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Opinion

Judges must impose sanctions to stop Trump’s frivolous lawsuits

Jan 25, 2023

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Adrienne Lawrence

Legal analyst, law professor & award-winning author

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After Donald Trump and his lawyer were ordered to pay nearly $1 million in legal costs, the former president dropped a second federal civil action — this one against New York Attorney General Letitia James. With lawsuits numbering in the thousands, Trump has a long and storied history of using the legal system as part of his business strategy. Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence argues judges must issue severe monetary sanctions to stop Trump and other “opportunists” from abusing the system.

Last week we witnessed a judge finally do the one thing that will get Donald Trump to course correct as it concerns his abuse of the courts. That is issue sanctions.

As a recap, on Thursday a federal judge in Florida ordered the former president and his attorneys to pay nearly $1 million in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and several of Trump’s other political foes. Less than 24 hours later, Trump voluntarily withdrew his other politically and PR-motivated federal lawsuit. But that one happened to be against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why did he voluntarily withdraw it? Because he knew damn well, but that lawsuit too was indeed frivolous, and he was afraid of also being hit with another near seven figure sanction.

Trump files baseless and bunk lawsuits against his political enemies abusing the court system to delay accountability and to advance his pathetic martyrdom narrative. And that’s been his strategy for years now. Why has it taken so long for the courts to hold Trump and his cronies accountable? That is my issue here.

As someone who’s litigated in the courts for years and witnessed so many frivolous suits and arguments, seldom have I seen the courts actually hold litigants and their lawyers accountable. And as a result, the legal system is inundated with asinine opportunists like Donald Trump who will abuse the court system to undeniably delay whatever reality he fears and to unjustly punish others who don’t deserve it.

How many years did Trump’s lawsuit trying to conceal his tax returns take? Six. Over the course of those years wasting time, legitimate cases were not being heard and resolved at the rate they should have been, causing people to lose faith in the justice system. They say “justice delayed is justice denied” for a reason.

Last week we witnessed a judge finally do the one thing that will get Donald Trump to course correct as it concerns his abuse of the courts. That is issue sanctions. As a recap, on Thursday, a federal judge in Florida ordered the former president and his attorneys to pay nearly a million dollars in sanctions for filing a frivolous lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and several of Trumps other political votes. Less than 24 hours later, Trump voluntarily withdrew his other politically and PR motivated federal lawsuit. But that would happen to be against New York Attorney General Letitia James, why did he voluntarily withdraw it? Because he knew damn well, but that lawsuit too was indeed frivolous, and he was afraid of also being hit with another near seven figure sanction. Trump files baseless and bunk lawsuits against his political enemies abusing the court system to delay accountability and to advance his pathetic martyrdom narrative. And that’s been his strategy for years now. Why has it taken so long for the courts to hold Trump and his cronies accountable? That is my issue here. As someone who’s litigated in the courts for years and witnessed so many frivolous suits and arguments seldom have I seen the courts actually hold litigants and their lawyers accountable. And as a result, the legal system is inundated with asinine opportunists like Donald Trump, who will abuse the court system to undeniably delay whatever reality he fears and to unjustly punish others who don’t deserve it. How many years did Trump’s lawsuit trying to conceal his tax returns take six over the course of those years, wasting time legitimate cases were not being heard and resolved at the rate they should have been causing people to lose faith in the justice system. They say Justice delayed is justice denied for a reason. When folks like Donald Trump abused the system, we the people will suffer the judicial resources that we pay as taxpayers aren’t being squandered. And that’s in large part because judges are not sanctioning these bad actors. This just reminds me of the what some 63 meritless lawsuits that were filed contesting the 2020 presidential election results. Evidently in just about two of those cases did judges actually issue monetary sanctions that largely consisted of paying their opponents legal fees, but little more? That’s junk, there needs to be punishment. They all should have been sanctioned, as far as I’m concerned for bringing such unfounded and implausible cases that did nothing more than amp up Trump’s Maga minions. These litigious fools run amok and they do so for a reason. And that reason would be a lack of consequences from the courts. Judges have long had the authority to sanction parties who filed lawsuits that are wholly illegitimate. And I’m not talking about suits that are filed to challenge the existing state of the law. As we know that such lawsuits are essential to the progression of our society. Brown v. Board of Education would be a great example. You know what separate but equal. That had been settled case law since 1896, before litigants decided to challenge it in 1951. Those types of challengers, those individuals who are arguing that the law should be different, they are 100% Welcome in the well of the courtroom. But nonsense serial filers like Donald Trump should not be. Yet they continue to come back to the judicial system, because they’re not facing consequences for damaging it with frivolous asinine lawsuits. sanctions can be a very effective way of deterring individuals from abusing our legal system. This very situation with Trump confirms that fact being slapped with what a nearly seven figure bill for filing a PR stunt of a lawsuit is enough to discourage most fools like Donnie from darkening the courts door. Such sanctions must be used more often. Do you really think the fools who ran to court challenging President Joe Biden’s win would have thought twice? had they known that they’d face actual monetary consequences for bringing such a meritless claim? Or do you think that individuals like Carrie lake would have wasted Arizona’s resources by suing over the results of the gubernatorial race there had she known that such a meritless suit would have come with a seven figure price tag on top of paying her opponents legal fees. These judges need to step up on accountability to ensure that they’re preserving the integrity of the judiciary. Also, it curbs unnecessary waste of taxpayer funds and it deters antics of no good litigious losers who are undermining our democracy. The courts cannot continue to blindly operate under the guise of society and doing the same gentlemen’s agreements decorum respectability nonsense, that the law

may have been founded upon the class that was Clarence Darrow and Oliver Wendell Holmes is no more the crass that is Rudy Giuliani and Michael Avenatti is very much a reality to today. The legal world has changed. If the law is going to Command any sort of respect in today’s day and age, the judiciary must demand it. It’s time to be a bit more willing to whip out punishment for lawyers who act in a manner that is unbecoming of the profession and to hit some sanctions against their litigants like Donald Trump, who engage in antics that are abusive of the court system. Absent such corralling this type of clownery will end up causing our democracy more harm.

 

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