SIDEBAR Summer/Fall 2020 - 7

MONTGOMERYBAR.ORG

along with the our supremely talented, caring and persistent
consultant on leadership and diversity, Nancy Walsh, AND with
the efforts of still more of our leaders such as Kelley Hodge,
Marilou Watson, Kristen Feden, Judge Carolyn Nichols, John
Han, Ken Milner and others, we took what was rightful and
understandable frustration and anger, and turned it into one
of the greatest movements and efforts this Bar Association
has ever undertaken. From the initial call to action featuring
a program led by State Representative Joanna E. McClinton,
to two powerful, evocative, and no holds barred townhalls
on race, and continuing through the supremely meaningful
and thought-provoking statewide diversity summit, for which
the MBA played a primary and significant role, and yet more
upcoming events, including a critical look at all aspects of our
own criminal justice system here in Montgomery County,
we have not shied away from these difficult issues even one
iota. Indeed, I am proud to say that we continue to recognize
these ongoing efforts to truthfully assess and face up to these
challenges as our most important work. While this work surely
continues and must continue, I am pleased to say that even
more changes are afoot, including the recent decision to require
an impact statement as it relates to race and diversity for any
action to be taken by our board of directors, an effort to stage an
event drawing attention to minority-owned businesses operating
in our local community, more support for, recognition of, and
partnering with minority bar causes including the Barristers
Association of Philadelphia and the Asian and Pacific American
Bar Association of Pennsylvania, and lastly an effort to make
our own bar association building more welcoming by including
works of art and artifacts that celebrate our diversity. There is
still certainly much to do, and much that can be done, but I
am so pleased to see how our legal community has responded
to these significant challenges and, rather than abandoning
ship, has rallied together to forge even stronger alliances and
partnerships. With a continued focus and commitment to
these issues, and the tireless efforts of so many of those who have
stepped forward to play a significant role, I am confident that
Montgomery Bar Association will continue to chart the course
and to lead the way for not only our county, but for scores of
other bar associations and organizations, for a long time to
come.
The greatness of the Montgomery Bar Association is directly
attributable to the character of our members and our staff
but also our relationships with the bench, our partners in the
pursuit of justice such as the Pennsylvania Bar Association,
and our community as a whole. In tough times, we see what
people are really made of, and I am proud and fulfilled to have
been provided the opportunity to work with so many talented,
caring, and hardworking individuals. While admittedly, I
would have preferred a year without such difficulty, meeting the
challenges that have been presented has provided even greater
joy and satisfaction to me. And so, as we culminate the end
of this perilous, yet strangely beautiful voyage that we have
navigated throughout 2020, I say let us continue with these
noble efforts, and let us all continue to strive to be the best
ambassadors of our great bar association, and for justice, that we
can possibly be.

Constitution
Day Speech
Patrick J. Kurtas, Esq.
September 17, 2020

G

ood afternoon. My name is Patrick Kurtas, and I have
the great honor and privilege of serving as President of
the Montgomery Bar Association, an organization of
nearly 2,000 attorneys committed to promoting professional
excellence, facilitating access to justice for all, and protecting the
integrity of the legal system. I am humbled and honored to have
the opportunity to join you today in recognition of Constitution
Day.
The Constitution has served as the supreme law of the
United States for two hundred and thirty three years. In the
words of President Calvin Coolidge, 'To live under the American
Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever
accorded to the human race.' But we must acknowledge that the
Constitution was written at a time when all of the rights afforded
thereunder were not equally applicable to every man or woman,
nor every race. Indeed, the Constitution has been amended and
its interpretation has evolved over its illustrious history, leading
columnist Molly Ivins to declare that 'It is possible to read
the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the
liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.'
Nonetheless, and despite this evolution that continues to this
day, I think we can all agree with the words of Franklin Delano
Roosevelt when he declared that 'The United States Constitution
has proved itself the most marvelously elastic compilation of
rules of government ever written.'
It is fitting that we conduct this ceremony on our
courthouse steps, because the judiciary is truly the protector
of the Constitution. In the words of Andrew Jackson, 'All the
rights secured to the citizens under the Constitution are worth
nothing, and a mere bubble, except as guaranteed and protected
by an independent and virtuous Judiciary.'
So let us not only celebrate and recognize this great
document on this date of September 17th, Constitution Day,
but let us also vow to continue to support and insist upon an
independent and virtuous judiciary, and also to continue to
strive for and demand the equal application of the liberties and
protections afforded in the Constitution to all citizens.
Thank you and God bless the United States of America, the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and our great community of
Montgomery County.

S U M M E R / FA L L 2 0 2 0 7



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