I have two heroes in life. The first was very real and was part of my life, my father. He was an Attorney. At different times in his career he represented the Commonwealth of Virginia as a prosecutor and later clients charged with criminal activity. He always made it clear that once an Attorney agreed to represent a client it was his duty to do it to the best of his ability. As he use to say every day he went out an squirted a little oil on the squeaky wheel of Justice.
My other hero is fictional, he was also an Attorney who chose to represent a black man accused of rape, Atticus Finch, the hero of Harper Lee’s classic novel of the South To Kill a Mockingbird. Finch represented Tom Robinson because it was the right thing to as Justice and his responsibility demanded he do so. Other lawyer’s had run from the case, but Atticus Finch took the case despite the long odds. He loses, Robinson is lynched, and the father of girl Robinson was accused of raping seeks revenge by trying to harm Atticus’s children Scout and Jem. Throughout the book Atticus never loses his faith in man or his faith in the American Judicial system.
In recent weeks, conservative Republicans, led by Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz have attempted to paint the Barrack Obama’s Justice Department as being soft on terrorism because some of the attorneys in the Department represented prisoners being held at Gitmo.
The actions of Liz Cheney, William Kristol and the others associated with attempt at intimidation in order to score political points is despicable. Their actions undermine and besmirch the character of all who are associated with American Legal System.
Lawyers represent clients, when they agree to take case their obligation is that client, regardless of their personnel feelings or past experiences. The attorneys working for the Justice Department represent the United States Government, they longer represent the detainees at Gitmo. Liz Cheney and William Kristol are smart people, but they have chosen the path of demagogues stirring the emotions of the people by not telling the whole truth. As attorney Joseph Welch said to Senator McCarthy “Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency.”
Like my father I believe the American people will see through the rhetoric of Cheney and Kristol and come to realize they have no decency and the attorneys who once represented detainee and now represent the United States of America were and are doing their job as the Canons of Legal Ethics require them. In doing so they are upholding the finest traditions of the American Legal System.
If my father was alive today he would be proud of the attorneys and would heap scorn on the likes of Liz Cheney and William Kristol. The so called AQ Seven can be proud of their present and past service and that they have emulated a worthy role model Atticus Finch.