Honoring Our Oath
Robert O. Rice, J.
A his year's elections are behind us, and a presidential inauguration is before us, just a few days away. Perhaps these circumstances, and any uncertainty Utah lawyers may observe about the future, warrant a discussion about the rule of law. In this regard, I take comfort in the fact that" [t] he government of the United States has been emphatically termed a government of laws, and not of men. It will certainly cease to deserve this high appellation, if the laws furnish no remedy for the violation of a vested legal right." Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1 Cranch), 163, 2 L.Ed. 60(1803).
Consider this controlling legal authority in light of the oath that each of us took when we entered this profession: "I do solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Utah; that I will discharge the duties of attorney and counselor at law as an officer of the courts of this State with honesty, fidelity, professionalism, and civility...." Utah R. Prof 1. Conduct, Preamble: A Lawyer's Responsibilities, .
My experience among Utah lawyers is that nearly all of us take this oath seriously, especially from 9:00 to 5:00 when we are traditionally engaged in the practice of law. But there is no off-switch on that oath when we clock out of the office. In fact, " [a] lawyer's conduct should conform to the requirements of the law, both in professional service to clients and in the lawyer's business and personal affairs." Id., . Jeez! We can't shake this thing about upholding the Constitution, can we?
So what as Utah lawyers are we to do in our personal lives to honor the oath we took to uphold the Constitution, protect the rule of law and ensure that our nation's government remains "a government of laws, and not of men"? See Marbury, 5 U.S. at 163.
Well, you could protest, like so many have already done. See Christopher Mele & Annie Correal,
"Not Our President": Protests Spread Ajter Donald Trump's Election, NY Times (Nov. 9,2016), www.nylimes.com/20l6/ll/10/us/trump-election-protests.html?-r=0 ("Thousands of people across the country marched, shut down...