Rocky's License

by Russ Roberts on December 16, 2008

in Movies

Rocky Balboa can’t figure out why he needs a license to fight. Neither can I.

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Michael December 16, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Russ, that's one of my favorite parts of the film. Rocky *gets* it!

BoscoH December 16, 2008 at 2:51 pm

This doesn't mean that Sly would make a good governor. If I remember my movies correctly, The Terminator wasn't fond of the size of government (or any part of humanity for that matter), yet Arnold wants to jack up sales taxes to above 10%. Not sure how Bruce Willis would work out.

The Timid Scholar December 16, 2008 at 3:12 pm


Best beat:

"We're looking after your interests."

"That's fine but maybe you're lookin after yours more."

TrUmPiT December 16, 2008 at 3:35 pm

I'm sure that Rocky will find a place for his boxing match even if he has to swim to a caribbean islan. It is long tradition to hold fights in foreign countries like the "Thriller from Manila" years ago. Why were these big fights held in exotic locations? Probably to avoid taxes, but I'm not sure. I have no problem with people trying to minimize their taxes legally and ethically. Offshore tax havens for the rich are not the same thing at all.

gappy December 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Even if it is caricatural, I don't think anyone can disagree with Rocky. Similarly, I do not understand why cab drivers and journalists need a license in so many countries. However, I would would not go as far as saying that all professional licenses are unjustified. I think one can make the case for licenses in those professions that require substantial skills and that directly affect the welfare of others. Examples that come to mind are financial brokers, doctors and lawyers. In these cases, one could perhaps make the case for a third party (not necessarily the government) to screen applicants, to reduce search and inefficiencies due to aysmmetric information.

Does this make sense?

Jay Chambers December 16, 2008 at 3:57 pm

What about a license to practice law?

I once had a disagreement with a roomate (himself a law student, with an incentive to raise the entry level costs of practicing the law) who believed that law licenses should still be required. Or maybe it was that graduation from a law school should be required. Similar requirements.

Has the law gotten better since people were required to attend LS? I'd say no.

Marcus December 16, 2008 at 4:22 pm

"I think one can make the case for licenses in those professions that require substantial skills and that directly affect the welfare of others."
– Posted by: gappy | Dec 16, 2008 3:37:37 PM

What's wrong with private certifications?

Still, I'm not so opposed to the government defining standards as I am to government then limiting peoples choices with them.

In other words, I don't have a problem with the government defining what a doctor is, I have a problem with the government then declaring that only doctors can write prescriptions or do certain procedures.

Let their standards compete in the market and see if people really do value them or not.

Chris O'Leary December 16, 2008 at 4:49 pm

You can see lots of private certification efforts popping up in computer-related fields because they do help to establish the holder's expertise (and reduce work on the part of the buyer).

Examples are MCSE and the PMI's certification program.

However, they are totally different than what Rocky had to go through.

maximus December 16, 2008 at 5:03 pm

"If I remember my movies correctly, The Terminator wasn't fond of the size of government (or any part of humanity for that matter), yet Arnold wants to jack up sales taxes to above 10%"

He used to make infomercials in the 1980's or early 90's hawking Milton Friedman's Free To Choose video collection as well. As I remember Friedman's book didn't say anything about raising taxes or spending the state into bankruptcy in order to placate the lefties in Cali. Could have left Gray Davis in there if that was what he was elected to do.

gappy December 16, 2008 at 5:07 pm


I have nothing against private licenses, and definitely I don't think they should be made mandatory. Making them mandatory (and offered by a government or private agency) restricts access to two markets: on one side license candidates are the mercy of the licensing organization; on the other size, the licensing organization would enjoy a position of monopoly or oligopoly.

Blackadder December 16, 2008 at 5:17 pm

As an attorney, I definitely think there is a case to be made for private certification as an alternative to state mandated licensing. It won't happen though, both because the issue is too easy to demagogue, and because lawyers are disproportionately represented among elected officials. Also, attorneys are often required to be admitted to practice before they can appear before a given court, and I suspect that, even if mandatory licensing were officially ended, judges would use this device as a means of imposing a de facto licensing requirement.

