Kerry Healey’s attacks have prodded Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly to break a longstanding tradition, and endorse Deval Patrick:
During the 34-year history of Lawyers Weekly, the paper has never endorsed a candidate for elected office. This practice was borne out of the notion that the political, or societal, issues that dominate races typically outweigh issues that are of distinct interest to lawyers.
But the race for governor in Massachusetts in 2006 is suddenly very much about what it means to be a lawyer.
On the one hand, we have Democratic nominee Deval Patrick, whose stated policies on judicial independence and appointment of judges (among other issues) reflect a genuine understanding of the legal system. Conversely, Republican nominee Kerry Healey has launched a chilling assault on the practice of law.
What is Healey’s message? That criminal-defense attorneys somehow should be associated with, or blamed for, the actions of their clients? That protecting important constitutional rights is somehow a seedy business?
Their editorial also points out some of the reasons they think Patrick “has quietly made it known that he appreciates the key components of the legal system”:
- Patrick “favors giving judicial administrators more control over their budgets and pay increases for lawyers who do work for the state, including prosecutors.”
- “Patrick says he would devote much attention to selecting judges, returning power to the Judicial Nominating Commission.”
- Patrick “has suggested that he will be careful before criticizing a judge’s decision. ‘Judges don’t go looking for hard decisions,’ he has said.”
And they close with a rhetorical answer to Healey’s ad’s rhetorical question:
Do we really want someone who defends accused criminals as our governor? President John Adams, author of the Constitution that Healey swore to uphold as lieutenant governor, defended the accused killers in the Boston Massacre trial. Do you think Adams would have been qualified to be our governor?