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The Fight Over ABA Rule 8.4(g) Proceeds to the States

John J. Park, Jr. July 13, 2017
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As has been noted, the American Bar Association has proposed the adoption of a new model Rule 8.4(g) that would make it an ethical violation to harass or discriminate against another 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.” I have previously observed that the ABA’s view of free speech is incoherent and that the Rule’s reach is wide-ranging. [Read More]

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More on the ABA’s Threat to Free Speech

John J. Park, Jr. June 19, 2017
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In my post of May 9, 2017 regarding the ABA’s new Model Rule 8.4(g), I noted the breadth of the new rule. It would make it professional misconduct for a lawyer to, among other things, “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.” Proposed new Comment 4 illustrates the broad reach of the new rule. It explains that the range of activities related to the practice of law includes, but is not limited to, “participating in bar association, business or social activities undertaken in connection with the practice of law.” [Read More]

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The ABA’s Garbled View of Free Speech

John J. Park, Jr. May 09, 2017
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In 2011, Florida enacted the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act, which as Joseph Greenlee has written “protect[s] patients from unethical practices of licensed physicians,” who were intrusively asking patients whether they own a firearm, even when such ownership had nothing to do with the purpose of the patient’s treatment. In pertinent part, the Act states that medical professionals “should refrain from making a written inquiry or asking questions concerning the ownership of a firearm or ammunition by the patient or by a family member of the patient, or the presence of a firearm in a private home” unless they in “good faith believe[] that this information is relevant to the patient’s medical care or safety, or the safety of others.” Fla. Stat. § 790.338(2). Another provision prevents medical professionals from “discriminat[ing] against a patient based solely” on the patient’s ownership or possession of a firearm. Fla. Stat. § 790.338(5). [Read More]

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Protecting Free Speech in Medicine

Christina Sandefur March 29, 2017
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Under federal law, pharmaceutical companies can be charged with a crime simply for telling a doctor about a legal, alternative use for an approved treatment. Sadly, government routinely censors the communication of valuable and truthful information that could help improve – and even save – people’s lives.

This changed in Arizona last week when Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2382, a new state law that safeguards the free speech rights of those in the medical field to share truthful research and information about alternative uses for FDA-approved medicines. [Read More]

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A Welcome Rebuke to Campaign Contribution Discrimination in Illinois

Stephen R. Klein March 28, 2017
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In late 2015, Claire Ball and Scott Schluter, two Libertarian candidates for state offices in Illinois, brought suit against Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Board of Elections to challenge a provision of the state’s election law that prohibited medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries from contributing to state candidates. (I served as co-counsel in the case at the Pillar of Law Institute, along with the Liberty Justice Center in Chicago.) [Read More]