If one wanted to chip away at legal licensing requirements, there are some things you could do. Most states, for example, require attorneys to graduate from an accredited law school and pass the state's bar exam before being admitted to practice. In Wisconsin, however, people who graduate from certain schools needn't take the bar, and in California (I believe), one need only pass the bar. So far as I know, the quality of legal services in neither state has suffered for this.

Studies also show that paralegals perform many legal tasks just as well as attorneys, and so a tighter definition of what constitutes "the practice of law" could be helpful.

Another option would be for courts to get serious about enforcing arbitration agreements. This would take attorneys out of the equation altogether (at least where both parties were willing to agree), which could help reduce the overall demand and hence the price of legal services for everyone else.

I have to add, however, that if one were to succeed in reducing the cost of legal services, this would not be an unalloyed good, and it would make it cheaper to file lawsuits. I would hope, therefore, that any major reductions in legal licensing would be accompanied by some sort of tort reform.

save_the_rustbelt December 16, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Maybe so I guy who has had multiple concussions cannot be taken advantage of, or maybe so a ringer cannot be put in a match?

Never assume people are honest. Thus the root of all regulation.

Marcus December 16, 2008 at 5:31 pm

"Never assume people are honest. Thus the root of all regulation."
– Posted by: save_the_rustbelt | Dec 16, 2008 5:23:58 PM

But regulators are people. Kind of circular isn't it?

aynrandgirl December 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

If I remember my movies correctly, The Terminator wasn't fond of the size of government (or any part of humanity for that matter), yet Arnold wants to jack up sales taxes to above 10%.

That presumes that Arnold was ever anything other than the Hollywood liberal he has shown himself to be. His utter capitulation to California's political left demonstrates, in my opinion, that he was never a fiscal conservative.

vidyohs December 16, 2008 at 8:26 pm

When any of us walk into a doctor's office, are we looking on his walls for his license to practice or his diplomas? I personally am more interested in his diplomas and his reputation than any license. Even then because of my long experience all the diplomas tell me is "give this guy chance", they as paper tell me nothing about how the guy translates that knowledge into direct treatment. His reputation tells me more of that, that plus my experience with him that I gain as I go.

I challenge any attorney to produce his license to practice law.

Challenge one yourself and you will shown his/her Bar card, which is a membership card. A membership card and a license are not one and the same.

A "License" to practice law does not exist, at least no one I know has ever seen one and I am in a business that serves the legal profession. I am also a free radical that has had to learn a few things on his own in order to survive this far, and to me it is sheer utter stupidity to hire a bar member to represent me in front of a bar member, with a bar member in opposition; meanwhile knowing that all those bar members will not do "anything" to jeporadize their bar membership which means they will cut you loose to sink before they'll lose that bar card. All those bar members own those courts, and you'd damn well better believe that and factor it into any thinking you do on the justice system.

Before I am slammed, please look at your card and see if it says "license" anywhere on it. Then certify that the "State Bar" is not a private, nongovernmental organization, that allegedly serves a quasi-governmental purpose. It is an odd fact, is it not, that the state can not and does not "tell" or "direct" the State Bar in any fashion. The state can not disbar any member; the bar has to do that, and they are damned reluctant to do that as evidenced by so few actual disbarments that occur around the nation in any given century.

Then for common sense people, ask this question, "Does the State Bar and its members serve the law, or does the law serve the State Bar and its members?" How many people in Congress, the Executive Branch are Bar members? Who does the law serve?

Americans are such damn stupid sheeple. How many of my fellow man do I know that start a business and first thing marches down to cityhall and applies for a business license. It never occurs to one single one that what he is applying for is the right to submit a bribe to do business, or most don't care because the are "afraid to fight city hall". I began my flooring company in Utah and my mentor said not to bother with a business license until I was faced with being froced to. Sure enough I did not, and in ten years I never was questioned about it. I went down to city hall and asked what applying for license entailed, such as examinations for competency in the business I wanted to start. The clerks looked at me like I had sprouted another head! LOL! They told me a business license costs $35 and there were no examinations or inspections of work quality by city licensing personnel. I knew the answer but I wanted it put on the record so to speak.

Since then, and in two states, I have owned and operated three businesses without every applying for a license and never had one single issue as a result.

