Dimensional Coordinates: 911.041.441.691
Divergence Date: 1803
Did you ever think that that screw on the bus that gave you the hangnail was worthy of a lawsuit against the MTA? Then come on over to Lawyer World, where nothing is too frivolous to try and collect unwarranted millions from just about anybody!
Under the administrations of Washington and his successor, John Adams, only members of the ruling Federalist Party were appointed to the bench, and under the terms of the Constitution, they held office for life during “good behavior.” Thus, when the opposing Republicans won the election of 1800, the Jeffersonians found that while they controlled the presidency and Congress, the Federalists still dominated the judiciary. One of the first acts of the new administration was to repeal the Judiciary Act of 1800, which had created a number of new judgeships. Although President Adams had attempted to fill the vacancies prior to the end of his term, a number of commissions had not been delivered, and one of the appointees, William Marbury, sued Secretary of State James Madison to force him to deliver his commission as a justice of the peace.
The new chief justice, John Marshall, understood that if the Court awarded Marbury a writ of mandamus (an order to force Madison to deliver the commission) the Jefferson administration would ignore it, and thus significantly weaken the authority of the courts. On the other hand, if the Court denied the writ, it might well appear that the justices had acted out of fear. Either case would be a denial of the basic principle of the supremacy of the law.
In a tight 5-4 decision, Chief Justice Marshall elected that executive order, regardless of the politics of the two parties. The writ of mandamus was ordered, and hundreds of Adams-appointed judges took the bench. Jefferson was furious but could not overrule the order of the Supreme Court, so he, in turn, split judicial districts in each state with aide from Congress and appointed an equal number of judges loyal to the Republican Party (side note: on both here and Earth Prime, the early Republican Party eventually changed its name to become the Democratic Party). With the number of legal positions opening up, young Americans flocked to places of higher learning to obtain legal degrees.
Over the centuries, legal proceedings have enveloped nearly every part of American life. Without a strong Supreme Court to knock aside executive or congressional glory-hogging, it’s become commonplace for anything, no matter how trivial, to be decided by a court of law. Libel and slander are non-existent as most people are afraid to offer opinions on anything for fear of suit. A professional juror is one of the most highly paid positions in American society, and the federal circuit courts have recently expanded to 49… more than four times the number of circuits on Earth Prime.
At present, the amount of people who either have a law degree or are studying for one tops 91%, up 7% from 1996.
Touch nothing, do nothing, bug no one. You don't want to slide out after being sued — the penalties quadruple.
The United States military was far too small to send offensive forces to Western Europe during World War I, so Germany had no need to fire this baby off to Mexico.