Now Is Not the Time to Change School Vaccine Laws

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The last thing anyone wants is another article about COVID-19.  I’m tired of reading them and I’m reluctant to write one.  But I feel the need to speak out on behalf of my children and other parents who share my beliefs.

Two bills have been presented in our state legislature seeking to amend or replace the state’s current school vaccine law.

The current law (M.G.L. c. 76, § 15) is plainly worded and easy for any parent to understand.  A child must be immunized against certain common diseases (e.g., measles, polio, tetanus, etc.) before attending school.  The statute provides two exemptions.  First, a child is exempt if his or her doctor certifies that the child’s health would be endangered by vaccination.  Second, a child is also exempt if his or her parent states in writing that vaccination conflicts with the family’s religious beliefs.

House Bill H.2411 would amend the current statute by deleting, in its entirety, the religious-belief exemption.  A separate senate bill (S.1517) seeks to completely replace the existing statute with a new series of laws that should concern all parents.

The proposed senate bill, entitled “An Act promoting community immunity”, would greatly expand the scope of the existing immunization law which currently applies to only schools.  If enacted, the bill would impose immunization requirements on almost every childhood group activity: day cares, preschools, recreational camps, etc. 

It would eliminate the narrowly defined diseases that the existing law covers and, instead, authorize the Department of Public Health to choose what vaccinations are needed on an ad hoc basis.

It seeks to replace the straight-forward exemption criteria with a convoluted bureaucratic application process which gives the public health department authority to deny religious-belief exemptions.    

Finally, it turns child programs into data collection agencies.  All of the groups covered by the proposed law must collect and report immunization data to the Department of Public Health on a regular basis.  If a program has a higher than average rate of unvaccinated participants, it will be targeted by public health officials as an “elevated risk program.”  Such programs must then disseminate “elevated risk” notices to their participants and may be subjected to “outreach” efforts by health officials.

Thus, the overall purpose of the proposed law is to tighten or eliminate exemptions, expand government power, and generally make life difficult for those who are unwilling to submit to the state’s agenda.  It’s also glaringly obvious that these proposed laws are laying the groundwork to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations in schools and most other youth activities.

At what point is the COVID fear and hysteria going to stop?  I believe that it’s time to draw the line when it comes to our children.  If you are a parent who is unwilling to subject your child to a highly potent, hastily prepared vaccine, then I’m asking you to speak out against these bills.

Contact your state representative and tell him or her to reject H.2411.  Likewise, tell your state senator that you oppose S.1517.  Lastly, make it known to the governor himself that he should veto these bills or any version of them that appears on his desk for approval.

On behalf of your children, it’s time to speak up.

Preparation vs. Results – Law School and Legal Practice

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One of the few similarities of law school and legal practice is the seemingly backwards relationship between preparation and results. Almost every law student has at least one story about working hard in a particular class and receiving a poor grade for their efforts. Conversely, the same student will have a story about doing very little in a class and getting a good grade nonetheless. This disconnection between preparation and results continues when students leave law school and begin their legal careers. In this video I discuss my experiences over the past 10 years of legal practice and give my thoughts on coping with the subjectivity and arbitrariness of legal results.

Title Fraud Insurance in Massachusetts

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Over the past year or two I’ve seen a growing number of high-budget ads for “title fraud insurance.” As with all forms of insurance, its persuaive sales people tell you nightmare stories about what might happen to you if you don’t buy their product. But are these stories true? Can someone really “steal” ownership of your home? In this video I discuss title fraud insurance and whether its worth the investment.

Need legal help? Email justin@jrmccarthy.com

Clients: How to Get Them and How to Work with Them

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No business can survive without clients. To succeed, every business owner must find an effective, sustainable way of getting clients–whether that’s by advertising, networking, or developing a referral systems with colleagues.

Lawyers and other professionals must also make it as easy as possible for potential clients to employ their services. This means promptly returning a prospect’s phone calls or emails and using docusign or other software that allows service contracts to be signed electronically.

Finally, to minimize stress and frustration, business owners must be willing to turn away undesirable clients and to part ways with existing clients who create needless problems.

Need legal help? Email justin@jrmccarthy.com

Do Lawyers Exaggerate the Severity of Legal Problems?

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Lawyers, like all other professionals, sometimes exaggerate the severity of the problems they deal with.  What might be a small legal issue can be blown out of proportion when an attorney explains the matter to a lay person using hyperbolic terms.

Why do some lawyers do this? It seems lawyers engage in this behavior for a few reasons.

