The Lawyer Left

The legal profession was once one of the pillars of the Republican Party, but that began to change when people figured out that endless government regulation is good for the law business. Now, while there are plenty of conservative lawyers, like us, the profession as a whole definitely tilts to the left.
Andrew McCarthy takes on the Lawyer Left in National Review, specifically in the context of King & Spalding’s abandonment of its client, the House of Representatives, which we wrote about in The Left Politicizes the Practice of Law. McCarthy writes:

As an institution, the profession is the vanguard of the movement Left. Its votaries make their choices about representation based on progressive politics. Attorneys who are resistant to the cause but desperate to remain in the club are pressured to conform or at the very least to profess admiration for the heroic good faith in which the Lawyer Left remorselessly pursues its agenda. Thus can the profession reliably bank on cover from the GOP Lawyers Guild whenever a left-wing attorney gets nominated to a high government post or undertakes to champion some anti-bourgeois cause — and also bank on there being no need to return the favor.
K&S understands how the game is played. The firm wants to be perceived as supportive of gay marriage. In the same way, through its pro bono work for terrorists and death-row murderers, it wants to be perceived as supportive of judicializing warfare and expanding the rights of criminals. The firm figures it can’t afford to be on the wrong side of the culture war.

What struck me most forcibly about McCarthy’s article is the contrast between the Left’s “everyone deserves a lawyer” mantra when the client is an al Qaeda terrorist and its treatment of lawyers who don’t toe the left-wing line:

John Yoo is a brilliant, ethical lawyer who, while at the Justice Department, was tasked with mapping the parameters of interrogation law so that CIA officials would know what they could and could not do to high-level al-Qaeda captives. It wasn’t Yoo’s policy. He was simply an attorney advising a client. Did the Lawyer Left say he was merely fulfilling a cherished constitutional role? Did they depict him as a latter-day John Adams, honorably representing an unpopular cause? Of course not: They tried, instead, to ruin him. …
It’s a con job. The Lawyer Left promotes a cause, not the Constitution. They’re within their rights to do that — it’s still a moderately free country, and I’m not suggesting that anyone try to destroy their lives and livelihoods like they tried to destroy Yoo’s. I just don’t see any reason to pretend that their choices reflect a high calling rather than a practical political strategy, one that has implications when Americans make the mistake of empowering them to formulate policy.

Everyone knows that the Left is hypocritical, but we should never lose sight of the fact that it is also vicious.


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