Commentary

The best editorial of the weekend

Image of UNC symbolThere were several fine editorials in the state’s major newspapers over the weekend. The Charlotte Observer rightfully called for the resignation of the nation’s Attorney General in light of the blatant perjury in which he engaged during his confirmation hearing. Both the Winston-Salem Journal and Greensboro News & Record lauded Governor Roy Cooper’s education budget proposal and the Faytteville Observer panned the idea that vouchers and charters can solve the state’s K-12 problems. Meanwhile Raleigh’s News & Observer blasted Congressman George Holding for failing to hold any town hall meetings during his congressional break and instead spending it on an overseas junket.

What may have been the best editorial of  the weekend, however, appeared in Sunday’s Wilmington Star-News. In “UNC legal centers help students and clients,” the paper derided efforts by right-wingers on the UNC Board of Governors to silence the UNC Law School’s Center for Civil Rights. In defending the Center, the editorial noted that:

“In 2001, for example, the Center intervened on behalf of the town of Navassa to block plans for a massive corporate trash dump nearby. The challenge was successful, plans for the dump were dropped, and an elementary school was put on the site.

The center has argued before the state Supreme Court on behalf of people wrongly sterilized by the state under the old Eugenics Commission.”

The editorial concludes by debunking the claim of some conservatives that university centers shouldn’t be engaged in litigation:

“The Governors, presumably, would not object to law students working as interns in big law firms, pushing paper on behalf of giant corporate clients.

If this no-lawsuit policy is adopted, a lot of folks who can’t defend themselves will have no defense at all. Few private lawyers will have the time to take on these often-complicated cases.

Do we want the best court system that money can buy? Or do we want one that dispenses justice?

Forget this misbegotten motion and let law students help the poor folks and gain great academic experience along the way.”

Exactly. As was noted last week over on the main NC Policy Watch site: the Center “is about expanding rights and serving the powerless – all while educating and empowering students to bust the prevailing image of lawyers in our society.” That is precisely what our law schools ought to be doing.

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