When it comes to legal blogging, there seems to be no shortage of writing worth reading once one gets around to it.
What's that? You have no round tuit? My friend, you are fortunate indeed, for never before in human history have round tuits been so readily available. If you need one, Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. has them in stock.
While you place your order, I'll share a few posts which are worth your attention.
I'm a member of the Oregon Bar and, as a Registered In-House Counsel, of the California Bar as well (membership numbers 954014 and 800953, if you're keeping score at home). Every so often, one or the other will send me something other than a magazine I won't read or a flyer for a continuing education seminar I won't attend. Ballots for bar positions or rule changes get a meaningful glance, which puts these somewhere between Christmas cards and Publisher's Clearinghouse notifications on the mail review continuum.
When I started-out, I was far more diligent about considering the qualifications of those who sought elected positions within the bar's bureaucracy and the ramifications of the ethics and other rule changes proposed year after year. I suppose that I cared more back then. Many rule changes done from one year to another seem pointless and fussy, done primarily to demonstrate that the bar's leadership has accomplished anything other than organizing a golf-filled annual conference.
I was reminded this past week that at worst, those fussy rule changes can have potentially dramatic effects for many of the clients our profession serves. It's fair to say that the next time a bar ballot lands in my inbox, I'll make more of an effort to consider its real-world consequences. A member of two bars, I've had my eyes opened by a rule change in a third — Texas — and a few criminal defense attorneys there.
Paul Kennedy discussed the proposed rule change and its effect on the criminal defense bar and its less well-to-do clients:
[T]he State Bar has decided it's time to update the disciplinary rules - apparently for no better reason than they haven't been updated it a while.That an entire segment of the profession — and a particularly vulnerable segment of the public — could be adversely-affected by this rule-making should give others in the bar reason to pause for careful reflection. Kennedy noted, however, that the Texas bar is in hard-sell mode:
Most of us in the criminal defense bar charge flat fees to represent clients charged with criminal offenses.
Some of the proposed changes are good - but some are very troubling to criminal defense attorneys.
Chief among these is proposed Rule Number 1.15. This rule lays out the obligations of an attorney who is holding property belonging to a client or another party. Section 1.15(d) reads as follows:[a] lawyer shall deposit unearned fees and advanced expenses into client trust account, to be withdrawn by the lawyer only as fees are earned or expenses are incurred.We don't bill by the hour. We bill for our service. A prospective client either agrees to pay our fee or they find someone else who will charge less. I charge a flat fee for DWI defense. While I have a good idea of what needs to be done on the case, I don't know going in how much time I'm going to have to spend working on it. How much discovery is there going to be? Witness interviews? Pretrial motions? It's not practical on a criminal case to call your client up and tell them they need to bring in more money because the case has gotten more complicated than you first estimated. Most of our clients don't have the money.
We are also bound by our ethical obligations to provide a vigorous defense. But what if a client can't ante up halfway through a case? It would put both the attorney and the client in untenable positions.The basis of a criminal representation is the relationship between the attorney and the client -- let financial issues get in the middle of that relationship and something's got to break.
[T]he State Bar is burning up the internet with e-mails from Bar officials telling us why the proposed changes are the equivalent of sliced bread. Every one of these e-mails attacks the voices that raise questions about the new rules. And while the State Bar is sparing no expense to entice lawyers across the state to vote for changes, nowhere on the State Bar's website is there any dissenting opinion.Urging his fellow bar members — criminal defense counsel or no — to vote against the unearned fees rule change, Kennedy countered the bar's "nothing to see here" messaging:
In the commentary to the existing rules we learn that it can be difficult to determine what is or isn't a reasonable fee and that such a standard would be "too vague" to use in disciplinary procedures, but the new rule talks about fees that are "clearly excessive" and the commentary indicates that a reasonableness standard should be applied to determine if the fee arrangement violates the rules.It's fortunate that social media offers a means for dissenting voices to counter the official line. In a series of posts, Mark Bennett explained in considerable and persuasive detail what's at stake in the Texas referendum. Noting that flat fees make sound economic sense for both clients and lawyers, he wrote that for many facing criminal charges, flat fees offer access for effective representation which they would not otherwise have:
That, my friends, is a tremendous change and a scary one at that. Who determines what's reasonable? Will it be other criminal defense attorneys in the area? Will it be other criminal defense attorneys who handle a particular type of criminal case on a routine basis? Will it be attorneys from BigLaw who have no idea of what goes down in the criminal courts or what is involved in defending a person accused of committing a crime?
