civil & criminal penalties for it as well.
Now i am as guilty of the occassional lawyer joke as anyone, & have in anger done my fair share of lawyer bashing. So with that admitted I will say that I do not blame the lawyers of the BAR who want this law enacted. Who I blame is the american people, especially myself, for letting things get so out of hand.
A very basic premise, one that was perhaps better understood in the early days of this country's independence, was that the law ought to be simple enough & direct enough for the common person to understand it. With laws that stated in plain language their scope & intended objects then it could honestly be argued that ignorance of the law was not a valid excuse.
Have you ever seen the U.S. Code? You know, the laws made up by our supposedly limited federal government? If i remember correctly, they comprise close to thirty volumes & a decent set will cost well over $1000. This is just an estimation but it would seem like a month or two should be set aside if one plans to read them straight through. & the language is less than straight forward. Now add the state & local laws on top of those for every place you live or have business or property interests.
But hell, the IRS code is so confusing by itself, most IRS agents don't know the law. & note the great restraint I showed in not using IRSS to describe that particular perverter of all that is right & good.

So what should be the case is having a very concisely stated set of laws, written in english that the average high school student can understand.
What is the case is a set of laws so complex that we not only commonly require the aid of a lawyer to sort out what's what, but a lawyer that specializes in that particular field.

I am not a very big fan of the author of the following quote. I feel there were many more of his contemporaries that were closer to my beliefs than him. But he does put it rather nicely:

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood . . .
James Madison

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