I recently got back from a trip to our nation's capital with the family. It was a lot of fun showing my kids the various monuments, the cherry blossoms that were in full bloom, and the impressive architecture. It was less fun for my kids when I tried to teach them about the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights, but for me, that was fun too. Our trip to DC was a bit of a homecoming for me as that is where I attended law school and therefore where I really learned about the legal system in its most ideal form. DC was a great place for that. The Supreme Court, the White House, the Capitol, and the National Archives (where the Declaration of Independence and Consitution are housed) were all within a short metro ride from the law school. We had Supreme Court Justices (both from this and other countries) come to the school to judge our moot court competitions and lecture. It was tremendous. But what I want to share here is how much that "luster" had disappeared in the years that I had been away. I graduated from law school in the summer of 2010 and moved to Tucson shortly thereafter. In that time, I have tried dozens of cases before juries and I have watched clients who are presumed innocent have their lives turned upside down before they have even been convicted of anything. I have watched day in and day out as men are brought into court shackled to each other who are suspiciously mostly men of color. And I have watched as people who have money get better outcomes than those who don't. I have also watched on the news insurrectionists storm the Capitol, nominees for the Supreme Court shout at senators about how much they enjoy beer, and watched a president of the United States be impeached twice before declaring that he will run again before being indicted for felonies. The bright sheen of the marble buildings that are so emblematic of the District just does not seem fitting. The government and the legal system are not shiny-- they are not bright. At the FDR memorial there is a quote of his etched on a wall that reads, "We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." On the front of the Palace of Justice in Bogota, Colombia, the seat and symbol of the judiciary in that country, there is an inscription that reads in Spanish, "Colombians, arms have given you independence. The laws will give you liberty." It would be nice if we all took more time to read the inscriptions that are placed on our monuments because they set a standard that we should be trying harder to meet. If you are in need of an attorney who understands that the law does not always get it right and that will fight to have the law work for you the way we claim to strive for, give me a call.
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