12/01/2005 07:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Devil and Ramsey Clark


Ramsey Clark was a law man, born to it. Son of a Supreme Court Justice. Prosecutor of Viet Nam war protesters, including the sainted Dr. Benjamin Spock. Even though Clark agreed with the anti-warriors he prosecuted to the full extent, 'cause the law is the law and it must be obeyed. Folks said Ramsey Clark was such a great lawyer that during a trial when he just looked up at a judge, his honor would immediately say "objection sustained." They said if you cut Ramsey Clark with a knife, statutes and concurring opinions would pour out from the wound.

But that didn't stop folks eyes from a rolling and tongues from wagging when Ramsey Clark sat down at the defense table of the worst defendant anybody had ever seen. The defendant was known by many names. Some called him "the butcher," to some he was "the Tyrant" many didn't call him anything 'cause he had killed them. And to their families the defendant was just "the devil." The devil had been brought to trial for crimes against humanity, divinity and common decency. And his chances of acquittal did not look good.

The jury was twelve grieving widows of the devil's victims. Who wiped their tears with severed arms and hands of their murdered spouses. The prosecuting attorney was St. Michael the Archangel and the presiding judge was the Lord God Almighty.

The prosecuting angel pointed to the list of charges with his fiery sword and called upon the souls of the unjustly killed to cry out their testimony against the devil. They wept forth the pain of their suffering at the devil's hand. They wailed miserably recalling long imprisonment, torture and horrors only the dead could bear to repeat. They spoke of families split, loyalties betrayed, pleas for mercy unheeded and spirits of the innocent crushed.

When the deceased had finished their testimony some in the court swore they'd noticed a tear in the eye of the devil himself. By the time the prosecution rested Ramsey Clark, all present in the room and all watching on Court TV knew his client was in trouble. There was no doubt that what was alleged had occurred. There was no debate about who had ordered the atrocities. It was clear the hearts of judge and jury ached for the blood of that heartless devil. Ramsey was none too fond of the creature himself. But you would not have known any of that when Ramsey Clark stood to address the court.

“Your honor if you please, I have but one witness to call.” said Clark, “I call to the stand... the prosecuting attorney Michael the Archangel of G-d.” A hush fell over the courtroom since no one had ever heard the like of such a thing. “Highly irregular” mumbled the judge our Lord. “Outrageous.” muttered the jury. “Legal” said Ramsey Clark. And nobody could disagree.

The prosecuting angel moved slowly to the witness chair, looked up at the lord and did not have to swear since all knew his testimony would be true. “Archangel” said Ramsey Clark. “How came you to this land to capture this devil and gather this evidence?” “By holy and righteous war.” Michael shot back. “What court” asked Clark, “issued your warrant?” The angel thought a moment, then sat straight up in his chair and declared “The court of conscience. I saw what had to be done and I did it.” “Then you claim no legal warrant.” Clark said, “No judge authorized your invasion. No law sanctioned your deeds.”

At that the angel grew red about the face. His eyes narrowed and he stared fiercely at his legal foe. “Even now Mr. Clark? Knowing all the evil this devil has done, will you still help him hide behind the law?” Clark answered, “The law is a strong tree. Whomever it protects I stand by it. Would you, good angel cut down that tree?” The angel thunderously replied, “With the strong arm of a righteous G-d I would. I’d cut down all the trees of the earthly forest to get at that that ungodly devil.” “Oh,” said Ramsey Clark, stroking his stubby chin, “And when the last tree was down and the devil turned on you where would you hide, all the laws being flat? When the winds of injustice blew against you, good angel where would you find shelter? I grant this devil law’s protection not for his sake but for my own and yours.” and with that Ramsey Clark turned and walked back to his seat. “Your honor the defense rests.”

The judge, God Almighty, drew in a breath so deep it pulled half the life from the room. “The jury” He said, “Will retire to consider it’s verdict.” The Jury forewoman turned briefly to her colleagues then stood and calmly said, “We have our verdict Lord. We find the defendant not guilty. It may not be exactly according to the evidence but even in grief we too can stand for justice.”

Folks say that after the verdict, as the courtroom emptied, the Devil reached out his hand to thank Ramsey Clark but Clark refused the shake saying, “Today the law’s a tree that protects you with its vigor. Tomorrow it may be a pistol and I’ll be glad to pull it’s trigger.”