The eighth commandment reads, “Thou shalt not steal.” It does not read, “Thou shalt not steal from the rich man.” It does not read, “Thou shalt not steal from the poor man.” It reads simply and plainly, “Thou shalt not steal.” No good whatever will come from that warped and mock morality which denounces the misdeeds of men of wealth and forgets the misdeeds practiced at their expense; which denounces bribery, but blinds itself to blackmail; which foams with rage if a corporation secures favors by improper methods, and merely leers with hideous mirth if the corporation is itself wronged.
The only public servant who can be trusted honestly to protect the rights of the public against the misdeeds of a corporation is that public man who will just as surely protect the corporation itself from wrongful aggression. If a public man is willing to yield to popular clamor and do wrong to the men of wealth or to rich corporations, it may be set down as certain that if the opportunity comes he will secretly and furtively do wrong to the public in the interest of a corporation.
Instead of holding a position of independence, between the wealthy and the people, prepared to curb the expenses of either, able lawyers have, to a large extent, allowed themselves to become adjuncts of great corporations and have neglected their obligation to use their powers for the protection of the people. We hear much of the “corporation lawyer,” and far too little of the “people’s lawyer.”