"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).

“This 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, dissenting.

" I do not believe that the practice of law is a "privilege" which empowers Government to deny lawyers their constitutional rights. The mere fact that a lawyer has important responsibilities in society does not require or even permit the State to deprive him of those protections of freedom set out in the Bill of Rights for the precise purpose of insuring the independence of the individual against the Government and those acting for the Government”. Lathrop v Donohue, 367 US 820 (1961), Justice Black, dissenting.

"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.

“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.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

NY "new" rules of attorney discipline - more of the same

I will provide a thorough review of new attorney disciplinary rules announced in New York today (to take effect as of July 1, 2015) within several days, it can be done the same day they were announced.

Yet, I do have a couple of comments to make about reports regarding the rules.

1) I see no outrage among commentators that the "new" rules failed to consider requirements of federal antitrust law, as reflected in this year's U.S. Supreme Court case North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, and attorney disciplinary committees will continue to consist of supermajorities of market players, licensed attorneys who are (a) competitors of attorneys subject to discipline and (b) investigators and prosecutors with a financial interest in the outcome of litigation, both disqualifying features.  

The new rules did not provide, as North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v FTC required, for active supervision of attorney disciplinary committees from a neutral state agency.  

So, criminal cartels quashing competition and blocking the public from participation in attorney discipline will remain criminal cartels.

2) Whoever of New York "officials" told San Francisco chronicle that Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos were already automatically disbarred under the old rules, are in no hurry to reflect that in Skelos' and Silver's public registration status, which continues to claim that they are attorney in good standing with no record of public discipline, even though under New York law they are disbarred as of the respective dates of their convictions.

Once again, as to the main problems of New York legal profession - running it as a criminal cartel, including the discipline, and protecting those close to power from attorney disciplinary proceedings, even in the face of criminal prosecutions and convictions, they remain the same.

I will post full analysis of the new rules, and its author Judge Lippman, within several days, after I review, analyze and research them.

Stay tuned.  

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