In the course of less than six years, how did we get to a point where a reasonableness standard isn't too vague anymore?
The State Bar attempts to answer concerns from criminal defense attorneys that the new rules will change the way attorneys have to handle flat fee arrangements (or if such arrangements are even allowed). According to the State BarThe proposed rule does not change this law (and it could not) and puts criminal defense lawyers in no worse or better position than the current rule.Well, if that's the case, why change the rule at all?
It’s enough for me that the State Bar wants to do away with flat fees. Most people who have the money to pay me a flat fee, in which I accept the risk that litigation will drag on and the client accepts the risk that it won’t, could not possibly afford to deposit enough in trust to cover my hourly rate through every reasonably anticipable contingency of my representation. Forbidding criminal-defense lawyers charging flat fees would deprive many of effective representation.Bennett discussed the disconnect between the state bar's aspirations for client mobility and the realities criminal defendants face:
For as long as there has been a criminal-defense bar in Texas, Texas lawyers have been charging flat fees in criminal cases and not placing them in trust, and not refunding any money if they are discharged before the case is complete. (Smart criminal-defense lawyers, when discharged, will sometimes refund reasonable portions of fees, but this is a matter of prudence and personal ethics rather than law.) Why the disconnect between what the State Bar wants the law to be, and the longstanding practice of thousands of highly ethical criminal-defense lawyers?Digging a little more deeply into this disconnect, Bennett explained that the rule change is driven by a relatively-small group of non-practicing "experts" whose views have been rejected by the courts under the current rules:
Where the parties agree that a fee is earned upon receipt, does the fact that it may be refundable make it unearned? No, of course not. Again, contract principles apply unless there is good reason to ignore them. There is, at least until the statute of limitations expires, the possibility that a fee will be refundable. That has nothing to do with whether it is earned or not.
Those in the State Bar who think that flat fees are unethical want people to be able to change lawyers; that’s a worthy aim, but if a defendant can’t afford to hire a lawyer in the first place, it doesn’t do him any good to be able to change lawyers—the defendant whose resources have been exhausted with the first lawyer can’t change lawyers freely. Neither, though, can the indigent defendant who has been appointed counsel, nor the client who has been tapped out by an hourly-fee lawyer. That defendants should be able to change lawyers at will is not a principle; it’s a nice goal, but there’s no reason it should control over the principle that the parties to a contract should be able to choose its terms, or the principle that private criminal-defense services should be accessible to more than only the very wealthy.
What’s really going on here is this: a few opinionated non-practicing lawyers... think that a flat fee can’t be earned upon receipt. The rules don’t support this proposition, and neither does public policy, so they have never been able to get any traction for it in the courts. If they tried to amend the rules to explicitly say so, 10,000 criminal-defense lawyers would be up in arms; they probably won’t even get it on the referendum ballot. So they tweak the rule a little bit to shift the focus from “property belonging to the client” to “unearned fees.”Murray Newman, a former prosecutor, addressed those who are still in prosecutors' offices around the state:
If the rules, the law, and public policy don’t support the proposition, why do these non-practicing lawyers think flat fees can’t be earned upon receipt? I suspect it’s because in their worldview lawyers sell their time, punching clocks and justifying their value to the client in 6-minute increments. In such a world, it’s easy to tell what has been earned and what hasn’t. By making the trust rule “unearned fees” they try to squeeze us all into thinking like wage slaves.
If you are anything like I was when I was a prosecutor, you are more than likely asking yourself "why the hell would I care about a bunch of rules that only pertain to lawyers in private practice"?From New York, Scott Greenfield added his thoughts to those of his Texas brethren and his support to their efforts:
The simple answer is because sometimes you might end up in private practice. Even if right now you are pretty sure you are going to be a Prosecutor for Life.
Now, the rules that concern me aren't the ones prohibiting sexual contact with clients. If a lawyer is stupid enough to enter into a romantic relationship with a client or (God forbid) take sex as a payment for services, then that lawyer has got more freaking problems than the State Bar can regulate.
The ones that concern me are the others, which, if implemented would basically collapse private practice as we know it. If you are hoping to someday come into private practice, the Regulations that the State Bar's referendum is currently trying to pass will make it more complicated and more restrictive.
