Defending the Rule of Law
Alameda County Bar Association Statement on the Rule of Law
In the face of the political divisiveness and uncertainty that 2017 brings, the ACBA remains committed to our mission of promoting excellence in the legal profession and facilitating equal access to justice. We are a strong group of passionate people with the skills and commitment to protect and serve the most vulnerable in our community.
We believe in the critical role of checks and balances in our democracy, and remain dedicated to protecting the constitutional structure of our government. Upholding and promoting the Rule of Law, one of the defining characteristics of a democratic society, is an inherent part of our mission, and we are committed to continuing that work in the current political climate. While we may not all agree politically, we all stand for the power of the law, and the power of the Rule of Law.
The ACBA and VLSC serve our community in Alameda County by representing immigrants and other vulnerable communities, ensuring that they have equal access to the justice system, regardless of the language they speak or their ability to pay. Part of our justice mission is to champion the interests of those least able to stand up for, or protect, themselves. Through the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation, the Lawyer Referral Service, and the Court Appointed Attorney Program, we offer support and assistance to those who face discrimination or unfair treatment, and those who are the victims of brutality, hate crimes, or unconstitutional treatment.
Together we will stand tall with our community.
Rule of Law Statement 1.13.21
The Alameda County Bar Association condemns in the strongest terms the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 by protesters during the process to certify the Electoral College victory of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris. The violence was not free speech; it was criminal conduct, and should be prosecuted. We call on President Donald Trump and all other leaders to condemn this violence immediately, demand that it stop, and protect the safety and lives of those inside the Capitol. President Trump has a duty to restore and protect the rule of law.
Dozens of lawsuits challenging the election results were carefully considered by courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and rejected. Despite thorough and transparent investigation, no evidence of any significant fraud was found. Continued efforts to allege election fraud without evidence, and to incite violence as a result, is directly in contravention to the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
The peaceful transition of power from one elected president to the next is a revered American tradition going back more than two centuries and serves as a model to the rest of the world. All elected officials and others in positions of civic responsibility must now uphold their oath to defend the Constitution, support a peaceful transition of power, and thereby protect the rule of law.
What can you do?
- Get involved. Volunteer with the Volunteer Legal Services Corporation (VLSC). We hold over 40 monthly clinics and are launching a new Saturday clinic called CLASP: Community Legal Advice Saturday Program – a free drop-in clinic designed to give anyone who walks in a chance to meet with an attorney and receive a 15-20 minute consultation in a wide spectrum of areas of law. Contact Christina Wiellette, VLSC Manager, for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Get educated. Attend one of our MCLE programs (now free to members!) to learn how you can use your skills to help those grappling with the uncertainty and fear so rampant today. To find out what we have planned, or to suggest an idea of your own, check out our website at www.acbanet.org, or contact Hadassah Hayashi, Membership and Education Manager, at email@example.com.
- Get connected. Keep in touch with us. We will keep you posted on issues as they arise, and we will respond, working locally, to challenges to the Rule of Law and to our Constitution. If you want to participate in this work, contact Tiela Chalmers, CEO and General Counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- LSC Funding: President Trump’s budget calls for the elimination of the LSC budget, giving LSC a pittance to wind down. Read our letter to Congress, and send your own! Read the letter here
- From Muslim Advocates – Community Guidance: Revised Executive Order Restricting Muslim Entry to the U.S. Read more
- AG Jeff Session’s memo to federal prosecutors re making criminal immigration offenses a priority.
Articles that caught our eye
- Could Trump Muzzle Comey? A Look at Executive Privilege (NY Times)
ACBA Statement on the Judiciary
February 10, 2017 – Oakland CA: The Alameda County Bar Association is concerned by President Trump’s recent statements questioning the independence and loyalty of the Federal Courts. The Founding Fathers created three independent and equal branches of government – the executive, the legislative and the judicial – specifically in order to achieve the checks and balances that are at the heart of our democratic system. The fact that a judge does or does not agree with the actions of another branch of government does not make the judiciary political – it simply reflects checks and balances at work. We join with others in finding the President’s statements disheartening, and urge the Administration to respect the basic structures that make the United States government so strong and enduring.
The ACBA is a membership association of attorneys who live, work and/or practice in Alameda County. Our mission is to promote excellence in the profession and to facilitate equal access to justice.