Inspirational Words about Patriotism

My mother, a public defender, sent me this a few days ago. I find this to be inspirational not only in my belief in the constitutional right to counsel but also in the bigger picture: people acting on the their convictions.

In all of this work, you’ve helped people in crisis and in need. And, as you have stood by your clients, you have also stood up for, and honored, a basic principle that defines who we are as a nation of laws. As you all know, advancing the cause of justice sometimes means working for the sake of the fairness and integrity of our system of justice. This is why lawyers who accept our professional responsibility to protect the rule of law, the right to counsel, and access to our courts – even when this requires defending unpopular positions or clients – deserve the praise and gratitude of all Americans. They also deserve respect. Those who reaffirm our nation’s most essential and enduring values do not deserve to have their own values questioned. Let me be clear about this: Lawyers who provide counsel for the unpopular are, and should be treated as what they are: patriots.

-Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States of America speaking at the Pro Bono Institute Gala on March 19, 2010

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