“Rise, you sons of Bitches”

Roberta Walburn, Miles Lord, Minnesota, 2017
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Federal Judge Miles Lord is preparing his closing statement on the Dalkon shield case (as reported by his secretary):

He meets me in chambers Saturday morning to work on the draft. I listen to his recording: ‘Rise, you sons of bitches….’ The judge looks at me. ‘Maybe we should tone it down a bit’, I offer.

Judge Lord hammered away at the Dalkon shield defendants week after week and month after month. His behavior was highly unusual for a judge even then, and in the end he was formally reprimanded for “taking the plaintiff’s side”, etc. The final settlement gave the corporation’s victims a couple billion dollars and the corporation declared bankruptcy. But the judge regretted not being able to shake loose the documents which would have made it possible to send the main corporate players to jail on criminal charges, and he regretted that the bankruptcy settlement allowed the corporate owners to keep hundred of millions of dollars of blood money (just as the recent Sackler settlement did).

There’s no one around like that any more. For 40+ years the Federalist Society creeps have been broadcasting a fraudulent legal theory holding that judges must be apolitical and above the battle and just mechanically apply the rules (A theory they will themselves violate when convenient), and right-thinking liberals have accepted this theory. This theory culminates with Scalia’s assertion that when an innocent man is executed, there is no legal problem as long as proper procedures had been followed.

Guys like Miles Lord were normal when I was growing up in Minnesota. Lord held statewide office more than once, and both Minnesota Senators (his good friends and political allies Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey) supported his appointment to the Federal court. You could always find someone around who thought the way he did, but that time is gone forever. This book literally made me cry.

One of his adversaries in this fight was Griffin Bell, the courtly Southern gentleman who had served as Jimmy Carter’s Attorney General.

Lord had failed by his own standards. He really thought that there should be justice. But he came closer to justice than 99.9% of American judges before or since. American law is shit.

Everyone has to read this book.

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