"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.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

California Legislature is seeking to dismantle attorney regulation by attorneys. Good first step, but too small under the circumstances to help close the "justice gap".

I wrote on this blog about a super-interesting court decisions in three states, including the State of California, where courts that are also regulating attorney licensing and discipline, claimed that attorney licensing and discipline has nothing to do with effective representation - meaning that representation by an attorney suspended as a matter of discipline was not a denial of effective representation to a criminal defendant.

California belongs to the majority of states with "organized bars", meaning that a non-profit corporation, a bar association, is acting as a government agency prosecuting attorney misconduct.

In February of 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that occupational licensing and discipline by members of the regulated profession without neutral state supervision is in violation of federal antitrust laws and stripped antitrust immunity from regulators.

After that, state bars did nothing to comply with that decision, give consumers more authority in the regulation of the legal profession which is done allegedly for consumers' benefit, nor did legislatures enact laws which would ensure neutral state supervision over occupational regulation in general and over attorney regulation in particular.

Last month, I wrote about how California State Bar and judiciary, in obvious collusion, were fighting against the former insider of the California State Bar and now whistleblower Joseph Dunn. 

The California Legislature responded to the corruption games in the California State Bar by a yet-unprecedented move suspending the CalBar's  authority to collect annual membership fees (allegedly used to prosecute attorney discipline).

It appears that the California Legislature is reacting to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v FTC in seeking "deunification" of the "organized bar" of the State of California, seeking to remove regulatory authority over attorney licensing and discipline from the California Bar Association, attorneys' special interest group.

The next logical step would be removal of yet another special-interest group, the American Bar Association, from controlling attorney licensing through certification of law schools where an attorney can only be licensed to practice law in a given state if he graduated from an "ABA-certified" law school.

Talking about special interests.

But, let's come back to where this article has started.


WHY would the State Legislatures proceed in deregulating by mini-steps instead of ordering a Commission consisting of CONSUMERS ONLY, who have nothing to do with the legal profession, to verify whether attorney regulation as a measure of consumer protection is evidence-based and warranted?

Why not?

Under these circumstances?

Too much money paid by lobbyists to prevent that?

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