Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)
Republican National Lawyers Association | (RNLA)

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Shock and Awe!
-Mr. J. Caleb Boggs III

Photo - Mr. J. Caleb Boggs III
Mr. J. Caleb Boggs III
First of all, let me thank all of you who joined us at what was a very successful Lawyer’s Reception at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. We were joined by the McCain Campaign General Counsel Trevor Potter and his team, Sen. Sam Brownback, Co-Chair of the McCain Justice Advisory Committee, Hon. Asa Hutchinson, former Undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and many other prominent Republican lawyers.


The RNLA-sponsored Lawyer’s Reception kicked off what turned out to be a more exciting and less conventional convention than most of us ever anticipated. The RNLA answered Senator McCain’s call to help the victims of Hurricane Gustav by raising $1,472 at the reception to donate to the Mississippi Hurricane Recovery Fund. Special thanks to our reception sponsors: Principal Sponsor Wiley Rein LLP; Lead Sponsors Blank Rome LLP, Cooper & Kirk PLLC, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP, Lockridge Grindal Nauen, National Beer Wholesalers Association, Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi LLP; and Sponsors Charles Bell, Mark Foster, Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, and Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP. Also thanks to McCain Special Counsel Sean McAvoy and Ed Cox of New York, RNLA’s newest life members.


As I wrote earlier this summer, Sen. McCain “has the advantage of being able to go outside the box in his selection of a running mate. He could (and should) make a choice that will emphasize his twin message of integrity and change. That message best comes from outside of Washington, and could well herald from one of the many talented Republican Governors. Sen. McCain has the advantage of selecting his running mate after Sen. Obama has selected his. Republicans have the advantage of not having to make the first move – and the opportunity to be bold.”


Well, as we all know now, Senator McCain seized that opportunity in his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK). She stole the show and energized just about everyone at the Convention as well as the tens of millions of Americans who watched from their homes. After much anticipation, we finally have the shock and awe that many had hoped for. Sen. McCain certainly shocked the Left (and the political establishment) with his choice of Sarah Palin. At the same time, his selection of Sarah Palin has awed many on the Right – as well as millions of working class Americans and women voters from across the country.

For the first time since the campaign began, nearly all tracking polls show John McCain leading Barack Obama. Eight national polls conducted before and after both parties’ conventions show the race evolved from a 2-4 point Obama lead before the conventions to as much as a 10-point McCain lead after, with an average movement of 5.8 points towards McCain. The McCain- Palin ticket’s rise in the polls is giving optimism to Republican candidates down the ballot as well. Indeed, we will have the opportunity to hear more about the House races from Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Tuesday, September 23rd, at the Capitol Hill Club .


Senator McCain surprised nearly all of us with his selection of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska as his nominee for Vice President. He wanted to “scramble the jets” and he did so. It is clear that his decision changed the election’s dynamics more than anyone may have imagined. Kudos to former White House counsel and RNLA Board Member A.B. Culvahouse who headed up the vice presidential search committee for Sen. McCain.


As Republican lawyers, we are pleased that Senator McCain continues to advocate “the rule of law, and judges who dispense justice impartially and don't legislate from the bench.” As noted in the 2008 Republican Platform: “Judicial activism is a grave threat to the rule of law because unaccountable federal judges are usurping democracy, ignoring the Constitution and its separation of powers, and imposing their personal opinions upon the public….Republicans will insist on the appointment of constitutionalist judges, men and women who will not distort our founding documents to deny the people’s right to self government, sanction federal powers that violate our liberties, or inject foreign law into American jurisprudence.”


This is in stark contrast to Senators Obama and Biden who have consistently opposed Republican nominations to the federal bench. Indeed, in his position as ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Biden employed his best efforts to oppose the nominations of Judges Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, Samuel Alito and many other highly qualified lawyers, such as Miguel Estrada, who did not meet the litmus tests dictated by certain special interest groups. While his best efforts were not always good enough to defeat those nominations, they apparently sufficed to earn him the #2 spot on the democratic ticket. Even so, according to Joe Biden on the campaign trail just last week, "Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America.” Full stop.


2008 Republican Lawyer of the Year Award


The RNLA is proud to host the Republican Lawyer of the Year Reception on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C. This year’s recipient of the award is former Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson. General Olson is a member of the Board of Governors of the Republican National Lawyers Association. He served as Solicitor General of the United States from 2001-2004 and as Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice from 1981-1984. There are few lawyers in this country, Republican or Democrat, with more experience, more dedication, and more raw ability, than Ted Olson.

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