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Law Day, the ABA, and Political Correctness

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It is now the evening of Law Day, Pacific Time, a day on which the ABA chose to showcase the importance of lawyers representing unpopular causes.  Yet as of today we have not heard a peep from the ABA condemning the boycott of King & Spalding for defending the Defense of Marriage Act or the abrupt dropping of representation by that firm in response.  See my prior posts here and here and Bill's here.  I returned to their site today and could find nothing.

The importance of this, and the reason I bring it up on blog that is about criminal law and takes no position on DOMA, is what it says about the ABA.  The ABA's pronouncements on the duties of lawyers are sometimes treated by courts as if they were law.  The Supreme Court fell into this trap in Wiggins v. Smith and Rompilla v. Beard, but it backed off somewhat in Bobby v. Van Hook.

So let's do a little thought experiment.  Suppose a victims' rights group called for a boycott of the blue chip firms that take on representation of murderers, some big companies responded, and some of the firms announced they were dropping the cases.  How fast and how furious would the ABA's response be?  They would immediately and vigorously (and correctly) denounce the action, saying that no matter how repugnant the clients and their crimes may be, the duty of lawyers to represent even the most unpopular of causes must prevail.

So why do we hear nothing today?  First, the organization that called for the boycott is a Politically Correct sacred cow.  Second, and most importantly, at the ABA Political Correctness trumps principle.  Today's deafening silence confirms this.

That is the most important point to keep in mind whenever the ABA says anything about the death penalty.  Nothing is more politically correct than obstructing the operation of the death penalty with the ultimate goal of bringing it down.  The ABA's claim to take no position on the death penalty itself is hogwash.  They are full-bore opposed, and their claims of what is required of defense counsel are made for the purposes of (1) overturning as many judgments for supposedly ineffective assistance as they possibly can, (2) convincing the people that they cannot afford justice.

The Supreme Court in Van Hook has taken the first step toward disestablishing the ABA Standards as having any official standing.  Let us hope that they continue in this direction, toward the end that those standards will be recognized as the statement of an advocate for one side, entitled to little or no weight.

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The public has been beguiled by the Lawyer Left's penchant to wrap themselves in majestic rhetoric about commitment to our constitutional traditions when, in fact, they are promoting a "progressive cause" rather than the Constitution.

I want to thank Kent and Andrew McCarthy for shedding light on this "con job."

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