All this licensing shit is nothing more than bribes to do business in America, it has nothing to do with consumer protection or assurance. Just another f..king bribe. How many professions are actually tested and measured by "city hall" or the "state"
before a license is issured.
Anyway poor Rocky has his problems in understanding how he can be denied because he can't answer the question of "How does the Constitution and the laws it legitimizes gain jurisdiction over any free man?" If Rocky could answer that then he'd have the answer as to why the commission could tell him to take a hike.

Pity that in this time of mass rape of the individual wealth creator in America, no one wants to think about that question and take action on the answer.

Time to free Rocky, way way long past time to free Rocky. Wake up people, the Tornado is in the trailer park and your little home is going to be torn to shit soon.

Gotta love that collectivization, nationalization, regulation, and our own unique Americanized KGB to make sure we all toe the line.

Kristen December 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm

There's a terrific little scene in the movie Star Trek III where Dr. McCoy is trying to arrange transport to a sector deemed "off limits" by the Federation Council. McCoy meets an alien pilot in a sleazy bar to convince him to make the trip. The pilot protests that getting into a forbidden sector "requires many permits." McCoy replies that you can't get a permit to do something that's already illegal.

Charlie Perkins December 16, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Thought experiment:

Can the state prevent two private citizens from entertaining others by fighting to a guaranteed death of one of the participants (Russian roulette)?

Can the state prevent two private citizens from entertaining others by fighting where there is a high probability of at least one death?

Can the state prevent two private citizens from fighting for entertainment where there is a much higher than average probability of death? i.e., it is the standard for life insurance in that society that it will not insure someone who engages in this activity?

Certainly, a private entity could regulate fighting as entertainment, and given a particular society’s morals, it is reasonable that people would quit purchasing tickets to that private entity's events if deaths were too frequent.

But perhaps the members of society would pay even more if death or severe injury were likely (gladiators or MMA) — making a greater number of deaths just as profitable.

It seems at least reasonable that the state could regulate an activity where one man (a fight promoter) profits by another man placing himself in a high degree of danger.

Ray G December 16, 2008 at 11:44 pm

I train in jiu jitsu, and most of the guys I train with follow the UFC type of fight game.

I had totally forgotten about McCain's involvement in trying to ban such fights, but when his name is mentioned among this crowd, that's the first thing they think of.

Not that they're walking around simmering about such a thing, but that kind of do-gooder bureaucrat image is the one that stuck for McCain.

And a majority of these guys are college educated professionals for those who might not be familiar with anyone outside of their own office place.

Cheers December 16, 2008 at 11:47 pm

I don't think the real problem with professional licensing is the quality that you may or may not get as a result of the certification. The problem I have is how it changes the purchase decision and assumption of liability.

If you go and buy a TV, and the salesperson makes a bad recommendation, you don't research it and buy it anyways, you're out 2 grand.

If you go and buy a mutual fund, ignoring the advice of your broker against the decision, and you lose your money, your broker and his managers are on the hook.

This is ignoring the problems with malpractice law.

My issue is that it removes the research and decision-making liability that should be placed on the consumer's head, and instead places it on whomever happens to have money to pay a claim. The long-run shift is that courts award damages based on ability to pay instead of liability, which is not where anyone wants to be. (well, no-one productive, at least)

Dave December 17, 2008 at 12:32 am

Ultimately, it comes down to a question of how much power the state should have to restrict an agreement between two mutually consenting adults. Let's say I'm on a fishing trip (a funny example if you know me & how much I hate fishing, but bear with me). I get a hook stuck in my leg, and it hurts really bad. I agree to let my buddy do what amounts to surgery on my leg to get the hook out. Technically, I've probably broken the law if he's an HR manager or a pharmaceutical sales rep instead of a doctor. Was I still in my rights?

Consider another case. In Houston, we have a couple of guys who started their own little taxi service using small electric cars. They have a limited range, and they work only for tips. The city, of course, is trying to shut them down: no taxi permits. Yet I'm perfectly fine with paying them to shuttle me around midtown. What right does the city have to stop us?

I have no problem with the city issuing licenses, and even having requirements that if you don't have a taxi license, you have to have verbiage easily available that says so. Then, I'm making an informed decision, and the onus is on me. But don't interfere in my transactions with mutually consenting adults, unless there is fraud or coercion involved.

