"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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Testimony of American attorneys, including my own, is planned (in writing or orally if permitted) before the U.S. Congress at the next month's hearing as to whether ABA has a policy of non-support of human rights attorneys criticizing the government for political or business reasons


So when ABA and the local state bar associations tried to distance as far away as it is possible from supporting, siding with or even associating with attorneys within the United States who are suspended or disbarred, or targeted for discipline for criticizing misconduct in the government, that is NOT mainstream media news.

That is news for social media only, for blogs like mine and several others, mostly by attorneys who "Felt the Burn" themselves.

But, such cowardice DID just become international news - with the help of Chinese dissenter attorney, and a prominent attorney, Teng Biao.

Market reality?

What market reality?

First of all, ABA is not a for-profit organization, it is a non-profit that was created to allegedly pursue worthy causes.

The cause of supporting a lawyer who criticizes corrupt government in order to help protect his people's civil rights, is a very worthy cause.

Moreover, the "market reality" in the U.S., if ABA is to be honest with the public, is that corruption in the government - Chinese and U.S. - is a very hotly discussed topic.

And, Dr. Teng Biao is a prominent scholar, and his name alone may sell the book, if marketing is the real consideration.

Here is Dr. Teng Biao's credentials published on the site of the Harvard Kennedy School/ Carr Center for Human Rights and Policy.

It is the ABA that pretends the topic does not exist and is not "marketable".

In fact, had the ABA endorsed the book and the topic of resistance to corruption in the government - any government - the book would have instantly become a best-seller.

So, it IS bowing to political considerations.

In fact, back in February of this year, a question was raised in the press that:

"Over the past year the American Bar Association has faced a dilemma over how to respond to China’s repression of human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers."

Not only ABA.

And not only how to "handle" of "human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers" in China.

And there is no dilemma.

I wrote this very month as to how the New York State Bar Association is treating attorneys suspended or disbarred for criticism of the government.

I tried to join NYSBA to attend a CLE (continued legal education) course, free for members.

NYSBA specifically advised me that it is their "policy" to consider ANY suspended or disbarred attorney - no matter for what reason - not an "attorney in good standing", and because of their "internal policy" (no government act prohibits them from accepting a suspended attorney, and I am still an attorney for purposes of CLE obligations) they would not admit/associate with a suspended attorney.  

Including an attorney suspended for criticizing corruption and misconduct in the government, like I am.

For NYSBA, an attorney suspended by the government for any reason - including for criticizing that same government - is not an attorney in good standing "by definition".

So, there is no "dilemma".

There is a policy, in the ABA and the local state bar associations of non-support of "human-rights lawyers as well as some public-interest and criminal-defense lawyers" who are suffering and have suffered political repressions from the state and U.S. government in retaliation for criticizing the state and U.S. government.

Because, if ABA and local state bar associations start to side and support these rubble-rousers, they will lose their privileged status in the government of all branches and all levels, as well as in the private practice of the legal establishment - and that is bad for business.

So, it is also a business policy.

Of course, that business policy is being cloaked in lofty reasons - as to China, at least.

"The episode underscores the difficult decision facing the ABA between continuing to work to advance the rule of law in China and criticizing the repression of civil rights under Mr. Xi, said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia director for Amnesty International.

'For a long time, ABA could argue that their presence in China was worth the cost of muting their criticism of issues in China’s legal system,” Mr. Bequelin said. “I wonder, and I think many legal analysts wonder, whether that point has passed.'"

So, the pretense dilemma (which was not expressed by the ABA, by the way - ABA only claimed that the book will not sell well, and not in the initial reasons for rescinding of the book offer, there were no reasons given when the offer was rescinded) is:

  • should ABA abstain from criticizing the devil for hurting people
  • in order to try to teach the devil adhere to the rule of law

As I said above, that "dilemma" is non-existent in the U.S., as to "their own" attorneys similarly deprived of human rights on the U.S. soil.

They simply do not see them and do not associate with them.

To the "proper" ABA and the "proper" NYSBA and the "proper" other state bar associations ANY suspended or disbarred attorney, even if the suspension or disbarment by the government was for criticizing governmental misconduct, is "by definition" not an attorney "in good standing".

They will NOT associate with such attorney.

They will NOT offer their support to him in the press, by book offers or otherwise.

They will stay squeaky-clean of any shadow of accusation that they even might support a critic of the government of the United States or of the states.

And that is not because they are deciding how to "work with the devil" better to persuade the devil to change his ways, reform and adhere to the rule of law.

It is, as I said before, a strictly business decision and policy.

What is the most interesting, though, in this story that the U.S. Congress suddenly stirred some interest - undoubtedly because of the international resonance of the story - and even called ABA and the belligerrent Chinese attorney to a hearing next month.

I am going to write to that particular Committee and ask permission to testify at that hearing, and will urge attorneys in the U.S. similarly sanctioned by our own government here, to seek permission to testify that ABA's behavior is part of its business policy of non-support of civil rights defenders - within or without the U.S. borders, if it is bad for business of its members connected with the government and deriving financial benefits from the connection.

There are a lot of us, attorneys sanctioned for criticizing governmental misconduct in the United States.

We are uniting.

And it is time to act.

Thank you, the MaryGSykes blog, for alerting me to the news about the controversy.

I will post my written testimony forwarded to the U.S. Congress for the next month's hearing, with a request to allow my oral testimony on the subject of political repressions against human rights attorneys in the U.S. and the cowardly position of the ABA and state bar associations on this subject.

Stay tuned.

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