To the Editor:
In the days of Empress Wu, who ruled China from 665 to 705, Chinese jurisprudence included the proviso that anyone bringing an accusation before a magistrate who failed to prove his case was punished, though it be with his head, with the same penalty that would have been suffered by the person he had wrongly accused. Some 1,300 years later, Sigmund Freud described the psychiatrist’s fee for patients whom he deemed unserious as analogous to a judge who fined a litigant “so many Kröner for wasting the time of the Court.”
Nowadays we are neither so stern as a magistrate of Empress Wu’s day nor as restrained as an Austrian judge of Freud’s. But the general principle is a sound one: Frivolous litigants should indeed pay for needless tying up the courts and pay so dearly as to provide a deterrent to those who would abuse the legal system in this fashion.
We have seen time and again lawsuits by malefactors who seem merely to seek to derail the course of justice. As the Constitution explicitly states, no valid litigant should be denied the right to seek a redress of grievances. But that is markedly different from lawsuits whose sole purpose would appear to be to delay the proper carrying out of the law.
Such litigants should pay a Draconian penalty if found to have engaged in misconduct of this sort, such that it proves prohibitively expensive and sets a wholesome example that effectively warns off others who desire to pervert the proper functioning of the apparatus of justice in this manner.
Good faith litigation there may be, and merit judicial attention. But a flurry of frivolous suits enabled by political ambulance-chasers should and could be stemmed by the simple application of swift, sure and amplified punishment for those who waste the time of the court and the money of the defendants. Heavy fines will help to stave off the day when corruption and incitement to riot (not to say treason) earn their condign reward, though the orange jumpsuits proliferate like the harvest from a Halloween pumpkin patch.
And in truth, even without ruthless assessment of damages, lawyers and their clients have better things to do than to take on such cases; there are plenty of genuine injustices that cry out for relief and are not a waste of attorneys’ time, their fortunes or whatever shred may be remaining of their sacred honor.
Trenton and Painesville, Ohio