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"Legal Ethics Is to Actual Ethics As ...":

Sasha posted a comment several days ago saying that "legal ethics is to actual ethics as Madison, Wisconsin is to James Madison: the former is vaguely inspired by the idea of the latter." (Hat tip to Jack Balkin, who originated this line when commenting on Cass Sunstein's "Madisonian" First Amendment theory, see 104 Yale L.J. 1935, 1955.) The Legal Ethics Forum takes up the baton with a contest (and a book for a prize): They're looking for the best entry that starts "Legal ethics is to real ethics as ...." Give them your best.

By the way, while I much appreciate Ann Althouse's linking to Sasha's comment, I should note that neither Sasha nor, to my knowledge, Jack Balkin were trying to "dis" Madison, Wisconsin -- I'm sure Madison is a fine place, but I don't think anybody would claim that Madison is somehow especially "Madisonian" in the sense of embodying the views of James Madison. So the answer to Ann's question, "If we could reanimate James Madison and show him this place, would he really have such a problem with us?," is "no"; the point is simply that, with no disrespect to the city, neither would Madison the person think that Madison the city is somehow specially connected to him in any way beyond the name. (There's also an exchange about this between Sasha and Ann in Ann's comments.)

John Steele (mail):
Perhaps the notion that the quote disses Madison WI derives from the (widespread?) notion that legal ethics is not well regarded. Certainly the use of the word "real" in front of the second kind of ethics isn't favorable for the front halves of the comparisons (legal ethics and Madison WI).
6.9.2008 2:44pm
John Steele (mail):
Oh, and thanks for the link.
6.9.2008 2:44pm
Guest101:
As you should have learned from previous experience, engaging with Althouse is generally not worth the effort.
6.9.2008 2:50pm
Mike& (mail):
Althouse will find any reason to get offended. It's really an amazing ability. Even more amazing is her (in)ability to listen to reason.
6.9.2008 3:01pm
Arkady:
I didn't see Sasha's comment, but the discussion reminds me of something I heard many, many years ago:

What's the difference between ethics and morals?

Businessmen have ethics, young girls have morals.

(I told you it was many, many years ago.)
6.9.2008 3:30pm
Gary McGath (www):
I recall a book from around 1970 titled "Military justice is to justice as military music is to music."
6.9.2008 3:33pm
Michael F. Martin (mail) (www):
Balkin was too hard on Sunstein.

It's true that Sunstein's normative project for First Amendment scholarship would have rubbed Madison the wrong way. Madison probably wouldn't have trusted any gov't involvement in mediation of ideological debates -- the historical point that Sunstein glosses over.

But it's also true that Madison understood and was concerned with how ideological debates can lead to violence. Federalist 10 is full of clues about this way of thinking.
6.9.2008 3:36pm
Michael F. Martin (mail) (www):
To wit, Madison would have found the bracing intellectual debate at Madison rather Madisonian.
6.9.2008 3:37pm
jcr:
Legal ethics is to real ethics as this analogy is to a real analogy.

ah, the sweet smell of self-reference.
6.9.2008 3:52pm
TomHynes (mail):
Legal ethics is a set of rules designed to maximize the excess profits of lawyers.

What is this "real ethics" of which you speak? Do other professions have rules that are <b>not</b> designed to maximize the excess profits of the members?
6.9.2008 4:13pm
GV:
Legal ethics is to ethics as Ayn Rand is to philosophy.
6.9.2008 4:16pm
Jay:
"Legal ethics is a set of rules designed to maximize the excess profits of lawyers."

Would it be ok if we only tried to maximize the regular profits, rather than the excess ones?
6.9.2008 4:30pm
Aultimer:
Take your pick:

Legal ethics is to actual ethics as climate science is to actual science.

Legal ethics is to actual ethics as intelligent design is to actual science.

Legal ethics is to actual ethics as the Libertarian Party politics is to libertarianism.
6.9.2008 4:30pm
Zed:
Legal ethics is to real ethics as pasteurized processed cheese product is to real cheese.
6.9.2008 4:32pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Legal ethics are to actual ethics as lycra spandex leggings are to men's trousers. The former, elastic versions of the latter, can stretch to suit many client's needs.
6.9.2008 4:42pm
Curt Fischer:
Legal ethics are to real ethics as cotton candy is to Neptune: Scientists haven't yet definitively ruled out any connections.



(I don't know anything about legal ethics; I'm just going for [cheap?] laughs.)
6.9.2008 4:52pm
Crunchy Frog:
...swiss cheese is to the Swiss Guards.

And no, I don't have a point. Why do you ask?
6.9.2008 5:07pm
Henry Woodbury (mail):
Legal ethics are to real ethics as kiwis are to hedgehogs.
6.9.2008 5:31pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Crunchy Frog's suggestions inspires a variation:

. . . as "Swiss Cheese" (the kind sold in American supermarkets) is to Swiss Cheese (the kind made in Switzerland).

Clunkily expressed, but perhaps someone can improve the rhetoric.
6.9.2008 5:32pm
pgepps (www):
...as a piece of unprinted flat plastic is to a credit card.

Both are "plastic" and have little use, but one at least stands for something valuable.
6.9.2008 5:40pm
ejo:
legal ethics is to ethics as to "we were only following orders" is to a defense at the Nurembury trials.
6.9.2008 5:49pm
LTEC (mail) (www):
Something about Professional Wrestling.
6.9.2008 6:05pm
Dan Hamilton:
legal ethics is to ethics as modern art is to art.
6.9.2008 6:15pm
Bleepless (mail):
Your feeling it necessary to be nice about the geographical Madison is depressing.
6.9.2008 6:30pm
Michael F. Martin (mail) (www):
Legal ethics is to ethics as law is to lawyers.
6.9.2008 6:32pm
Michael F. Martin (mail) (www):
Legal ethics is to ethics as Kantian idealism is to Talebian Fat Tonyism.
6.9.2008 6:37pm
Michael F. Martin (mail) (www):
Legal ethics is to ethics as anarcho-capitalism is to libertarianism.
6.9.2008 6:39pm
KenB (mail):
Legal ethics are to actual ethics as lycra spandex leggings are to men's trousers. The former, elastic versions of the latter, can stretch to suit many client's needs.
And in that legal ethics applied to a specific circumstance can be nearly as offputting to the normal person as, for example, me wearing lycra spandex leggings.
6.9.2008 6:42pm
PostNoBill:
Legal ethics is to real ethics as military intelligence is to real intelligence.
6.9.2008 6:58pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Legal ethics is to real ethics as religious casuistry is to sound reasoning.
6.9.2008 7:01pm
ys:
Legal ethics is to real ethics as a joiner is to a cabinet-maker (with a nod to Anton Chekhov, M.D.)

Have fun figuring out what Dr.Chekhov has to do with this.
6.9.2008 7:17pm
Inigo Montoya:
Legal ethics is to real ethics as what Vizzini thinks "inconceivable" means is to what it means.
6.9.2008 7:18pm
Smokey:
Legal ethics are to real ethics as Bill Lerach is to technology businesses.
6.9.2008 7:51pm
David Schwartz (mail):
Legal ethics is to real ethics as social justice is to real justice.
6.10.2008 7:08am
Prof. S. (mail):
Legal ethics are to real ethics as the Holy Roman Empire is to Rome and holiness. The general publc assume they must be connected, but insiders know that it is simply creative labeling.
6.10.2008 9:23am
Guest McGuesterston (mail):
...as conservatism is to conservation.
6.12.2008 1:37am