Article Title

The Quality of Justice


Lewis J. Liman


The quality of our system of justice is measured by the service it provides to the poorest and most despised members of society. My father, Arthur L. Liman, held that credo throughout his life. As a young lawyer, he headed the New York State Commission on Attica Prison and turned an investigation into a prison uprising into a searching and pathbreaking examination of the U.S. corrections system and its abuses. No one previously had opened the prison doors so widely to public view. As a partner in the New York firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, he used his access to positions of wealth and power to summon others to their civic duties. He was the founding chairman of the Legal Action Center and led it for its first twenty-five years; he was President of the Legal Aid Society of New York; he was Chairman of the New York State Capital Defender Office; and he helped found the Neighborhood Defender Service of the Vera Institute of Justice. Finally, in his most well known assignment, my father served as counsel to the U.S. Senate in the Congressional Iran-Contra hearings. He used that forum to expose the secret, off-the-shelf foreign policy organization that zealots in the White House had used to circumvent congressional limitations on aid to the Contras and to bypass the Departments of State and Defense.

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