Thursday, May 29, 2008

Stupid, briefly-suspended felony-convict lawyer screws it up on Bill O'Reilly

So this morning, Bill O'Reilly showed a rather astonishing bit of intellectual honesty. He challenged some family law attorney, a Donald P. Schweitzer, to come up with a non-religious reason to oppose gay marriage. And the guy bombed.

But the best part is, above and beyond the fact he doesn't answer the question (the "it's different, just like summer and winter are different" is teh awesome), is the fact that the best attorney Fox could dig up is a guy who has a felony conviction for beating up his ex-wife's boyfriend!

Anyway, I wrote to him. A bit bitchy, but what the hell. And his record of suspension comes afterwards. Onwards:

Hey Don,

Good job on the Bill O'Reilly show. "It's different" sure is a compelling argument for restricting same sex marriage, isn't it? Or course, convicted felons are different, too, which seems to me to be a compelling reason to keep you from voting or getting married.

Oh yeah, and what part of constitutional law didn't you pay attention to? There's no federal question in the opinion, at all. Did you read the opinion? None if it is based on federal law, at all. But then, spouting out nonsense legal mumbo-jumbo is a lot easier than reading a dense opinion and actually understanding such lofty issues as constitutional law and questions of state versus federal law.

And the justices didn't insert "gay marriage" into the California Constitution. They ruled that gay people are entitled to equal protection under the constitution. Maybe down in the 4th tier they don't teach that little distinction, but the justices expressly didn't find a right to same sex marriage, only that gay people are entitled to the same rights as straight people to marry. A subtle difference, but hey, isn't that what our profession is all about?

And also, "same sex marriages are a suspect class"? No, that wasn't the decision either. A "thing" can't be a suspect class, but rather a specific, recognizable characteristic, like, oh, say, gender, and race. But same sex marriages?

It sort of amuses me that you have a family law practice and can't even get that one right. (Oh and that you beat your wife's boyfriend.)

And the people have determined they don't want it? Um, how about the legislature--which represents the people--more recently passing gay marriage.

Anyway, you did our profession a lot of credibility with your utter inability to even make a credible argument other than "it's just different." And to have Bill O'Reilly actually tell you you have to have a "cogent reason," given Fox is pretty good at finding "cogent reasons" for the usual nonsense they spout.

But that aside, glad to see you're back allowed to practice law. Hopefully I'll run into you in court one day--or rather, hopefully for my clients. Because while the religious set usually can handle "it's just different," I suspect as a legal argument that just isn't going to cut it.


Dean P

January 10, 2003

DONALD PHILIP SCHWEITZER [#166412], 43, of Pasadena was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on 36 months of probation with a 60-day actual suspension and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. Credit toward the actual suspension will be given for an interim suspension which began July 14, 2002. The order took effect Jan. 10, 2003.

Schweitzer pleaded guilty to felony assault, a charge later reduced to a misdemeanor. He had an ongoing custody battle with his estranged wife and one evening entered her apartment and beat her boyfriend. Schweitzer broke his hand in the assault and the victim suffered jaw pain and significant bleeding.

The criminal conduct did not involve moral turpitude.

In mitigation, he has no record of discipline in nine years, was having severe family problems at the time that affected his emotional state, and reports involvement in community activities. His actions cost him his job as an Orange County deputy district attorney.

June 14, 2002

DONALD PHILIP SCHWEITZER [#166412], 43, of Norwalk was placed on interim suspension June 14, 2002, following a conviction for. The suspension ended Sept. 12 and he returned to active status. He was ordered to comply with rule 955.

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