Jacob Oost December 17, 2008 at 4:34 am

There's registration, which merely means all those practicing a certain profession register with the government. Registration can be either mandatory or optional.

Then there's certification, which means that in addition to being registered, one also fulfills certain criteria to measure up to a certain standard (hopefully one of quality and not just arbitrary qualifiers). This too is optional. Making it *mandatory* makes it licensing.

Licensing is when people who don't hold the license are forbidden by law from practicing that profession, and must hold the license to do certain things (in the case of medicine, to write/fill prescriptions, fix broken bones, etc.).

The problem is when people get their terminology confused and what they call registration or certification is de facto licensing.

I think all, yes all, occupational licensing is wrong and a needless impediment to economic growth not to mention freedom.

Take medicine as an example. Every alleged benefit of medical licensing could also be met with certification, with the added bonus that particular doctors, nurses, clinics, providers, etc. are able to experiment in the division of labor in an unfettered way so as to become more efficient, instead of leaving job roles unchanged since the 1800s.

Michael Smith December 17, 2008 at 8:58 am

vidyohs wrote:

All this licensing shit is nothing more than bribes to do business in America, it has nothing to do with consumer protection or assurance. Just another f..king bribe. How many professions are actually tested and measured by "city hall" or the "state"
before a license is issured.


And a great deal of this licensing nonsense is pushed by the existing business people as a means of making it difficult for competitors to enter the market. In Georgia, for instance, one now must have a state license to work in a beauty salon doing hair styling and makeup. And it takes approximately 1.5 years of trade school training to qualify. Who lobbied for this law? The existing beauty salon industry.

Utterly disgusting.

Methinks December 17, 2008 at 9:30 am

Examples that come to mind are financial brokers

Do you mean stock brokers? I'm assuming you don't mean broker dealers who simply take orders and execute orders on exchanges on behalf of customers as they don't offer advice. The licensing for stock brokers is hilarious. They are usually French Literature majors (or similarly useless degree for obtaining gainful employment) and aren't required to actually know very much about finance. Nobody in business school ever dreamed of becoming a stock broker. They are required to pass the series 7, which is mostly about regulation and not finance. They are then free to advise you. When I worked at an investment bank with both retail and institutional businesses, we had a group dedicated to field calls from retail brokers so they wouldn't annoy the analysts. They kept a list of dumb questions these guys asked. Here's a sample.

What's the ticker symbol for GDP?

Can you recommend a similar stock? (by which he meant one that had a similar price)

What is P/E and how do I calculate it? (P/E is on the series 7)

and so on.

That certification is working out brilliantly. Of course, stock brokers are pretty cheap. If you want real advice, you'll have to pay up. But I'm sure that the average citizen is lulled into the belief that these guys really know what they're doing. Of course, there were a few really smart stock brokers who bothered to actually learn enough finance to be useful to their clients too, but the certification is utterly useless in helping separate the wheat from the chaff.

Gloria Scott December 17, 2008 at 11:52 am


The practice of law is regulated by the state supreme court, which is part of the judicial branch of the state government. The state supreme courts regularly disbar lawyers. State bar membership is also mandatory in many states. And I have three documents on my wall right now that include the word "licensed" above the signatures of the clerks of three state supreme courts.

MJ December 17, 2008 at 5:31 pm

This hit close to home as I have a friend that went through a very similar set of circumstances. To make a long story short there was pressure put on the athletic commissions (from a competing organization) of two states to not let him fight (MMA) due to an abnormality in his brain. The abnormality has actually been studied since he was a child and very extensively documented and deemed safe and to be of no concern.

That was at least 7 years ago and since has fought a couple dozen times in other states and countries. The decision by the two states negatively affected his income by severely limiting his exposure, in a sport where your fan base is most of your worth. But it never mattered to either board no matter the argument his lawyers and doctors gave.

jpm December 17, 2008 at 9:10 pm

I don't hang out here much, as I have a life, but this is the second time I have see Methinks comment based on her amazing insight into the world of the broker dealer. She had commented a year or two ago about what a scam short selling is with the blank check the SEC gives market makers with their exemption on the down tick rule and the total lack of enforcement of uncovered short sales. Combine that with the pristine insight of the average licensed financial advisor and their understanding of "PE" and you have a real understanding of the confidence game that is the securities market.

