(EDIT) I made the image smaller, click for a fill view.
Here is the text of the letter
Dear Attorney General Gonzales:
Twenty-five years ago we, like you, graduated from Harvard Law School. While we arrived via many different paths and held many different views, we were united in our deep respect for the Constitution and the rights it guaranteed. As members of the post-Watergate generation who chose careers in law, we understood the strong connection between our liberties as Americans and the adherence of public offi cials to the law of the land. We knew that the choice to abide by the law was even more critical when public officials were tempted to take legal shortcuts. Nowhere were we taught that the ends justified the means, or that freedoms for which Americans had fought and died should be set aside when inconvenient or challenging. To the contrary: our most precious freedoms, we learned, need defending most in times of crisis.
So it has been with dismay that we have watched your cavalier handling of our freedoms time and again. When it has been important that legal boundaries hold unbridled government power in check, you have instead used pretextual rationales and strained readings to justify an ever-expanding executive authority. Witness your White House memos sweeping aside the Geneva Conventions to justify torture, endangering our own servicemen and women; witness your advice to the President effectively reading Habeas Corpus out of our constitutional protections; witness your support of presidential statements claiming inherent power to wiretap American citizens without warrants (and the Administration’s stepped-up wiretapping campaign, taking advantage of those statements, which continues on your watch to this day); and witness your dismissive explanation of the troubling firings of numerous U.S. Attorneys, and their replacement with others more "loyal" to the President’s politics, as merely "an overblown personnel matter." In these and other actions, we see a pattern. As a recent editorial put it, your approach has come to symbolize "disdain for the separation of powers, civil liberties and the rule of law."
As lawyers, and as a matter of principle, we can no longer be silent about this Administration’s consistent disdain for the liberties we hold dear. Your failure to stand for the rule of law, particularly when faced with a President who makes the aggrandized claim of being a unitary executive, takes this country down a dangerous path.
Your country and your President are in dire need of an attorney who will do the tough job of providing independent counsel, especially when the advice runs counter to political expediency. Now more than ever, our country needs a President, and an Attorney General, who remember the apt observation attributed to Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential Liberty to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." We call on you and the President to relent from this reckless path, and begin to restore respect for the rule of law we all learned to love many years ago.
THE SIGNATORIES ARE ALL MEMBERS OF THE HARVARD LAW SCHOOL CLASS OF 1982
17. There are literally thousands of different bar associations. Attys. don't have to belong to any
Edited on Wed May-16-07 03:20 AM by Divernan
of them. Lawyers can practise a lifetime without joining a single bar association.
Every county and state has its own bar association. Then there are bar associations, sometimes known as lawyers' guilds focused on ethnic or religious affiliations (the Decalogue Society for Jewish lawyers; the Catholic Lawyers' Guild; associations for Hispanic, Black, Native American lawyers). There is a National Association of Asian Pacific American lawyers, and 50 local state Asian Pacific American bar associations. There are different bar assiciations for defense lawyers, and criminal defense lawyers, family law practitioners and women lawyers. The are bar associations for lawyers focused on energy law, or federal communications law, family law, ad inifinitum. There is an association just for black lawyers working for the Department of Justice.
Bar associations are a network for professional contacts & development. Many laymen think that bar associations are involved in licensing and oversight of lawyers. They are not. There is a complex network of courts in the US, and the individual courts set the standards for admitting individual lawyers to practise within/before them. To practise in any court within a state, one must pass the state's bar examination (yes, nitpickers, there are obscure exceptions, but they also involve having passed SOME state's bar exam, and then being sponsored to appear in another state's court for a limited time/purpose, etc.) The bar exam is administered by the state's Supreme Court, which also sets standards for and monitors compliance with continuing legal education requirements, and annual renewal of licenses. My state's Supreme Court has oversight responsibilities & disciplinary power over the ethical behavior of all lawyers licensed by the state.
Even if one passes the bar of a state, one must still be admitted to the state court, by filling out an application and obtaining sponsorship by another lawyer admitted to practise before that court. There are separate admissions required for state and federal courts, as well as the three levels of federal court (federal district court, circuit appellate court, U.S. Supreme Court).
18. Takes a LOT of courage and professional independence to sign this letter.
Edited on Wed May-16-07 03:29 AM by Divernan
I am sure there are a lot more members of that law school class who would have liked to sign this letter. However, no atty. working for any governmental organization (local, state or federal) can make such a public statement. Similarly, any lawyer working for one of the larger firms (and you can bet that a lot of this class are now at the partner level in some of the biggest national firms) would not be able to sign this because of their firm's client base. The biggest firms represent the biggest corporations - with clients like Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, etc.
And I can see Rove (or Gonzales) looking up each of these signers to see if they work for some entity upon which Karl can exert political or economic pressure on either the lawyer's firm, or the firm's clients,
51. Points duly noted. I have lost respect for both of those Ivy League schools
after some of the scum that have come out of them. They have done themselves & their other graduates (such as yourself) no favors in conferring degrees upon the likes of 43 or Gonzo! (ANY school that would confer a degree of ANY sort to *, cannot have any credibility at all. The fool cannot put together a decent sentence!) These schools have simply proven that their highly tauted degrees can in fact be purchased instead of earned. These are the "premier" universities of our nation. They should have held their graduates to a higher standard and not have given into the power of the $ alone. I agree, that 41 is much sharper than his name sake fruit, but he still casts a negative shadow back upon his alma mater.
These neocons have succeeded in debasing everything in our country to $ value alone. This is IMHO one of their worst offenses.;(
59. I hope this letter can (someday) be entered in to (something) as evidence or
Edited on Wed May-16-07 10:12 PM by higher class
testimony. This letter is a keeper.
In thinking about this, if I were writing a history of this administration, I would use this letter as a pivot point for weaving the story and chronology. I would open with it and go back forth and lead up to the decision to write this letter. It should be written long or short, but plain so that it could be required reading in the education system to define what we need to preserve and are/were in danger of losing.
Every day I love my Constituion and Bill of RIghts more. We were making such good progress. Why aren't more people raging in fury at what has been done to it?
Someone - please write a book - write plenty of books.
How a group of 'arrogants' decided to OWN the country and make the rest of us stupid and submissive by marching over us and ripping our privacy and rights away from us with tricks, lies, and thefts.
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