Culture & Criticism Since 2003
The Constitution burns and we, the radical lawyer, the civil rights lawyer, the People’s lawyer, the nation’s guardians of our precious precepts of liberty, we sit on our hands in mute astonishment. Everything that we have worked for over a lifetime in the judicial sphere crumbles around us. The Bush administration advances like Goths pillaging Rome and we are frozen in disbelief.
Surreptitious investigations, warrantless searches, coerced confessions, electronic eavesdropping without probable cause, detention without bail or charges, racial and religious profiling, abandonment of jury trials, incarcerations without benefit of legal counsel, and yes, even torture. Who can believe it!
Bush has squandered the country’s wealth on endless war and unlimited gifts to his corporate cronies; he has made the United States the bane of the civilized world, and he takes from us, the United States citizenry, one by one, our basic freedoms, and the lawyers say nothing.
Stunned or emotionally or financially conflicted, we huddle like sheep before the slaughter. Is this what happened in 1939 when Hitler first ascended to power? Where are the Thomas Jeffersons and Thomas Paines? Why don’t courtroom lawyers boycott the system, ‘rage against the dying of the light’, denounce, defy — where is our voice of resistance?
Our children in the halls of academia protest our loss of civil liberties, protest the governmental rape of our resources, protest our unconscionable military destructions. We must find this path of our children and our students. We are the antithesis. Soon it will be too late.
J. Tony Serra is a noted defense attorney who practices in San Francisco, California.