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Judges & Lawyers Oaths, Codes & Rules—How to Legal

How to Legal Oath-breakers and Oath-followers

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If you know the oaths, laws, canons, and rules, you can identify the oath-followers and the oath-breakers.

Welcome back to How to Legal. Picking up from How to Legal: The Rules, we’re moving on to where you can find the oaths, codes, and rules for judges and lawyers.

Knowing these things can help you debunk fake news about oath-following judges, and show you the ones who don’t, as we saw in The Wall Street Journal’s, “131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest,” and Reuter’s “Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench.”

* James V. GrimaldiCoulter Jones, and Joe Palazzolo of Wall Street Journal, and Reuter’s Michael Berens and John Shiffman broke the above stories.

Judicial misconduct undermines the integrity and trust in the justice system. It should concern everyone who respects the rule of law and wants to live in a civilized society where due justice for the rich, and the poor, can be achieved.

Judicial misconduct enables wrongdoers to continue their misconduct. It robs innocents of their due justice. It burdens the oath-following, ethical judges and lawyers who also have to deal with the fallout created by their unethical colleagues, as you can see here in: “Federal Judge Files Recusal Notices in 138 Cases After WSJ Queries.

Judicial misconduct affects society as a whole. Imagine what life would be like without consumer protections, for example. We have consumer protections because of oath-following judges and lawyers holding wrongdoers accountable under the laws of the United States.

The bottom line. There are oath-breakers and oath-followers in the justice system.

As such, because we here at How to Legal (it’s just me) respect and admire the oath-following judges and lawyers, and don’t want to see anyone else harmed by fake news, defamation, or by oath-breakers, in this installment we will learn:

Remember, don’t burn out when you How to Legal. Pace yourself. You can bookmark How to Legal, scroll down to whatever interests you, come back, and grab more legal open source information later.

Let’s get to it.

How to think like a judge is supposed to think

As you learn How to Legal and follow court cases, you need to think like a judge is supposed to think. Judges are required to remain impartial, and to faithfully and diligently perform their duties under the Constitution and the laws of the United States. It should not matter which President appointed them.

Peaceful solutions. In a politics-free zone it's about oath-breakers and oath-followers. Ethical v unethical 

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Shop! There are oath followers and oath-breakers

In essence, to think like a judge is supposed to think you need to put aside any political views, biases, or preconceived notions, you may have about a case. So whether you like or dislike the plaintiff or the defendant for political, and/or whatever reason, is irrelevant. To think like a judge you need to remain impartial — neutral.

“Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as stated in the Constitution.”  You can see “Judgeship Appointments by President” created by the United States Courts if you go here.

Referring to the judge’s oath(s) and the judicial canons, (see below) will help you think like a judge. At the same time, the oaths are reminders that show you how proper proceedings are conducted so you won’t be deceived by fake news about ethical judges.

Balanced scales
When judges follow their oath and the rules the scales are balanced.

Judicial Oaths

For your convenience, the following are the oaths or affirmations that “each justice or judge of the United States shall take …before performing the duties of his[/her] office”.

You can use them as a benchmark to identify proper judicial proceedings versus improper proceedings according to the oaths.

From Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute:

28 U.S. Code § 453 – Oaths of justices and judges

“I, ___ ___, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as ___ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”

Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute

You can find the Constitutional oath below on the United States Supreme Court’s website with some history of the oaths as well.

5 U. S. C. § 3331 taken by all Federal employees, except the President.

“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”

United States Supreme Court, Oaths of Office
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Rapid Response Guide to Fake News – here are the canons

Remember in the second installment of How to Legal we learned about the “How-to Guide for Rapid Response to Fake News, Misleading Statements, and Unjust Criticism of the Judiciary, (“Rapid Response Guide”)?

The Rapid Response Guide stressed the importance of educating the public concerning the role of judges, “the application of the law, and the restrictions and responsibilities placed on judges in the canons and rules?”

Yes? Do you remember? If not, I linked it again above in case you missed it.

So where do you find the canons and the rules?

How to legal. Learn where to find the judicial canons, oaths and Model Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys

You can find them at the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Code of Judicial Conduct. Within the canons are rules. Following is an abridged version:

CANON 1: A judge shall uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, and shall avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety.

CANON 2: A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office impartially, competently, and diligently.

CANON 3: A judge shall conduct the judge’s personal and extrajudicial activities to minimize the risk of conflict with the obligations of judicial office.

Lady justice is watching. How to Legal. Judges oath and code of conduct
Lady Justice sees all. The truth comes out eventually.

CANON 4: A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.

Source: ABA’s Code of Judicial Conduct

To see the rules for judges, and an in-depth discussion on the Code of Judicial Conduct, the U.S. Courts provide a Guide to Judiciary Policy here, and via a pdf download here.  See also, Text of Model Code of Judicial Conduct.

