Speaking at the Pro Bono Institute’s Chesterfield Smith Award Presentation, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder offered a rebuke of those who criticize Department of Justice lawyers who defend terrorism suspects in court.According to his prepared remarks, Holder said:
As you all know, advancing the cause of justice sometimes means working for the sake of the fairness and integrity of our system of justice. This is why lawyers who accept our professional responsibility to protect the rule of law, the right to counsel, and access to our courts – even when this requires defending unpopular positions or clients – deserve the praise and gratitude of all Americans. They also deserve respect. Those who reaffirm our nation’s most essential and enduring values do not deserve to have their own values questioned. Let me be clear about this: Lawyers who provide counsel for the unpopular are, and should be treated as what they are: patriots.