Home > NewsRelease > Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2019: Triplets, Tongues, Feet, And Screeches
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/11/2019: Triplets, Tongues, Feet, And Screeches
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria , VA
Friday, January 11, 2019


Good Morning!

1.It’s time to play… Champerty! I’m beginning my morning by explaining to an outside litigation funding entity that they really don’t have to worry about champerty laws as long as their loans are handled property. Champerty is an ancient common law crime that made it illegal for a third party to buy into litigation and to profit from the transaction if the litigation succeeded. Some states still have anti-champerty laws, but they are 1) pretty much dead letters and 2) don’t apply to legitimate litigation financing, where a loan is repaid whether the litigation succeeds or not, and the amounts repaid do not change if it does. In legal ethics, champerty becomes an issue when a lawyer or law firm “sells” a share of the legal fee to a third party. That’s fee-splitting with a non-lawyer, and strictly forbidden.

Champerty is often mentioned as a set with two other common law crimes, Maintenance and Barratry. Maintenance, Champerty and Barratry are among my favorite potential triplets names, along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar; Clotho, Lachesis, and Atroposand (The Fates);  Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, and, of course, Moe, Larry, and Curly.

2. The Good Illegal Immigrant, again. In the wake of the wall dispute and the shutdown, the New York Times is ramping up its frequency of heartstrings-tugging tales of  illegal immigrants so lovable, industrious and virtuous that only a monster would oppose their permanent enjoyment of the fruits of illegally obtained citizenship. One such article this week began,

“Tomas Guevara fell in love with Ruth Ayala years before they met. Her brothers — like Mr. Guevara, Salvadoran immigrants living outside Washington — talked about her at church. She was hardworking and kind, they said, devoted to her family and her faith. Then Mr. Guevara saw Ms. Ayala’s photo; her big brown eyes, her warm smile. He decided to give her a call.”


Later in the article, we have this sentence: “In 2001, he swam across the Rio Grande.”

The article raises many questions for me. Why was someone like Tomas eligible for “temporary protected status”? If the claim was that El Salvador was so dangerous that he could not be sent back there, why did he keep visiting that country, meet his wife there, and have his child there? Naturally, there was a program, the Central American Minors program begun in 2014, that allows the children of parents with temporary protected status to apply for permanent residency as refugees. Tomas’s wife was somehow eligible too.

This is what “chain migration” means, in case you wondered.

Finally, if a residence is specifically labelled “temporary,” why do illegal immigration advocates get away with treating it as permanent? The Times, one of those illegal immigration advocates, tells us…

Early last year, the family grew again with the birth of a daughter, Rebecca. Now cans of baby formula sit next to plumbing manuals and English textbooks in the family’s sparse apartment.


But the family fears their safe and stable home is threatened. In January 2018, the Trump administration announced that temporary protected status for people from El Salvador would end in September 2019. More than 200,000 Salvadorans who have lived in the country since 2001 would be affected by the decision. They must either return to El Salvador or be approved for another immigration program.

Why isn’t the lesson here, “Don’t come to America by swimming across the Rio Grande, and you won’t have these problems?”

3. From the Ethics Alarms Double Standards file: Skeeweegate! A white reporter from the Washington Post is being criticized for not knowing that Kamala Harris’s black college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, has a traditional sound members make, “Skeewee!” which the sorority even trademarked. 

When Harris’s “sisters” skeeweed upon her announcement that she was running for President in 2020, Post reporter Chelsea James tweeted that the sorority sisters “screeched.” Zerlina Maxwell, who hosts and produces a program for Sirius/XM on progressive politics, chided o Twitter,

“The fact that the white reporter sent to cover her didn’t know what Skee Wee was is not a good sign that the media is going to cover her with the cultural competency required. And it IS a requirement!”

No, in fact it’s not, and a  black reporter covering the a Yalee politician would never be criticized by being puzzled by a “Boola Boola!” reference, because a) it’s stupid, b) fraternities and sororities are anachronisms, c) nobody cares about a candidate’s college nonsense like “Skeewee!” and “Boola boola!” except maybe as something to mock, and c) such criticism as Maxwell’s would be called a privileged, racial “Gotcha!”, which it is.  By the way, Harvard considers women-only Greek organizations to be discriminatory. (Pointer: Althouse)

4.  Pregnant Jessica Simpson posts nude picture of herself on Instagram!!! (At least by the standards of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez…)

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)

5. Orange Man Bad—Destroy! Would this be done to any other U.S. President? Would anyone have dared to do it?  FOX affiliate Q13 in Seattle broadcast video from President Trump’s  speech that was doctored to make him appear orange and show him with his tongue repeatedly lolling out of his mouth:


The editor responsible was fired. He’ll probably be a hero in Seattle. [Pointer: Slickwilly]

Q13 news director Erica Hill said: “This does not meet our editorial standards and we regret if it is seen as portraying the president in a negative light.."

Really going out on a limb there, are you, Erica?

6. Tit-for-Tat. Before President Obama made a habit out of it during his international “apology tour,” it was considered bad form and wrong for any President to criticize a predecessor in a foreign country. Apparently the Trump administration regards Obama’s breach of ethics and protocol the new normal, because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Obama policies as “misguided” in a speech this week in Cairo.

Misguided they were, but this is wrong. Surely many will feel that Obama asked for such treatment, especially since he has also ignored the long tradition of previous POTUSes not criticizing their immediate successors. Sure, he deserves it, but it’s still wrong: needlessly divisive, petty, and pointless. You state your administration’s policies, and if they differ from what went before, that’s all the commentary that’s needed.

I don’t recall many Democratic critics condemning Obama for violating Presidential “norms,” do you?

ProEthics, Ltd.
Alexandria, VA