Letters to the Editor
Two Covers, Four Takes
Posted Jan 1, 2009 3:10 AM CDT
My son was born on Nov. 3, and as I sat in the hospital with my wife, trying to find the best election coverage on 100-plus channels on the 4th, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “This is it—I’m holding the best election coverage in my hands.” With so many television pundits and so much of the media all saying essentially the same thing, your lawyer bios about who might hold the reins of power in a few months provided much-needed concrete information.
We have a unique chance to participate in a system that is by the people, for the people and of the people. White’s short piece on the role of the ABA in our democracy reminded me of the importance of lawyers and the rule of law. Without this emphasis on process and the rule of law, our government has no efficacy—indeed, it simply would not be a democracy.
Daniel K. Smithwick
Your November cover, or should I say covers, were terrific!
You are now in good company. I remember well the Mad magazine cover/covers that were published while the 1960 election results were not yet known. One side featured John Kennedy and the other Richard Nixon. Mad had two covers, like yours, but in the magazine the reverse printing went all the way to the center binding. I trust that 40 years from now someone will smile when they remember your cover.
On a more serious note, as lawyers and as a country, we can only hope that the upcoming years are remembered as a time of working together, compromise and effective politics, rather than as a period of further polarization. I thank H. Thomas Wells Jr. (“No Time for Tension, No Room for Rancor”) and Henry F. White Jr. for pointing this out in their articles.
John L. Nickelsberg
The attitude of your November cover story was troubling and indicative of how too many people, especially lawyers, view government. No one group of people “runs” America. We are a free people, and those in government don’t run America; they enforce and enact laws. I don’t wake up in the morning and ask myself, “What does the government demand of me today?” The day that lawyers or any other group of people run America will be the end of the rule of law and the freedoms we still hold.
Daniel J. Garfield
I was disappointed by your November cover stories. In the same issue you have a story illustrating why law firms are looking beyond the so-called top graduates of the so-called top schools, “End of the Road for the ‘Cravath Model’?”; yet the cover stories are shallow exercises in rounding up the usual suspects. Your interview with Jeffrey Toobin, “The Next Confirmation Battle,” suggests that U.S. Supreme Court justices need not come from the ranks of federal appellate judges, but then he goes on as well to trot out some shopworn political and academic personalities. Too little effort is made to identify candidates on any basis other than the obvious. The judicial craft, especially at the appellate level, is about much more than being a familiar name or having courtroom skills. Why not a sophisticated business lawyer, or a leading corporate or nonprofit executive?
Another irony: In “Memo to Prosecutors: Time to Back Off,” you explain how the Justice Department has moved away from its misguided policies of pressuring firms to waive attorney-client privilege or to deny coverage of counsel fees for employees under investigation. Yet one of the “usual suspects” for attorney general is who else but Larry Thompson, who has been so closely associated with at least some of these appalling practices.
In “The Blawg 100,” December, Bernard Hibbitts is incorrectly referred to as Associate Dean for Communications and Information Technology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is currently a professor of law and editor and publisher of Jurist.
In addition, Carolyn Elefant’s recent book, Solo by Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Wanted to Be, noted in the entry for MyShingle.com, is available for sale but not as a free e-book.
The Journal regrets the errors.