And trust me, starting a new law practice is already complicated as it is.
The nature of criminal defense has always been different than others practice areas. Our clients are different. Their situation is different. We, the lawyers who defend them, are different. Rules that work fine for other niches don't work at all.Floridian Brian Tannebaum gave a nod to Greenfield's mention of a "right to contract freely" but wrote that the reality is far from that ideal:
The basic notion is that in the normal course of affairs, we either get paid up front or don't get paid at all. The latter might be okay with some, who aren't deeply concerned with lawyers getting paid, but they ignore the consequences. If criminal defense lawyers don't get paid, then no lawyer who like to eat will be able to sustain a practice as a criminal defense lawyer. Whether we all run off to do real estate, or wills, or mergers and acquisitions (because their fees make complete sense) doesn't matter. We won't do criminal defense, no matter how much we want to. Our kids still need shoes on their feet. That's life.
No decent criminal defense lawyer can live with himself if he's not doing right by his client. We fight because it's a fight that needs to be made. We compromise because it's in the client's best interest. We can do this because money isn't in issue; we are not in a conflict with our client. This will change.
Just at the moment in their life when they need us most, legal fees will prove an impenetrable divide between lawyer and client. They owe it and they don't have it. We are forced to choose whether to work for free or hurt a client. This is an untenable situation. This situation cannot happen without undermining our purpose for being lawyers. Worse still, they don't necessarily mean to stiff us on the fee, yet you can't get blood from a rock. The lawyer gets screwed and has to eat the loss.
With that as a future, who would want to practice criminal defense? Who could afford to do so? Without flat fees, there could be no viable private criminal defense bar, unless the lawyer happened to be heir to so vast a fortune that he never needed to make another dollar. How many guys like that are around?
While the theoretical underpinnings of flat fees, such as the right to contract freely which would be available to everyone other than criminal defense lawyers, are worth arguing, there remains a fundamental point that can't be ignored. Without flat fees, there can be no private criminal defense bar. Except for that one rich guy who does it for kicks.
We have the right to do what our State Bar says we can do, because as I've said before, State Bars exist today for the sole purpose of protecting the public from lawyers. "Pay your dues, and keep the clients perfectly happy" is their mantra. While one Bar prosecutor once told me "there are two types of complaints, complaints against lawyers, and complaints against criminal defense lawyers," more and more the civil lawyers who Scott refers to as "Bar types," show their lack of love for us.We hear a lot of talk from our state bars about donating our time and money toward ensuring that all have "access to justice". This week's referendum in Texas should remind us that, in the context of criminal law, this means that a defendant's ability to pay should not determine whether he or she will be able to secure effective defense representation. The Texas Bar and its clutch of non-practicing ethics consultants should be reminded that that cause is ill-served by rule-making which undermines the economic sustainability of defense bar or forces more people into underfunded public defense programs by sapping their capacity to pay for services other than hourly.
The Texas Bar's focus on the criminal defense lawyer's "flat fee," is disgraceful. But it is symptomatic of what Scott Greenfield refers to as the "Bar types" that mill around state bar committees when they are not in their offices waiting for someone to bring them coffee in embossed ceramic cups (with a saucer Goddammit, and now).
And so Mark, I have some bad news for you. Your criminal defense colleagues may vote against this and all the new proposals. More likely, they will remember after the deadline that the ballot went in to the garbage, and they didn't have time to vote because they were "in trial." You are screaming from the rooftops, maybe others are joining you, but the masses won't pay attention until they receive a letter a year from now from the Texas Bar about their non-refundable $2,000.00 fee.
I am a Bar-type. I mill around those Bar committees in my khakis and blue shirts (no-tie) while the masses of civil lawyers in suits with briefcases tagged with their initials in gold who "tolerate" us, cast us off as part of the problem in the profession - disregarding that their precious billable hour is the definition of fraud. I am a Bar-type, I pay my own way to meeting after meeting, speaking up when I hear our criminal defense bar malinged, and constantly trying to convince my colleagues there is a good answer to "why do you go to all these meetings?" They all think I'm doing it for my resume, or some judicial aspiration, and are still wondering why after 16 years, neither has been true.
