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On Professors and Poor People—A Jurisprudential Memoir

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 April 2015


But let the brother of low degree glory in his high estate: and the rich, in that he is made low.—James 1:9-10

I am starting this paper after looking at the latest of a series of e-mails regarding people who cannot scrape up the security deposits required by the local gas company to turn their heat back on. They keep shivering in the corners of their bedrooms or burning their houses down with defective space heaters. The public agency that is supposed to relieve the poor refuses to pay security deposits, and the private charities that pay deposits are out of money. A bill that might improve matters has passed one House of the Legislature, and is about to die in a committee of the other House. I have a card on my desk from a former student I ran into the other day. She works in the field of utility regulation, and has promised to send me more e-mails on the subject. I also have a pile of student papers on whether a lawyer can encourage a client illegally in the country to marry her boyfriend in order not to be deported.

What I am trying to do with all this material is exercise a preferential option for the poor. I am working at it in a large, comfortable chair in a large, comfortable office filled with large, comfortable books, and a large—but not so comfortable—collection of loose papers. At the end of the day, I will take some of the papers home with me to my large, comfortable, and well heated house.

Robert E. Rodes, Jr. Tribute
Copyright © Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University 2007

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7. Id. at 451-452.

8. Id. at 457-458.

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