Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, August 12, 1997
Letter to the Editor
Theodore B. Olsen's July 30 Rule of Law column, "It's Politics as Usual at the ABA," grossly misrepresents the ABA and its service to the legal profession. What Olsen ignores is that the ABA's 385,000 members have voted with their minds and hearts and investment of time, to belong to a professional association whose mission is to promote and secure legal professional values.
The author seems to have an antipathy to the bar taking positions on various issues which enhance our system of justice and safeguard constitutional liberties. He refers to many of these issues as political. To be sure the ABA's advocacy of such matters as providing legal services to the poor, helping vulnerable children or protecting the independence of the judiciary can be labeled "political" -- not by those engaged in this work, but by ideologues who oppose such bedrock values of a fair system of justice. Calling such issues political or controversial is not a reason to give up the legal profession's commitment to equal justice, due process, separation of powers and the rule of law.
Advancing professionalism, pursuing justice, defending liberty, are the watchwords of the ABA. Surely, the lawyers of this nation will not be deterred from supporting these principles by a mean-spirited elitism that would send us back into the last century.
Jerome J. Shestack
American Bar Association