Methinks, you get it right all of the time. You never needed your former experience as a former investment bank employee as you would have figured out how those hedge fund/broker dealer guys operate just by looking at an online stock trading screen anyway.

The saying that if you don't believe in God, then you will believe anything really holds true. If you don't believe that, all you have to do is read Methinks and compare her insight to Martin's!

vidyohs December 17, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Gloria Scott,

Congratulations lady, you are the very first to bring challenge to my wandering rant. Thank you.

Now in answer, this is not necessarily a challenge, but a seeking of clarification of your statements above. Okay?

What is the state of your primary practice? And, what are the other two states you mention that you are licensed to practice before the Supreme Courts of said states?

Does your bar membership card state "license" anywhere on it? Do you carry a "license" to practice law that you are able to produce in courts at will?

If you are licensed by a State Supreme Court to practice law in that court, is that same "license" necessary to practice in a JP or inferior state court or does simple bar membership suffice?

In all sincerity, Gloria, in all my forays into law offices in Texas, I have never seen a document that could be claimed to be a "license" to practice law. Not saying you're wrong, just wondering what I have missed?

When a State Supreme Court disbars an attorney from practicing before it, does that disbarment hold and prevent the attorney from practicing in an inferior court?

Would it be proper to use the term "disbar" in the case of a State Supreme Court refusing to allow an attorney to appear and represent a client in said court?

It is my understanding that each "Bar" is, while considered quasi-governmental, not actually a government agency. Can you categorically state that this is not true? Can you categorically state that each "Bar" is officially a government agency? I guess I'll do some googling on this one because my understanding of the value of computer research is finally catching up to my ability to do that.

Pardon my questions, but I am skeptical of the legal profession and the justice system in America because I know that there is so much we operate on as "conventional wisdom", that is not actually true, that it is sad to say the least.

For instance I know that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled as standing law that Congress rules what Congress creates. That is why the District of Columbia answers to Congress, the same of all the territories such as Puerto Rica, the Virgin Islands, etc.. Now what does this mean in terms of justice and the third branch of government? Well a look at the Constitution shows that the only court created by the Constitution is the Supreme Court, and all the other courts are created by Congress. So, Congress rules all of our Federal District Courts, the president nominates judges but the Congress has to approve because the FedDistCrts are their courts.

Conventional wisdom would have us believe that FedDistCrts are part of the judicial branch, when they are actually part of the executive branch….according to the Supreme Courts own rulings. Congress rules what Congress creates.

Help me (us) out here Gloria. God knows I'd appreciate it.

jpm December 17, 2008 at 9:48 pm

Vidyohs, Gloria may not respond before this thread looses relevance, though I am sure she would shed insight here, but I might point out that if you can practice law in Texas, you practice before all Texas courts. The Texas Supreme Court disbars you from all. If you are licensed to practice in Texas (or should the term be, a card carrying union dues paid up member) then you can practice in the state appellate and supreme ones. You have to be admitted separtely to practice in the Federal Court. The procedural rules are different. You use letter, not legal pages, etc. It pretty much is a formality to get admitted, but you do have to know the rules.

As I understand it, the President appoints the Federal Judges (for life) and it is with Congress' consent that they are approved, but there is supposed to be a clear and apparent reason to dis-approve one. (Unless he is Republican, which case he is automatically dis-qualified these days) but once they are approved, in theory, the are not "ruled" by Congress. It is Congress's duty to pass laws, and Judges to uphold them. We are a nation of laws, but this has sadly been disregarded as we digress more and more to our current bananna republic state.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer, but like MeThinks, I did spend the night at a Holliday Inn Express once.

jpm December 17, 2008 at 9:58 pm

The Supreme Court is not last because they are right. They are right because they are last.

Anonymous December 18, 2008 at 12:21 am


Article III of the Constitution gives Congress the power to create lower courts as part of the judicial branch. These courts, like the SCOTUS, have judges who are appointed for life (given "good behavior") and can't have their pay cut while on the bench. Judges in Federal District Courts have these protections, and Federal District Courts are part of the judicial branch. The President nominates judges and the Senate confirms them because of the Advice and Consent clause of Article II. Note that the process is the same for district and circuit judges as it is for Supreme Court justices.

Article I gives Congress the power to create courts outside the judicial branch (which lack the protections mentioned above), and they've exercised that power to create, among others, the U.S. Court of Veterans' Appeals and U.S. Tax Court. Those are part of the legislative branch. That Congress has created both types of courts, and that there is a recognized distinction between the two sets both in actual conditions and the source of authority for creation, should put to rest the notion that district and circuit courts are outside the judicial branch. I suspect you're reading "Congress rules what Congress creates" far more broadly than the SCOTUS intended

As for the licensing question, I have a certificate from the Supreme Court of Alabama stating that I've been admitted to practice law in that court, which also admits me to the bar of inferior state courts. I also have, from the State Bar, a card I keep in my wallet, which has the word license on its face in four different places. It's good for one year. I have no idea how they do it in Texas, but you wouldn't see a license to practice law on my office wall, were you to drop in for a visit. The State Bar has disciplinary jurisdiction over its members here, but any disciplinary action is subject to review by the state Supreme Court. I haven't really looked into the question, but the impression I have is that you'd be accurate calling our bar quasi-governmental, at most, rather than a government agency.

Billy December 18, 2008 at 12:22 am

Sorry, the above post is mine.

vidyohs December 18, 2008 at 7:17 am

JPM & Billy,

Thanks for the response and great input.

Billy, I am familiar with the Constitution and what the constitution says, however I can never forget Mayor Daley of Chicago saying, "The constitution is what the cop on the beat says it is." I have also lived long enough to see the Federal Courts and the Supremem Court conjour up things in the Constitution that no mere mortal can see, so that tells me that to paraphrase Mayor Daley, "The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is."

In other words, assuming that something is as it seems to be, is one of the most deadly courses of action to freedom that a man can take.

With that in mind, Congress rules what congress creates. Congress creates the lesser courts and they appear to operate as part of the judicial system, but according to the Supreme court's own ruling if congress wants to assert control…….where then do we go? I can assume such a challenge has never been faced, but would we know about it if it had?

Gotta go create some capitalist wealth. Will catch up later. Thanks again for the input. If I have been led astray in the past by others and in my laziness have not done my due diligence I want to discover it. So, this is all part of my due diligence.

Billy December 18, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Congress lacks the ability both to fire a federal district judge (bad behavior exception noted) and to reduce his pay. Congress has established courts that they do in fact "rule," and those look distinctly different from district courts in constitutionally important ways. Federal district courts exercise the judicial power of the federal government, for instance, where legislative courts do not. There's no real gray area in Sec. 1 of Art. III. When Congress creates lower courts pursuant to the power granted it in that section, it creates them as part of the judicial branch. There is simply no reason to believe the federal district courts are not part of the judicial branch.

As for "Congress rules what Congress creates," we need context. Simply plucking it out of a SCOTUS opinion and applying it as a blanket rule doesn't work. If Congress were to rely on that to exert authority over the lower courts, I feel pretty safe predicting the SCOTUS would laugh at them and continue to exercise its authority over lower courts. After all, they basically took that approach to the detainee habeas cases, and that was an area where Congress' authority to do what it tried to do is significantly more solid. Even if an attempt to grab the courts were taken seriously, and "Congress rules what Congress creates" were taken as an absolute maxim, there is a pretty strong case to be made that Congress abdicated that rule in favor of the Supreme Court about 220 years ago, and is now estopped from going back to reassert it.

I don't know why we wouldn't have heard about such a challenge if it had happened. There are enough hostile factions within Congress itself, not to mention the entire government, that somebody would have brought it to light, if only to score political points against a rival.

vidyohs December 18, 2008 at 10:49 pm

Hi Billy,

Long day pursuing the dollar but just a quick reply before showering and doing it all again tomorrow…….thank God.

"I also have, from the State Bar, a card I keep in my wallet, which has the word license on its face in four different places."
I'll grant you that this is true because I have no way of knowing without seeing your card myself, but as we have agreed the State Bar is not an official government agency, so while they may license you to do whatever it is that they wish to license you to do, that does not equate to the state licensing you.

We the sheeple may sheepishly accept the conventional wisdom about law licenses, but I personally still retain my skepticism about there actually being a government issued license until I have actually seen one and read the thing from start to finish and had a chance to research that in law itself.

