“That Justice Shall Be Done”—Constitutional Requirements, Ethical Rules, and the Professional Ideal of Federal Prosecution
Wilson, Charles R.
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Seventy-five years ago, then-Attorney General and subsequent Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson delivered a speech entitled The Federal Prosecutor. This Article revisits Jackson’s speech to extract a few insights about ethics and professional responsibility, specifically with regard to prosecutorial discretion. Beyond the constitutional and ethical obligations involved in representing the United States in court, federal prosecutors must continually aspire to a professional ideal derived from their duty to seek and serve justice. This Article submits that this professional ideal—as envisioned by Jackson and alluded to by the Supreme Court—is also applicable to every lawyer as he or she exercises discretion in the day-to-day practice of law.