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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Frivolous lawsuits: Making a point

Yesterday I visited an Itasca County courtroom to help out a friend and witnessed an extremely effective judicial process handled in a respectful and humane manner. I’m grateful for that demonstration of professional competence, especially after checking for legal news this morning.

I read that a state court judge in Nebraska has banned the word “rape” “victim” and “assailant” from a sexual assault trial, which seems like an unusual ruling. The putative rape victim responded by suing the judge for violating her constitutional rights, which also seems like an unusual move. A federal judge responded by issuing an order to show cause to the plaintiff/putative rape victim to demonstrate that her lawsuit wasn’t improper and frivolous, which seems like a smart move and was scheduled for hearing today.

But that’s not all. Nebraska Senator Ernie Chambers responded to the kerfuffle by filing a lawsuit against God to prove a point about frivolous lawsuits. This also seems like an unusual thing to do. Reportedly, Chambers is upset that the constitution requires that the doors to the courthouse be open to all, so he has sued God to show that anybody can be sued.

News reports indicate that Chambers’ lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction ordering God to cease certain harmful activities and the making of terroristic threats.

Chambers asked the court to waive personal service. "Plaintiff, despite reasonable efforts to effectuate personal service upon defendant 'Come out, come out, wherever you are,' has been unable to do so,'" Chambers said. The suit said that the plaintiff assumes God, being omniscient, will have actual knowledge of the action.

Chambers, it must be said, is not a lawyer, although he has a law degree from Creighton University. Otherwise, we assume he might be subject to professional sanctions. He has served nearly 40 years in the senate but is about to be term-limited out, so the voters won’t be able to make a point either. I guess they don’t call him the maverick of Omaha for nothing.

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