Bar the Bar Association

Bar the Bar Association
C.D. Michel November 7, 2014. Posted in Legal Frontlines
No man's liberty is safe when activist lawyers plot ways to implement their personal agendas.

The American Bar Association (ABA) is the country-wide professional membership association for my fellow lawyers (of which I am not a member). The ABA claims that it is in the business of "defending liberty and delivering justice as the national representative of the legal profession." Sadly, like many organizations that lose track of their original purpose or use semantics to disguise it, the ABA has turned advocacy for the legal profession sideways, into ideological activism on a host of issues. Today the ABA mostly pushes the (Democrat) statist party line.

Case in point, promoting gun control as a way to "defend liberty."

American Bar Association meeting on gun controlYes, you read that right. Earlier this year the ABA held its annual meeting. Before a small audience, ABA's current and temporary President took the opportunity to tout work performed by the ABA's Standing Committee on Gun Violence. Seems all but one member of the "Gun Violence" standing committee is a paid gun-control advocate. Why should ABA members stand for any standing committee composed of paid activist lawyers, especially on the topic of gun control? And what does this have to do with advocating for the legal profession?

During the committee's pitch (to a nearly empty room) the ABA's gun violence committee members told some real whoppers. They recited by rote the talking points of gun control groups, and were aided by liberal constitutional academics. What they said is worth considering, because their assembled sound bites, positioning statements, and other canned talking points tell us where some of the legal battles over gun rights will be fought in the future.

Freedom Isn't Freedom

I wasn't sure to laugh or cry when the ABA's president said - with a straight face - "Part of our mission as an association is to defend liberty and deliver justice ... [someone] who cannot go to the laundromat, the movie theater or school, without fear for their safety, is not truly free."

This is one of their new talking points, expressly designed by PR Professionals to take away the freedom argument that resonates well with Americans, like when the NRA says gun ownership and the Second Amendment is about the freedom to choose to own a gun to defend your family. The implication is that if you are fearful of being a victim of crime, then your freedom has been limited.

So by banning guns, the ABA defends liberty? It turns the traditional notions of freedom, liberty, and liberty on their heads.

What escaped the ABA president, aside from an understanding of the simple distinctions between rights, freedoms, security liberties, responsibilities, and the obligations that the American social contract imposes on governments, is that the primary purpose of keeping and carrying a firearm is to mitigate fear by providing self-protection that the government can't. If over the past few thousand years government had ever been able to sedate scofflaws, many people would not need firearms nor concealed carry permits. But real criminal control has always been, and will always be, beyond any government's grasp, even including government tyrannies and autocratic police states (which brings up another reason for owning guns). But the ABA and similar activists ignore that, along with the reality that the government has no legal obligation to actually keep you safe. You have liberty when you can keep yourself alive.

You are not freer when the government restricts your rights in the name of making you feel safe. Feeling safe doesn't make you free! Social contracts always reflect a balance between liberty and security. This is Ben Franklin 101. Those who would trade freedom for (a false sense of) security deserve neither. If you want to maximize your "freedom" to feel safe, just create a police state ... It still won't get you to a point of safety, though the source of danger changes.

But consider the assumptions in his basic statement if you want to appreciate the ironic strategy of it all. The ABA contends that guns in the hands of criminals make people less free. Then he invites to his stage a member of the Brady Campaign, an organization that actively wants to restrict firearms owned by non-criminals. If a fundamental reality is that thugs harm non-thugs, then it stands to reason that you would not want to reduce the freedom of the non-thug to defend herself. The ABA evades the core freedom to self-protection, while hijacking the term "freedom" to insist that laws restricting freedom will enhance freedom.

Is that a hissing sound in his microphone as he double-speaks?

Brady Bungler

The Brady Campaign representative at the ABA meeting was no better. He uttered sadly amusing lines - sad mainly because he was propping-up his arguments with recently deceased Jim Brady's memory. Brady's director of their legal advocacy project claimed that James Brady once said from his wheelchair "I guess I'm paying for their convenience."

