Posts Tagged ‘Chief Judge Lippman; Presiding Justice Gonzalez ; Judge Prudenti’

“Equal Protection Under the Law”

Monday, October 1st, 2012

This morning, I offered my testimony on Chief Judge Lippman’s proposal to expand civil legal aid on behalf of the poor. Here is a copy of my remarks.

Chief Judge Lippman; Presiding Justice Gonzalez; Judge Prudenti; Bar Association President James;  neighbors united in the notable cause of justice and service:

I come this morning very grateful for the chance to promote an initiative I consider crucial and promising for this city and state I am now proud to call my earthly home;

I come with deep admiration for the prophetic leadership of Chief Judge Lippman, encouraged by other esteemed jurists like Judge Gail Prudenti and Mr. Thomas More; as well as our own Catholic Lawyers Guild.

I come, hardly as a legal expert or politician…but only as a pastor, to heartily support an endeavor that I’m convinced will bring justice to people who, simply put, have nowhere else to go but to the courts, which enflesh the assurance of this great country that there is, indeed, “equal protection under the law.”

See, as a pastor, I daily hear from our Catholic Charities about struggling people evicted from their little apartments without notice or a chance of recourse;

As a pastor, I daily hear from our parish priests who have people at their door hungry because they were terminated from jobs, apparently without cause, a few days before with no severance, back pay, or benefits;

As pastor, I hear from educators such as Sister Michelle who tells me of her kids at one of our  schools who spent the night on the street because of violence in the home, their mom not knowing where to seek recourse.

As a pastor, I hear from parishioners who run the daily soup kitchens about their guests who have lost lodging, salaries, immigration papers, even children in custody cases, who cry for someone to represent them.

As a pastor, I reflect on the assurances of the Jewish and Christian scriptures in the Bible that God is a judge who will guard the rights of  His downtrodden people, and before him whom all have innate rights and dignity.

As pastor, I praise God that, through Chief Judge Lippman’s proposal –civil, not only criminal, but civil legal services be available to those who have no means to afford it otherwise.

As a pastor who happens to be a New Yorker, I want to be able to boast again that this great state, so often in the lead on urgent issues of justice and compassion, is once more showing the way;

As a pastor who happens to be an American, I want to be able to claim that our noble values such as “equal protection under the law,” that all stand before the bench as equals, and that one has inalienable rights based, not on bank accounts or stock portfolios, but because one is made in God’s image and likeness, are real, not hollow, serious, not sham.

As a pastor, the refrain I often hear from our poor folks is, “I have no one to turn to.”

Chief Judge Lippman, with your enlightened proposal – that our struggling neighbors have access to civil as well as criminal legal representation in our judicial system; and that our attorneys who are attracted to their vocation because it’s not just a job but a call to serve, would pledge hours of pro-bono representation in civil cases –are people will indeed have someone to turn to; God will nod in agreement that His assurance to His people have been realized; and Lady Liberty will smile that the tired, searching, and poor have found here a sanctuary of justice.

God bless your efforts! Count on my prayers and support.

Chief Judge Lippman; Presiding Justice Gonzalez; Judge Prudenti; Bar Association President James;  neighbors united in the notable cause of justice and service:

I come this morning very grateful for the chance to promote an initiative I consider crucial and promising for this city and state I am now proud to call my earthly home;

I come with deep admiration for the prophetic leadership of Chief Judge Lippman, encouraged by other esteemed jurists like Judge Gail Prudenti and Mr. Thomas More; as well as our own Catholic Lawyers Guild.

I come, hardly as a legal expert or politician…but only as a pastor, to heartily support an endeavor that I’m convinced will bring justice to people who, simply put, have nowhere else to go but to the courts, which enflesh the assurance of this great country that there is, indeed, “equal protection under the law.”

See, as a pastor, I daily from our Catholic Charities about struggling people evicted from their little apartments without notice or a chance of recourse;

As a pastor, I daily hear from our parish priests who have people at their door hungry because they were terminated from jobs, apparently without cause, a few days before with no severance, back pay, or benefits;

As pastor, I hear from educators such as Sister Michelle who tell me of her kids at one of our schools who spent the night on the street because of violence in the home, their mom not knowing where to seek recourse.

As a pastor, I hear from parishioners who run the daily soup kitchens about their guests who have lost lodging, salaries, immigration papers, even children in custody cases who cry for someone to represent them.

As a pastor, I reflect on the assurances of the Jewish and Christian scriptures in the Bible that God is a judge who will guard the rights of this downtrodden people, and before him whom all have innate rights and dignity.

As pastor, I praise God that, through Chief Judge Lippman’s proposal –civil, not only criminal, but civil legal services be available to those who have no means to afford it otherwise.

As a pastor who happens to be a New Yorker, I want to be able to boast again that this great state, so often in the lead on urgent issues of justice and compassion, is once more showing the way;

As a pastor who happens to be an American, I want to be able to claim that our noble values such as “equal protection under the law,” that all stand before the bench as equals, and that one has inalienable rights based, not on bank accounts or stock portfolios, but because one is made in God’s image and likeness, are real, not hollow, serious, not sham.

As a pastor, the refrain I often hear from our poor folks is, “I have no one to turn to.”

Chief Judge Lippman, with your enlightened proposal – that our struggling neighbors have access to civil as well as criminal legal representation in our judicial system; and that our attorneys who are attracted to their vocation because it’s not just a job but a call to serve, would pledge hours of pro-bono representation in civil cases –are people will indeed have someone to turn to; God will not in agreement that His assurance to His people have been realized; and Lady Liberty will smile that the tired, searching, and poor have found here a sanctuary of justice.

God bless your efforts! Count on my prayers and support.