He says, as he hooks his thumbs around his suspenders, leans back, and moves his cigar from one side of his mouth to the other. At least, that’s how I see the scene playing out, in a back room somewhere, just before the Kentucky Bar Association voted to constrain one lawyer’s free speech rights.
According to the ABA Journal, United States District Court Judge Danny Reeves has ruled that a bar association may restrict otherwise constitutionally protected speech by an attorney if necessary to “uphold public confidence in the judiciary.” This follows the decision of the Kentucky Bar to issue a warning to attorney John M. Berry, who wrote letters to Kentucky’s Legislative Ethics Commission alleging violations of fundraising rules.
This has to be wrong. I am no First Amendment expert, but this just has to be wrong. Taken to its logical next step, lawyers can be banned from supporting political candidates, writing editorials for the local newspaper …. writing blogs. Of course, whether this case gets appellate review depends on whether Berry can afford to continue financing it, or whether the ACLU gets on board (if they’re not already).
I sincerely hope this gets reversed. I’m not interested in becoming a mealy-mouthed milquetoast for the sake of my brethren at the bar. And so long as Orly Taitz continues to represent to the public that she is an attorney, I shouldn’t have to.