"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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

New Jersey refuses to discipline an attorney for criticism of a judge on the Internet

As an attorney whose license was suspended for criticism of a judge committing misconduct in motions to recuse, I keenly monitor news as to discipline of attorneys for public statements criticizing the government, and especially the judiciary.

In a new development on this issue, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently refused to discipline an attorney who first agreed to pull from his personal website an article criticizing a judge's actions in a certain court case, and then did not actually remove that criticism.

While attorney #JayChatarpaul insisted that criticism of Judge Christine A. Farrington for bias and errors committed during a court proceeding that he described on the Internet was protected by the 1st Amendment - and the court, apparently, agreed with him - the sad reality is that attorney Chatarpaul actually removed that content from the website - it only remained visible through Google search, and even that became the subject of persectuion on behalf of attorney disciplinary authorities.

So, while it is a victory, the victory is incomplete since the attorney's speech was still chilled and the attorney was intimidated by the potential to lose his license and livelihood into pulling the "offending" content criticizing the judge.

But, at least there is a decision refusing to punish an attorney for criticizing a judge in the first place.

So, New Jersey rules contrary to New York on this issue, and that adds to the currently existing split among states.

I will continue to cover the subject of retaliation against attorneys through licensing process for criticizing judicial incompetence and misconduct.

Stay tuned.


  1. My question is there really a 'license to practice law'. Does one get it at a gov't office? Or is it a BAR card? And if it's a BAR card, is it really a 'license', or fiction?

    1. Unfortunately, an answer to a direct question about the law made by a specific person would constitute legal advice to me, which the government prohibited me from giving,because I criticized a judge for judicial misconduct (and my license was suspended because of that). I will be charged with a crime if I give you an answer to your question - even though I know the answer. Just as an illustration of how unreasonable and unjust these laws are. I do know the answer, and I can help answering people's questions, but I am not allowed to - by the government that claims it is protecting you from me and my answers.