As for the Federal district court controversy twixt us, well I think you and I have had an end run done on us and what you practice in (a U.S. DISTRICT COURT) is not the District Courts of Art III of the Constitution. Art III courts exist but you and I don't happen to get in one that often, if ever.

Question, since you and I both know that jurisdiction is the first thing that has to be established in a court in order for the court to hear a case, is it possible that a sitting court can be one of two different entities as a matter of reponse to the pleadings before it? In other words, if you know the game and understand the game, is it possible that you can take a U.S.DISTRICT COURT and turn it into an Art III United States District Court by the manner and wording of your pleading (if pleading is the proper term to use here)?

Anyway, its to the showers with me.

Billy December 19, 2008 at 12:23 am

On the license:

It may not be technically a government license, but it's the functional equivalent, since the state government, through the Supreme Court, won't let anyone practice law (except pro se, of course) in a state court without one. Of course, if the state has formally delegated the licensing of attorneys to the State Bar, it may technically be a state license, as well. Either way, the bottom line is that we all have to jump through that set of hoops in order to practice law here, even those of us who would prefer a more open market.

On the courts:

You'll have to explain a bit how the District Courts we know aren't Art. III courts. They have all the protections from legislative interference accorded in Art. III. They exercise judicial power, subject to review only by other Art. III courts (and if you're including Circuit Courts as non-Art. III, just bump that up a level, since surely we can agree that the SCOTUS is an Art. III court and part of the judicial branch). That's all been true since they were created in 1789.

I suppose a court could be a court of law or court of equity, depending on the nature of the relief sought by the plaintiff. That distinction doesn't really go to which branch of government the court sits in, though, and isn't a dirty secret available for use only to those who know the game. If you go to court and ask for an injunction or some other non-monetary relief, you're suing in equity. Whether or not someone is familiar with the distinction between law and equity, that person is likely to know that he can go to the court to make someone do or refrain from doing certain things.

Since I don't see a basis for the District Court to be anything other than an Art. III court, no matter how I word my pleading, your question about using magic words to turn it into one doesn't make sense to me. Even if that were the case in the past, the rules of civil procedure focus on function, rather than form (e.g., if you submit a motion to dimiss that includes materials outside the pleadings the court treats it as a motion for summary judgment). A major motivation behind the FRCP was to dispense with the need for artful pleading that was endemic to the common law system of writs, demurrers, and the like. So to the best of my understanding of your question, no, I don't think there is a "magic" form of pleading you can use to change the branch of government a given court belongs to.

Is it your contention that District Courts were set up as extra-judicial tribunals or that they were taken out of the judicial branch somewhere between 1789 and 2008? If the latter, how, when, by whom, and to what effect? Is the key to the District Court puzzle subject matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction?

jpm December 19, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Congress creates the lesser courts and they appear to operate as part of the judicial system, but according to the Supreme court's own ruling if congress wants to assert control…….where then do we go? I can assume such a challenge has never been faced, but would we know about it if it had?

Vidyohs what the hell or are you talking about?!! (It is Friday, and I have my wine) If Congess wants to "pass a law" the courts HAVE to uphold it. That is the 60,000 question. Democrats want appointees that will ignore the will of congress and legislate from the bench. legitmate "assertion of control" would come from legislation and that is legislation that has to pass a filabuster from Republicans and that is why Dems want to control the appointed Judges, Judges who will ignore legislation not along Dem party lines. That is why election of McCain would have been important, because other than that, he was indistinguishable from Obama.

In other words, if you know the game and understand the game, is it possible that you can take a U.S.DISTRICT COURT and turn it into an Art III United States District Court by the manner and wording of your pleading

This issue is "venue" and the rules are clear. A Social Security Issue goes to said court etc etc. Courts know what goes where and they grant the venue issues based on the rules. Generally speaking, to get into Federal Court, you HAVE to have either a constitutional issue or interstate commerce issue or some issue that the Federal Laws regulate. It's a game sure, and the phoney appointee Judges play it fast and loose, as opposed to the ones that believe in following the law. but state property issues are not heard unless it conflicts a federal law. The game really is getting into a Federal District with a liberal appointee if you have some cause-scam that you know won't pass the scruteny of existing law

vidyohs December 20, 2008 at 7:50 pm


I will try to find the material upon which I am basing my beliefs and questions on and see whether I can match your above on all issues.