Until the criminal defense bar infiltrates state bars, gets on every committee, and participates at the same table as the manicured civil bar, we will continue to beg for our constitutionally mandated existence.
Good luck Mark, and good luck my brothers and sisters in the Texas Criminal Defense Bar. May the rights of clients to be guaranteed a flat fee and not be nickel and dimed for every .2 conversation, or charged for when we are "thinking about the case" throughout the representation, be protected.
For most, this past Monday's commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was a welcome holiday; for many, it was a "day on" rather than a day off; for some, it was a day of particular meaning celebrating the life and work of a singularly remarkable man. The legal blogosphere offered many examples of this last group, including Gideon's Blawg Review #294. Amongst the many King-themed links Gideon collected was a curious one wherein the Defense Department's general counsel argued that, were he alive today, Dr. King would support the war effort. Gideon found it laughable to suggest that the famously non-violent and anti-war King would've come around to the DoD's way of thinking. Jesse Walker, who discussed the comments in Reason wrote:
Now, I suppose it is theoretically possible that if Martin Luther King were alive today he would support Washington's wars, in the same sense that it is theoretically possible that Ronald Reagan would be a celebrity spokesman for the Workers World Party. People change! It could happen! Maybe he'd have a personality-changing concussion or something! And hey, Reagan probably told a parable at some point that a socialist could use for his own ends...In the limited reading I've done on the Civil Rights movement, I've always been impressed with Dr. King's adherence to a policy of nonviolent civil disobedience, both despite the violence perpetrated against his followers and despite the alternative courses favored by other leaders. Jon Katz noted and celebrated King's nonviolence:
Come on, people. You want to argue for the merits of a war, either argue forthrightly against King's clear views on the subject or have the good taste to leave him out of the discussion altogether.
In overcoming violence, we have a very long way to go. Let us make the first step and the next step today on the non-violent path.Scott Greenfield discussed the dual themes of equality and freedom in Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech and urged us to honor the great man's memory by fighting for both:
Happy birthday, Martin Luther King, Jr., and thanks many time over.
Rather than view equality and freedom as competing values, this suggests that they were both necessary aspects of each other, that one without the other necessarily failed to be realized.Mirriam Seddiq recognized King as someone who undeniably mattered to his contemporaries and to those of us in the generations after his; she wrote that we should all aspire to matter and be diligent in working for social justice:
I suspect that Martin saw equality as an artificial roadblock on the path to freedom, constructed by some foolish and troubled people who needed to come to grips with their own limitations and challenges before they could recognize the impropriety of accepting others as human beings and fully equal in all respects. I suspect he believe that equality, though not easily achieved, would eventually be realized. And then, I suspect, he believe that equality would put those who suffered discrimination on the road to achieving freedom.
Martin would never bargain away freedom to achieve equality. He knew that the latter without the former was a hollow victory, and that the true purpose of equality is to attain freedom. Yet those who follow in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s intellectual footsteps today are fully prepared, if not chomping at the bit, to give up freedom for equality. It's become a flagrant battleground with freedom of speech, a great right provided no one's feelings get hurt in the process, in which case it gets tossed out the window in a flash.
It's much easier to argue for equality at the expense of freedom. It's a big, shiny bargaining chip, making every potential trade very attractive. It may well offer the clearest, fastest path to equality. But it's a deal with the devil. Give away freedom and your equality has lost some meaning. Give away more freedom and equality is rendered worthless. So what if we're all equal, and all miserable, and all equally subservient to ordered?
Martin wouldn't have bargained away freedom. Who are you to advocate doing so? Equality must be achieved, but never at the expense of freedom, as it's freedom that makes equality so worthwhile a goal.
