Winter 2020

Upholding the Law of the Land

One thing that can be said about the Boston College Law School community is that no two of its members are alike. Their personalities, perspectives, and strengths are dizzyingly diverse. And yet? And yet, most share a common belief: They were put on this planet to make a positive impact and to leave the world a more compassionate and law-abiding place.

In this age of uncommon indecency, that noble idea has suddenly become a very tall order. America has been under siege before, of course. This time, democracy itself seems threatened by a surprising foe: the body politic within. The structure that sustains the nation—what had seemed a sturdy-timbered constitution with its freedoms, rights, and balance of powers—is now being splintered by partisanship, greed, and propaganda.

All of which leaves those sworn to uphold the law of the land asking: What now?

Fortunately, as our governing document dictates, many among us already are well positioned to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessing of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Here are some examples.

The newest weapon in tax professor James Repetti’s arsenal to safeguard the general welfare is a law review article packed with empirical evidence showing how our culture, politics, and economy are suffering from sustained tax policy overemphasis on efficiency and under emphasis on equity. This issue presents a graphic representation of Repetti’s findings.

Florida attorney David Bianchi ’79 has represented families devasted by the deaths of sons from college hazing rituals. Not content to leave the matter in court, he headed to the legislature to change state law. Professor Francine Sherman ’80, who has spent her career on juvenile rights matters, has started an advocacy group for system-involved young women that empowers them to become activists on their own behalf.

Dermot Groome ’85 has taken his battle to different front, one with implications for justice on a global scale—and, on a micro level, for America’s soul. Not only has he served as senior prosecutor in eight trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, he also wrote the book on investigating human rights abuses.

In the article in this issue about his handling of the trial of Ratko Mladić, Groome holds up a mirror for America to view the bitter end of bigotry and hate. It is not a pretty picture.

Vicki Sanders, Editor

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