Jurisdiction

Avast, ye maties! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and what better time to look in on that hornet’s nest of screaming crazy that is the pro se community? Not that all pro se litigants are crazy, but there is a subculture of citizens who love representing themselves. And representing themselves badly. Usually while airing their personal grievances with the government the whole time.

This peek at the pro se world focuses on a hot theory among pro se crazies: the outright denial of court jurisdiction over anything because courts can only exercise admiralty jurisdiction. Apparently the entire legal system — down to and including the maritime architecture of the courtroom and the fringe on the flags in the courtroom — is an elaborate ruse by the Gubment, in association with lawyers, to hoodwink people into consenting to admiralty jurisdiction.

They got us, guys.

Here’s some more color on the nature of this encroachment of maritime jurisdiction onto our soil. Land ho!

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Richard Posner Richard A Posner Above the Law Legal Blog.jpgBecause this distinguished and brilliant jurist seems rather grumpy as of late. Last week, in a published opinion, he slapped around the IRS.
And now Judge Richard Posner — who, by the way, will be assuming virtual form later this month — delivers stinging benchslaps to lawyers for playing fast and loose with jurisdiction:

[T]he lawyers have wasted our time as well as their own and (depending on the fee arrangements) their clients’ money. We have been plagued by the carelessness of a number of the lawyers practicing before the courts of this circuit with regard to the required contents of jurisdictional statements in diversity cases.

It is time, as we noted in BondPro, that this malpractice stopped. We direct the parties to show cause within 10 days why counsel should not be sanctioned for violating Rule 28(a)(1) and mistaking the requirements of diversity jurisdiction. We ask them to consider specifically the appropriateness, as a sanction, of their being compelled to attend a continuing legal education class in federal jurisdiction.

Ouch. But query whether forced attendance at a CLE class on federal jurisdiction constitutes “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Eighth Amendment.
Continued commentary, after the jump.

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