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For NACDL and the Foundation for Criminal Justice, Law Day Is Every Day (Inside NACDL)
By Norman L. Reimer
For NACDL members, at least this one, it was difficult to conceal a wry smile when I learned that the American Bar Association (ABA) had selected as this year’s Law Day theme, The Legacy of John Adams, From Boston to Guantánamo. According to ABA President Steven N. Zack, he chose the theme “to foster understanding of the historical and contemporary role of lawyers in defending the principle of due process of law and the rights of the accused.”1 To be sure, I appreciate the ABA’s recognition of defense lawyers. It’s just a shame that we still need to have a special day to celebrate the criminal defense lawyer’s role in defending an accused — the only context in which the right to a lawyer is a constitutional guarantee. One would hope that when an American’s chest swells with patriotic pride at the playing of the national anthem, it would reflect the understanding that the right of the accused to have a lawyer when the government wields the awesome power of prosecution is a large part of
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