Friday, November 14, 2008

why lawyers should dominate the legislature

...and why they don't.

The Odgen Standard-Examiner published a letter to the editor that uses his irrational fear to write a letter that is out of touch with reality:
Most of us know that a one-party system is not in the best interests of the claimed democracy. But, we also know that one profession, Utah's legal profession, has played the dominate rule in two branches of our government. Article 5 of the Utah Constitution pays heed to the domination of two branches at the same time.

All judges are lawyers, all prosecutors are lawyers, all public defenders are lawyers.

If we start counting the lawyers in the Legislature, we will see another domination. Not a one-political party, but certainly a one-profession legislative and judicial system.
While the majority of the founders of the U.S. Constitution were lawyers, less than ten percent of legislators are attorneys. That's less than Democrats.

Time and time again, the legislature passes a bill that is so poorly written that the result is contrary to the intent. Folks like Sen. Chris Buttars, who expresses a clear disdain for judges that do anything against his personal interests (and not just his ideology). While there are staff attorneys and some attorneys in the legislature, it appears they are often ignored. I can't tell you how many times I would listen to a legislative history where someone like Sen. Scott McCoy is trying to warn his colleagues of the possible unintended consequences of what they are about to pass. Or where the legislature completely fails to discuss some ambgibous passage that might help those trying to interpret it.

Lawyers are not all ambulance chasers like Siegfried & Jensen. They are trained not to be hacks (contrary to popular belief) but to be capable of both seeing both sides of an issue and being able to persuade others that their suggestion is the better course of action. Shouldn't that be the description of a legislator?

1 comment:

Jesse Harris said...

If we want to talk about dominant professions in the legislature, we should be paying more attention to the realtors, the developers and the government employees (replete with executive branch conflicts of interest). The lawyers haven't got anything on those three groups.