The issue of lawyers bankers and diplomats doing their jobs superlatively -- for causes which drive certain sections of the power elite crazy -- has gone both ways. Debo Adegbile is the latest victim of such power politics -- a lawyer who took up an unpopular cause, defending a cop-killer. Sen. Pat Toomey's argument (Inquirer, 3/3) amounts to saying that only incompetent lawyers should be allowed to defend controversial defendants.
Lawyers are not required to believe in the innocence of their clients. When diplomats like John Bolton are hired as Ambassadors to a United Nations they have professed to despise, one has to rethink whether such a presidential appointment is appropriate. There are often good reasons for politicians to vote against a presidential appointment.
Adegbile is being unfairly tainted by the acts of the client he defended. Toomey wants to re-argue the re-election of President Obama, and argues that a less effective advocate of civil rights should get the job. Toomey's high dudgeon about sympathy for Officer Daniel Faulkner's family, or the morality of defending criminals, even on appeal, comes out of an un-American view of justice -- where the accused are not presumed innocent, and the lawyers who defend them are subject to discrimination or persecution themselves, after the fact.
This is the sort of thing people used to taunt the left by saying, "Go back to Russia!" If Toomey's understanding of American justice is so deficient, he should resign.
Ben Burrows, Elkins Park