Wednesday, May 28, 2014


With Father’s Day coming up, I have to confess that my buttons are busting.

My oldest son, Tom Junior, was a trial judge in Michigan for 24 years. Now retired, he sent me a copy of a motion he will be making tomorrow in the Ingham County Circuit Court.

Here it is:

May 29, 2014
May it please the Court:
    It is my profound privilege to move for the admission of one Azin Arbab for membership to the State Bar of Michigan, which will entitle her to practice law as a licensed attorney in the great state of Michigan.
    As exhibit A, I would like to offer for Your Honor’s review Ms. Arbab’s short vitae.  You will note that after successfully completing her course of study at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, she recently passed the Michigan bar examination.
    Judge Aquilina, I am introducing you to an individual who represents the very essence of what this great land we call the United States of America is all about.  The land of opportunity.  The land of refuge.  The land of freedom.
    I first met Azin while she was auditing my Criminal Law class at Lansing Community College.  It was immediately apparent to me that she was a particularly bright, ambitious and serious student.  Later, she asked me to mentor her from time to time during law school.  During our discussions, I learned a great deal about this woman.  Her story is like so many immigrant tales of our nation’s past that form the very foundation of this country.
    Azin is greatly influenced by her father.  His behavior, choices, personality and lectures have had a profound effect on her.  His acts of courage and perseverance in the face of tremendous adversity have served as a motivating force in her life.
   Her father was born in Iran to a wealthy family. However, his comfortable childhood changed dramatically during the Iranian revolution.
    Azin’s family is of the Bahá'í Faith.  Wikipedia describes it as a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. Three core principles establish a basis for Bahá'í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, and that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance.  According to the Bahá'í Faith's teachings, the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection and being of service to humanity.
    The religion was consolidated in Iran, where its followers suffer intense persecution, the origins of which stem from a variety of Bahá'í teachings inconsistent with traditional Islamic belief.  Thus Bahá'ís are seen as apostates from Islam, and, according to some, must choose between repentance and death.
It is well proven that the members of the Bahá'í community in Iran have been subjected to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified executions, confiscation and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá'í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, and denial of access to higher education.
    Azin’s family is a testimony to this persecution.  The post Islamic government demanded her family to become Muslim.  When her father courageously refused in the face of the threat, the government seized his property.  Having lost all the comforts of a good life, he soon began to struggle financially.  Despite this rude awakening, her father never lost hope.  Instead, he persevered by working hard to maintain his family’s quality of life.  His steadfast beliefs and spirituality lifted his family above the pain of persecution and the loss of materiality.  Through his effort, a new life for himself and his family ensued.
    Her father’s heroism has inspired Azin to always work hard to achieve the best out of life, but without compromising her goals and strong beliefs.
     Azin’s family members, who now live with her, are here to celebrate this momentous occasion, with the exception of her father who is determined to remain in Iran to continue the battle against persecution. 
    Clearly, her parents have taught her the best ideals in life, one of which is emblazoned on her soul: do not accept injustice.  Like her parents, she, too, has experience.
    Because of her religion, the Iranian government did not let her have equal rights with other Iranian citizens.  Despite prejudice and injustice, she refused to give in.  Azin went to the university in Tehran where she earned a bachelor of law and worked as a paralegal in the court system, even though Baha’is are not allowed to do so.  She knew that the government would never allow her to work as a lawyer, but she chose the law because she wanted to change the law.  Her passion for the law is obvious.
When Azin asked me to do this, she wrote:  “For me law means real life.  In law we are talking about people, human rights, life and death.  Without law, we cannot live.  It’s just like water which is necessary for life.”
    She finished her university studies one year earlier than any other student.  She has vast knowledge and experience concerning Iranian and Islamic law.  She even spent a year in Turkey studying Turkish law and courts.
    She is a driven individual.  Finishing Cooley in 2 years, she moved to New York, passed their bar examination and returned to Michigan to take this state’s examination.
    This profession is her passion.  She tells me that abstract logic in the study of law is easily trumped by learning through experience.  From my end of the spectrum, she is right on.
    There are three great professions in the world that attend to the mind, body and soul.  The medical profession attends to the body, focusing on health, healing and survival.  The clergy attends to the soul, emphasizing forgiveness, redemption and salvation.   And the law attends to the mind, realizing justice, freedom, liberty and peace.
    I humbly request that Your Honor grant my motion at this time and allow this determined, committed and passionate immigrant to begin her new life in the practice of one of the three greatest professions known to mankind.  I have no doubt that she will make a difference in this world while preparing herself for the next.


  1. A beautiful testament! Well deserved and well written.

  2. What an inspirational story of someone making her dreams a reality. I hope Azin changes people's lives through law and beyond. Education is the door to freedom.