"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.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court - my writ of certiorari has been docketed

I received good news today from the U.S. Supreme Court - my writ of certiorari in the disciplinary case has been docketed. 

The docket No. is 16-664

Filings in the case may be accessed here.

The text of the petition can be read here.

Coincidentally, at about the same time as my petition was docketed, the ABA has become interested in the issue of lawyers disciplined for criticizing judges - see an article about Louisiana attorney Christine Mire disciplined for making a motion to recuse based on painstaking diligent research that showed that the judge may have been involved in changing the audio file of a court proceeding in order to show that she did disclose her irreconcilable conflict of interest to the parties and attorneys - when, according to attorney Mire, who was present at the proceeding, the judge did not disclose the conflict of interest.

The article was written by David L. Hudson Jr., a First Amendment expert and a Vanderbuilt Law School professor who, reportedly, serves as a First Amendment Ombudsman for the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center.

Professor Hudson's article shows that the American Bar Associations cannot any longer ignore the issue of attorneys disciplined for criticizing judges.

In view of the interest of the American Bar Association to the issue of attorney discipline for criticism of judges - which is what my petition to the U.S. Supreme Court is about - I am wondering whether the U.S. Supreme Court may now actually take my case and review it.

If that happens, it may make a huge and long-awaited difference for the country, for both the party litigants and the bar, on the issue of independent and competent representation in court. 

If the U.S. Supreme Court strikes discipline of attorneys for criticism of judges as unconstitutional, and especially when such discipline is imposed without an evidentiary hearing, and based on sanctions imposed by the judge who was the subject of the motion to recuse, the legal profession in the U.S. may be then relieved of the fear it is seized with now, and will no longer be considering an untenable dilemma - whether to fight for their client's constitutional right to impartial judicial review, or whether to intentionally not fight for their clients on that issue, in order to preserve their own license and livelihood.

I will continue to cover the issue of attorney discipline for criticism of the judiciary.

Stay tuned.

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