In episode 2F09, when Itchy plays Scratchy's skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones. I mean, what are we to believe, that this is a magic xylophone, or something? Ha ha, boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder
I just want to thank Mr. Garbus for his visit today. I'm still processing the concept that it's lies v. lies in the courtroom; it's very easy to understand on one hand (given all we know about the legal system), but still, it's difficult to think that we go through law school only to end up in such a system
I found this talk to be really interesting. I'm fascinated by the initial story of the women on the border. I wonder what happened with the organization - what they decided. I also wonder what privileges were at play that allowed him to do encourage people to tell different stories in order to come into the US. I wanted to ask him about his perception of truth because it seems as though he had an interesting view of what's real, not real, and honest.
Today reminded me of my early impression of law school when I first learned of the pay disparity between private sector and public service lawyers. Since then, I realize I've rationalized and tried to forget how stark and unfair that difference is, particularly with regards to non-criminal plaintiffs. Today was a reminder of how much of the culture of HLS I've absorbed that is counter to my original inclinations.
Having Garbus to speak to the class today was awesome. I found his reflection about relative justice - both the folks on the side of the Ecuadorians and the lawyers at Gibson Dunn believing that their work and cause were just to be a bit difficult to believe on one hand, but on the other, it also made sense. This is something that I personally will be reflecting upon and which is impactful to me to think. It just seems so evident that one side knows they're wrong, but there are different sides
How deeply problematic it is to say that you are so confident in your conception of justice that you're willing to lie and cheat and upend the entire system just to achieve your ends. That the same person advocating this approach proudly defended Neo-Nazis speaks amply to how utterly dangerous this approach is.
I feel a little torn about the talk today. On the one hand, I think that much of what Mr. Garbus said resonates with me and was useful. On the other, his thoughts on defending bigots and the comment about the Isley Brothers case (saying he didn't quite know if they were telling the truth, and the only reason they won was due to a somewhat bizarre story) were troubling. I think I would need to hear more from him and more about his views to form a solid opinion.
I appreciated Garbus calling out the difference between the classroom and reality. I second his belief that the "truth" isn't going to come out, period. However, I don't think I would feel comfortable advocating the way he did in the immigrant detention center.
Thanks for coming, Mr. Garbus. This has certainly been eye-opening. Your perspective on the law never getting to the truth is iconoclastic at HLS, to say the least, but I am better for having heard it. I would love to hear more about what you'd advise a young lawyer to do in his or her practice under your understanding of how things work.
Telling "an honest story that never happened" is a corrosive way to conduct legal practice. It sometimes secures just results in the short-term—a refugee can stay in the country, a vulnerable family gets public assistance, a person that society has forsaken gets a second chance—but it threatens to debase the entire system if we each commit to telling honest stories that never happen. It becomes purely a matter of perspective. Gibson tells honest stories, you do, we all do. And, in the end, "honesty" ends up meaning the same thing as legal truth: nothing.
I think it's interesting to see how few legal avenues are left for Donziger and how many of the avenues have been foreclosed by the actions of private actors, not just the judge in the case. I wonder what Garbus' opinions are of those who preceded him in defending Donziger and whether they should have done anything differently. Obviously Donziger could have done many things differently in order to avoid the charges all together, but it would be interesting to know if his legal defense should have taken a uniformly different approach from the start.
Before today's talk I could not find credible the claim that Donziger would have lied in order to achieve his ends. After hearing Mr. Garbus' openly declare how willing he is to lie in order to achieve his ends I suddenly see the case in an entirely new light.
How do we address this power imbalance in the law? In the criminal context prosecutors often have resources that overwhelm most defendants. But by the same measure, when it comes to holding corporations criminally liable, federal prosecutors also point to this power imbalance.
I think hearing Mr. Garbus speak was extremely interesting and added an additional element to the class that would not have been possible to achieve while just talking about him. At first, I was a little caught off guard when in his introductory talk, he mentioned lying on behalf of clients and teach clients to lie. In the scenario described, I understand and agree with the idea that he was doing the moral thing. However, it scares me that once we forget about the laws of legal practice, lawyers on both sides of the moral scales can start to use these tactics to tip the scales. I am also extremely surprised that he mentioned the reaction he received upon revealing the justice for Palestinian people in the Palestine/Israel area. Harvard Law School (and almost any elite or legal professional community) is so disproportionately (disporportionate to the world population) Jewish that it is usually dangerous/ unheard of for anyone to safely share this perspective on this campus.
Another question occurs to me: How do I know which portion of Mr. Garbus' talk today I can myself believe? If we are openly willing to lie in order to achieve our ends then what confidence can I have that the stories about the other sides' injustice were not exaggerated or simply "constructively created" in order to advance the speaker's own conceptions of justice?