President's Message, 1219 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 6. 9

Author:By Herm Olsen
Position:Vol. 32 6 Pg. 9

President's Message

Vol. 32 No. 6 Pg. 9

Utah Bar Journal

December, 2019

November, 2019

The Rule of Law

By Herm Olsen

In the heart of central London lies Lincoln's Inn. The Inn occupies most of the eleven-acre rectangle formed by High Holborn on the north, the Royal Courts of Justice on the south, Chancery Lane on the east, and Lincoln's Inn Fields on the west. The Inn is the oldest of England's four Inns of Court, which control all barristers and soliciters in the realm.

I visited Lincoln's Inn in 1996 - and was awed at the ancient tradition to the rule of law that the Inns work so diligently to protect. Sir Thomas More attended Lincoln's Inn in 1502 - but lost his head thirty-three years later in a failure of the English rule of law.

Shift scenes now to a ten-acre office complex in the heart of Washington D.C. The Foggy Bottom neighborhood is home to the Watergate building that five burglars entered in the wee hours of June 17,1972.1 was an intern to a congressman and was working on Capitol Hill the morning of the break-in. I turned to a friend and pronounced: "You watch - this will lead right to the While House!" Indeed, these men were hired by C.R.E.E.P. [Committee to Re-elect the President], and the cover-up that followed led to the first and only resignation of a president in U.S. history.

Nixon's drama was a severe test as to whether the chief executive, the top law enforcement officer in the land, was above the rule of law. It appears we are now embarking on another such query even as you read this. Regardless of your position on the current drama, or how it plays out, it is essential that we confirm that in our rule of American law, we maintain and insist that no one -not even the sovereign government or its leader - is above the rule of law.

Most of us vaguely remember William Seward. As Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln, he engineered the purchase of Alaska from Russia - then derisively called "Seward's Folly." But before he was secretary of state, before he was governor of New York and upset loser on the third ballot to Lincoln at the 1860 Republican convention – before all that, he was an attorney.


To continue reading