Mass. Housing Court pretrial today. Mandatory attendance.

D did not appear.

Judge denied default; dismissal of D counterclaim; a switch to bench trial; & refused to set a prompt "last chance" hearing.

Readers, this is not neutral justice.

The Mass Housing Court openly prides itself on "keeping tenants in homes." This is how they do it.

When landlords miss dates (even pro se LLs), cases are dismissed.

But when defendants do the same, the court does nothing and gives them extra privileges.
Mass can write new laws that favor tenants. It can even write new court rules which treat the parties differently!

But this is wrong.

When a court selectively enforces/ignores its own rules for one side only, it stains the court process AND the court.
I am not anti-tenant! I represent tenants all the time; I have done so for my entire career.

I am, however, firmly opposed to any HIDDEN bias--especially in the court system.

If Mass. wants tenants to have extra rights/privileges, then the legislature needs to make that call.
But this sort of legislating-by-proxy via the judicial system (dare I call it a "shadow docket") is inappropriate.

It's bad for Massachusetts and it forces embarrassing behavior on our excellent courts.
The Housing Court should NEVER be responsible for, or aligned with, "solving" the problems of homelessness, or "preventing evictions."

It should prevent unlawful evictions, of course. But it should promptly and efficiently determine lawfulness, and should enforce lawful ones.
I sincerely hope that the Mass. state legislature will take up this issue and that they will, once and for all, return the Housing court to its PROPER role: A neutral, efficient, prompt, dispenser of accurate, legally-supported, rulings.

But I am not holding my breath.
And not incidentally: I have personally advised multiple people who have been thinking about building rental housing. The same rental housing Mass. claims to desperately need.

My advice: They'd be mad to enter this market unless they account for the growing legal risks.
All of them made the smart call.
Not one built a new year-round rental unit.

Instead, they'll invest in housing w/ less legal risk.

Maybe our legislature could consider THAT problem, as well? Please?
Because you might reasonably ask: Who in their right mind would build new rental housing in this state?

The answer: Only huge/corporate LLs. They can divvy up the enormous risk across hundreds or thousands of units.

They can have a "tenant legal department;" forms; websites...
a single lawyer on standby; lots of boilerplate ready to go; etc.

But the odd thing is that Mass. supposedly DISLIKES these enormous corporate owners.

Certainly, the smaller landlords are running scared and units are dropping left and right.
I don't know what the number of units is before it really starts making sense in this crazy legal scheme, in a state which was ALREADY insanely difficult for landlords.


But it sure doesn't make sense for most small folks.

They're better off w/ AirBNB.
When I represent tenants, I generally win--Mass. law strongly favors tenants. But the outcome of most of my wins is that the LL pulls the property off the normal rental market.

I am helping my tenant clients. And I am, simultaneously, harming tenants in general.
Again: It shouldn't take a Bastiat expert to recognize the "unseen" here.

Laws have consequences which often extend far beyond the "intended goals" of the law in question.

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More from @a_lawyer_dog

13 Sep
There is a fundamental conflict between "I want to make life difficult for people who I don't agree with" and "I want to be able to think/act as I wish."

Too few people are willing to recognize that the conflict exists at ALL, much less to prefer option #2.
Everyone always says the same shit.

--"Of course we don't want judgment for thoughts, but this particular one is an exception."

--As is "entirely clear," my position is correct.

--"There's an emergency!"
--People who fail to prioritize and act on my pet position are maliciously in opposition!

--It's about "safety!" (or the alternate term-of-the-moment)

--"There is no middle ground here!"

This is all bullshit.

And it almost always relies on an EXCEPTION to a principle.
Read 6 tweets
13 Sep
@RoKhanna has an excellent bill proposal. Here's the text, which (as usual) is surprisingly hard to find in the news articles. PDF:…
These changes are good. The US would be much better w/ rotating USSC terms, than with the current setup. 2-yr appointments, 18 year terms, is wise.

Constitution makes some of this tricky, though not his fault.
For example, can't really fire EXISTING judges, so would be more than 9 unless & until the existing ones retire. Probably no way around that; so be it.

The 120-day "advise and consent" is also an excellent proposal as it forces an up/down vote. May not pass Ctl. muster tho.
Read 6 tweets
13 Sep
My kid will finish TWO years of college calculus, all before graduating high school--all through public schools (no tutoring/special classes); he's not alone.

In some US public high schools, a majority of the kids who graduate can hardly multiply.

How can this be our country?
I moved to my town because I researched the school system first. That's what my mom did, too.

How can we possibly deny parents the equivalent opportunity to help THEIR kids? It's unethical! And it's unethical to tie it to income:
"Moving to a neighborhood w/ good schools" takes a lot of money and know-how. Only a few folks can do it; I was lucky.

"Registering for a public charter school" does not take money. It is available to the poor and uneducated alike.
Read 16 tweets
13 Sep
This is a hard balance.

Broad-based government mandates are almost always inferior to individual, expert, solutions which consider specific individual facts.

But the government is often better, on average, than an uninformed/uneducated solution. Especially for public health.
Yes: Many people who have advanced scientific training can make individual weighted decisions which are better than those made by government.

But how to screen for those who are ACTUALLY competent to override gov't policy, versus those who just THINK/CLAIM they're competent?
"Thinkers:" Many folks honestly but FALSELY believe that they are competent & informed w/r/t health medicine etc.

"Claimers:" Many others KNOW they aren't competent but they don't care. They say "fuck the gov't" and claim competence anyway.
Read 4 tweets

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