What I am saying in main is that I do not trust the legal profession, the courts, the justice system, nor the government; and I do know that the BAR is as much a protected brotherhood as the KKK or the KGB ever was.

I believe that the BAR would a tougher nut to crack than the NSA or CIA.

I agree that the BAR card functions as a defacto license and is referred to as such, but again that is because of the general overall massive ignorance of the public to reality. I wonder how some juries might feel about being lied to on the subject of a "license to practice law" when in fact there is no state issued license. Some people aren't too keen on being lied to. Even if it is a "little" lie.

Rubbing shoulders with attorneys, plaintiffs, and defandants on a daily bais is not the only education I get in the "justice system" of the corp USA. To tell you the truth it sickens me as I firmly believe that "justice" is something that once in awhile falls off the table as scraps off the main meal of money money money for those who run the system.

What else is prima facie in our lifes that we the sheeple don't know the truth about?

How does the corporate government, THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, gain any kind of jurisdiction over a free born man born within the mythical borders claimed by that corporation?

vidyohs December 20, 2008 at 8:06 pm


"If Congess wants to "pass a law" the courts HAVE to uphold it."

Only if there is no challenge to that law.

Obviously if the SCOTUS "had" to uphold all laws passed by Congress then one of the three legs of our tripod system of government is removed and therefore no need for it to exist.

SCOTUS originally existed to ensure that the other two branches act within the confines of the Constitution, pity that has been subverted, eh?

Here is the curious thing, I have asked more than one attorney the question, "Exactly how much, if any, effort is spent in law school in teaching the Constitution."

The common answer is "little to none".

So, with that in mind, jpm, are you so certain sure that when you walk into a court that you are walking into the correct venue, what about correct jurisdiction?

If the Constitution is the foundation of all the law in the USA, why are so many attorneys ignorant of it? Why did I listen to an attorney instruct her client to say, "I claim my 5th amendment privilege……."?

Vast difference between a right and a privilege, jpm, wouldn't you say?

I say she left her client exposed to a sharp attorney.

BTW, jpm, enjoy your wine, it is Sat and I have had a few myself since getting home yesterday. As a matter of fact I just finished a nice glass of domestic Syrah, Cycles Gladiator, inexpensive yet very good. Decant it and no one would be able to tell you that it cost less than $10.

vidyohs December 20, 2008 at 8:10 pm

BTW Billy & jpm,

Check out how the government likes to play with us. And how some courageous souls are exposing it.


Things (including the justice system) are not what they seem in this country and haven't been for a long long time; and there is no way you could convince me that this isn't by design.

Billy December 21, 2008 at 7:18 pm

In case I forget to mention this before finishing your latest posts, I'm responding to the law license part before reading all the way through. I took another look at my license and noticed that not only does it say "State of Alabama" across the top, but it sports the state seal on the background. It seems clear that here, at least, the license to practice law is an official state license.

vidyohs December 21, 2008 at 9:32 pm


Just e-mailed the Secretary of State for Alabama. Asked the question. Let you know what response I get.

vidyohs January 8, 2009 at 11:35 am


You still out there?

I phoned your Alabama Secretary of State, asked the question, was referred back to the Alabama State Bar.

I called them and asked the question and their answer was "the state bar issues the license in the form of the bar card" and that is accepted by the state of Alabama. I asked the further question about the private nature of the Alabama State Bar and was told that yes it is an agency that acts for the state but is not officially a state agency.

You say your bar card states license on it and I accept that, but downtown there are several banks that are First State Bank of Texas, Texas State Bank, etc. and none are owned and operated by the state. They are owned and operated by private individuals for the benefit of that individual.

So, your bar card acts as a license but is actually no more that a guild or trade card that the state accepts as being proof that the holder has at least met some sort of minimu standard in knowledge and practice of the law.

So, where does that leave me in regards to my statement that there is no actual thing as an actual state law license?

I think I am still on solid ground.

BTW, I got the same answers from the Texas officaldom, go to the Bar with your question, and received the same answers.

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