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My Letter to Lawyers and Judges

Mark A. Goldman                                                                    Dated: 11/23/11

 

I realize what I am about to say does not apply to all attorneys or judges, but itís pretty clear that it applies to most.  I can say that with certainty given what I've observed.  

What I'm about to say to you is also true of ordinary citizens as well.  But lawyers and judges are a special case because as a matter of course, you study at some depth the content and meaning of the law and the Constitution.

Most citizens appear to be undereducated or misinformed about what their citizenship and professional responsibilities are to the rest of society.  It is for this reason that our country now faces the greatest challenge it has ever faced -- the permanent loss of the Constitution and the sovereignty of its citizens. 

Every citizen has a job to do and you apparently do not know what your job is.  I'm not saying that it's your fault.  And my purpose here is not to lay blame.  But you and the those you love face the possibility of losing your freedom, both political and economic. You have failed to carry out your responsibilities and that failure has put every person you know and love at risk of losing everything that is precious to them.

Apparently, you are not prepared to carry out your responsibilities.  What responsibilities am I talking about?  The responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all its enemies foreign and domestic.  Rather than repeat what I've already written elsewhere, please read my short commentary on citizenship before continuing.

The reason the title of this piece is directed at attorneys and judges is that you, if you are an attorney or judge, specifically studied the history and meaning of the Constitution, and what its significance is.  In fact, you agreed to dedicate your life to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and the rule of law.  How do I know you agreed to make that your life's work?  Because you took an oath.  If you had not agreed to make that your life's work, you would not have been allowed to practice law.  Maybe you forgot.

"Oath:  A solemn, formal declaration or promise to fulfill a pledge, often calling on God, a god, or a sacred object as witness." 1

In the link I offered earlier, I make the case that every citizen has a similar responsibility, i.e., to protect and defend the Constitution when necessary.  Citizens not trained in the law or otherwise not properly educated might not fully understand what their responsibilities are or how to discharge them.  That's why I'm writing this piece.  My point is, the fact that you don't know, don't remember, don't care, or otherwise don't believe you have such responsibilities is why you and your loved ones have already lost some of your most precious rights and freedoms and are very close to losing the rest of them.  What good is being a citizen of the United States if you lose all or most of your fundamental human rights that took centuries for western culture to identify, define and win?  

You can't effectively practice law if you don't understand what the meaning of responsibility is.  And you can't honorably practice law if you don't understand what an oath is or what the words in the Constitution mean. 

Obviously, there are all kinds of things lawyers and judges might do that constitute the practice of law.  And when they do those things, it's critical that they do them with integrity, which is to say, to the best of their ability.  Everything they do when they practice their profession is their job.  But there's only one thing you promised to do for which you gave your solemn and sacred pledge to your fellow citizens and to God. You swore on your honor to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against any enemies foreign or domestic.

Now it's not only lawyers and judges who take that solemn oath as a prerequisite to practicing their profession.  Every soldier, every police officer, every naturalized citizen, and every elected government official does too... consciously and on purpose.  Why do you suppose you were asked to do that?  I will tell you why.  It's because freedom is a precious and fragile gift for which a great many brave and honorable people sacrificed and died to secure on your behalf.  Our basic rights and freedoms may very well be unalienable gifts from God, but for them to become and remain real in your life, you have to preserve, respect and cherish them, otherwise they can be lost, and once they are lost it might not be very easy to get them back.

Officers of the court, soldiers, police officers, and elected officials are the first line of defense against tyranny.  When they fail, the responsibility necessarily falls upon the rest of us.  Our children, our posterity depend on all of us to preserve their birthright.  

When the president of Pakistan tried to illegally remove his country's Chief Justice from his post and also when he declared what attorneys in his country perceived to be an illegal state of emergency, those attorneys jumped out of their chairs and marched the streets of the capital in protest at the government's attempt to undermine the rule of law, some being injured and/or arrested in the process.  Would you do that if your government attempted to undermine the rule of law?  

The fact is, the viability of our Constitution is now hanging by a thread and you are still going to work every day, earning your fees, working with your clients as if nothing has happened.  You have not, for the most part, taken any significant action, which is to say you have not given your best effort to preserve our founding document as you promised you would do.  Without your help now, not only is the economy likely to collapse, but life as you have known it is likely to collapse. Maybe not today or tomorrowÖ but that day is coming... and maybe it will be tomorrow.  

How do I know this is true?  Because I've been paying attention.  The evidence is overwhelming that the Constitution has been degraded even though most citizens don't seems to know it or understand what the implications are of what has transpired.  The fact that they don't understand is evidence that you, if you are a lawyer or a judge, have not explained it to them.  

A Few Examples - there is a great amount of evidence that the following examples (listed in no particular order) are quite real, and evidence of such is available to anyone who is willing to take the time to look for it.

1.   The Writ of Habeas Corpus has been corrupted or suspended.  

2.   A US President was allowed to take office even though he didnít legally win the election.

3.   Overwhelming evidence suggests that destruction of the twin towers was an inside job and yet the events of 911 were never properly investigated.

