In election years I tell all my legal ethics seminar classes to start teaching their non-lawyer neighbors and relatives ABA Model Rule 1.2 b, which reads,
(b) A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities.
This, combined with the principle of zealous representation of one’s client, as expressed, for example, in D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct Rule 1.3…
(a) A lawyer shall represent a client zealously and diligently within the bounds of the law.
(b) A lawyer shall not intentionally:
(1) Fail to seek the lawful objectives of a client through reasonably available means permitted by law and the disciplinary rules; or
(2) Prejudice or damage a client during the course of the professional relationship….
…means that lawyers represent clients, and are bound to seek those clients’ objectives when those objectives are legal whether the lawyer likes or agrees with those objectives or not.
It means that it is ignorant, wrong and dangerous to the rule of law as well as the right of citizens to be the beneficiaries of laws in a democracy and not the servants of them, for unscrupulous political opponents to attack lawyers for the positions, objectives and needs of the clients they represented. It means that it is disgusting for maleducated journalists to misinform the already disturbingly confused public by using a matter that a lawyer-turned-candidate’s client needed legal advocacy for as an excuse to impugn the candidate’s character.
Lawyers do not have to agree with or like their clients’ positions, objectives or character, is that clear? Everybody? Lawyers are not to be held accountable for their client’s motives, conduct or legal objectives. Bill Cosby’s lawyers do not approve of rapists. Johnnie Cochran did not support the hobby of ex-wife knifing.
Yet this happens every election cycle, without fail: cheap shots directed at candidates who are lawyers based on one or more of their unsavory clients. There are two lawyers left in the current primary competition, and guess what?
You guessed it.
Hillary’s ancient defense of a rapist was used to slime her all the way back in 2014. The unfair attack raised its misshapen and empty head last week on CNN, when a Trump supporter brought it up. What we know about Clinton is that she defended a child rapist she was appointed to represent pro bono in 1975, and did an excellent job. She used all the tactics that she was allowed to use. She attacked the credibility of the twelve-year-old victim, and threw sufficient doubt on the the chain of evidence that Clinton got an advantageous plea bargain for her client, who served just ten months in prison. Sure, he was guilty, and Hillary knew it. It was her job to make the prosecution prove its case with sufficient evidence, and they failed. The victim, we are told, has had a hard life because of the experience. That is not in any way Clinton’s fault or responsibility.
Now it’s on to Ted Cruz. Here is Slate’s click-bait, misleading, deceitful headline to further the “Ted Cruz is a some kind of sexually repressed weirdo” trope the left-biased media is peddling:
Ted Cruz Once Argued That Selling Dildos Should Be Illegal
The headline doesn’t clarify that in this instance “argued” is a term of art, and that it wasn’t Ted Cruz personally making the argument, but attorney Ted Cruz arguing in a brief and before an appellate court on behalf of his then client, the state of Texas, in defense of a Texas law, duly passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor. Selling dildos and other sex toys was illegal at the time, and it was not up to Ted Cruz to decide otherwise. Some Austin-based sex-toy companies sued Texas to challenge its law banning sex toy sales, and Cruz defended the law, which was his job.
The progressive news media has a starry-eyed preference for state and national attorneys—like Eric Holder— who decide they should oppose laws they don’t like and thus undermine the legislative system and the orderly process of court challenges while defying the stated will of the public. Cruz doesn’t think that’s being an ethical lawyer. Neither do I.
Mocking Ted Cruz for the arguments he made on behalf of his client, Texas, in defense of a stupid law that Texas chose to pass, shows either intentional or shocking ignorance of what lawyers do. His arguments are not his personal opinion, but rather the best arguments he felt were available to defend that stupid law. (Texas’s law lost 2-1. Dildos won. )
So there’s the answer to a fun 2016 campaign trivia question to amuse your friends. What do Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz have in common?
Answer: They are both lawyers, and they are both being slimed for being good ones, by people who either don’t know what lawyers have to do to keep us free and living in a democracy, or who don’t want you to know.