“It’s good to be king!” is an oft-quoted line from Mel Brooks’ “History of the World, Part I.” In America, every man is supposed to be king, every woman queen, and members of Congress are supposed to be our servants. We sometimes forget that last part. Three people in Orlando have not.
On Aug. 15, Charles Klein, Sally Baptiste and Theresa Kajkowski filed a lawsuit in Florida’s Middle District Federal Court. Nothing unusual in that — lawsuits are filed every day, especially in litigation-prone America. What’s unusual is that the plaintiffs name the entire membership of the U.S. House and Senate as defendants.
Their cause of action accuses Congress of breaching its fiduciary duty by failing to pass a budget in over three years. They’re asking that the revenue be returned to the Treasury until a budget is prepared and approved.
The plaintiffs filed suit without benefit of counsel. When reached for comment, Klein, 77, said he would welcome a lawyer to represent him and his co-plaintiffs, so long as he or she agrees to do so on a pro bono basis. Is there anyone out there willing to accept the challenge?
The plaintiffs are all retired members of their local tea party and upset about the direction our country has taken in recent years. Klein didn’t lay all the blame on the current administration — he felt that there was plenty of blame that could be laid at the feet of both parties.
Klein said the country needs fewer politicians and more statesmen, quoting theologian and author James Freeman Clarke for emphasis: “A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation.”
I then asked why he and his friends were willing to accept the David role to the federal government’s Goliath, Klein said someone had to do it. In his opinion, the only way to fix the nation’s ills is to return to its roots.
“God put 56 people [the signers of the Declaration of Independence] in America to lay the framework of a country based on honesty and integrity for the good of mankind,” Klein said. “That’s what we have to find again.”
He also said he hopes the lawsuit will encourage other concerned, freedom-loving people to join the cause.
With no prior training, the litigants will be walking into a legal minefield. Things like the rules of civil procedure, the federal rules of evidence and the law of governmental immunity are but a few of the dangers that the unwary could step into. They have one thing going for them, though: They’re mad as hell and they’re not gonna take it anymore.
Although the plaintiffs may not have great odds for success, I hope they beat those odds. It’s the American way to root for the underdog, and the world sorely needs more windmill tilters. If we didn’t have people willing to take risks, we may still be sitting around a communal fire in a cave somewhere, wondering if we should take a chance on that newfangled wheel idea.
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