2017 Annual Florida Chapters Conference
This panel, Government Ethics & Corruption, was held on February 4, 2017, at the 2017 Florida Chapters Conference at Disney's BoardWalk Inn at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Government Ethics and Corruption
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 Noon
- Mr. Nick Cox, Florida Statewide Prosecutor
- Renee Flaherty, Institute for Justice
- Todd Graves, Graves Garrett
- Prof. Matthew Stephenson, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
- Moderator: Judge Susan Rothstein-Youakim, Florida Second District Court of Appeal
- Introduction: Jefferson Knight, Owner, The Knight Law Firm
Disney's Boardwalk Inn Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Lake Buena Vista, FL
Given the size and scope of the federal government, many agency regulations, guidance documents, and cases are left in various stages of development as the executive branch changes hands. The first episode of our Legal Options for the New Administration Teleforum Series focused on pending litigation in the executive branch. Is the administration free to dismiss or stop prosecuting cases which do not align with its policies? Can the administration stop defending actions in court? What are the constraints? What has been the past practice? These and other questions were discussed by our experts.
- Steven G. Bradbury, Partner, Dechert LLP
- William S. Consovoy, Partner, Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC
Professional Responsibility & Legal Education and Free Speech & Election Law Practice Groups Podcast
Eugene Volokh December 13, 2016
Professor Eugene Volokh of the UCLA School of Law joined us Monday, December 12 to discuss the ABA’s new Rule 8.4 on professional misconduct. The Rule states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” The ABA goes further in Comments, stating that “Such discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice towards others,” and that the Rule applies in any situation, even social, that is “connected to the practice of law.” Professor Volokh discussed the First Amendment implications and reaction to the new rule.
2016 National Lawyers Convention
- Professor Eugene Volokh, , Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law
“Those who won our independence," Justice Brandeis wrote nearly a century ago, “eschewed silence coerced by law – the argument of force in its worst form." They believed that “the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones." Holding that belief, the Founding Generation added an amendment to the Constitution that expressly protects the freedom of speech. Today, however, public officials and private citizens facing what they believe to be “evil counsels" have sometimes responded not by offering good counsel but by invoking judicial processes. They use “the argument of force in its worst form" to silence opinions and speech that they disapprove of.
Recent examples of this phenomenon include District Attorneys in Texas and Wisconsin who investigated and charged a sitting Governor, the whistleblower who exposed the practices of Planned Parenthood, and those whose political views diverged from those of the District Attorney. In two of those cases, investigators broke into homes and seized computers and documents. Significantly, in each case, the charges were dropped, although not without great angst and effort from the targeted.
Mark Steyn has asserted that the process is, itself, the punishment. Steyn has been sued by a Penn State climatologist who famously claims that he was defamed when his writings were subjected to ridicule. Four years after the suit was filed, it is still in its preliminary stages.
Most recently, a coterie of Attorneys General, aided by some senators, have declared their intention to stifle dissent on the subject of climate change. The Attorneys General of Massachusetts and the Virgin Islands sent subpoenas for documents to Exxon and a number of think tanks grounding their action on the contention that the dissenters are guilty of fraud.
Are these actions appropriate uses of the judicial process?
What, if anything, can be done to curtail the use of judicial processes to target speech? Are measures like Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation) laws an appropriate response? Are they constitutional? What about a federal anti-SLAPP law?
It is noteworthy that the worst abuses have taken place in state courts. Should Congress allow removal to federal court when a defendant makes a plausible case that the relief sought would violate rights under the First Amendment?
Professional Responsibility & Legal Education: Using Judicial Processes for Political Purposes
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
- Prof. Arthur Hellman, Professor of Law, Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair, University of Pittsburgh School Law
- Hon. Patrick Morrisey, Attorney General, West Virginia
- Prof. Patrick A. Parenteau, Senior Counsel, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School
- Ms. Kimberley A. Strassel, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board Member, Author of The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech
- Moderator: Hon. Steven M. Colloton, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- Introduction: Mr. Jack Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP
The Mayflower Hotel Professional Responsibilities Practice Group Podcast
The Federalist Society's Legal Classics Revisited series returns to the writing of Professor Alexander Bickel and his last work, The Morality of Consent. In a July 11, 2016 Teleforum, we discussed Bickel's Least Dangerous Branch. The Morality of Consent is far shorter and was in manuscript form when Bickel died. Based on notes of magazine articles and lectures rather than on the author's plan for a single text, the book is unified by its larger themes rather than a conventional outline.
Professor Bickel viewed the mid-20th century as a time when the American legal system was challenged by the civil rights movement, the Vietnam protests, and a national reaction led by Richard Nixon. Each raised questions about obedience to the law as it existed. These events from generations ago led Bickel to consider the process by which Americans made law and came to accept and obey it. He worked hard to define the paradox presented by civil disobedience which seemed to be established within American law and yet carried the potential to destroy both law and ordered society. Contemporary readers will find the effort instructive and successful, at least in part. But questions remain. Bickel addressed other topics which "touch and concern" his questions, his misgivings, and his faith in the enterprise of Law. Bickel grappled with questions that resist final answers in each chapter of his book, a legal classic worth a visit in our own day.
- Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine
- James A. Haynes, Former Attorney and Alternate Judge, U.S. Dept of Labor, Employees Compensation Appeals Board
- John J. Park, Jr., Of Counsel, Strickland Brockington Lewis LLP