Columbia, SC — Cindi Ross Scoppe expressed concern in her column “Where have all the lawyers gone?” that the Legislature was not serving the citizens of our state well as we did not have enough lawyers writing our laws. Ms. Scoppe stated “the fact is that writing laws requires precision well beyond what is necessary for ordinary conversation.”
I take this as an offensive statement. Who among us thinks that our laws are too simple? On the federal level, one example is the financial reform law that governs our country. The Dodd-Frank Act (named for two lawyers) is 848 pages. This somehow tries to replace the Glass-Steagall Act that got us out of the Great Depression, served us from the 1930s and was only 37 pages. Sen. Carter Glass was an editor and a publisher, and worked well with Sen. Henry Steagall, a lawyer, and they were able to write a simple and effective law at one twenty-third the length of our current version.
I agree with Ms. Scoppe’s statement that lawyers provide a special competence on constitutional issues, but I also move down a few paragraphs to compliment Senate Judiciary Chairman Larry Martin’s comment that he relies heavily on both staff attorneys and the attorneys on his committee.
Some of my favorite people are lawyers, and I hope to see many future attorneys serve our state in the Legislature. However I wish to compliment our state for being brave enough to send persons to represent us from a wide breadth of our society.