The Corner

Objection, Your Honor!

Jay Nordlinger mentions en passant:

“Only lawyers now can argue before Supreme Court.” That was the headline over this article. I’m sure that the new rule makes sense: that you have to be a lawyer, to argue before the Supreme Court. The last time a non-lawyer argued, it was 1978.

Still, doesn’t the professionalization of everything make you slightly uneasy?

Exactly. It’s the people’s court, supposedly — the people’s ultimate court. So why can’t the people argue before it? Our colleague Conrad Black likes to point out that America has almost as many lawyers as the rest of the planet combined, which statistic alone would tend to suggest not all of them can be that good. (That was certainly true in Conrad’s case.) I speak as someone who always represents himself in traffic court, and has a grand old time. (I was very flattered, after kicking the prosecutor’s butt one time, to be asked by the guy two cases after me if I could represent him.) And I always dreamt that maybe, after my next big stop-sign victory, someone would say, “Hey, why don’t you handle the Obamacare case? We hear Roberts is going wobbly . . .”

Can’t we appeal this new rule? All you have to do is stand in the Supreme Court and read Anthony Kennedy’s DOMA ruling back at him — that those who passed this rule were motivated by an “improper animus” toward a group they wished to “disparage,” “demean,” and “humiliate” as “unworthy” (ie, non-lawyers).

P.S. While I agree with Jay on the over-credentialization of American life, elsewhere in today’s column I must object to this:

I enjoyed something from this obit (which I know doesn’t sound very nice, but . . .). It is about Paul Smith, a jazz pianist.

“A jazz pianist”? If you ever saw him with Ella, you’d know he’s the jazz pianist.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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