Re: POL: Reaction to Microsoft Ruling

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Sat Apr 15 2000 - 13:03:43 MDT

Technotranscendence wrote:
> On Wednesday, April 12, 2000 10:02 PM Zero Powers
> wrote:
> > >The ABA is a government supported monopoly. Without the government to
> back
> > >its power, it would face serious competition from law clinics (which it
> > >already does in some states of the US*), unlicensed lawyers, etc. See,
> > >e.g., _The Rule of Experts: Occupational Licensing in America_ by S.
> David
> > >Young for other examples of businesses that use the government to avoid
> the
> > >market.
> > >
> > >* Recently, the law clinic at some Louisiana law school was banned from
> > >helping people unless the people being helped could prove they made less
> > >than some minimum income standard. The reason? People were using the
> law
> > >clinic to sue one of the governor's supporters over, I believe, some
> > >pollution issue. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that this was
> > >practicing
> > >law without a license -- except in the case of the indigent. In other
> > >words, the court protected the monopoly privilige of lawyers from an
> actual
> > >competitor. (I believe this was on either "60 Minutes" a few months
> ago.)
> >
> > It's not really a "monopoly." The ABA does not have the exclusive right
> to
> > practice law. The ABA in fact does not practice law. It is merely a
> > professional association of unrelated individuals who are licensed to
> > practice law. It just so happens that the practice of law requires a
> > license in every state in the union. But that does not mean that lawyers
> > are exercising a monopoly any more than contractors, engineers, architects
> > or physicians or any other profession which you need a license in order to
> > legally practice.
> >

IN fact, Vermont does not now require that your attorney be a licensed
attorney-at-law, so pleast get your facts straight.

> > Saying that lawyers have a "monopoly" on the practice of law is like
> saying
> > that licensed drivers have a monopoly on driving.
> Licensing drivers is similar, but not the same.
> Howso? The ABA, like the AMA controls the number of seats in accredited law
> schools and also has input into the licensing process in each state as well
> as into the disbarring of members. This gives it far more power than a mere
> professional organization like, say, the American Philosophical Association.

Yes, unlike the ABA, the AAA cannot strip you of your license to drive,
only the courts can do that. The NRA cannot strip you of your firearms
permits. The IBEW cannot strip you of your electricians license either,
so even if we compare union to union, the ABA is far more powerful than
any other comparison except for possibly the AMA.

> Licensing drivers is not the same in that one can learn to drive anywhere
> and the various driving schools do not control what's in the tests. Nor do
> they have power of revoking licenses.
> This is not to say I agree with licensing drivers. I do not. Under a full
> privatization of roads ("a" and not "the" because there are many ways to do
> this), I'm sure, some critieria would arise for allowing people to drive on
> roads, though I doubt it would be close to current driver licensing
> practises. Nor do I think people would lose their driving priviliges on a
> given road or association of roads for the same reasons as they lose them
> currently.

There is a recognised constitutional right to 'freedom of transit' which
was well recognised prior to the invention of the automobile. Even
property owners who kep their property in the 'current use' tax class
(the least costly) had and have to allow people to cross their land on
marked trails on vehicles (snowmobiles, motorcycles, dirtbikes, etc) and
freely on foot. The only basis on which licensing of automobile drivers
is legal is that the state owns the land the roads are built on, the
state has improved that land such that automobiles can reach high speeds
to the point that automobiles become dangerous objects, threats to
pedestrians, and as there is no annunciated right to drive automobiles
(since they hadn't been invented yet, apparently, at the time of the
revolution ;) )the courts are blithely ignoring the 9th amendment to
maintain their control over the driving public. In the early days of the
automobile, these restrictions were looked on as beneficial to the
community, because so many people were fearful of the technology, and
people were even afraid that you would die if you went too fast.

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