Sep 22, 2008

Even Kings & Emperors Get the Blues

Jake Warner: Why do you think that throughout history, kings, dictators, emperors, and various other potentates who claimed to have absolute power have nevertheless been frustrated by the law and sometimes lawyers?

Auntie Nolo: Absolute power is never quite as absolute as the rulers of this world would like. Always in the not-so-deep background are the customs, norms, and yes, even the laws of the society. Violate too many of these and you'll find your head in a bucket no matter how powerful you believe yourself to be. Louis XVI of France and Charles the First of England are just two of many who found out the hard way.

Jake Warner: True enough, but that doesn't stop the powerful from trying to control the law, and in the process often saying some fascinating, hilarious, and occasionally even profound things. Let's have your favorites.

Auntie Nolo: Ask and you shall receive:

What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court: For what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame?

Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not disclose another's secret; lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end.
King Solomon, Ruler of Israel

...Lawsuits would tend to increase to a frightening extent if people were not afraid of the tribunals and if they felt confident of always finding ready and perfect justice... I desire, therefore, that those who have recourse to the tribunals should be treated without pity and in such a manner that they shall be disgusted with law and tremble to appear before a magistrate.
K'ang Hsi, Chinese Emperor

Lawyers are those who use the law as shoemakers use leather: rubbing it, pressing it, and stretching it with their teeth, all to the end of making it fit their purposes.
Louis XII, French King

If you like laws and sausage, you should never watch either being made.
Otto Von Bismarck, German Chancellor

There are no more reactionary people in the world than judges.
Nikolas Lenin, Russian Dictator