In this past Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle, John Diaz penned an editorial on the President Obama’s nomination of UC Berkeley law professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco and includes a quote from partner Dale Minami:
Liu’s nomination also must overcome the broader climate of conservatives’ contempt for the concept that an attorney who has taken on a liberal cause, or a publicly loathed client, ever could serve as an impartial arbiter. Edward Chen, another Obama nominee for the Ninth Circuit, has endured flak for his past work for the ACLU, despite his subsequent record of evenhandedness as a U.S. magistrate. And some conservatives continue to hammer at Attorney General Eric Holder for hiring lawyers who once represented suspected terrorists. The furor over each shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the distinct roles of attorneys, prosecutors and judges in our legal system.
“If you’re a lawyer, you’re supposed to be an advocate for justice … but if you do it for the, quote, ‘wrong side,’ then you’re disqualified forever from becoming a judge?” observed Dale Minami, a San Francisco attorney and friend of both Liu and Chen. “That just doesn’t seem right.”
It isn’t. It’s a measure of the sorry state of dysfunction in Washington.