Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Fordham Law Review

Publication Date

1991

Abstract

The tone and the essence of professionalism in the year 2050 will be set by Rambo judges. It will start at the Supreme Court level where, from the bench and in published opinions, justices of the Supreme Court will accuse each other of invincible ignorance, intellectual dishonesty and deliberate subversion of the Constitution. The federal circuit judges, abusing rules like Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Appellate their powers and their immunities by irresponsibly castigating practicing lawyers in their opinions, referring to their conduct as frivolous, as unprofessional, and even as deceitful. They will do this without notice, without hearings, on vague and inadequate standards, and with no right of appeal. And they will impose the harshest of sanctions, not infrequently in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Trial judges will probably be the worst. For them, moving the calendar will be the number one priority and will trump everything else, including due process, and other constitutional rights. They too will terrorize lawyers with threats of sanctions. They will boast to each other and vie among each other to impose the most severe sanctions and, ironically, calendars will be even more clogged because of the satellite litigation relating to these sanctions.

In civil cases, particularly, the ethics rules will be displaced by courtesy codes. There will be no discipline whatsoever for lack of zealous representation, but there will be sanctions for "discourtesy" such as the vigorous assertion of clients' rights. Due process for clients will be equated with delay, which will be equated with discourtesy, which will be equated with lack of professionalism.

Ultimately, there will be a realization that trials and evidence at trials are irrelevant because judges will omit facts in their opinions and will gratuitously add others with no respect for the record in the case whatsoever. Legal research, of course, will also become meaningless because the judges routinely will miscite cases and misstate the holdings of cases that they discuss.

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