1. It encourages people to hire the lawyer.  Here’s a common example.  For most people the probate process in Massachusetts is about the same whether you die with or without a will.  A will does save some money and time during the probate process and there are circumstances in which a will greatly reduces the cost of administering an estate.  But in most cases a will makes little difference.  Nevertheless, almost every estate planning attorney will describe the probate process as a total nightmare that can only be avoided only by employing him or her to draft your will or living trust.

2.  By exaggerating the nature of a client’s problem, the lawyer’s advice seems much more valuable.  For example, a few years ago I advised an elderly couple to take their house out of their name.  The circumstances were such that it was the best way for the couple to qualify for state aid with their nursing home bills and to avoid liens which could result from the aid.  The family knew a tax attorney who told the couple that my advice was “tax suicide” because, in her opinion, it would result in a higher tax rate when they sold the property.  Although the threat of losing the house due to nursing home aid was more substantial than the possibility of paying higher taxes in the future, the couple went with the tax attorney’s advice because it was proposed in more ominous terms.

3.  Finally, lawyers exaggerate the severity of problems to win arguments with other attorneys.  As with the prior example, lawyers often disagree with each other regarding what’s best for a person legally.  Often it’s the lawyer who can create the most fear in the client that wins the argument. 

Hiring Movers for the Day of Your Closing — Often a Gamble

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Hiring a moving company for the day of your closing can be a gamble. These companies often charge hundreds of dollars per hour. Overly optimistic buyers schedule the movers for the morning of the closing, often at 8 or 9 am. Unfortunately, buyers can’t move in to the new house until the deed is recorded at the registry of deeds. And that usually does not happen until late in the afternoon, often at 3 or 4 pm. This causes a tremendous amount of added stress for the buyers on closing day and leaves them with yet another big bill to pay at part of the closing process.

Need legal help? Email justin@jrmccarthy.com

Can You Be Pro-Police and Anti-Government?

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If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that police throughout the Western world will not hesitate to forcefully impose arbitrary and absurd government regulations. 

Consider just a few examples from this month alone.  In Australia a pregnant mother was arrested in front of her family for a Facebook post inviting fellow Aussies to an anti-lockdown protest.[1]  In Spain a fourteen-year-old boy who refused to wear a mask was thrown to the ground by an officer who then kneeled on the boy’s back as he screamed in pain.[2]  In the US two policemen removed a mother and her year-old child from an airplane because the infant’s face was not covered.[3]  Most disturbing of all, police in Quebec have been quietly seizing and detaining healthy citizens who have refused to comply with the city’s COVID-19 regulations.[4]

All of these incidents were reported with indignation by pundits in the right-wing media.  Conservative commentators rightfully warn us that government is overstepping its bounds and that we may be the next to get an unwanted visit from the police or even a shove to the ground and a knee to the back. 

Yet it’s the same right-wing pundits who are the first to defend the most excessive police brutality whenever someone refuses to comply with an officer’s orders.  They faithfully “back the blue” with almost blind loyalty and even support arming the police with military-style weapons and equipment. 

Do these conservatives fail to see their own contradictions?

Ask yourself: if full-fledged socialism comes to the Western world, who will be on the frontline imposing it?  It won’t be the beta-male bureaucrats forcing you to comply.  It will be the “thin, blue line” of the police—equipped with their military-grade weaponry—that will physically force you to obey orders.  Don’t think they’ll do it?  Just look at the cases I cited. 

I am not advocating defunding the police.  No sane person would propose that.  Nor am I suggesting that a police force is antithetical to a free society.  We need cops.  Rather, I’m asking conservatives to reflect for a moment on their contradictory views.  Government and law enforcement are one and the same.  You cannot be critical of laws that infringe on our liberties while praising the men and women who dutifully enforce those laws—if necessary with violence.

Our freedom depends on a healthy skepticism towards government.  That skepticism should be applied to all facets of the state, especially the police.


[1] https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/09/02/pregnant-woman-arrested-over-anti-lockdown-event-australia/5693574002/

[2] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/12634607/cop-kneels-neck-boy-george-floyd-mask/

[3] https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8715603/WestJet-canceled-flight-dispute-toddler-mask-rules-caused-rapid-escalation-board.html

[4] https://summit.news/2020/09/09/quebec-city-says-it-will-isolate-uncooperative-citizens-in-secret-corona-facility/

The Importance of Legal Notices

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Never underestimate the importance of legal notices. Judges routinely refuse to hear legal matters due to what they consider improper or insufficient notice. In addition, the notices you send will often be scrutinized and challenged by the opposing attorney.

Legal notices vary depending on the type of case and what court is hearing the matter.

But here are some general tips that apply in all circumstances:

  1. Read and follow the procedural rules for serving notice that apply to the type of case you’re handling;
  2. If you’re uncertain whether a person is entitled to notice, it’s usually best to serve notice on him or her;
  3. If the court directs you to publish a legal notice, you must follow their directions to the letter.

