That’s Noam Schreiber’s big idea in today’s New Republic, and he’s not kidding:
The idea would be roughly as follows: in criminal cases, we decide what the accused should be able to spend to defend themselves against a given charge—securities fraud, grand theft, manslaughter, etc. No one can spend more, even if she has the money, and those who can’t afford the limit would receive a subsidy for the full amount beyond what they would have spent on their own (say, beyond a certain percentage of their annual salary or net worth). In civil cases, we decide what the plaintiff should be able to spend to pursue an award of a particular amount, or to pursue a particular kind of claim, and what the defendant should be able to spend in response. The same subsidies would apply.
Working out the particular amounts would mostly be an empirical question—Big Data can help us figure out what it costs to put together a competent legal team from case to case. But it would no doubt be a messy process that required constant refining and lots of humility.
I almost choked on that last word.
Honestly, after the morass of BS the lawyers have paralyzed this country with, the meta-level rent-seeking they’ve accomplished — I’m not going to fight against any scheme which might do them financial harm or erode their liberties.
Not today, maybe not ever.