"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, January 12, 2016

Will the IRS strip the non-profit status off bar associations in New York for endorsing DiFiore for Chief Judge of the State of New York?

New York State and New York City bar associations are non-profit organizations registered with IRS and having a tax exempt federal status.

As a condition of that status, these organizations may not be involved in any political activities.

Yet, that's exactly what these associations did when they recently:

(1) testified to lobby for certain changes in attorney disciplinary rules (in the summer of 2015);
(2) testified to lobby for judicial pay raises (in December of 2015), and used their tax-exempt money to hire an expert to support their lobbying efforts on behalf of judges (see testimony of David Miranda, president of tax-exempt non-profit, the New York State Bar Association, lobbying for judicial pay raises);

(3) endorsed candidates for the office of Chief Judge of New York State Court of Appeals, and
(4) are, reportedly, now invited to testify at a confirmation hearing of Janet DiFiore in New York State Senate while no other members of the public are permitted to testify.

All of these activities by bar associations in the State of New York must lead, under the federal law, to stripping these non-profit corporations of their tax exempt status and to making them pay taxes for the year 2015 and 2016 and for all other years when they engaged in political activities, including lobbying.

Moreover, since bar associations engage in such political activities openly, it reflects a long-established practice, and an investigation of how far back in time New York bar associations engaged in political activities,  (and bar associations from other states and from the federal bars) is in order.

I am sure state and federal budget may greatly benefit from tax infusions from bar associations who would be stripped of their tax exempt status, and that stripping bar associations of their tax exempt status for their political activity will also show the public that lawyers are not above the law. 

And recently, heated petitions were filed by thousands of people demanding that IRS revoke tax-exempt status of a church that engaged in a clearly political activity.

And, IRS was sued recently for its lax enforcement of the tax exempt status against politically involved nonprofits.

Bar associations, same as churches, should not be allowed to engage in political activities while claiming a tax exempt status.

So, will the numerous bar associations in New York, all non-profit corporations, that recently lobbied for raising judicial pay and who endorsed candidates for the Chief Judge position be stripped of their tax-exempt status and be made to pay taxes, as everybody else does?

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