On The Law

Aaron Burr was one of the nation’s top litigators in his day. He was renowned for making simple, concise and shrewd arguments that were hard, if not impossible, to counter. Alexander Hamilton, while a master with words and an effusive orator, was himself not as effective in a courtroom as AB. In fact, many don’t know, but the two actually practiced side-by-side in several high-profile cases in their time.

Of the law and the many things he said of it, one of his more famous quotes amongst litigators and jurists:

“Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained.”

Burr was an economist with words. Each one was conservatively chosen for it’s very specific meaning, and all inference it could carry. He was a master of overt subtlety.

Knowing this, what do you think he was telling us about the law with this quote?

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Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 8:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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On Transparency in Government

In 1799, NY Senator Burr debated the virtue of an amendment designed to prohibit naturalized citizens from obtaining elected office.

“America stood with open arms and presented an assylum [sic] to the oppressed of every nation; we invited them with the promise of enjoying equal rights with ourselves, and presented them with the flattering prospect of presiding in our councils and arriving at honour and trust; shall we deprive these persons of an important right derived from so sacred a source as our constitution[?]”

As a Statesman

Closing remarks from Vice-President Aaron Burr Jr.’s farewell address to the US Senate in 1804:

“This house is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty; it is here-it is here in this exalted refuge-here, if anywhere, will be resistance made to the storms of political frenzy and the silent arts of corruption. And if the Constitution be destined ever to perish by the sacrilegious hands of the demagogue or the usurper, which God avert, its expiring agonies will be witnessed on this floor.”

Published in: on March 5, 2009 at 4:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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