"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, February 23, 2016

The bashing of civil rights attorneys continues

It has been reported that the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has just sanctioned a civil rights attorney for filing and litigating a civil rights lawsuit against a corporation and a labor union.

The sanctions have definite 1st and 14th Amendment implications, as well as put a further chill upon ability of individuals to find a civil rights attorney who would agree to represent them in federal court, something that Rule 11 was not meant to do, and something that the U.S. Senate Democrats were recently cautioning about.

The fees that the civil rights attorney was ordered to pay are hefty, over $115,000.

The judge who imposed the sanctions is the same judge who bashed civil rights attorney Andy Ostrowski for criticizing federal judges and refused to allow him to practice law in federal court on that basis, so apparently this judge has a certain bend to punish civil rights attorneys.

I downloaded materials from that case from Pacer and will provide analysis of the case later on.

One thing I can state right away though.

The court that imposed sanctions did not apply the required strict scrutiny test before imposing sanctions for contents of a civil rights attorney's protected speech, which, in my opinion as an expert, makes sanctions unconstitutional and void.

Senate Democrats were urged by their leader to Vote no to changes to Rule 11 because there were concerns that Rule 11, as changed, will be disproportionately used against civil rights attorney, as it happened before.

I do not know whether Senate Democrats are aware of it or not, but Rule 11, and its shadows, 28 U.S.C. 1927 and the alleged "inherent power of the court" are already used to disproportionately sanction civil rights attorneys and thus chill civil rights litigation and deprive indigent civil rights plaintiffs of an ability to find a civil rights attorney who would agree to represent them, given the threat of sanctions such as imposed upon attorney Donald P. Russo in the elderly electrician Ernest Keister's civil rights case of age discrimination.

The case No. is 4:13-cv-118-MWB in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylavnia.

As I said above, I will post analysis of the case as soon as I have an opportunity to review the records I just downloaded from

Stay tuned.

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