Opinion: Too many bad lawyers in South Carolina — and Congress

Photo/Chris Carlson/The Associated Press / Alex Murdaugh is led to the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff's deputies for sentencing in in Walterboro, S.C., on Friday, March 3, 2023, after being convicted of two counts of murder in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of his wife and son.

If you looked deeply into the Murdaugh murder trial, you learned that it was not just about a small town lawyer shooting his wife and son. It was also about how some lawyers in a small South Carolina county kept hidden the nefarious and outright illegal actions of their own, Alex Murdaugh and his family, for decades.

Prominent lawyer Murdaugh stole from clients and his partners, stole his maid's insurance money, lied to everyone, and ultimately killed half his family. For a generation, other lawyers covered for him and perhaps participated with him in financial shenanigans so as to not mess up their good-ole-boy legal honey hole. Not only his partners, but fellow lawyers, law enforcement and the powerful were possibly complicit. None of these folks came out looking good in the nationally televised true crime saga.

In 2023, Murdaugh did for South Carolina lawyers what the Boston Strangler did for door-to-door salesmen in the 1960s.

Any time you get that many lawyers working together, for example in that South Carolina county, it is a mess and becomes all about them. This explains the U.S. Congress, where about 23% of elected Democrats are lawyers. Many of the worst among them, such Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., are plaintiff attorneys. Lawyers cover for each other, realizing early on that a client uses them maybe once in a lifetime, but they work with other lawyers every day.

The whole Murdaugh case was about missing money and mysterious deaths. It sounded like either a John Grisham novel or a biography of the Clintons.

Murdaugh should have gotten some slick California lawyer like Johnnie Cochran or Robert Kardashian to defend him. They would be able to cite the case of The People v. O.J., which established the precedent that double murder is legal in California for pseudo- celebrities.

Not only are a near majority of Democrats in Congress lawyers, so are Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bill and Hillary Clinton and, of course, the Obamas. If you consider the fundamental training of lawyers, it is not to solve problems but to complicate and litigate -- for as long as they can and by the hour. If problems get solved quickly, lawyers do not make money. They bill by the hour, not the result. Their incentives are at cross purposes with quick and efficient results. The result is "The Swamp" in Washington.

Every time there is a problem in America, lawyers in Congress feel they have to make a new law. That seldom makes the situation better except for lawyers, who layer law upon law until no one knows what is really legal or what is not. That is where the Justice Department comes in. If it determines that you are a Republican, even the most archaic laws are enforced against you. If you are a Democrat, almost no laws are applied to you.

I am not a fan of many lawyers. Clearly there are good ones but, like South Carolina and Congress, when too many get in cahoots with each other, it is not good for the rest of us. And the reason almost all plaintiff attorneys are Democrats is that they have the same business model: They benefit from conjuring up "victimhood." Neither Democrats nor plaintiff attorneys do well when we do well. They need victims.

Look at the advertisements around the class-action suits in the Carolinas about Camp Lejeune. Lawyers scare up plaintiff clients with relentless ads on TV so they can collect money for themselves; they ask if you got sick from the water while stationed at Camp Lejeune. I tried to get some of that sweet Camp Lejeune money, but it turned out I was stationed at Camp Mesothelioma.

Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed satirist, author and radio/TV commentator, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.