Re: "Sue the b_____!" Are you sure?
- Subject: Re: "Sue the b_____!" Are you sure?
- From: "George N. Schmidt" <Csubstance@AOL.COM>
- Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 05:15:49 EST
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
In a message dated 2/23/02 8:39:49 AM, wcala@ROCHESTER.RR.COM writes:
<< I understand and agree that going to court is an uphill battle, but in the
haystack of defeats is the needle of victory. Should we stop searching for
the needle? Perhaps... However, when I read about the landmark decision
shared by George Sheridan and the injuction stopping the California exit
exams, I am renewed again. >>
February 24, 2002
In a way, I was mainly responding to the armchair attorneys who populate all
discussions such as this -- and warning children, parents, and some teachers
that the law may (a) not be on our side or (b) become to expensive to invoke
in our cost, despite the fact that (c) justice demands that our cause prevail.
I don't like to see people misled by overbroad statements about what our
"rights" are by people who will not bear the burden (or the costs, both
financial and personal) when the legal battles are drawn (and drawn out). The
people who have supported us through these horrid years since we were (a)
sued for $1 million, (b) slandered in all the media (including Education
Week) by the most powerful politicians in Chicago, and (c) then libelled in
Chicago's number two daily newspaper (Chicago Sun-Times, February 23, 1999)
have been very supportive.
Interestingly, many of the people, both in Chicago and elsewhere, who have
been bellowing loudest about what others should do have not been anywhere
nearby on our behalf. (That's a phenomenon anyone who's ever been in a
serious fight has seen before and one that makes "The Caine Mutiny" -- the
talkative Frederick March character -- still to this day my favorite Bogart
movie. Another long discussion for another time.).
Let's just be fully aware of all the costs...
And all the diversions...
Anyone who tells someone else to sue should at least send along a check for
$500 (the minimum it will take to begin the conversation with serious legal
people). The check can be returned later if things go otherwise. Otherwise,
talk is very cheap, and may not be appreciated by those of us "in the
trenches" or, to use another silly metaphor, "on the front lines."
It may be that we can win tactical victories in court, but we must avoid
substitutuing legal maneuvers for strategy. The California victory was won
because large instittutions were behind our side, as well as the other side.
When we're urging individuals into battle, it can be very different (and
Our victories will be political, not through the courts.
When we are politically strong enough, judges will be listening more closely
to what our lawyers argue in court. When we are weak, judges simply ignore us
and the railroad is on (as it was for us immediately after we were sued in
January 1999; the hounds gathered for blood immediately, and the corrupt
judge who gave all those unconstitutional rulings to the Chicago school board
figured the whole thing would be dead and buried long before anyone got
around to looking closely at what he had -- not for the first time -- done to
the Constitutional rights of someone who had run afoul of those who rule
Judges are the most astute -- and powerful -- politicians of all. The 2000
Presidential Election should have revealed that to even the most naive hopers.
Please let's never forget that when we are bedazzled by those black robes and
And since we're back in court Wednesday (February 27, 2:00 p.m.., 219 S.
Dearborn St. in Chicago), I'll remind anyone nearby that the more people we
have sitting in court with dignity but firmness, the better off we'll all be.
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641
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