[There is no] lawyer’s Paradise where all words have a fixed, precisely ascertained meaning…
—James Bradley Thayer (1898)
Words strain, Crack and sometimes break, under the burden, Under the tension, slip, slide, perish, Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place, Will not stay still.
—T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton (1936)
Thayer reminds me of the Coolio song, Gangsta’s Paradise: “Been spendin’ most their lives / Livin’ in the gangsta’s paradise…” The first words of the Thayer quote, which are usually paraphrased away, reinforce my mental connection: “The Chief Justice here retires into that lawyer’s Paradise…”
It has always been this way, and it always will be. Though we usually manage to ignore the chaos or repress awareness of it … these days, not so much.
It seems like only yesterday that I was posting links to the financial crisis legislation of 2008-9. Here we go again.
So far, we’ve had three bills to deal with the coronavirus epidemic and its economic consequences:
- HR 7048, the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (a/k/a the “CARES Act”), March 27, 2020. Wikipedia summary, full text PDF.
- HR 6201, the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” March 18, 2020. Wikipedia summary, full text PDF.
- HR 6074, the “Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act,” March 3, 2020. Wikipedia summary, full text PDF.
Careful printing the CARES Act—it’s over 300 pages.
And then there were four:
- HR 266, the “Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act,” April 24, 2020, full text PDF.
- HR 7010, the “Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act,” June 5, 2020, full text PDF.
- HR 1319, the “American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, March 11, 2021, full text PDF.