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Letters to the Editor

bc law magazine spring 2003

Gratuitous Assault?

As regards Michael O’Donnell’s article (“Standing on Principle,” Fall/Winter 2002), the author alleges that “one of our most cherished principles, commitment to the rule of law, is under assault” by President Bush. O’Donnell then relates that the president’s “assault” on the rule of law consists of the State Department’s filing of an amicus brief in support of Exxon Mobil in a case where Exxon Mobil is accused of turning a blind eye to nefarious activities of security guards at an Exxon plant in Indonesia. The other prong of the president’s “assault” on the rule of law is described as the Bush administration’s “keeping close tabs” on a case where families of the 9/11 victims are suing the Saudi royal family for their alleged role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I always understood that the filing of an amicus brief in a pending case was a way to bring to a court’s attention facts and/or law relevant to the issues to be decided by the court. One assumes that the two cases of concern to O’Donnell have been drawn to [the attention of] competent jurists who will determine the facts, apply the law, and reach a reasoned result. One would further assume that should any of the parties in the cases conclude that the decisions suffer from legal error, the appellate process is available to remedy the error. I was taught that the judicial branch of our government functions independently from the executive branch. From my viewpoint then, what O’Donnell describes as an “assault” upon the rule of law is nothing more than a gratuitous bashing of President Bush by O’Donnell. Charles E. Chase ’68 Dedham, Massachusetts

Mock Trial Triumph

Thanks for Jeri Zeder’s article on the twenty-eighth annual mock trial competition (“Trial and Error,” Fall/Winter 2002). I loved the energy. Rather than merely reporting on the event, the piece captured so much of the tension, fun, and anxiety. And it was a great move to include so much information on the problem—it made the tension seem much more credible. Great photos, too. Thanks so much—all the BSA (Board of Student Advisors) folks are beaming. Alexis Anderson Director of Advocacy, Boston College Law School

Forever Grateful

Thank you for profiling Professor Paul Tremblay (“Paul Tremblay: Changing the World, One Lesson at a Time,” Fall/Winter 2002). Paul was my clinical supervisor during the two semesters of the 1983–1984 academic year, and under his wise and enthusiastic tutelage I heard my own calling to poverty law work. Nineteen years later I am still at it, and I am forever grateful that he taught me the joys of doing good lawyering for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters. Paul, and the Legal Assistance Bureau, are the reasons I still read your magazine. James G. McGiffin Jr. ’85 Executive Director, Community Legal Aid Society, Wilmington, Delaware

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