Yesterday, I did a piece entitled Obama: The Only Thing You Need to Know. It was a big success, and everyone seemed to like taking a focus on the constitutional law aspect of Obama's career.
Today, I've decided to take out my looking glass again and focus it on Obama's time as a civil rights attorney. At a time when our civil rights are being taken for granted by the government that is sworn to protect them, it would be nice to have a President who has defended them in court.
“[Miner Barnhill & Galland]'s a real do-good firm,” says Fay Clayton, lead counsel for the National Organization for Women in a landmark lawsuit aimed at stopping abortion clinic violence. “Barack and that firm were a perfect fit. He wasn't going to make as much money there as he would at a LaSalle Street firm or in New York, but money was never Barack's first priority anyway.”
A few more examples beneath the fold…
NOTE: This diary was originally posted on DailyKos 2 days ago. It was very popular over there. Since we don't get to vote out here in Chicago for quite some time, I thought perhaps I could have more of a voice if I kept all you first in the nation caucus goers informed. It is part of an ongoing series about Barack Obama's experience, yes I realize the irony, and I'll be catching you all up on them over the next few days. If you'd prefer to go read the most recent one, on Barack's time as a community organizer, head over to DailyKos and skip the suspense.
Obama was part of a team of attorneys who represented the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois in 1995 for failing to implement a federal law designed to make it easier for the poor and others to register as voters.
Obama also wrote a major portion of an appeals brief on behalf of a whistleblower who exposed waste and corruption in a research project involving Cook County Hospital and the Hektoen Institute for Medical Research and alleged that she was fired in retaliation.
The case was settled out of court. The county agreed to pay the federal government $5 million, part of which went to the whistleblower, Dr. Janet Chandler. Hektoen agreed to pay $500,000 to the government plus $170,000 to Chandler for wrongful termination.
Obama was part of a team of lawyers representing black voters and aldermen that forced Chicago to redraw ward boundaries that the City Council drew up after the 1990 census. They said the boundaries were discriminatory.
After an appeals court ruled the map violated the federal Voting Rights Act, attorneys for both sides drew up a new set of ward boundaries.
To underline that Obama is truly the kind of man who will fight for your rights, no matter the cost (pun intended):
“On his second day down in Springfield he called me and said, 'Don't pay me — this is a full-time job,'” Miner recalls.
Obama agreed to work for the firm in summer when the legislature was out of session. His law license became inactive in 2002 as politics took over.
All of these quotes were taken from the excellent Boston Globe article quoted at top.
UPDATE 2: Thanks to NuisanceIndustry for pointing out an article I'll be using for a future piece. I'm absolutely willing and happy to use a source you provide to increase my / our knowledge of a specific aspect of Obama's experience. If you have something to add to this or a future diary about one of his past experiences, I will be more than happy to credit you and include that in my diaries. Just leave it in a comment, I read through them all. 🙂
Also, look for a diary tomorrow about either Obama's experience with voter registration or his experience as a community organizer, I'm not sure which I'll decide to do first. But expect more this week.
And since it's falling off the Rec list but is one of the more important things you should read pertaining to Obama right now, go give Obama helps us track $1,000,000,000,000 of federal spending some love.