4.   Hundreds of thousands of citizens were defrauded out of their homes by bankers who were never prosecuted for their crimes, and those defrauded were never compensated for the injustice they suffered.

6.   A President of the United States has become an accessory-after-the-fact for being unwilling to prosecute known criminals.  He has also committed crimes similar to those he refuses to prosecute, and yet, so far, no official action has been taken to correct this injustice.  Apparently, it is now accepted that Presidents are above the law and not subject to the same legal restraints that apply to ordinary citizens.

7.   Illegal wars were started and egregious war crimes have been committed, and continue to be committed, with no accountability on the part of the perpetrators.

8.   Torture has been used by our government and is being used against suspected civilian and military detainees.  Perpetrators of these crimes are not, and have not been investigated or prosecuted even though several perpetrators of these crimes have admitted their culpability.

9.   People are being punished for crimes they didnít commit and/or are being held, some for years, without any due process whatsoever.

10.  At least one President believes he has the right to murder people on his own say so and has committed that crime multiple times.

11.  At least one President believes he has the right not only to murder suspects but also, through negligence, to murder people in the vicinity of those suspects without any due process of law and in public places far removed from any battlefield.  He does this without a declaration of war and without any legal authority whatsoever.

12.  First amendment rights have been grossly degraded and privacy is no longer respected by our government as a general rule.  Your phone can be tapped, your body can be touched or groped, your emails read without legitimate due process.

13.  Homes have been foreclosed on thousands of people even though the documents used in the process were not legally executed.

14.  Patents are being issued on life forms that were known to exist for eons.  People are losing their farms or being sued when the wind blows the seeds from plants their neighbors grow onto their land and begin to sprout.

15.  Police officers are being trained not to protect the rights of ordinary citizens, but instead to use weapons and follow illegal orders of superiors that degrade the rights of ordinary citizens.  Police officers who commit such crimes are generally not prosecuted.

16.  People who do not work for corporations are being sent to jail for crimes they commit while corporate moguls who commit far more egregious crimes are allowed to walk free while the penalty for their crimes are converted to fines which are then paid by their corporations.

17.  This list could be greatly expanded.  Basic principles of justice, our Constitution, and the rule of law are under attack.  Your job is to defend them.  Itís everyone elseís job too and yet what I see is a general failure of the legal community to take responsibility for itself, when the legal community by all rights should be leading the charge. 

During a recent TV debate among Republican candidates for President, six out of eight of them said that they approved of torture and would use it against detainees if elected, in effect, reporting to the electorate that they have no intention of keeping their oath of office, given that torture is both illegal under our nation's laws and also under international law.  How is it possible that talk of torture is so generally acceptable if the rule of law is still respected in America?

At least one of these candidates reported that, as President, he would gladly sign agreements with certain of our trading partners purporting to advance trade and peaceful co-existence while at the same time carry out covert operations making undeclared war against those very nations that are party to those agreements (that is, as long as he was confident that he could get away with it without being found out), thereby telling the people of our nation and the world that not only is this person's word of honor worthless, but that the people of the United States are also without honor, lacking in respect for the pursuit of peace, and lacking in respect for their own dignity, and for the dignity of other members of a larger world community. 

The policy of torture used by our forces against other peoples is a process whereby torture is applied to any number of individuals even though none of them are known to be guilty of knowing or doing anything wrong, hoping that the torture might yield useful information for future military use. There is evidence that mistreatment of suspects and prisoners in the US prison system is growing in response to this unconscionable example being set by our government.

The truth is, you can no longer guarantee your client justice in America's judicial system.  And if you cannot guarantee your client justice, you have failed in your duty to keep your oath, your sacred word of honor.  In America, innocent people are being sent to prison.  Suspects are not presumed innocent but are being punished as they wait for their trial to begin.  Since when is it justice to fail to charge people for crimes they do commit, or to charge people for crimes they are known not to commit?  And if a person does commit a crime, who gives a prosecutor the right to lower the charge to a lesser offense or raise the charge to higher offense than was committed?  How do such practices serve justice?

We are a nation whose government is at war against the world and also against its own people, spurred on by profiteers wealthy enough to buy elections and corrupt legal processes for their own ends.  

That so many judges and lawyer find it more convenient to value their daily schedules, their amicable relationships with colleagues, and/or their own personal incomes more than they value the freedom of other human beings, or the right of other human beings to expect and receive justice when itís needed, is a disgrace.  Maybe itís already too late.  I donít know.  The failure of our most trusted professionals may have already cost all of humanity its freedom.  Perhaps the rule of law is now like the walking dead, where the moving finger has already written and where itís now too late for tears to cancel any line or wash out any word of it.   

But here we are.  You are the front line defense and that line of defense is crumbling.  If you do not think things are bad enough yet for you to raise your voice in support of justice and the rule of law, then how bad does it have to get before you will decide to do your job and keep your word?

I think you owe us all an answer.

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