"If the judges interpret the laws themselves, and suffer none else to interpret, they may easily make, of the laws, [a shredded] shipman's hose!" - King James I of England, around 1616.
“No class of the community ought to be allowed freer scope in the expression or publication of opinions as to the capacity, impartiality or integrity of judges than members of the bar. They have the best opportunities of observing and forming a correct judgment. They are in constant attendance on the courts. Hundreds of those who are called on to vote never enter a court-house, or if they do, it is only at intervals as jurors, witnesses or parties. To say that an attorney can only act or speak on this subject under liability to be called to account and to be deprived of his profession and livelihood by the very judge or judges whom he may consider it his duty to attack and expose, is a position too monstrous to be entertained for a moment under our present system,” Justice Sharwood in Ex Parte Steinman and Hensel, 95 Pa 220, 238-39 (1880).
case illustrates to me the serious consequences to the Bar itself of not
affording the full protections of the First Amendment to its applicants for admission.
For this record shows that [the rejected attorney candidate] has many of the
qualities that are needed in the American Bar. It shows not only that [the
rejected attorney candidate] has followed a high moral, ethical and patriotic
course in all of the activities of his life, but also that he combines
these more common virtues with the uncommon virtue of courage to stand by his
principles at any cost.
It is such men as these who have most greatly honored the profession of the
law. The legal profession will lose much of its nobility and its glory if it is
not constantly replenished with lawyers like these. To force the Bar to become a
group of thoroughly orthodox, time-serving, government-fearing individuals is to
humiliate and degrade it.” In
Re Anastaplo, 18 Ill. 2d 182, 163 N.E.2d 429
(1959), cert. granted, 362 U.S. 968 (1960), affirmed over strong
dissent, 366 U.S. 82 (1961), Justice Black, Chief Justice Douglas and Justice Brennan,
“Because the law requires that judges no matter how corrupt, who do not act in the clear absence of jurisdiction while performing a judicial act, are immune from suit, former Judge Ciavarella will escape liability for the vast majority of his conduct in this action. This is, to be sure, against the popular will, but it is the very oath which he is alleged to have so indecently, cavalierly, baselessly and willfully violated for personal gain that requires this Court to find him immune from suit”, District Judge A. Richard Caputo in H.T., et al, v. Ciavarella, Jr, et al, Case No. 3:09-cv-00286-ARC in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Document 336, page 18, November 20, 2009. This is about judges who were sentencing kids to juvenile detention for kickbacks.
"The legal profession must take great care not to emulate the many occupational groups that have managed to convert licensure from a sharp weapon of public defense into blunt instrument of self-enrichment". Walter Gellhorn, "The Abuse of Occupational Licensing", University of Chicago Law Review, Volume 44 Issue 1, September of 1976.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Would the American Founding Father John Adams have been persecuted for representation of the "wrong clients" in our day and age?
Recently, I wrote about assassinations - in many countries, including the U.S. - of human rights defenders, including attorneys.
Some attorneys flee from countries where they can be detained and murdered for their views, like civil rights attorneys are fleeing from China.
I also wrote about cowardly policies of the American Bar Association that "require" that "noble" institution to deny support to attorneys who are not "in good standing" in their countries.
That's why, apparently, the American Bar Association denied support to the Chinese civil rights attorney Dr. Teng Biao who immigrated into the U.S. from China to escape political persecution, when ABA pulled the plug on the book deal about civil rights activities that ABA first solicited from Dr. Teng Biao.
ABA takes the same cowardly position as to American attorneys disciplined for standing up for their clients - under ABA's policies, any attorney who is suspended or disbarred, no matter for what reasons, rightly or wrongly, is barred from acceptance into the ABA, even as a non-attorney member.
It has become a well-known fact that civil rights attorneys and criminal defense attorneys are disproportionately targeted with attorney discipline.
What happened to the attorney who brought successful police brutality lawsuits, who brought the first successful lawsuit on behalf of a Guantanamo bay detainee (detained for years without charges), who wrote treatises on federal practice, and who triggered impeachment proceedings against the most-reversed federal judge Manuel T. Real?
He was disbarred, of course.
What is happening to independent criminal defense attorneys?
They are persecuted, humiliated and discredited.
If they dare to step into civil court proceedings, they are sanctioned and suspended on the basis of amorphous court-created "rules of frivolous conduct".
It appears that, had our Founding Father John Adams lived and practiced today, he would have been suspended by now.
After all, he represented - successfully - soldiers and officers involved in the Boston massacre.
And, after he was suspended or disbarred, John Adams would have been discredited as a politician and prevented from a political career - that's what is being done to attorneys who criticize the judiciary in the U.S. nowadays.
That is actually the true goal of current attorney regulation - to divide attorneys into "good" and "bad", to lure the obedient with the "golden cage" of monopoly for practice, and to punish those who bite the hand that purports to feed them - the judiciary.
Yet, don't we as a nation want our potential Founding Fathers (and Mothers) to not be beaten up for doing their jobs?
One thing is to pay lip services at history lessons and describe John Adams and his accomplishments.
Quite another is to provide true protection to those who do the same as John Adams did, now - representing unpopular clients, "sensitive" causes, and opposing the government.
If human rights defenders don't have such protection, human rights don't have such protections either.