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Sun Jun 12, 2016, 12:01 PM

The real masters of the universe: The astounding influence lawyers have on U.S. government and polic

Author George R.R. Martin once wrote, “Politicians were mostly people who had too little morals and ethics to stay lawyers.” Although we can’t speak to the comparative ethics of lawyers and politicians, it is indeed true that the United States is unique among developed countries in the share of its politicians who have a background in law.

According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union Chronicle of Parliamentary Elections compiled by political scientist Adam Bonica, 46 percent of US congress members are lawyers (which is actually slightly low, historically).The country that has the second largest share of lawyers in the national legislature is Chile at 32 percent, followed by Argentina at 25 percent. The average across the 32 countries for which he has data is 15 percent. In Sweden and Japan, 4 percent of politicians in the national legislature are lawyers, and in the Netherlands only 1 percent are. This bias could influence policymaking, help explain the persistent lack of women in office and shift the strategies of both the left and right.

Lawyers, Lawyers Everywhere

In a new paper to be presented at an upcoming Scholars Strategy Network workshop and obtained exclusively by Salon, Bonica argues that this bias towards lawyers is driven in part by the overwhelming influence of money in politics results in policy biased towards the wealthy. Bonica begins with a jaw-dropping statistic. He finds that,

While comprising 0.4% of the voting age population, there are more lawyers elected to the House than there are representatives from all 24 states west of the Mississippi. Lawyers are even more prevalent in the Senate. In 44 of the past 50 Congresses, lawyer-legislators commanded seat shares large enough to constitute a filibuster proof majority.


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Reply The real masters of the universe: The astounding influence lawyers have on U.S. government and polic (Original post)
Baitball Blogger Jun 2016 OP
Recursion Jun 2016 #1
Baitball Blogger Jun 2016 #2

Response to Baitball Blogger (Original post)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 12:19 PM

1. I hear doctors have a lot of influence on medicine too

Who could imagine that people who studied law would have something to do with writing it?

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Response to Recursion (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 12, 2016, 12:25 PM

2. If this article fails, it is that it doesn't include the lawyers who

are never elected that still affect our political system. Imagine what they can do providing opinions to ignorant local or state officials, giving them only the information they need to reach a desired objective.

I had one watchdog tell me that a local rainmaker lawyer would pass on money to select individuals with the intention of having them donate to desired candidates, or worse, fund a lawsuit that would benefit the city.

So, in sum, lawyers aren't God, anymore than doctors. They just think they are and unfortunately, people still believe that all of them follow ethical standards.

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