Last week I started a three-part blog series to address Justice Alito’s recent statement that “Our country needs lawyers.” In Part 1, I explained that because lawyers spend their time resolving ambiguity, they allow everyone else to operate as though things were clear. The world can look black-and-white only because there’s been a lawyer to worry about the unavoidable grey-ness. And there’s a lot of value in that.
Today I’m going to look at another reason that our country needs lawyers. It’s related to the first reason, but I think it’s distinctive enough to deserve its own treatment: Lawyers as a group serve our country as a ready whipping-boy for many of our most difficult decisions.
And so, like Part 1 where lawyers serve others by shouldering life’s ambiguity, lawyers also serve by giving everyone a clear conscience on tricky things like free speech, rights of the accused, the meaning of life, personal injury verdicts, etc. If you don’t like a result or don’t like a policy, you’ve got the easiest people in the world to blame: lawyers.