15 January 2007

Two of the Greatest Men of Our Time

Greg Worthen hosts the ninety-first edition of Blawg Review at his Public Defender Stuff blog. As befits today's birthday celebration for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., #91 is organized around several concepts from a passage in Dr. King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

Those themes -- justice and injustice, shared responsibility, and interrelatedness of interests -- are reflected in the outstanding selection of posts from the past week in the legal blogosphere. From a New Orleans judge jailing an overscheduled public defender, to administration backlash against firms which provide pro bono representation for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, to the weaknesses in a study of public defender effectiveness, this week's issue has a particular focus on those who provide the spirited defense in our system of adversarial justice. Other topics are not neglected, either; consider just a few of the highlights, including de facto segregation, African-American inventors, and the commodification of the civil rights struggle.

This year more than most, I had an opportunity to pause and reflect on Dr. King's works. My daughter attends a wonderful kindergarten and is fortunate to have a teacher whom she loves and who seems especially adept at encapsulating and communicating complex concepts to the younger set. This past week, she advised me that today would be Martin Luther King's birthday; I asked her if she knew why we celebrated his birthday. She promptly advised me that he made everyone equal. I asked her what that meant and she explained that when one person has one candy bar and another has two candy bars, they're not equal. "So Martin Luther King made sure that everyone got the same number of candy bars?" I asked. "Yes," she replied, "and I think he did some other things, too."

So on this special day, let's spend some thoughtful time with the outstanding posts collected in Blawg Review #91 and around the greater blogosphere celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Tonight, though, be sure to take a moment for yourself to enjoy a Hershey Bar and remember another man who, much as Dr. King, devoted his life to making sure that we all had an equal number of candy bars.

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