Heidi Heitkamp

Let's kill all the lawyers [Editorial]

Let's kill all the lawyers [Editorial]

On March 5, 1770, a group of British soldiers fired into an unruly crowd, killing five American civilians in an incident known as the Boston Massacre. Facing murder charges and potentially the death penalty, the soldiers had difficulty finding someone to defend them in court.

John Adams agreed to represent them not because he sympathized with their circumstances but because he believed that they had a right to a legal defense. He succeeded, too, as six of the soldiers were acquitted and two convicted only of manslaughter.

That Mr. Adams took up such an unpopular cause was not held against him. He went on to become the second president of the United States while the principle...