February 6, 2017, Decalogue joined our colleagues from the Arab American Bar Association and the Muslim Bar Association in condemning President Trump’s immigration ban as irrational, discriminatory and unconstitutional, and his disparagement of a federal judge as an attack on the separation of powers. “No one is bigger; no president, nobody, is bigger than the Constitution of the United States,” declared Judge (ret.) William Haddad of the Arab American Bar Association.

Representatives of other bar associations and an array of Muslim and Arab American community and professional organizations also participated.

Statement by Decalogue President Curtis Ross:

I am Curtis Ross, the President of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers.  We are honored to co-sponsor this press conference in support of Civil Rights and the Rule of Law.

Part of the Decalogue Constitution provides that we shall “Maintain Vigilance against Public and private practices which are Anti-Social, Discriminatory, Anti-Semitic or Oppressive and Join with Other Groups and Minorities to Protect legal rights and privileges.” That is exactly what we are all doing here today.

As Jews, we are particularly mindful of U.S. governmental actions taken against particular minorities.  During the 1930s Jews were often rejected for immigration based upon quotas in favor or those from certain countries and also based upon economic hardship issues. Americans in the 1930s were extremely concerned with the Depression and the economic impact of immigrants.  We can see parallels with our most recent Presidential election. At the same time, the United States and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt were concerned that the Nazis were sending spies and saboteurs to the U.S.  Jews were considered more likely to be spies as the Nazis  even though there were no facts to back up this theory. It was not until Secretary of the Treasury Robert Morgenthau, Jr. and his staff pressured President Roosevelt in January of 1944 with proof that the U.S. State Department had delayed even modest measures for rescue and relief, that U.S. policy began to change. 

At times our immigration laws have excluded all Chinese, almost all Japanese, almost all Asians and Africans. It has only been since the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965 that all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin that the prior national origin based quota system was abolished under President Lyndon Johnson.

It is only through the Rule of Law that Civil Rights will be enforced.  Lawyers and Courts must stand up to partisan political interests and movements and each group must support the other whenever someone else’s rights are impaired.

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Decalogue mourns the loss of Judge Raymond Myles, who was tragically shot and killed outside of his home in Chicago in the early morning hours of Monday, April 10. Judge Myles, an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, served in the Criminal Division at the Leighton Criminal Court Building and was renowned for his tough, yet compassionate, efforts to help youthful offenders successfully complete their probation, pursue education, and find a job.
May his memory be for a blessing.

Read about Judge Myles: http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/judge-raymond-myles-dispensed-tough-love-justice-from-bench/

Friday, April 21, 2017
Stony Island Church of Christ
1600 E 84th St, Chicago

Saturday, April 22, 2017
Wake: 9:00-10:00am
Service: 10:00am-1:00pm
House of Hope
752 E 114th St, Chicago

John Marshall Law School Responds to anti-Semitic Vandalism

I’m saddened to share that yesterday afternoon we discovered an anti-Semitic act of vandalism in a library study room. Chief Diversity Officer Troy Riddle and Campus Safety and Security Manager Ali Haleem responded immediately to the scene. After photographing the evidence, the offensive symbol and words were removed immediately. Despite a full-day investigation that included reviewing several days of security-camera tapes, we have not been able to determine who is responsible for this offensive act.

I have also learned that on October 6 and 11, 2016, security received separate reports of a small swastika carved into the edge of a desk in room 420 and on the rubber edge of a table on the second-floor student commons. Both incidents were investigated, but the culprits were not identified.

We at John Marshall value inclusion. We are committed to providing an environment free from harassment and discrimination. We condemn hate. I personally condemn this act and ask you to join me in ensuring that we remain a community that welcomes individuals regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or other characteristic.

The fact that this despicable act occurred during Diversity Week disheartens me even more. Having participated in many events this week, I have observed our students’ spirit, kindness, and willingness to learn and venture outside their comfort zone. Thank you. These are the acts I want to celebrate.

As a community of legal professionals and scholars, we reaffirm our commitment to promote a culture and environment in which ideas may be shared and discussed civilly. And to the person or persons responsible for the vandalism: these acts were cowardly and small-minded, and will only strengthen our resolve to promote diversity, compassion, and open-mindedness.

Within every challenge lies opportunity. As a community, let’s take this opportunity to learn more about each other, to unite in the fight against bigotry and prejudice, and to live law in color.

Dean Darby Dickerson

Decalogue and the Polish Advocates Society Reject Anti-Semitism

"The Polish Advocates Society and the Decalogue Society of Lawyers,  representing  hundreds of lawyers and judges in and around the Chicagoland region, many of whom have  roots in Poland,  having  become aware of reports of recent anti-Semitic demonstrations in Lodz, Poland related to football, jointly call upon people of good faith, committed to the rule of law, to  categorically condemn such behavior. With great pride in our heritage and as proud members of the bar in the United States, we soundly reject racism in all its forms and look to leadership in our communities and in Poland to join in condemning anti-Semitism."

Martin Niemöller revisited

In America, Muslim communities are often refused permits to build new houses of worship, they are subjected to hateful insults, and hijabs are ripped off women’s heads on the street.

We aren’t Muslims – will we speak up?

American Sikhs, Hindus & Arab Christians receive the same abuse. They are presumed on sight to be radical Islamic terrorists, but they are not radicals, Islamic or terrorists.

We aren’t Sikhs, Hindus or Arab Christians– will we speak up?

In America, Latino legal US residents can be hunted by police and immigration officers where they work, where they live, when they travel, sometimes where they pray. Their families may be separated entering or leaving the US.

Most of us aren’t Latinos– will we speak up?

Many African-Americans have been pulled over by police under suspicion of driving nice cars a few blocks from their homes. Traffic stops for a broken turn signal can result in fatalities. Their children are taught to act with extreme caution around police. They question whether others believe black lives even matter.

The police usually treat us well - will we speak up?

In America, the LGBTQ community has long been subjected to intense verbal hatred, bullying, violence, exclusion from marriage, denial of public accommodations & commerce. Hospitals often refuse to allow them to comfort their partner or spouse’s dying days.

Will we speak up about the hatred against the LGBTQ community regardless of our own gender orientation?

In America, Jews have been subjected to periods of intense verbal and physical attacks. We are often blamed for hard economic times. Our houses of worship, schools, fraternities, businesses and homes have been tagged with large, hateful symbols, illustrations and vile insults. Windows were smashed and swastikas were posted on a synagogue in downtown Chicago – a few blocks away.

Will victims of hatred turn away from each other’s pain? If we don’t stand up for each other, if we are manipulated by haters into ignoring or opposing each other, G-d help us all.

Comments by Michael A. Strom, Decalogue Past President, at the “Let’s Talk About Hate” seminar at John Marshall Law School, Monday, March 27, 2017.