Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is the title "the King of Torts" unethical, or illegal?

Over the years, a number of lawyers have been known as "the King of Torts."  Dickie Scruggs, Melvin Belli, Joe Jamail, among others have been awarded the title (whether by themselves, other lawyers or the media), but noone took it too seriously.

Obviously, the title is just a nickname... but, just for fun, consider this:  Over at the Abnormal Use blog I found a story that mentions something called the Titles of Nobility Act of 1810 (“TONA”), which reads, in part, as follows: "If any citizen of the United States shall accept, claim, receive or retain any title of nobility or honour, ... such person shall cease to be a citizen of the United States ...."

According to the story, TONA was proposed as the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and approved by by both the Senate and the House in 1810 but was never ratified by three-fourths of the states.  However, some have argued that the amendment became law upon the discovery of Virginia’s apparent ratification in 1819.  For more on this, go here.