I discuss each of these tips in more detail in this video:

Need legal help?  Email justin@jrmccarthy.com

The Texualist’s Dilemma: the Gold Standard and the U.S. Constitution

bullion gold gold bars golden
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The following is an except from my book Monetarism and the Constitution: Making Paper Money Fit the Framers’ Intent:

Judge Robert Bork, a well-known proponent for strict constitutional interpretation, stated during his Supreme Court nomination hearings that “this Nation has grown in ways that do not comport with the intentions of the people who wrote the Constitution.”  Nevertheless, Bork admitted that “it is simply too late to go back and tear…up” much of the legal precedent that has been created: “I cite to you the Legal Tender cases….Scholarship suggests that the framers intended to prohibit paper money.  Any judge who today thought he would go back to the original intent really ought to be accompanied by a guardian rather than be sitting on a bench.”[1]

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10/9/1987 President Reagan meeting with Robert Bork in the White House Residence

Judge Bork’s statements show the dilemma faced by constitutional textualists who disagree with legal tender laws.  Textualists must either concede defeat of the Constitution and work to improve what they believe is unconstitutional precedent (i.e., the Legal Tender cases) or they can stay faithful to the Constitution and advocate changes that are both impractical and unrealistic, such as eliminating paper money and returning to the gold standard.  This latter course of action, despite its seeming futility, does have its adherents.

Dr. Edwin Vieira, for instance, in his article The Forgotten Role of the Constitution in Monetary Law, asks “Why…do so many monetary reformers act as if the Constitution were irrelevant to their concerns?”  The answer, he believes, “maybe that these ‘non-constitutional’ monetary reformers consider a campaign for constitutional reform hopelessly quixotic.  Indeed, many people scoff that any variety of constitutional reform is ultimately delusive, inasmuch as modern-day politicians, legislators, judges and bureaucrats have successfully (and apparently with public approbation) set aside the original intent of the Constitution and substituted a ‘living’ Constitution.”  To Vieira, “the only delusion here is in the minds of those espousing such cynical views.”[2]  What, then, is the Doctor’s solution?

Vieira suggests that “only a few articles in prestigious journals should be necessary to establish beyond any further debate what a constitutional dollar is.  And, once established as a silver coin, the dollar cannot, without amendment of the supreme law, be redefined.”[3]

While probably no one would suggest that Dr. Vieira “ought to be accompanied by a guardian,” many would likely find his ideas a bit farfetched.  It is almost impossible to believe that a few journal articles could return this country to a commodity-based currency.  And, supposing they could, would a commodity-based currency be either feasible or desirable?  The answer is no, according the noble-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.

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Milton Friedman

Dr. Friedman readily acknowledges the framers’ intent to create a commodity-based currency: “When the Constitution was enacted, the power given to Congress ‘to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin’ referred to a commodity money: specifying that the dollar shall mean a definite weight in grams of silver or gold.” [4] But, despite the framers’ intent, Friedman believes that today “[i]t is neither feasible nor desirable to restore a gold- or silver-coin standard.”[5]

This is because paper money, though incongruent with the Constitution, has become universally accepted as our economy’s medium of exchange.  As Friedman argues, “each person accepts [paper money] because he is confident that others will.  The pieces of paper have value because everybody thinks they have value.  Everybody thinks they have value because in his experience they have had value.”  And this acceptance is vital since “[t]he United States could not operate at more than a small fraction of its present level of productivity without a common and widely accepted medium of exchange.”[6]  Thus, pulling the rug out from under this system, as Dr. Vieira suggests, could greatly damage Americans’ confidence in their currency and could lead to irreparable economic harm.

Nevertheless, the constitutional problem still remains.  Paper money, though universally accepted and vital for the efficient exchange of goods, still violates the Constitution.  And the honest few who still value and respect the Constitution, men such as Dr. Vieira, will continue to remind us of this.  But what can be done?  How can we remedy the constitutional problems caused by paper money without hurting our economy?  To attempt to answer these questions, we must turn again to Milton Friedman.

[1] The Supreme Court of the United States Nominations 1916-1987, vol. 14 pages 292-293 (Mersky & Jacobstein)

[2] Edwin Vieira, Jr., The Forgotten Role of the Constitution in Monetary Law, 2 Tex. Rev. Law & Pol. 78, 123 (1997)

[3] Id.

[4] Milton Friedman, Free to Choose, (Harcourt, Inc., 1990), 307

[5] Id. at 308

[6] Id. at 249

Check out my book Monetarism and the Constitution: Making Paper Money Fit the Framers’ Intent available now on amazon.com.