January 1, 2020 Letters
Thank you to Gov. Ron DeSantis for creating his Governor’s Initiative on Lawyers Assisting Warriors (GI LAW) as reported in the December News.
As a former U.S. Navy JAG officer, Gov. DeSantis recognized the void in legal services that the military provides to active-duty service members because federal law prohibits military lawyers from representing service members in civil matters not involving the government. Through the governor’s GI LAW initiative, some of Florida’s best law firms provide pro bono legal representation to active duty military stationed in Florida.
The Governor’s GI LAW initiative follows The Florida Bar’s good work in assisting the attorney-spouses of active military in Florida by promulgating Chapter 21 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, which allows the lawyer-spouses of full-time active duty military personnel, if they meet several conditions, to practice law in Florida while their active-duty military spouse is stationed in Florida without having to take the Florida bar examination.
Florida lawyers and all Floridians can be proud that Gov. DeSantis and The Florida Bar have created these important initiatives to assist active duty military members and their spouses stationed in Florida.
Harvey M. Alper has died. Harvey was a founder and president of the Attorneys’ Bar Association of Florida, a private lawyers’ organization formed in the 1990s to quell over-regulation by The Florida Bar. ABAF’s membership was open to all Florida lawyers. Under Harvey’s leadership, ABAF achieved some but not all of its goals.
In recent years Harvey was reluctant to push ahead out of concern of being perceived as in league with the dark forces at work in our land to undercut the power of government to come to the aid of the weak and the poor. Harvey opposed oppressive-regulation, not all regulation. He was a lover of liberty and a genuine humanitarian. His death “diminishes” all of us who cherish those values.
Credit John Donne, “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Sadly for us who survive him, the bells have tolled for Harvey.
I’ll again keep it simple. Are those who value political correct diversity over jurisprudential excellence willing to have judges who, as the TV commercial says, are, relatively speaking, “[just] OK”?
Young Harris, GA
This letter is to critique the radical mantra of “diversity and inclusion” pervasive in The Florida Bar and the legal profession discussed in the November letter of John G. Terhaar.
I support competition from all worthy applicants for judicial appointments. Judicial vacancies should be open to all qualified members of The Florida Bar regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity, and all of those persons interested in a judicial appointment should know that there is a level playing field for the applicant’s consideration, regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.
What is perturbing is when the particular appointment highlights the gender, race, religion, or ethnicity of the appointee, as was the case with Gov. DeSantis. Does it mean that because of that aspect of the judge, the judge is more or less qualified or will make different rulings on the bench? Should those who come before the courts concern themselves with whether a judge is of a certain gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.
Politicians like to highlight such considerations for votes, but does that not leave open the question of the virtue of the appointee aside from gender, race, religion, or ethnicity?
What should be more concerning is whether the appointee will interpret the law or be a social justice advocate, as has been too often the case in the federal courts in the past several years.
Mr. Terhaar celebrates that “Women now outnumber men enrolled at Florida law schools.” Is that a good thing? Does it mean fewer male attorneys in the future will be around to support their families, be appointed or elected to the bench, or take leadership roles in the Bar? Will a female-dominated legal profession result in greater justice for clients or better judicial decisions?
A Diversity & Flexibility Alliance report says 41.3% of attorneys promoted to partner at 138 major U.S. firms this year are women, compared with 38.9% in 2018. That percentage will undoubtedly grow, with or without those who support affirmative action for females through the “diversity and inclusion” credo.
The law is a democratic profession, but in seeking a judicial appointment it helps to know politicians, to work for the government and make contacts to support an application for the judiciary, or to work in a large law firm with political clout, i.e., money to help in political campaigns. Thus, judicial appointments are not as saccharin as some would suppose or proffer for such positions.
The major issue in the future will be how many attorneys in the minority populations will be appointed to the judiciary. They do not seem to be included in “diversity and inclusion.”
In an imperfect world, one can only hope that those who are appointed as judges are wise, intelligent, and learned in the law, and interpret the law, not make the law, regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.
Beverly Hills, CA
Pound of flesh piety to the divisive “diversity and inclusion” illusion has been an overriding mission of The Florida Bar since its calculated conversion to the “Diversity” diversion a generation ago.
Further relabeling will one day be commanded by those more correct than the body politic. “Diversity, inclusion and progress” (aka “DIP”) may become the holy trinity catchphrase for the communication crusade that continues to preach the fake problem con, with a fix that fixates on fixed traits.
The December News included an article on crime statistics which (along with an excellent piece on Marine Bruce Robinson) served as a brief respite from the edition tradition of proselytizing for diversity and inclusion, which we’ve been told means progress, permitting its apostles to anoint themselves holier than thou.
Cultural development of the arrested. Such was the gist of the crime statistics article, which sermonized that arrest disparities are caused by differential offending and differential treatment. The diversity and inclusion road (paved, of course) has caused the same labels to be wedded to the wheels of “progress.”
Cultural disparities over who gets a hand up and who gets a hand out before, during, and after law school, with the vast majority of privileges and preferences being based on God-given external traits, with some groups benefiting more than other groups, and one group essentially excluded from benefiting, causes differential offending.
Cultural sucking up to all but that one group, with that one group told via virtue signaling vacuity to “suck it up” is at its heart immoral, yet rationalized as mindful discrimination; an unrepentant ongoing liturgy of differential treatment.
Cultural arrested development.
I had the good fortune to work and learn from attorney Max Wright, who passed away this summer.
He always showed empathy and kindness to his clients and other attorneys. He always looked to the goodness in everyone and tried to work in a conciliatory and humane manner in all his cases. He was a shrewd attorney, but held the highest ideals of our profession. He was particularly kind to victims of abuse and fraud. Although he became an attorney at the age of 64, he managed to touch the hearts of many folks in Central Florida and through his church around the world for the relatively short time he was an attorney.
He will be missed by all those who knew him and were fortunate enough to have associated with him. May his work live on via the many lives he made better.