Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the oath

Today I did not blog until now because I have been busy with work, a job interview, and joining the legal profession.

Amid the pomp and circumstance of joining the Utah Bar, there is an important task that some 260-odd men and women did today. We raised our right hands and pledged to defend the United States Constitution and the Utah Constitution, to treat each other civilly, to obey the rules of ethics, etc. I take those oaths very seriously, and this is why speak out so aggressively against things and people like Torture, NSA wiretapping, Rudy Giulliani, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, vouchers, the suspension of Habeas Corpus, etc.

America-- and the state of Utah-- was founded as a nation and state of laws, not men. I do not pledge allegiance to a flag or to a government, but to a set of rules which the people have agreed to be governed by-- our constitutions.

The republic is under attack, and not just occasionally from Al Qaeda, but from within by those that think that might trumps right and that we must throw away centuries of laws to sleep at night. Their recklessness is what keeps me up at night. I think of all of people around the world who grow to hate America and Americans, of all the people who use the policies and rhetoric of this Administration to repress democracy and peace in their own countries and regions.

While not all of us can or should become lawyers, all of us should personally pledge to defend this state and country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, who seek to subvert our constitution for their own personal or ideological benefit and to the determinant of the people for whom the government was created.


JM Bell said...

Way to go! Good job. Law school is a giant accomplishment, but passing your bar exam is huge.

Now ... snap your fingers ...

One call, baby! When is your first TV commercial?


Tyler said...

Treat each other civilly...does that inlcude with respect? I don't know; I hope so.

I am not a supporter of the things or people you assert are wrong with our country's current leadership. However, you state that we should all defend state/country from those who seek to "subvert our constitution for their own personal or ideological benefit." Do not the people you stand against feel the same way about you and your ideology? Clearly you are not overtly subverting the constitution, but do you not interpret it for your own ideological benefit? Is the constitution not interpretable by our country's highest courts; by various judges who have an array of political stances? You don't seem like the type who would be a strict constructionist (that being a more conservative trait), but perhaps you are.

I guess, what I'm trying to say is: Who is right? Is anybody right? Are you right? How should the constitution be interpreted?

Oldenburg said...

Strict constructionism has nothing to do with the way Cheney interprets the constitution to give the executive unlimited and unchecked powers. The US Supreme Court has held a number of times in recent years that Cheney et al's interpretation is dead wrong (see Rasul v. Bush; Hamdan v. Bush).

You are right that I don't have a monopoly on the constitution, but the vast majority of legal scholars would agree with me that Cheney's interpretation would lead to dangerous results.

Oh and with respect is part of the oath. Hopefully you find this discussion to be civil, while still calling a spade a spade.

steve u. said...

Welcome to the profession! Along with standing against things, fit in some time to stand for a few things, and you'll have an enjoyable career.

Tyler said...

I didn't mean to assert that I view Cheney's interpretation as correct, indeed I do not. I was only expressing that your criticism of those who interpret the Constitution for their own ideological benefit is a little like the pot calling the kettle black here. Everybody interprets law for their own ideological benefit. It is one's ideology and belief system that drive's one's perspective and interpretation of law and society.

Jason The said...


I'm always a big supporter of bloggers who are also lawyers. Until Jan 20th, 2008, all of us may have need of legal representation!