When you fight you know there will be blows that land in tender spots and you will be achy and bruised even if you are ultimately victorious. That hose the police turned on you hurts like a motherfucker and that dog is trained to bite. And yet the people in Montgomery and Atlanta and Norfolk and Baltimore stood there and they took those hoses and those dog bites. And they got up and did it again. Over and over and over. Despite being mistreated, beaten and arrested. They fought through the fear and the pain. Through the sweaty palms and sour stomach. Nelson Mandela said "courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." ( Now, which one of you is going to call Nelson Mandela a wuss?) They fought through the nay-sayers and the powers- that -be that told them to just wait, be patient, in due course, justice will be yours.King is an American hero; not an icon only of the political left, or of ethnic minorities, or of the anti-establishment. In the midst of a particularly divisive period in our recent political history, Dan McLaughlin reminded us that King's example is for us all:
It's been years since I've taken to the streets for a cause. I can't even remember what it was for. And, it is only recently that I've found the fortitude to speak up (in my mousy little voice) against the injustices that we face on a daily basis. We write blogs and decry the awesome power of the state but without a unified force we are nothing more than armies of one. I sit in my little office in Takoma Park while another sits in his office in Connecticut, or California, or Ohio. All of us sing the same song but we are certainly not a choir, more like a cacaphony, with no voice or sound distinct enough to stand out and rise above the rest. There is no pretty faced, charismatic leader to give us courage in our fight. There is no one to compare to Jesus or Thomas Jefferson. There is just me. And you.
And I don't matter.
There are three men in American history distinguished enough that they have been honored with a national holiday - George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King jr. - but only Dr. King has been honored solely for his time as a private citizen, having never held public office or military commission.He was a remarkable man, one whom we honor not for military victories but for nonviolence, not for political achievements but for moral ones. He made us better despite ourselves. For that we remember him and are reminded of the debt we owe him.
Unsurprisingly, to be so honored, all three men hold lessons for conservatives and liberals alike. All were in some sense revolutionary figures, unwilling to sit quietly on the status quo for the sake of comity and going along to get along, even at the sake of personal danger and the making of many enemies. Washington took up arms against his own government, and forged a new nation unlike any that had come before. Lincoln led a new, sometimes hard-edged political party that challenged a deeply embedded evil afoot in the nation, never backing down from his anti-slavery convictions even when accused of fomenting violence by anti-slavery radicals, nor when half the country took up arms in rebellion rather than accept his election. And Dr. King challenged, with stubborn persistence, the equally entrenched legacy of slavery in the form of Jim Crow laws. Yet by the same token, none of the three was a radical. Washington, like others of his generation, saw himself not as author of a new order but the protector of an Englishman's traditional liberties against novel encroachments such as new and unjust taxes. Lincoln, for all his hatred of slavery, was initially willing to accept the pragmatic half-measure of stopping its spread, and only came to the drastic step of emancipation in the midst of a horrible war. And Dr. King eschewed the call to arms of the African-American radicals of his day, pushing for reform through the system and calling on his fellow Americans not to reject their heritage but to live up to the promises of America's founding documents and answer to their Christian consciences.
Mike Masnick has been a diligent and effective critic of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's domain name seizure campaign. This past week, the head of ICE, John Morton, attempted to reassure the public that his agency's actions were not meant to chill free speech; Masnick explains that ICE (and its partners in the corporate world) have done just that, for questionable reasons and sidestepping existing legal protections in the process:
There are existing laws that allow the government or private parties to file a lawsuit against anyone accused of breaking the law, and allowing (as per our normal due process system) an adversarial hearing to be had in court so that both sides get their say. What Morton and his team did ignores all of that. It ignored due process. It seized sites that had substantial non-infringing content, it used serious technical and legal errors to get a judge to rubber stamp seizures of domain names that were widely used by the music industry to promote their own works. And he addresses none of that.Though he doesn't defend the effectiveness of the domain name seizures, Terry Hart argues that the ICE's actions do not violate the First Amendment:
Finally, he claims that the domain seizures were really effective because a bunch of other websites shut down in the wake of the seizures. This is kind of funny because of how naive it makes Morton and ICE appear. Yes, some websites that knew they would be equally easy for Homeland Security to seize without due process or respect for the First Amdenment switched to other URLs outside of US control, but it's pretty naive to think that those operating the sites simply stopped doing so.
No one has yet come up with a reasonable explanation why suing these sites first was not possible. Why did they need to be seized? The only explanation given so far was that some third party might get ahold of them and use them for nefarious purposes, but we already explained how that makes no sense. A judge could easily have issued an injunction barring the sale of the domain names while a lawsuit was ongoing. It's troubling that the best John Morton can do is to simply make stuff up to support a campaign of censorship on behalf of the entertainment industry (who was such a close partner that the initial part of this campaign was announced from Disney's headquarters). We should be quite concerned when law enforcement officials are taking orders from companies, and the best defense they can come up with to support these actions is to lie and pretend that there were no other legal means that do not violate free speech or due process.
