Remarks by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Brennan Center for Justice Legacy Awards Dinner
NEW YORK ~ Monday, November 16, 2009
Justice Brennan once said, "We must remember that society’s interest is equally that the innocent shall not suffer and not alone that the guilty shall not escape." Let us ensure that we further Justice Brennan’s legacy by maintaining the most basic constitutional protection—the right to have truly effective defense counsel. In the past few days, with the stakes at their highest, I have expressed great faith in our criminal justice system. As great as it is, we need to significantly improve the quality of representation that is provided in that system to the poor and the powerless. Let us truly dedicate ourselves to the legacy of Justice Brennan by working to reform that system so that it truly reflects those most basic of American values: equality and fairness. The problems I have mentioned are man made. They are, therefore, susceptible to man made solutions. Together, I am confident that we can create a system that is both consistent with our founding documents and of which we can truly be proud. I look forward to working with you in that effort.