The beer talk at your local watering hole often involves a type of intellectual, lubricated theorizing that, upon examination, fails to persuade. But it may be entertaining. Sometimes the practicalities of life foretell the fate of such theories, seemingly secure in the mind, but that dissipate in the light of human experience.
The 1976 Nobel economist Milton Friedman was an adviser to and much admired by President Ronald Reagan, who was responsible for the utter deconstruction of the union that represented the nation’s air traffic controllers by firing all 11,359 of them in August 1981. Friedman was a consistent theorist favoring the absolute freedom of market forces to resist any forms of restraint or regulation, including unionization and government-supported licensing regulations and laws. In Capitalism and Freedom (1962), that principle was simply offered as “When unions get higher wages for their membership by restricting entry into an occupation, those higher wages are at the expense of other workers who find their opportunities reduced.” The corollary context is that unions exist to quash labor market competition.
From the purity of his theory, Friedman also railed against occupational licensing, especially where government authority accepted or recognized such requirements. He argued that occupational licensure effectively protects the licensing group from competition, making entry into the field more difficult for persons who might otherwise challenge the incumbent practitioners, including attorneys and physicians. Friedman was not so much concerned with protecting the public because, he argued, the free market would eliminate incompetents, charlatans, and other malfeasors. A grandiloquent theory for certain.
On Wednesday, August 25, a Michigan federal judge issued findings related to a group of nine lawyers who authored lawsuits on behalf of Donald Trump’s challenging the 2020 election results, concluding:
It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.
The ruling ordered the attorneys to pay the legal costs of local and state jurisdictions to defend against the clams. In addition, their names were referred to their state bar associations to consider disciplinary proceedings against them. Among them was Emily P. Newman, a member of the Virginia bar.
According to publicly available information, Newman signed on to four separate legal challenges involving Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin in November and December of 2020. Among other things, she alleged in her defense that she was a “contract” lawyer who worked only five hours on the documents from home; this argument did nothing to persuade the Michigan judge. Whether her defenses will be effective in Virginia remains to be seen. Immediately prior to her solo career with Sidney Powell’s team of Kraken lawyers, Emily Newman was chief of staff to Michael Pack, who had been appointed by the 45th president in June 2018 to dismantle the Agency for Global Media, the parent organization of Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other communications outlets sponsored by the United States. President Biden demanded his resignation soon after his inauguration.
Newman’s activities between the November election and participation in four election fraud claims occur closely in time with her employment at a government agency.
A FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) by an investigative organization alleged that Newman, shortly after she departed Global Media, attended an Oval Office meeting on December 18, 2020, that included Sidney Powell and other Krakens. Thus, Newman’s activities between the November election and participation in four election fraud claims occur closely in time with her employment at a government agency. Any hearings before the Virginia bar regarding disciplinary proceedings will benefit from a substantial record from the Michigan decision and other sources. That record could be supplemented by findings from the other three jurisdictions in which Newman was a named attorney.
The beer talkers themselves might be persuaded that their theory of Newman’s right to ignore legal canons of ethics and the specter of deceiving courts and the American people in the interests of a free market practice of law supersedes all other civil and social principles.
Of course, it is to be noted that Virginia’s Fairfax County is home to the National Rifle Association and also headquarters for the National Right to Work (NRTW) organizations, both advocates of theories that Milton Friedman would certainly support: no restrictions on the commerce of firearms and no union-type licensing in the case of attorneys to create a professional monopoly. One can hear the beer conversation of wannabe talk show hosts speculating about the representation that the NRTW could offer on behalf of Emily Newman. In fact, the beer talkers themselves might be persuaded that their theory of Newman’s right to ignore legal canons of ethics and the specter of deceiving courts and the American people in the interests of a free market practice of law supersedes all other civil and social principles.
Beer talk might not usually argue that the Kraken practice of law is beneficial, only that it must be allowed to exist and be accorded respect on the postulate that the free market will sort out the failures and charlatans. Krakens, cracked or otherwise, beer talk maintains, are equally entitled to practice law as the talkers themselves. In their adoration of the free market, beer talkers are just as likely to attempt to convince you that ingesting Ivermectin will enhance resistance to COVID.
Damn the curvature of the Earth, full speed ahead to the edge to peer down.