The dust-up over lawyer disciplinary rules regarding fees continues in Texas. Bennett is still at it.
There’s little or nothing I can do about goings on in Texas other than what I’ve done – which was not well received by those cantankerous Texans – but I couldn’t resist commenting on this:
As I have said before, the proposed rules have been vetted by the State Bar Disciplinary Rules Committee, the Supreme Court Task Force, the Board of Directors and the Supreme Court itself. To suggest that the final result is a product as flawed as the critics would have you believe is just a bit disingenuous. I hope you will study the proposed rules and make your own decision.
This, according to Bennett, is a quote from a letter from lawyer Ralph Brock favoring the disciplinary rule changes. Bennett call this pitch a logical fallacy known as the “argument from authority”.
Logic should really dispose of such arguments but it doesn’t. That’s the interesting, if maddening thing here. A lawyer makes an “argument” like that and you jump all over its flaws because from a logical point of view it’s a stupid argument. Not just wrong, but stupid. Any first year undergraduate that took Phil. 101 probably knows that such an argument won’t fly.
So why does attorney Brock make this argument? Is he stupid?
Not likely. He’s passed the bar and practiced law for some period of time. Granted, it’s in Lubbock Texas, but I didn’t rave about his intelligence – I just maintain he’s not stupid. Not stupid enough to buy his own argument, from a logical point of view.
So there must be some other reason that Brock makes an argument that only a stupid person would otherwise make. And indeed there is.
Look at that quote. He’s simply running down a list of powerful organizations and saying they all agree and that’s enough. He’s saying, implicitly, that logic and reason have nothing to do with it. The truth has nothing to do with it. He is saying that institutional momentum should be sufficient by itself to persuade you.
Brock is going to be a judge someday, of course. He understands.
Institutional momentum is behind criminal prosecutions, and it opposes personal injury lawsuits. When Brock becomes a judge – and he will, unless things fall apart generally beforehand – he will accordingly be behind criminal prosecutions and against personal injury lawsuits. He will not be a fair judge. He’s an institutional man. He goes with the flow, meaning that he goes where power tells him to go and doesn’t ask too many questions.
In the court system, arguments like that – stupid arguments – regularly carry the day. It’s naive for Bennett to even point out the logical fallacy involved; it’s like he can’t face what the system has become: stupid and banal, capable of any evil that has sufficient institutional momentum behind it.
You should not wonder that there are so many wrongful convictions from a system like that, staffed by such people. And you should not wonder that Bennett, though absolutely correct about the proposed disciplinary rule changes, will not prevail and that Brock will.
After the new rules are adopted by the referendum, do you think Bennett will consider a strike? I’ve got no dog in this fight, but he does.