Tomorrow-Today Alabama asked all of the 2014 justices: Who is your legal hero and why?
Chief Justice Bea Tisher, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile
My legal hero is my grandmother Peggy Givhan. She was a federal judge in Montgomery, and she is who made me want to be a judge.
Gaten Armstrong, Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School
My legal hero is Abraham Lincoln because of the advancements he made toward equality for all.
Betsy Byrne, Trinity Presbyterian School, Montgomery
My legal hero is my father, David Byrne III, because he has shown me the values of hard work, grace and pursuing my dreams always. I am thankful for a role model who has raised me to never second-guess my abilities and has given me the wisdom to be where I am today. He is a principal and trial attorney in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Section.
Harrison Carter, Saint James School, Montgomery
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird is my legal hero because he is a honorable man. He stood up for a man who had no chance of winning the trail, but Atticus Finch believed in him and did it anyways.
William Chandler, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile
My legal hero is David Conrad. He was a local lawyer in Mobile, who passed away in early September this year. The reason why he is my legal hero is because he was known throughout the legal community as a lawyer possessing the impossible balance of class, respect and courtesy, while always maintaining a zealous advocacy for his clients. He had a philosophy that we ought to give others the benefit of the doubt unless or until they give us a reason not to. He approached every obstacle he faced with an unwavering positive attitude, the quintessential “eternal optimist.” I admire Mr. Conrad and I have always strived to be like him. I plan on becoming a civil/divorce lawyer myself and his example is something to be admired in the field of law. Everyone can learn from his example if they knew him or not.
Sam Hubbard, Huntsville Way Home
Chief Justice Earl Warren, who was chief justice during Brown v. Board of Education, because all the effort he made to convince the dissent towards his side, because he knew just how important the decision was, and how big a unanimous decision would be.
Mary McLaughlin, Montgomery Catholic Preparatory School
My legal hero is Atticus Finch from one of my favorite books To Kill a Mockingbird. He bravely performs his duty as a lawyer with a commitment to justice above all else and does not allow other people’s opinions to influence him.
Nancy Nguyen, Enterprise High School
My legal hero is former president Ronald Reagan, and I admire how he revitalized the GOP.
Kyra Perkins, Spain Park High School, Hoover
My legal hero is Chief Justice William Rehnquist because of his ability to separate his personal views from the law. Many times during his tenure, his court had the power to overturn rulings made by previous courts that went against his personal beliefs. However, he chose not to because he believed that federal judges should not impose their personal views on how they read the law. They should base their rulings solely on what is written in the Constitution. He is my legal hero because he is able to separate his own opinions from the law in order to try cases fairly.
Michael Petruzella, Spain Park High School, Hoover
My legal hero is Clarence Thomas, a Supreme Court Justice who was appointed in 1991 by George H. W. Bush. Clarence Thomas is known to makes rulings that aim to uphold the Constitution of our country. He also aims to limit the federal government so that we as U.S. citizens can be allowed to live our lives as Americans should, freely. By doing this, not only does he keep the freedoms and liberties safe, but he also sets an example to others that no matter what position you hold, you always uphold the Constitution. This is why Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is not only my hero, but is also a true and great American.
Gabbi Pohlman, The Montgomery Academy
My legal hero would have to be Scott Talkington. He is a local estate lawyer for his own firm in Montgomery. I have known Mr. Talkington since I was four. He is always intellectual and passionate about what he does. He truly is one of the most knowledge people in a room at any given time. His passion and level of intelligence are some attributes I strive to have in my everyday activities, even the ones I do not enjoy.
Bay Robinson, UMS –Wright Prepatory School, Mobile
John Marshall, the fourth chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, is my legal hero due to his profound and long-lasting effect on the American judicial system. From 1801 to 1835, John Marshall served as chief justice under many presidents, making him the longest active chief justice in American history. Belonging to the Federalist Party, Marshall exhibited support of a strong federal government through numerous landmark cases. The first major court case he presided over was Marbury v. Madison in 1803. In this case, which involved William Marbury suing the current Secretary of State James Madison, Marshall established an essential power of the Supreme Court named judicial review. His ruling declared the action of former president John Adams to be unconstitutional, which resulted in the defeat of Marbury. The constitutional review of presidential powers promoted judicial authority in the federal government under the checks and balances system. Moreover, another landmark case in 1819 named McCulloch v. Maryland enhanced the sovereignty of the federal government. After ruling Maryland’s right to tax a federal institution unconstitutional, Marshall enhanced the nation government’s superiority while at the name time maintains the separation of powers between the state and federal governments. Although a Federalist, Marshall did not allow his political affiliation to interfere with his rulings of constitutionality. Overall, his unbiased and just service as the fourth Chief Justice of the United States proved to be tremendously influential in the later development of the Judicial Branch.
Jordyn Scaturo, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile
My legal hero would be John Marshall. He is my legal hero because of his contribution as a chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. His establishment of judicial review makes him one of the most profound justices. This establishment of judicial review set the precedent for years to come, and allowed the Supreme Court to now declare whether or not something was unconstitutional. Therefore, this puts John Marshall at the top of my list of legal heroes because of his direct link to the bedrock of the nation, the Constitution.
Jim Schillaci, Spain Park High School, Hoover
My legal hero is none other than Atticus Finch. He stood up for what was morally right and fought as hard as he could even though he knew he would lose.
Peyton Stinson, Enterprise High School
My legal hero is James Madison, the father of the U.S. Constitution. James Madison was instrumental in keeping the convention together and gathering the most influential people of the time together for this great purpose.
Kyla Summerlin, Spain Park High School, Hoover
If I had to only choose one hero, it would have to be Abraham Lincoln. Even before Lincoln was a president in 1860, he was a legendary lawyer. Unlike many before him, Lincoln had very little formal schooling. To think someone who didn’t get everything in life could go and argue a case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court is astonishing. It shows that when a person puts everything they have into something they truly care about, there is nothing getting in their way.
Troy Thingstad, St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile
Earl Warren, 14th chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who served in office 1953-69