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America's Lawyers to Bush & Co: Please Abide by the Constitution

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There are times when I wish I hadn't signed up for this or that email group, but then a gem drops into your lap and makes you scratch your chin and say "Hmmm...."

I got an email copy of a piece by Ralph Nader in which he reports that the American Bar Association appointed a Blue Ribbon Panel (Blue Blood if you ask me) to examine the President's domestic spying program and issue a report. This report says

The ABA House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to adopt the Task Force report with recommendations at its meeting in Chicago on February 13, 2006. The Task Force recommendations now reflect official ABA policy.
You can read the report summary and the ABA letter to President Bush by clicking right here The entire report, in PDF format, can be found by clicking here. All these links should open in new windows. If you use Firefox, then you can right click and select "Open in new tab" if you prefer.

The interesting point Ralph Nader makes is that the media has been almost entirely silent about this report from the nation's preeminent legal minds. The Rock Hill Herald, my local newspaper of record, has run a piece on lawyer's concerns vis-a-vis the question of the government listening in on lawyer/client conversations. I believe this practice is still legal. The article was written on November 19th of 2001. Any other mention of the American Bar Association since then has been in the business section, a result of positive public relations, or an obituary.

But this report came out February 13th. Why did it not get substantial coverage across the board? The media, seems concerned, but this report, which would seem to be an indictment of what Bush & Co are doing, has gone unreported at least in some circles. The Herald is owned by the McClatchy Group, which is one of America's larger publishing enterprises. Now in the process of buying the Charlotte Observer, this newspaper chain will own literally every daily and weekly in York County except that published by Winthrop University. This same company owns the Island Packet in South Carolina, and the News and Observer of Raleigh, so it's not like they don't have resources at least as good as mine. No reporting can only mean that they were either unaware of press releases issued by the American Bar Association, or decided that this was not news. Oh yeah, they also own the Sacramento Bee and the Modesto Bee, and have won more than a dozen Pulitzer Prizes.

The American Bar Association seems to be concerned, but are the nation's lawyers actively resisting the President's usurpation of powers not his, or is this just lip service? Every state has a Bar Association, and every state Bar Association has some sort of publication and distribution list it can use to reach out to it's members. Is this happening? I can't help but think that even one phone call from a legal professional to the editors of these newspapers should have brought enough attention to the report, so I am left to assume that this didn't happen. Did lawyers, judges, para-legals and other folks involved in criminal justice reach out to the media asking for coverage, and if not, why not? It's not like the legal profession doesn't pour millions of advertising dollars into the print media. Surely the legal profession as represented by the ABA is solid enough to make the print media sit up ands take notice.

Now perhaps you're one of those folks who believe that the ABA is a part of the "Liberal Conspiracy." If so, all I can do is point to the people involved in the afore-mentioned blue ribbon panel. How about former Assistant United States Attorney Neal R. Sonnett. He chaired the panel. Sounds like a real card carrying Red to me, eh? Or maybe William S. Sessions is the loose cannon responsible for the ABA report criticizing Bush's domestic spying program. Name sound familiar? He used to run that liberal think-tank, the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Maybe it's someone from the private sector responsible for this questioning of Bush's agenda. Maybe James R. Silkenat had a role to play. After all, he is a former lawyer at the World Bank's International Finance Corporation. Another anti-corporate activist run amok he is not.

So, if the legal profession thinks this is important, and the print media thinks it's important, but the lawyers aren't raising a stink to get coverage so the media is ignoring the issue...what could you do?

Only thing I could think of to do was write this. ~Snicker~ Not fair, right?

Alternatives to corporate inaction are available. If the legal profession, and your local media won't cover the truth we know is out there, you can always join us at the The Green Party or you can join in the conversation at my regular Green News and Opinion blog.

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Gregg Jocoy lives with his wife of 33 years and her mother in Simpsonville, SC. He is dad to two brilliant daughters and granddad to two amazing granddaughters. Jocoy is also active in the South Carolina Green Party and the Green Party of the (more...)
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