Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Law Blog criticizes C-Js Political Cartoon on Teddy Gordon and the Meredith case

First, C-J ran this Political Cartoon by Scott Coffman, titled: "Teddy Gordon waits for his $1 gamble to pay off."

Then, Michael Stevens, over at the Kentucky law Review blog, ripped the ticket in two.

Louisville: Courier-Journal Cartoon
on Attorney Fees in School Case
- Not a "Pulitzer" moment

I seriously considered NOT posting a link to the "political" cartoon in the Courier-Journal by Scott Coffman "Teddy Gordon Waits for his $1 Gamble to Pay off".

However, our judges and courts speak through their decisions, and someone has to come to their defense when inappropriate liberties are taken to attack either. This is one of those times.
Mr. Coffman's comparing the filing of a lawsuit to the purchase of a lottery ticket in any legal scenario is not factually inaccurate. Even worse, it is an insult to the reputation of the courts and breeds unnecessary disrespect for the judicial system. All for the sake of a questionable chuckle.

A picture of a lottery ticket with the names of each of the justices of the United States Supreme Court with check marks by those who voted with the majority in the Meredith v. Jefferson Public Schools case implies the law and the facts were ignored by all concerned.

Attacking the person and not the issues is a weak argument. Adlai Stevenson once said "He who slings mud generally loses ground."

This "lottery" ticket did not cost a dollar, and if as Lincoln said that a lawyer's time is his stock and trade, then a lot of time and hours over the years was expended on behalf of Gordon's client; much more than a token sum.

By looking at the lawyer and not the litigant, the cartoon took the path of least resistance and continues to play on the passions of the people rather than move forward. Whether or not you agree with the outcome is not the point! The point is that this is a nation of laws. The rule of law is important, and not just when the law agrees with you. The courts are open to those who believe they have been wronged and seek redress. A decision has been made; move on.

As Atticus Finch stated in his closing in To Kill a Mockingbird - "Now, gentlemen, in this country our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system. That's no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality!

Although I may not agree with each decision from our higher courts, and often point out the lack of justice and logic in those decisions, I am disturbed by those who compare any judge or justice to a numbered ping pong ball or reduce the justice system to nothing more than the tipping points in a bet.

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