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.
Litigation and Professional Responsibilities & Legal Education Practice Group Podcast
- 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
On May 19, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order in which it found that lawyers from the United States Department of Justice violated their duty of candor in the course of their representation and imposed sanctions. The court initially required additional ethics training for all Justice Department attorneys practicing in 26 states for a period of five years. The Court concluded, in part, that “the Justice Department lawyers knew the true facts and misrepresented those facts to the citizens of the 26 Plaintiff States, their lawyers and this Court on multiple occasions.” The Justice Department acknowledged that its attorneys made mistakes and misrepresentations to the court and opposing counsel, but contended that none were intentional, and agreed to some limited sanctions. Since then, the court has stayed its order.
What are the limits, if any, to Court sanctions for attorney conduct? Thomas H. Dupree Jr., who formerly served in the Department of Justice, and Richard Painter, whose experience includes service in the White House Counsel’s Office, discussed these issues on the podcast.
2015 National Lawyers Convention
- Mr. Thomas H. Dupree Jr., Partner, Gibson Dunn
- Prof. Richard W. Painter, S. Walter Richey Professor of Corporate Law, University of Minnesota Law School
Many attorneys see a judgeship as the pinnacle of professional achievement in the legal world. It could be the visibility of judges, their unquestioned decision-making authority, the absence of clients, life tenure, or some other aspect of being a judge. Our panel of judges will discuss the realities of a career on the bench. The panelists will share their thoughts on topics as diverse as the role of the judiciary, judicial philosophy, stare decisis and precedent, opinions and dissents, the judicial appointment process, the state of the legal profession, and much more.
This panel was presented at the 2015 National Lawyers Convention on Saturday, November 14, 2015, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.
Special Session: Life on the Bench
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
- Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
- Hon. Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- Hon. Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
- Hon. Jerry Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
- Hon. David Stras, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Minnesota
- Moderator: Hon. David B. Sentelle, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
- Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society
The Mayflower Hotel