Anyone who thought we would escape pandemic year election 2020 without maximum self-inflicted agony has not been paying attention. Naturally, lawyers have added a heapin-helpin.

That a judge is throwing out Republican lawsuits in Pennsylvania that contest the election results is not objectionable in the slightest. Throwing the nation into yet more political dysfunction, uncertainty, and angst is not a small thing and should not be done lightly. Lawyers supposedly have a higher duty, born of higher concept of the law, not to lie and not to manipulate the court for perverse agendas (try to hold your laughter in a while longer). They should treat the court with gravity and seriousness.

Where has that legal concept been hiding? Curtailing frivolous lawsuits would unmake 2/3 of legal activity. Frivolity practically defines our legal system. What other word could define expensive legal wrangles over gay wedding cakes and what bathrooms we can/should/can’t use.

It is a lesson that there is no concept that is so useful and honorable that it cannot be manipulated for political fuckery: that the Soviets used mental illness as a pretext to deal with political dissidents, does not mean there was no real mental illness in the Soviet Union. Of course, all votes should matter, of course all votes should count. But to cast aspersions on a duly conducted election, over a narrow possibility of a few hundred weird ballots, out of an overall context of thousands over the margin of victory, is nothing but a hateful betrayal of a process held as near-sacred by all of the civilized portions of the world. A stolen election is an extraordinary claim, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

“But we just went through that very same thing with the impeachment fiasco!” The Trumpkins retort. The rule holds there too: Russian manipulation of our political process to influence an election is a hell of a claim. Where is the hell-of-a piece of evidence? A thin reed of an unlikely possibility was transformed into a battering ram of doubt, in order to interfere with the oldest continuous electoral process extent (held by many as near-sacred). It took many hundreds of days for the dueling lawyers/politicos to establish any clear concept of law, accessible to the voters (which they never really did; most Americans still don’t grasp what happened). The “RussiaGate” scandal looked like a duel of giant squids, deep in the unseen depths, where it was impossible to see any clear concepts of law for all the cloaking and inking and spinning. This is an indicator that the laws are too complex and self-servingly ambiguous (befitting the lawyers), for The People to be able to use to control the politicians we are the bosses of (try to stop laughing).

“Wait, what, there is such a thing as a lawsuit too fraudulent to be expensively entertained,” was my reaction to the judge’s decision. We have had lawsuits where a town lost ten million dollars because a policeman was told to “tone down his gayness.” That money might have gone to the community to cover lots of policing issues, like mental illness outreach (I can personally attest: there are such things as poor mentally ill gay men, who could have used that support if helping gays was the goal. Not a bad one to have).

I would estimate that about a third of my activity as a NYC field paramedic involves wrangling frivolous liabilities to protect myself (and my institutions) against legal giant squid-battles. Just as I wrote a series of articles pointing out that our elected officials need far more impeachment, not less, that impeachment is a tool that should be “normalized,” because our politicians commit actual crimes (with regularity) that are far more substantive than mere political squabbles like Russiagate and Watergate. Those crimes include: invading nations without justification; “secretly” bombing others without authorization; torpedoing peace talks in an ongoing war to gain political advantage; getting drunk and threatening nuclear Armageddon as a way to gain bargaining advantage. With impeachment routine, we might return to accountable politics for everyone (but for that, teams Red and Blue need to impeach their own).

We should also want the booting of frivolous lawsuits to be a routine thing. This would make America more normal by international standards. No other country in the world indulges their lawyers so, and they are mostly free from the legal chaos that is commonplace here. The two correlate: simplicity is part of functionality (this goes a long way to explain why we can no longer simply count up the votes of The People without dramatic dysfunction, thanks for that too, politico lawyer squids).

Just as the lawsuit in Pennsylvania would have caused undo and unnecessary pain out of context if entertained, so are lawsuits we all have all seen, over truly stupid legal concepts, that can bring ruin to average people, and are allowed to continue. Now we see that powerful political interests can summarily put a stop to them, for political reasons.

Just off the top of my head:

Jeffry Toobin was fired, to forestall a spectacular lawsuit no doubt, for “interfering with himself.” Outrage must be faux, though, because Quentin Tarantino movies are in constant circulation, at all hours of the day, where someone is raped or tortured with cinematic artfulness. Americans consume a torrent of depraved entertainment products without batting an eye. We let the stream-of-sick babysit our kids. Yet in a narrow context of an office place, with assets that the lawyers can get at, suddenly the American culture is one of Victorian pearl clutching innocence.

Every clinician in my institution must yearly sit through a class on how to talk to girls, as if we were in Junior High school sex education. Would you rather we sit through this class every year, or would you rather we take classes in, say, state-of-the-art COVID treatment? This is where frivolous lawsuits that have not been summarily thrown out for political reasons have gotten us: millions of dollars from a state-of-the-art medical institution up in smoke, and tens of thousands of hours of training of the most important clinicians in the world wasted.

If the powerful can determine a legal outcome, no matter the legal environment for everyone else, can we even say we have the rule of law? Over-lawed, destroying the rule of law, is what we have.

I will not be holding my breath waiting that the throwing out of frivolous, destructive and politically self-serving lawsuits will remain a thing AFTER the hated Orange-man has been boosted.

Eugene Darden Nicholas

About Eugene Darden Nicholas

Eugene Darden (Ed) Nicholas is from Flushing Queens, where he grew up sheltered from the hard world, learning the true things after graduating college and becoming a paramedic in Harlem. School continues to inform and entertain in all its true, Shakespearean glory. It's a lot of fun, really. In that career, dozens of people walk the earth now who would not be otherwise. (The number depends on how literally or figuratively you choose to add). He added a beloved wife to his little family, which is healthy. He is also well blessed in friends and colleagues.


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