Politics, Governing and the Law

I feel such a sense of disappointment and despair when I think about this Administration, the complicity of Congressional Republicans, and the total abdication of responsibility by Senate Republicans. What has happened to our country? Where are the leaders? Where is the support for our institutions of government, and the respect for the rule of law?

Back in the late ’70’s I was a Political Science major at the University at Albany. While there, I spent three years working for the New York State Legislature. I learned so much; observed so much during that time, and made some lasting friendships. The nice thing about being a clerk then was that the Legislators would spend the time to talk with you, and explain things to you. I learned so much from one of my mentors– Rollie Kidder, a Vietnam Vet, country lawyer, and my Assemblyman. It was Rollie who convinced me to go to law school. He said, two types of people have power and respect in government– elected officials and lawyers; and lawyers have a host of other opportunities.

Rollie was a Democrat, and our State Senator, Jess Present, was a Republican. The two of them worked closely together for the benefit of their Districts. I witnessed this first hand. I also witnessed two young Assemblyman from New York City, Chuck Schumer and Jerry Nader, one of whom encouraged me to “leave the sticks” and work for a NYC Legislator for a session, to gain a different perspective– which I did.

So I grew up with a sense of awe and respect for government, and went on to develop a strong belief in the rule of law. This has been fundamental to my work throughout my career, as a trial lawyer, agency attorney, private attorney and regulatory specialist.

Everything I believe in seems to be turned on end. Most simply, the fundamental lack of respect and disregard for our institutions and the rule of law is a pervasively undermining the foundations upon which our country was founded.

I take some solace in the House Democrats. The impeachment process has imposed some sense of normalcy in very abnormal times. A good first step.

It’s going to get worse in 2020, before we have any hope of it getting better.

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