maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets. -arthur miller


If all homeless people were this productive...well, it'd be cool.

I was doing my usual swing through the Washington Post today and one article in particular made me smile.

Supreme Court on a Shoestring profiles the fight of one homeless man in Austin, TX. A former lawyer, Thomas Van Orden has been homeless for several years. Van Orden liked to spend his homeless days inside the State Law Library in Austin where it was warm and dry. He realized in 2002 that the 6-ft-tall marble statue of the ten commandments outside the building was probably unconsitutional, and set to work doing something about it.

His justification for taking on the legal battle? "I have time; my schedule is kind of light."

For almost any lawyer practicing in Texas, brining a lawsuit like this would be tantamount to career suicide. Which is why a homeless ex-lawyer is just the guy to do it-- he's (admittedly) got nothing to lose. The 5th circuit court ruled against Van Orden in 2003, and pretty soon the case will be argued before the US Supreme Court.

This is the kind of American story I dig. A guy has to scrape the money together to photocopy a brief at Kinko's to send to the highest court in the land. He took the photos to be submitted as evidence with a $4 disposible camera.

I don't think the founders had Van Orden in mind when they set up the judicial system, but I like to imagine that they would be pleased with at least this one little corner of what's going on in government today.


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