Remembering Two Legal Giants

Two years ago this Memorial Day weekend, within hours of each other, we lost Archibald Cox and Sam Dash, two legal giants who made their mark most prominently during the Watergate saga a generation ago.

In the two years since they have been gone, the level of constitutional angst about the government's war on terror and its other pet projects has increased by an order of magnitude and that has me wondering: where are the next crop of lawyers like Cox and Dash going to come from? Where are they now? Are they making their voices heard as best they can or are they lurking in the shadows, hoping to ride it out? And does the political and legal environment these days even contemplate or permit the rise to prominence and influence of men and women like Dash and Cox?

From the NSA surveillance program to the unannounced government collection of phone call records, from the unprecedented executive-branch raid last weekend on Congress to the classification of citizens as "enemy combatants", from the farce that was the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui to the threatening words of the Attorney General when he talks about prosecuting reporters for publishing leaked information, the country is awash in vital legal issues and conflicts that simply cry out for attention and resolution by men and women of good will and high integrity.

I can't help but wonder what Dash and Cox would have thought of the events of the past two years. And I can't help but wait for their successors-in-interest to emerge from the slime to help restore not just order but justice. Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend wherever you and whatever you are doing. Thanks for reading and take care.

By  |  May 26, 2006; 3:00 PM ET
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Can't say much about Sam Dash, but I think Archibald Cox would be appalled. He was Chairman Emeritus of Common Cause, a political action committee dedicated to eliminating corrupting influences from government. The unrestrained power the current administration says it has would have been anathema to Mr. Cox. Nothing corrupts like power.

Posted by: Cujo359 | May 26, 2006 10:44 PM

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