November
1st 2009
David Lane defends Constitution, appears at the Laugh Factory Tuesday nights

Posted under: American history, jobs, local news

Is it just me, or is my adopted home state full of cranks and criminals who make the national news rather disproportionately given our low population numbers (about 4 million, probably on its way to 5 by the time the 2010 census is complete)?  There’s a profile of Constitutional rights attorney and local celebrity David Lane, along with some of his celebrity clients, in today’s Denver Post, and in the interview he tells a funny joke.  (I think there’s a good chance this is an entirely fictional story, but it’s still a good joke.)

And of all the controversial clients he has ever represented, none has been quite like [Ward] Churchill, fired by CU after questions were raised about his scholarship. But those questions first arose after the emergence of an essay in which Churchill referred to some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks as “little Eichmanns.”

For Lane, it was a clear-cut First Amendment issue — he believed Churchill was fired not for plagiarism or fabrication, as CU leaders claimed, but for his speech.

And Lane won, sort of, when a jury sided with him, although the judge later issued a ruling tossing out the verdict. That case is still on appeal, and things may change. 

One thing that hasn’t changed is the way Lane has been attacked for representing Churchill. Like the day he sat with a client, in prison for second-degree murder and facing a first-degree murder charge for a slaying behind bars.

“This guy’s doing second-degree murder time, facing the death penalty, and he says, ‘Can I ask you a personal question?’ ” Lane recalled. “I said, ‘Sure.’ He said, ‘No offense, but how do you represent a scumbag like Ward Churchill?’ “

[Rim shot!]  Read the whole thing–Lane is an interesting guy.  Some may think he’s a publicity hound, but I think he does an admirably effective job in representing his clients.  I admire his determination not to care that so many people hate him–he’s doing very important work for all of us.  He explains:  “I am in the business of controlling the government. That’s all I do in every one of those cases. And if they can play fair and they get my client, OK, you know, if they play fair.  But if they can’t do it fairly, under the law, I will walk this person out the front of the courthouse because the most dangerous entity on earth is a government that has the ability to do whatever it wants whenever it wants without control.”

(For those of you who missed my commentary on Ward Churchill and can’t live without it, click here and revel in yet more trenchant commentary.)  Cheers, friends:  I’ve got a lot of leaves to rake, as soon as the snow melts off of them…that’s how I’m spending my return-to-daylight-wasting extra hour today!  It’s not too often that I can say I shoveled two loads of snow off of the driveway and sidewalk before I finished raking up the yard.  Lucky, lucky me!  (And I mean that seriously–my yard, driveway, and sidewalk aren’t in foreclosure, and we can afford to heat the house even though we haven’t yet put in the storm windows, so we are lucky indeed.)

4 Comments »

4 Responses to “David Lane defends Constitution, appears at the Laugh Factory Tuesday nights”

  1. Erica on 01 Nov 2009 at 9:50 am #

    I dunno, South Carolina gives Colorado a run for its money — particularly its elected representatives and officials :P

    In any state, though, you’ll hear local news which shows YOU the small-time wackiness that the rest of the country isn’t likely to learn. I honestly can’t think of THAT much weirdness coming from Colorado (although I do get more of it than I usually would thanks to your blog!).

  2. Profsweddy on 01 Nov 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    One of my colleagues has been in conversation with Lane about representing her in a suit, and did sign an initial retainer agreement with him. I don’t know what has happened, exactly, but now she’s looking for a different lawyer. Her take is that he was not giving her the attention she was due. We hope it isn’t a case of his having bigger fish to fry.

  3. Joe the Plumber on 01 Nov 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    Dearest Historiann -

    It’s not called a “rim shot”, it’s called a “sting”.

  4. Indyanna on 01 Nov 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    We call that a “brick” back here in the East. I’d be surprised if any state has a monopoly on Crankus Americanus, even taking it per capita. I worked briefly years back for a lawyer who was somewhat larger than life, sui generis, maybe even over the top, who took on a lot of fight-the-power, sometimes even pro bono work. They don’t tend to run in packs, and its hard for them to stay in firms even if they do join up with their kind. So unless you’re high on the card of the Canis Major, you can sort of get lost in the docket shuffle.

    Ugh on the leaf-and-snow part. Back when I *had* a lawn, the worst thing was to get the first sticking snow on the ground before the last bag of crinkly brown oak leaves went up the lot into the humus pile. But this was usually around Thanksgiving, if it happened, and not before the Halloween candy got stale.