Perhaps more than any other document in human history, the Magna Carta has come to embody a simple but enduring truth: No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law.
Egil “Bud” Krogh knows this well. In 1971, Krogh, a 31-year-old White House deputy counsel, was tasked with finding and stopping security leaks, and became head of the Special Investigations Unit known as the White House Plumbers.
Krogh authorized the burglary of Dr. Lewis Fielding’s office in an attempt to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, who released his Pentagon Papers without authorization. Krogh said his loyalty to the presidency and his belief that national security was at stake led him to authorize the break-in and then lie to cover it up. In 1973, before any other involved parties admitted wrongdoing, Krogh spoke up.
Of the various White-House based conspirators, Krogh alone pled guilty and refused to trade inside information for a reduced sentence. He was subsequently disbarred and went to prison. In 1980, Krogh successfully petitioned to be readmitted to the bar and has been in practice ever since.
He’s also spent the years since then telling his story about his rise from young presidential counsel, to his indictment and prison sentence, to his redemption and choosing to do what is right.
It is this story Krogh will share as he stands before law professionals and local high school seniors on Friday, May 1 as part of the Chattanooga Bar Association (CBA)’s observance of Law Day 2015.
Law Day, USA is set aside each May 1st by a joint resolution of Congress and presidential proclamation as an occasion for honoring the place of law in the lives of American citizens. Rather than being a national holiday, or a day to celebrate lawyers, Law Day is an opportunity for Americans to learn about their law, legal system, and rights. It’s also a day for them to think back on their legal heritage, their responsibilities as citizens, and the principles of democratic government.
The theme for Law Day 2015 is “Magna Carta: Symbol of Freedom Under Law.” In the eight centuries since the Magna Carta was sealed, it has taken root as an international symbol of the rule of law and as an inspiration for many of the basic rights Americans hold dear, including due process, habeas corpus, trial by jury, and the right to travel.
To mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the CBA has invited Krogh to be the guest speaker at two Law Day events: the annual Law Day luncheon at noon and a morning session for high school seniors.
Krogh will speak at the annual Law Day luncheon, an event for the legal community scheduled to take place at the Chattanooga Convention Center at noon.
In addition to hosting Krogh, the CBA will announce the 2015 winner of the Liberty Bell Award. Each year, the Bar honors an outstanding citizen in the Chattanooga area for their public service. The purpose of the Liberty Bell Award is to recognize community service that has strengthened the American system of freedom under law.
To attend the luncheon, contact the CBA office at 756-3222 or visit the Bar online at www.chattanoogabar.com.
Sponsors of the Law Day Luncheon include FirstBank, Insurance Planning & Service Company (IPSCO), Lexus of Chattanooga, and the Hamilton County Herald.
The CBA is also working with Baylor School, The McCallie School, Girls Preparatory School (GPS), and Cornerstone Community Bank to arrange the education session for students. Public, private, and home schooled seniors in Hamilton County will meet at GPS at 9 a.m. to hear Krogh speak and take advantage of the opportunity to ask him questions and interact with him.
Scott Wilson, Baylor headmaster, is looking forward to his students hearing Krogh’s story about the importance of honor. “I’ve known Bud for several years through his work with the Center for the Study of the President and Congress,” he said. “Bud’s message of the importance of retaining one’s moral compass is profound.”
Lee Burns, head of school at McCallie, hopes his students gain a deeper understanding of the American legal system and the rights and responsibilities they have as citizens. “A thorough understanding of our legal system and the principles upon which it is based helps to preserve and advance our democratic society,” he said.
Autumn Graves, head of school at GPS, believes it’s critical for students to hear firsthand the lessons they can learn from historic events. “I’m hoping my girls will understand that smart, good people make mistakes,” she said. “I want them to know that they must always conduct themselves as honorable women, and that they should live as if every decision could be life changing.”
Cornerstone Chairman Miller Welborn says the bank is thrilled to be working with the CBA, Baylor, McCallie, and GPS to introduce local students to Law Day. “We feel strongly about our obligation, responsibility, and privilege to mentor the younger members of our community,” he said. “Character, integrity, and ethics will take a person a long way. We hope every high school student in the area comes.”
Lynda Hood, executive director of the CBA, is excited about hosting a special session for high school seniors. “One aspect of the Chattanooga Bar Association’s outreach mission is to stress to our community the importance of the rule of law to our nation’s history,” she said. “This year, we wanted to add a law-related education session for the student citizenry in Hamilton County, and having a separate session with Bud Krogh for high school seniors will accomplish that goal.”
To ensure every high school senior can attend, the education event is free.
“This is a great day for the legal community to come together and celebrate the Law, and for our Association to give back to our community,” says Hood.
Krogh will also be selling and signing copies of his book, “Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices and Life Lessons from the White House.”
“As we mark the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, join us on Law Day to commemorate this ‘Great Charter of Liberties’ and rededicate ourselves to advancing the principle of rule of law here and abroad.” – Chattanooga Bar Association.
Source: Some material by the Chattanooga Bar Association