FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Where are the Lawyers of America?

 

The rogue regime of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney-so widely condemned for its unconstitutional, criminal Iraq war, its spying on Americans illegally, its repeated illegal torture practices, its arrests and imprisonment of thousands in this country without charges and its pathological secrecy and corporate corruption-still has not felt the heat of the 800,000 practicing lawyers and their many bar organizations.

Lawyer jokes aside, the first defense outside of government against the rejection of due process, probable cause and habeas corpus should come from the officers of the courts-the attorneys of America. With few exceptions, they have flunked, asleep at the switch or loaded with excuses.

The exceptions are a number of law professors such as David Cole (Georgetown University) and Jonathan Turley (George Washington University) and the magnificent one-year presidency of Michael Greco at the conservative American Bar Association.

Mr. Greco, appalled at the outlaw nature of the Bush White House, now wallowing in the pits of the public opinion polls, organized former counsel to the CIA, the National Security Agency and the FBI, among others, to produce detailed reports and resolutions assailing the Bush government for repeatedly violating the constitution in numerous ways. (http://www.abanet.org/)

Reports were sent to Mr. Bush personally. He did not even bother to acknowledge receipt. The ABA has over 400,000 members and is the largest bar association in the world. Not even a courtesy reply from George Bush, the American Caesar.

Unfortunately, the courage of Greco and his colleagues has not been contagious with hundreds of thousands of lawyers throughout America or the 50 state bar associations who might have taken some action or position to stand after the ABA stood tall in 2005-2006.

Mind you, the climate for lawyers defending the rule of law is quite enabling. Seventy percent of the American people want out of Iraq and nearly as many would like to see this Presidency end. A poll of soldiers in Iraq back in January 2006 registered 72% of them wanting the U.S. out of Iraq within six to twelve months.

In addition, scores of former Generals and high military officers, retired intelligence officials and diplomats have openly criticized the intransigence, incompetence and harm to the U.S. national security. These leaders include the national security advisers to Bush’s father, Brent Snowcroft, the anti-terrorism advisor to George W. Bush, Richard Clark, and many others who served in high government office.

With all this in mind, I have been asking lawyers why they do not become directly active in challenging what they themselves believe is a reckless above-the-law Presidency and its enormous concentration of unlawful power. Here are some examples of their replies.

–real estate attorney with a sterling civil liberties background says “I am just too busy.”
–numerous retired lawyers of considerable accomplishment simply say they are retired.

–mid-career business attorneys say they have too many clients who might object (too much wheeling and dealing to uphold the rule of law in Washington, D.C.).

–public interest lawyers say it is not within their declared mission-eg. environmental, consumer, poverty or law reform work.

–“Too controversial,” and “I’m not up to it,” announced a prominent trial lawyer.

–“I wouldn’t know where to start and I just need my leisure time,” replied a highly specialized estate and trusts attorney.

And so it goes. Too preoccupied, too many deals in the works, too controversial, too retired

The Democratic leadership in the Congress has given Bush/Cheney a giant nod by taking a pass on holding them accountable through impeachment, through conditions in budget bills, through making them answer subpoenas by playing hardball on Bush’s nominees, such as his new choice for Attorney General.

It is up to the lawyers to rally for the Republic. This is deep patriotism, for without upholding our constitution, and the laws of the land, what will become of our country?

What will our children and their grandchildren inherit-a bankrupt government that contracts out more and more of its core functions to staggeringly expensive giant corporations seeking limitless profits, while they finance and corrupt politicians to turn their back on the peoples’ needs?

Lawyers are supposed to know how to apply law to raw power. They know how to use the courts, lobby (there are hundreds or thousands of attorneys in each of most Congressional Districts). They can cut through the arcane camouflage of legalese. They know when the laws are being violated and what the remedies are for the violators. They know how to draft legislation. They have contacts and money and are not supposed to be frightened of conflict. The super-lawyers invariably get their calls returned.

Where are the lawyers of America?

Two major terrorist strikes, with a messianic, compulsively-obsessed President, can do to America what 9 months of nightly bombing by the Nazis could not do to England-move us much closer to a police state.

Where are the stand-up lawyers of America?

RALPH NADER is the author of The Seventeen Traditions
 

More articles by:

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
David Yearsley
Smoke on the Water: Jazz in San Francisco
Elliot Sperber
All of Those Bezos
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail