Hello and welcome back to How to Legal where we (it’s just me) use the good side of the Internet to combat the dark side in this online era of fake news, misinformation, disinformation and defamation.
Given the recent revelations regarding former President Donald Trump’s lawyer, alleged oath, rule breaker, John Eastman, seeking a presidential pardon after the January 6 attack on the United States Capital, in today’s installment we’ll look at a peaceful solution to restore integrity to the United States justice system.
See: Hugo Lowell, “Trump lawyer John Eastman sought presidential pardon after January 6: Disclosure from Capitol attack committee suggests consciousness of guilt in unlawful scheme to return Trump to White House, The Guardian, June 16, 2022.
This solution has been hiding in plain sight all along.
It also begins to solve one of the few issues both sides of the political aisle agree on.
The increasing lack of trust in the United States justice system and in institutions.
See for e.g.: Dan Berman, “Gallup: Record low 25% of Americans have confidence in Supreme Court,” CNN, June 23, 2022; and Identifying real problems in the U.S. legal system & solutions—How to Legal.
This solution is not hard, but it does take courage.
Let’s do this.
Are lawyers supposed to cover up fellow lawyers misconduct according to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys?
Here we turn to the American Bar Association to find out.
At Rule 8.3: “Reporting Professional Misconduct” we learn the answer is an unequivocal, resounding “no.”
It reads in part:
Maintaining The Integrity of The Profession:
Rule 8.3 (a): A lawyer who knows that another lawyer has committed a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct that raises a substantial question as to that lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects, shall inform the appropriate professional authority.American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct
... shall inform the appropriate professional authority.
Here, the answer is a peaceful solution to begin to restore integrity to the justice system. Lawyers must expose and hold oath breaker lawyers accountable, lawyers who abuse their profession for whatever unjust gain in any court. If lawyers follow this rule, this will demonstrate to both sides of the aisle, that justice and accountability are possible, irrespective of politics and money.
Are lawyers supposed to cover up judicial misconduct?
Next, are lawyers supposed to cover up judicial misconduct according to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct or report judicial rule violations to the appropriate authorities?
Here again we turn to the American Bar Association to find out.
Once again, we can see that lawyers are duty bound to “inform the appropriate authority” of any judicial misconduct.
According to Rule 8.3 (b): A lawyer who knows that a judge has committed a violation of applicable rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the judge’s fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
… shall inform the appropriate authority.
So to recap, what have we learned?
Lawyers are required to self police
We’ve learned that according to Rule 8.3 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct lawyers are duty bound to inform the appropriate authorities regarding attorney(s) and/or judge(s) misconduct.
This is why the work the lawyers at The 65 Project are doing is necessary and important. The 65 Project has been filing ethic complaints against fellow lawyers–lawyers who violated their oaths and broke the rules.
The lawyers at The 65 Project are following their oaths and Rule 8.3 by reporting professional misconduct and seeking accountability.
According to Rule 8.3 each and every lawyer is supposed to be doing this.
As The 65 Project explains: “Lawyers take an oath to stand as officers of the court, bound by a code of conduct and ethical requirements that do not apply to the public more broadly. They cannot uphold that duty while lying to the court or the public about the factual grounds for phoney claims.” (emphasis mine)
The 65 Project will serve to protect democracy from the threat posed through abuse of the legal system by holding accountable the lawyers who bring fraudulent lawsuits seeking to overturn legitimate election results or who otherwise violate their professional responsibilities to undermine our democracy.The 65 Project
Lawyers and judges, officers of the court, are also bound by oath or affirmation to support the Constitution.
Recall, officers of the court are: “[a]ny person who has an obligation to promote justice and uphold the law, including judges, clerks, court personnel, police officers, and attorneys (who must be truthful in court and obey court rules).” Nolo
Clearly lawyers who violate their oath and break the rules, and/or fail to report misconduct, violating Rule 8.3, are not promoting justice. These lawyers are not supporting or defending the Constitution. Instead they are making a mockery out of the rule of law and undermining the legal system. I think it is fair to say that most people are realizing how court cases can affect them even if they have nothing to do with the legal system.
Additionally, lawyers who violate Rule 8.3, any of the rules for that matter, are diminishing the sanctity of their oath.
This is big deal.
Just as the law lacks legitimacy unless those who make, enforce, and interpret it share a genuine commitment to treat it seriously, so too does an oath lack sanctity unless those who violate it are held to account.The Jan. 6th Committee on Why Oaths Matter, Lawfare, June 17, 2022.
Do not do to others what you don’t want to be done to you.—Confucius
In light of all the reporting exposing judicial misconduct, it should be reasonable to assume that we should be seeing more lawyers exposing misconduct, filing ethic complaints, notifying authorities, senior judges and the like.
We are not seeing that yet.
See for e.g.: Michael Berens and John Shiffman, “Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench,” Reuters, June 30, 2020; James V. Grimaldi, Coulter Jones and Joe Palazzolo, “131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest,” Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2021; and Erik Ortiz, “Robed in secrecy: How judges accused of misconduct can dodge public scrutiny,” NBC, December 26, 2021.
As such, don’t be deceived by shiny bios when you can read court cases and see which lawyers follow their oath, the rules and which ones do not.
Lawyers know the rules and they know how to break them. They are the same rules afterall. See for e.g.: Hon. Linda V Parker’s order in King v. Whitmer (2:20-cv-13134).
See also: Judges & Lawyers Oaths, Codes & Rules—How to Legal
As political violence accelerates, everyday we don’t see more lawyers self policing, following Rule 8.3, exposing and holding their unethical colleagues to account, is another day where oath breakers are undermining the integrity of the justice system, fueling distrust in the legal system, unjustly denying part(ies) of due justice, while eroding the credibility of judges who have conducted proper proceedings pursuant to their oath and the rules.
What kind of society do you want to live in?
Civilized or uncivilized?
Peaceful or violent?
More than one quarter of US residents feel so estranged from their government that they feel it might “soon be necessary to take up arms” against it, a poll released on Thursday claimed.
This survey of 1,000 registered US voters, published by the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics (IOP), also revealed that most Americans agree the government is “corrupt and rigged against everyday people like me”.
The data suggests that extreme polarization in US politics – and its impact on Americans’ relationships with each other – remain strong.Victoria Bekiempis, “A quarter of Americans open to taking up arms against government, poll says,’” The Guardian, June 30, 2022.
Let’s wrap this up.
As always, I hope you have learned something new in this latest installment of How to Legal. You see? There are peaceful solutions to fix real problems, while healing the divide between Americans, as demonstrated above.
This is how you do it!
Lawyers can restore integrity to the United States justice system by following their oaths and Rule 8.3. Conversely, lawyers …
The more you learn about the United States justice system the more you will appreciate, respect, and admire the officers of the court who follow their oaths; stand firm against corruption; who cannot be bought off or unduly influenced in some way, and who vacate oathbreaker rulings.
It’s time for me to sign off now, get up, stretch and move around. Remember to take breaks when you How to Legal and to be good to yourself.
This time, for me, my music pick is Montell Jordan’s, “This is how we do it.” See Official website. What’s your pick?
Thank you for spending time at How to Legal. Stay hopeful and informed. There are peaceful solutions to solve problems and lawyers reporting misconduct as they are rule bound to do is one of them. #selfpolice
Violence is never the answer.
None of the information on this website is legal advice. While I have litigated as a pro se plaintiff, when according to Reuters and Wall Street Journal’s reporting there was a lot of judicial misconduct going on, I am not a lawyer. This information is for educational purposes. If you need legal advice, please consult with a licensed professional in your area.
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