(Archive - Week of April 25, 2004)

Note: The following article is a piece that I wrote and it was published in Feb. 2003. If this former Tennessee plowboy had this much wisdom about Iraq before it was invaded, where were the marbles in Bush's head? We are now in trouble - deep trouble, and democracy will never be a part of the government in Iraq. I wonder how Bush sleeps at night knowing that over 700 young Americans have been sent home in body-bags, because he made a mistake? What kind of a person is he that did not meet any of the dead heroes upon their arrival home and did not attend any of the funerals? George W. Bush committed a crime - he is a murderer.


Beginning of the law in the United States
(The United States Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces will commit a crime if he orders the American troops to invade Iraq . It's as plain as daylight that the leadership of the United States is craving to start a war with a country that has not invaded the United States , fired a shot on American soil, or committed one provable terrorist act. We have a hundred inspectors in Iraq and none can find any so-called weapons of mass destruction in spite of this administration telling the American people that they know the location of these weapons. If these weapons exist, why doesn't Bush tell the inspectors where the weapons are located?)

John Jay (1745-1829), American statesman, diplomat, New York lawyer, and first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was appointed as the first woman justice of the United States Supreme Court.

In 1800, Constance Baker Motley was the first black woman law clerk to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court in the United States , often referred to as “the Court of Last Resort.” It was established in 1790 with six justices, the Court originally convened in New York City . Currently, the Court is composed of nine justices, including eight associate justices and one chief justice who preside in Washington , D.C. (The Court moved to Washington, D.C. in 1800 when D.C. became the capital of the United States.) Each U.S. Supreme Court justice is appointed for life by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. The only qualification for the life term of U.S. Supreme Court Justices is “good behavior.”

Federal law does provide that a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, as other federal judges, can be impeached by Congress. By federal law, the U.S. Supreme Court begins its “term” on the first Monday in October and concludes nine months later at the end of June or early July. During each term, the Justices agree to review, or grant certiorari, (Latin word meaning “to be informed of”) in approximately 100 out of 6,000 or more appeals.

There are 13 different Circuit Court of Appeals. There are 11 numbered circuits and a D.C. Circuit (for the District of Columbia ), and as Federal Circuit, which hears specialized cases on patent and trademark law.

How do lawyers know what the law is? Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841-1935), the famous American jurist, observed:

“Take the fundamental question, what constitutes the law? You will find some text writers telling you that it is something different from what is decided by the courts of Massachusetts or England , that it is a system of reason, that it is a deduction from principles or ethics or admitted axioms … which may or may not coincide with decisions.

“But if we take the view of our friend the bad man we shall find that he does not care two straws for the axioms or deductions, but that he does want to know what the Massachusetts or England courts are likely to do in fact. I am much of his mind. The prophecies of what the courts will do in fact, and nothing more pretentious, are what mean by the law.”

––– Oliver Wendell Holmes, “The Path of the Law,” Harvard Law Review, (1897)

Prophecies about law rest in part on a comparison between cases in question and prior cases that have been decided. Skill in finding similarities and differences among cases – the case method – is thus a fundamental part of professional law study.

It did not take me long to learn while I attended law classes in college to realize that I should go in a different direction with a new career, because of my fear of becoming a loser. As a member of the United States Marine Corps, the word “loser” was not in our vocabulary. It was winning at all cost. If I tried a case in court and lost, I would appeal the same case for the rest of my life until the case was overturned in my favor.

Law school teachers primarily use two techniques, the Socratic dialogue and the case method. In this pedagogic combination a teacher intensively interrogates individual students concerning the facts and principles presumed to be operative in an appellate opinion.

The method is intended to accomplish two goals. The first is informational: instruction in the substantive rules of discrete bodies of law. The second is to develop in the student a cognitive restructuring for the style of analysis generally called “thinking like a lawyer.”

In that analysis, a student is trained to account for the factual minutiae as well as for the legal issues determined by the court to be at the core of the dispute, so as to allow an intelligent prediction of what another court would do with a similar set of facts.

The technique is learning-centered: students are closely questioned and the teacher often takes their responses to further direct the dialogue.

The law received a jump-start after the computer invention and the Internet. Research on “case laws” once was done through a barn full of books – now case law is researched via the Internet with lightening speed.

The majority of the present day Justices of the United States Supreme Court have political views as diehard, rightwing conservative Republicans. Many of them are over-the-hill with age, some are in bad health, and I would bet my farm and best Tennessee mule that at least a couple of them will retire within two years while Bush is in office. They want conservative Republicans be appointed by Bush and approved by the Republic Senate to replace them.

A lawyer ages like good wine. The older he/she gets, the wiser in the courtroom. First the person attends and graduates from a good school of law, and with practical experience, the lawyer will see all the lights in the courtroom. Since I know for a fact that Wm. Travis Gobble has been practicing law for decades and has celebrated his 55 th birthday for at least 6 years, we would have to assume that he has aged like good Lite beer. And I am absolutely sure he can convince and charm the jury to see things his way. The jury is the key to success or failure. The best lawyers are good actors and a drama education is as slick as Cow slobber. I'm told that Travis is highly dedicated, skillful, and extremely foxy defending his clients.


“The power to tax is not the power to destroy while this court sits.”
––– Justice OLIVER WINDELL HOMES, dissenting, Panhandle Oil Company v. Mississippi er rel. Knox, Attorney General, (1928). Justice Holmes was Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1902-32).


“The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.”
––– WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, Henry VI, part II, act IV, scene ii, lines 83-84. Dick the butcher is speaking.


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