This is a two-fer. First we have a gun control advocating activist lawyer pathetically using his recently deceased boss as an emotional prop. Second, Brady's own statement was a non-sequitur. "Convenience" and "liberty" are not synonyms in any thesaurus. For that matter, liberty and safety don't necessarily go together either. Firearms save more lives than they take. It's this bothersome social utility that gun ban activists distain. It doesn't jive with their Big-Brother-makes-you-free subtext.

Once the ABA's politics are understood, that the ABA is openly working in cahoots with the Brady Campaign shouldn't surprise anyone. Nor should anyone be shocked to see that San Francisco's own Joyce Foundation funded Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (LCPGV) routinely hypes the ABA's anti-gun efforts. It is the incestuous mingling of lawyers (who claim to be defending liberty and justice) posing as advocates when they are really gun control activists that is particularly problematic. This orgy of anti-freedom activist is already disturbing and made more so when they wrap themselves in the misappropriated mantle of legal professionalism and make from it a mock stamp of approval for their policies and politics.

Lawyers, Guns and Doctors (and Money too)

A sorcerer from the American College of Physicians (ACP) came up next. The ACP is a miscellany of medics who have tried to surgically remove your right to own guns. We have seen the money trail from the Joyce Foundation (the bank for the American gun control movement) to doctors committing criminological malpractice. From the inaccurate research created by such bought-and-paid-for practitioners, the American College of Physicians spokesperson made the familiar and inaccurate claims that guns in your home substantially increases your risk of suicide and homicide. I would list the places these claims have been shot down, but there aren't enough electrons on the internet to deliver that long of a message.

One particularly unsavory aspect of this meeting of the cooped ABA panel is that lawyers and a few doctors have come to a truce and struck a deal concerning gun control. Assuming a cease fire of sorts in medical malpractice suits, the ABA, the ACP and the Brady Campaign have opted to collaborate on disarming you. In San Francisco we have seen the LCPGV bring anti-tobacco and anti-drunk-driving advocates together to create a new carefully orchestrated public safety push for guns rights restrictions lined with the emotionally manipulating tactics laid out in their PR playbook. Combined we have Joyce money, ABA litigation prowess, anti-tobacco, MADD marketing savvy and statistically inept doctors uniting.

Let's hope that too many cooks will make some really unpalatable soup. Otherwise, with the right marketing, they could fool most of the low information voters most of the time.

Liberal Lawyers and Laws

Lawrence Tribe, the political left's darling constitutional law scholar - and oddly a man who admitted, begrudgingly, that the Second Amendment does support an individual right - spoke to assure everyone that the Supreme Court's Heller decision allows for plenty of gun regulations, and that the challenge faced by gun control groups is not surviving a court challenge, but getting those laws passed in the first place. The ABA's standing committee chairman aped the sentiment by saying "It's not the Second Amendment that stands in the way."

Well, that's a matter of legal interpretation that is not yet settled by the Supreme Court. But if the Second Amendment is not an obstacle to gun control, then five million dues paying NRA members are.

Coming Distractions

What does this all really mean for you, your family and your neighbors? First, understand that like the American Civil Liberties Union (which was against the Second Amendment), the ABA legal trade association is no friend of true freedom. They are lawyers, which as a species are more political than everyone else. Since there is a standing pact between government regulators (that largely allows lawyers to self-regulate) and lawyers (who know how to make money off litigation), your freedoms have a price ... and some lawyers work cheap.

Second, lawyers as advocates (as opposed to activists) should not be ideological, but they are. Various groups - AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics, etc. - have been hijacked by activists who have a liberal agenda. Ignore if you can that their core missions have nothing to do with guns, and that many of their members fled once the organizations were compromised. The ABA has joined their compromised and biased ranks.

If you need a lawyer, you might want to ask if he is a happy ABA member. If so, take your business elsewhere.

Foremost is the 2016 elections. The Heller decision was one vote away from compromising your right to even own a gun, much less what kind of gun you wanted and where you can carry it. Lawyers take advantage of every vagary of law, and the less a judge adheres to the Constitution, the more vague their rulings. The new GOP Senate can, for the moment, stop the nomination of bad judges. But we must elect a president who will only nominate good judges at every level of the federal judiciary.

If the ABA thinks NRA members are an impediment to enacting gun control, imagine what courts packed with true liberty advocates could do.