Lawyers: No Wonder Things Are So Screwed Up

George Wharton Pepper was the big legal bat for Organized Baseball in the 1921 Anti-Trust Act violation suit posted by Federal League interests in 1921.

George Wharton Pepper was the big legal bat for Organized Baseball in the  Anti-Trust Act violation suit posted by Federal League interests in 1920.

Question: How would you describe a 50-seat bus load of lawyers going off a 500-foot cliff at 80 MPH into the ocean below with 47 seats occupied with these legal eagles?

Answer: The picture described within the question is nothing less than an example of “conspicuous waste”.

Don’t get me wrong. Lawyer guys like Tony Cavender and a few others are some of my best friends and favorite people, but I like oysters too. And some of them have made me awfully sick over the years.

The problem with lawyers is the way they put their legal thoughts into written form as either laws or court room arguments and judicial decisions. By the time that we. the people feel the pain from the gobbledygook the lawyers have written, it is so disconnected from its legal source that we really aren’t sure what just hit us.

And why? Most of the time it’s because people who write in legalese, the language of lawyers, write within their own special context of complexity, trickery, obfuscation, and boredom. For most of us lay people, legalese is too complicated to understand, too boring to keep our interest, or too easy to miss the real meaning in the fine print that is the true intention of the document in the first place. Sort of like the guy who bought a group health insurance policy, but did not find out until he needed to use it that the whole group had to get sick at the same time with the same diagnosis for it to be of any benefit to any single subscriber. – Yes, it was in the fine print of Section 341.4 of Exemption Instances listed in the Benefits Manual Discovery Appendix from the start. The now-out-of-luck sick guy should have read that hard-to-find part before he signed up.

Check out this article that researcher/friend  Darrell Pittman sent me this morning. It’s by a fellow named Gary Hailey and it appears here as “Anatomy of a Murder: The Federal League and the Courts, Part 4.” The earlier parts are traceable through article-internal links provided by the material site.

Anatomy of a Murder: The Federal League and the Courts, Part 4 | Our Game

Before you get lost or tired of reading, please note that Organized Baseball was not given an “exemption” from the federal Anti-Trust Act by these proceedings. What they received was a favorable ruling that baseball, the game, was an event that took place from the first pitch of each contest and then ended with the last out of each separate game. Therefore, baseball did not cross state lines to qualify as interstate commerce, even though it was necessary to transfer players and their equipment across state lines to play each of these separate, but complete games.

How laughable and/or politically biased was that ruling? The whole specious argument falls away with one question: If each individual “game” was all that mattered, why did Organized Baseball bother to keep standings of who won the most games in a singe season and then pair the two clubs with the best records from each league in this annual thing they called “The World Series”?


Try to pay attention to the language used by Organized Baseball attorney George Wharton Pepper in describing his appeal strategy for arguing against the suit by Federal League interests that “OB” was operating in violation of the federal Sherman Anti-Trust Act governing interstate commerce:

I raised at every opportunity the objection that a spontaneous output of human activity is not in its nature commerce, that therefore Organized Baseball cannot be interstate commerce; and that, it not being commerce among the states, the federal statute could have no application….

… [T]he case came on for argument … on October 15th [, 1920]. I mention the date because of the coincidence that on the same day there was being played the final game in the [Dodgers vs. Indians] World Series of that year ….

. . . Counsel for the Federal League made the grave mistake of minimizing the real point in the case (the question, namely whether interstate commerce was involved) and sought to inflame the passions of the Court by a vehement attack upon the evils of [Organized Baseball], a few of which were real and many, as I thought, imaginary. I argued with much earnestness the proposition that personal effort not related to production is not a subject of commerce; that the attempt to secure all the skilled service needed for professional baseball is not an attempt to monopolize commerce or any part of it; and that Organized Baseball, not being commerce, and therefore not interstate commerce, does not come within the scope of the prohibitions of the Sherman [Antitrust] Act.


As a fairly direct aside, we must also ask: Is it in any wonder that the funds most of us have  invested in Social Security over our lifetimes were diverted by Congress for other purposes without us ever knowing about it until after our investments in retirement had been reclassified as an “entitlement” program” of the federal government?

Think about it. And have a nice day, anyway!


4 Responses to “Lawyers: No Wonder Things Are So Screwed Up”

  1. Rick B. Says:

    From the movie “Philadelphia”:

    Q: What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

    A: A good start.

  2. Tom Hunter Says:

    In a play on his famous commment about the poor, Abraham Lincoln was reported to have said, “God must have loved lawyers, because he made so many of them.”

  3. Mark W Says:

    It was announced today that all government life-sciences
    research facilities will start using lawyers for
    experimentation purposes instead of lab rats.

    The reasons given were:

    1) There are far more lawyers than rats in the USA.
    2) Researchers don’t form emotional bonds with lawyers, and
    3) There are some things that even a rat won’t do.

  4. Wayne Roberts Says:

    I wonder if Wharton hit the ball with that grip. He might also want to unbutton that suit coat.

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