In this case, we’re talking here about whether the seizure — the initial taking of the property into governmental custody to initiate forfeiture proceedings — is an impermissible prior restraint. Whether the ultimate forfeiture of these domain names violates the First Amendment is a completely separate question....Hart explained why all three should be answered in the negative.
The argument that these domain name seizures violate the First Amendment comes down to timing: does the First Amendment require a hearing before the domain name is seized, or are the procedures available after a seizure occurs — the Rule 41(g) motion, the actual forfeiture proceedings, etc — adequate?
The answer to that question is actually not an easy one to answer. As far as I know, no court has heard a First Amendment challenge to the seizure of a domain name as property used in the facilitation of a crime in order to be forfeited.
As I see it, we’re actually dealing with three separate questions here.
- Are the domain names that have been seized considered “expressive content” such that a higher bar than seizure of ordinary property is required?
- Are the seizures predicated on presumptively protected speech — the allegedly infringing works disseminated on the sites — so that, in effect, they are akin to seizing expressive content and thus require the same higher bar?
- Is there a high enough burden caused by the seizures on the other expressive content on these web sites — message boards, blog posts, etc — making these seizures an impermissible prior restraint?
Rick Horowitz discussed freedom this past week, albeit of the Second rather than First Amendment variety, writing that in the wake of the shootings in Tucson, calls to limit freedoms in the name of security should be regarded with greater rather than lesser skepticism:
Freedom is a dangerous thing. Ask any fascistic despotic ruler. Free people tend to follow their own predilections; they tend to do what they want with their lives. Those who wish more control over the lives of others cannot tolerate this.Erich Veith noted that the government's efforts in curtailing freedom have become decoupled from its interests in punishing criminal conduct or maintaining national security, as evidenced by the increasing trend toward confiscations and searches of personal data without even suspicion of wrongdoing, let alone probable cause:
But as recent events in Tucson, Arizona have shown us, freedom has other consequences, as well. So it’s not just those who desire to impose their own will on others who are questioning freedom.
The thing about free people is, as I said, they do things they want. If they happen to want to say something, for example, critical of the government, and to encourage change, they will. If they happen to be people who want not to procreate, they will try to avoid that. If they happen to begin the process of procreation unwillingly, they will try to stop it prematurely. If they want to own guns, for whatever reason, they will. They might argue that the government should, for the most part, leave them alone. They may tend to believe that government, in fact, should only have so much power, and no more. They may recognize government as “a necessary evil.” Or they may not feel the government is evil, but that it could become evil if unchecked.
To the historian and people who know how to read, there is every bit of evidence that our Founders held beliefs like those outlined above, that free people might tend to hold.
But, as I said, freedom can be dangerous.
If you happen to think that people should not be able to control their own bodies — you might even say, “at least under certain conditions,” or “sometimes” — then you will not like people trying to exercise freedom over their own selves. If you happen to think that people should not criticize the government, at least in some of the time, you will be upset about those who do. If you are stupid enough, you might even believe that guns are capable of killing people all by themselves and therefore no one — not even intelligent, thinking, friendly people who would never shoot at anyone else — should own a gun. And, of course, you will think that government shouldn’t leave people alone. Particularly if they want to own guns.
The sad bottom line is that there is no political momentum to condemn and bar this practice, even in the context of ubiquitous rhetoric regarding the need to limit the power of the federal government.It seems odd to suggest that a free nation could properly be a nation of criminals, but it seems that in the government's current view only criminals resist the authority of the state. Criminals we all are, then — or should be.
This week, we honored a champion of our civil rights for his conscientious civil disobedience. I hope that our disobedience will be non-violent, but my greater hope is that our resistance will be effective. We should remember that in marching for civil rights, nonviolence was an effective means to an end, but not the end in itself. Frankly, some credit is due to those then in power for yielding, rather than obliging their people to choose other means. No legitimate government would require the American people to opt for violence to secure their Constitutional rights.
Though it may be progress of a sort to find that a few decades after Dr. King's death, the government controls and oppresses its people by playing on our fears of terrorism and drug violence rather than our racial prejudices, I suspect that King would tell us we still have a ways to go.
Header pictures used in this post were obtained from (top to bottom) Carbolic Smoke Ball Co., Carny Life, Wikimedia.org, and Paris Odds n Ends Thrift Store.