Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Rudy Giuliani has recently lost his license to practice law in his home state of New York over his actions while employed by Donald Trump. Part of the ruling read, “[W]e conclude that there is uncontroverted evidence that [Giuliani] communicated demonstrably false and misleading statements to courts, lawmakers and the public at large in his capacity as lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump and the Trump campaign in connection with Trump’s failed effort at reelection in 2020.” In today’s news, other high-profile attorneys that helped Trump with his campaign calling for reelection, largely calling into question the accountability of the election counts without providing substantive evidence in doing so, are facing similar disciplinary hearings in court. These attorneys seem to be doing their best to distance themselves from the very legal documents to discredit the election results that they themselves filed. It’s almost comical.
There is discussion of the legal system and the attorneys themselves needing to redefine themselves in their roles. I’ve worked with defense attorneys who have made it their goal to get their clients off of charges, even if there is overwhelming evidence of their guilt, rather than representing the to get them the help they needed and to ensure that they were not treated unfairly. This, to me, is not justice. Defense attorneys should be trying to be sure that a small drug charge does not result in a life sentence, not trying to claim the evidence against them is falsified. Ethically, the Trump attorneys should have pointed out to him that he has no case without evidence, rather than simply filing every motion he wanted filed.
Professionals should always be held at a higher standard. Attorneys don’t just represent their clients, they’re also agents of the judicial system, and if they have no interest in using their training for anything other than to make money then they should, indeed, be suspended or disbarred. Not to say that attorneys are the only ones who have completed their professional training and licensing just for money.
As a scientist, I would love to claim that scientists are above money grubbing, but we’re not. In the ‘70’s, the tobacco industry found and funded so much research and so many legitimate scientists to counter any evidence linking smoking to cancer that it has taken years before the link was acknowledged. We certainly learned a lot those days about checking the source of funding of such research, but these scientists, many of whom had their doctorates, muddied the waters and threw doubt into legitimate research. Today, the fossil fuel industry is doing the same, finding those “experts” willing to trade their degrees for cash to cast doubt on global warming and its influence on the climate. Unfortunately, the government is all too happy to point to these (very few) “scientists” to drag their feet on legislation that may already be too late to save us. But, you know, the top tenth of a percent will be wealthier even as we all die.
Medicine is no better. Many people still love Dr. Oz, although he has clearly sold out to make money selling unnecessary products to the elderly and afraid. And if he has to stoke that fear himself, well, that’s okay as well. I still remember him saying that if you pluck a nose hair you will die. Well, maybe so, but let’s be honest; the chances of that happening are so close to zero that the stress caused by the fear of it happening will cause more damage to health than the actual danger will.
I guess that every professional organization will be tainted by greedy members willing to sell out for their own profit. It’s unfortunate. As others conspire to rot the confidence in science and medicine, we certainly don’t need traitors within our own ranks to further erode this confidence. I don’t have the answers as to how to stop this decay. People are beginning to learn, though. They’re beginning to understand the difference between anecdotal evidence to inspire fear and research-based results. As people continue to die from Covid-19 (and now its variants), but today roughly 99% of those deaths are among the unvaccinated. While graduates of Conspiracy Theory University hold onto their beliefs, the end result is often their own demise. I don’t feel sorry for those who suffer the consequences of their own action, I do feel bad for the innocents they take with them, the children too young to make their own decision and the frightened who believe what they hear on social media. There should be consequences for professionals who do not act on the best interest of their clients and society, and I hope every one of the attorneys that damaged our democracy lose their license and their livelihoods.