America’s Prized Legal System Only Works for the Rich

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Attorney Ronald Goldfarb Photo by Benha Gardner

The United States legal system, it turns out, is nothing more than an enabler of greed that has turned American society into a depraved playground for the decrepit rich. That’s the devastating lesson found in the pages of attorney and literary agent Ronald Goldfarb’s latest book, The Price of Justice: Money, Morals and Ethical Reform in the Law. In the latest installment of Scheer Intelligence, Goldfarb joins host Robert Scheer to discuss his book, which Scheer describes as “scathing in its indictment of the corrupt legal profession where too often profit smothers commitment to justice in criminal or civil jurisprudence.” 

The highly successful, Yale University-educated attorney condemns the many lawyers who earn hefty paychecks from defending pharmaceutical giants or oil companies and hide behind ethical rules that Goldfarb dismisses as myths. To the lifelong attorney, in a judicial system that is at every stage rigged in favor of the 1 percent and that makes a mockery of the right to a fair trial, there is no moral justification for helping companies like Chevron and Purdue Pharma to continue profiteering with impunity. 

“I fundamentally believe we are what we do,” says Goldfarb. “I just hope that the law schools, professional organizations, and public interest groups try to make this oceanic change in the morality and ethics of our profession.” 

Goldfarb offers this devastating critique from the vantage point of an attorney who worked in Robert Kennedy’s Justice Department and took seriously the then-Attorney General’s instruction to challenge the power structure. The Price of Justice outlines how in the fifty years that followed RFK’s death, however, the killer claws of wealth have only become more deadly.

Listen to the full discussion between Goldfarb and Scheer as the two discuss how America’s broken legal system leads to 97% of federal felony convictions stemming from plea bargains rather than trials, and leaves the vast majority of Americans without any recourse to seek justice. 



Joshua Scheer