WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) emphasized the need to protect the adversarial process in the American court system, saying, “If the adversarial system doesn’t work, you’re going to lose your rights, you’re going to lose your freedom, which potentially resulting in total loss of life, liberty and/or property.”
The adversarial system is one that presumes innocence and requires both sides of a lawsuit to conduct their own investigations, bring witnesses, provide opportunities for cross-examination, and protect defendants from government bias.
Lee was addressing the Federal Lawyers Association’s 2022 National Convention in the nation’s capital, warning of an increasingly powerful government and its potential to crush the liberties of the American people.
“We neglect the fact that [government] it’s just power,” he said. “Government is power, and like fire, it is dangerous and must be controlled – it must never be trusted.”
Lee argued for the opposing system:
…is itself absolutely necessary to the preservation of our individual liberties, for if, after all, you are drawn in by this entity whose sole purpose … is to exercise power over you — to compel you to do or not to do a certain thing — if you do If you don’t have enough representation, the opponent system won’t work. If the adversary system does not work, you will lose your rights, you will lose your freedom, culminating in total loss of life, liberty and/or property.”
The adversarial system depends on both plaintiffs and defendants having strong legal counsel — a point of contention that was brought up several times during the three-day convention, as the intimidation of lawyers for unpopular clients and the refusal of law firms to represent a growing trend. especially for conservative customers. Lee said:
We’ve seen tremendous pressure on a number of other institutions, including and especially our profession, where you’ve seen some prominent law firms, including some in this city, going out of their way to avoid certain clients. They go out of their way, in some cases, even to avoid excellent, reputable lawyers based solely on their past work experience, including many who worked in the Trump administration.
The drive to curtail freedoms of speech and association from the left is the main factor contributing to the degradation of the adversarial system.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Lee explained, said, “Something bad happens when we can’t tolerate speech, when we can’t tolerate opinions that differ from our own.”
Alito “characterized speech on college campuses as being in an abysmal state. He went on to say that free speech is essential,” Lee continued, arguing that “colleges and universities should lead by example in law, and law schools should lead by example, because the adversary system is set up so that the best way to get to the truth is to have strong opposing views.”
This requires lawyers to be willing to put their personal opinions aside in order to provide the strongest representation for their clients – regardless of whether they are charged with murder, rape or any other heinous crime. Lee went on to say:
To be able to do this, we must be willing to represent the unpopular client, even when it is difficult, even in many cases where it may be an unpopular client with whom we may strongly disagree. That is why we signed up, as lawyers, as officers of the court, and as people who claim allegiance to our constitutional system of government.
The adversarial system is needed now more than ever, as “We see the excessive accumulation of power in the hands of a few within the government,” Lee said.
“We have seen the American people deceived as to the meaning and purpose of government,” he continued. “We have been asked to treat government as if it were some kind of omnipotent, omniscient force: an entity that will know what is just and true at all times and will always do that thing.”
“We’re asked to create an almost supernatural relationship with it — one in which we assume it’s right, even as many expect us not to criticize it,” Lee added.
The Utah Republican described government abuse, particularly during the coronavirus, explaining that the First Amendment right to free association was the most violated right by the government during the coronavirus, allowing it to violate “everything else our rights”.
The Justice Department’s crackdowns on parents and political enemies of the Biden administration require a strong adversary system to bring to justice as the power dynamic continues to shift in the administration’s favor.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.