Remember the rules and canons in different states may vary slightly from the ABA’s Code of Judicial Conduct, so if you’re following a specific case or a judge, read the ABA’s Code and the rules in that jurisdiction.

To demonstrate, in the District of Columbia the Code of Judicial Conduct is here. Louisiana’s Code of Judicial Conduct is here, and so on.

Just search online for the judicial canons, code of ethics (or conduct) for judges in that state or district.

How to track dark money

Scales of Injustice
No balance, no justice.

Now that you know where to find the Code of Judicial Conduct, given the concerns about dark money, and funny business influencing judges’ rulings, and are sources where you can find out who donates to judges’ elections (state and supreme courts).

In addition, the Brennan Center for Justice is another organization tracking money that’s undermining the integrity of the justice system. See, “Money in Judicial Elections” to learn more about it.

It reads in part:

“Special interest money in state supreme court elections threatens the integrity of the judiciary. We’re tracking who pays for judicial races and analyzing how special-interest pressure and conflicts of interest threaten evenhanded justice in today’s courts.”

Brennan Center for Justice

The U.S. Courts “About Federal Judges” provides information where you can learn how different types of Federal Judges are nominated and vetted, including magistrate, and bankruptcy judges. In part, it involves their peers, and other officers of the court, some of whom might be a “Super Lawyer.”

What are Super Lawyers and how are they picked?

“Super Lawyers,” according to their website, is a prestigious “rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.” Super Lawyers can help you find a lawyer if you need one.

Their selection process includes independent research, peer nominations, and peer evaluations.”

Super Lawyers selects attorneys using a patented multiphase selection process. Peer nominations and evaluations are combined with independent research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis. The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel. Since Super Lawyers is intended to be used as an aid in selecting a lawyer, we limit the lawyer ratings to those who can be hired and retained by the public.

Super Lawyers, Selection Process

You can read more about Super Lawyers here.

While I don’t cover U.S. politics anymore, for purposes of How to Legal, it’s worth pointing out that sanctioned, sued for defamation and deceptive trade practices, and possibly soon-to-be disbarred lawyer, Sidney Powell, has been a “Super Lawyer” for decades.

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal Super Lawyer Sidney Powell. Reportedly she violated her oath.
Super Lawyer, officer of the court, Sidney Powell

In part:

Sidney Powell was selected to Super Lawyers for 2003 – 2006, 2008 – 2021. Super Lawyers is an exclusive list of top-rated attorneys in specific practice areas who were chosen after thorough evaluation of numerous criteria.

Sidney Powell Super Lawyer

As such, as the Powell situation demonstrates, just because a lawyer is a “Super Lawyer,” it’s not a guarantee that they are not an oath-breaking lawyer.

Like everything, to restore integrity in the legal profession, Super Lawyers can use this example as an opportunity to identify more oath breaking lawyers among their ranks, expose them, clean house, and restore integrity within the legal profession.

The only people who would have a problem with that are other oath-breaking lawyers and their law firms.

Stay with me here.

Duke Law: Pay to Play?

The more you look into campaign contributions, dark money, and funny business, it’s incredible to see some of the ways lawyers and judges can scratch each other’s backs so to speak.

For example, Duke Law published a study in May 2020 about what’s been happening in Harris County, Texas. The study is called “Pay to Play? Campaign Finance and the Incentive Gap in the Sixth Amendment’s Right to Counsel.” I linked it so you can read it.

In brief:

“A study of lawyer appointments has found that judges were more likely to appoint lawyers who had contributed to their election campaigns to represent indigent defendants than they were to appoint nondonors.”

According to the study, these appointments are surprisingly lucrative. I didn’t know that. Look >>

“The average donor lawyer earns about $31,000 in attorney fees from the donee judge, representing a 27-fold return on campaign contributions, the study says.”

Debra Cassens Weiss, “Lawyers who donate to judicial campaigns get more indigent defense appointments, study finds,” ABA Journal, June 2, 2020.

A 27-fold return on campaign contributions.

Let’s put that in perspective. Compare the return a lawyer can receive if they donate to a judge’s election campaign with stock market returns.

Lawyer: 27-fold return on campaign contribution– Pay to Play?

Everyday person: “The average 10-year stock market return is 9.2%, according to Goldman Sachs data.” — Insider, June 14, 2021.

Oh. And who suffers? In this example, it’s the people the Sixth Amendment’s Right to Counsel was intended to protect.

The study also found that donor lawyers are less successful than nondonors in avoiding prison sentences and in attaining charge reductions, dismissals and acquittals.

Read a summary. Read the full study

And who cannot be a part of this “pay to play” 27% return? Everyone who is not an attorney, and that includes pro se (self-represented) parties and “the poor.” Everyone who will never be a “Super Lawyer.”

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As such, if you are following the money, what you likely won’t see are pro se parties or the “poor,” but you will see dark money donors, special interest groups, PACs (Political Action Committees), foundations, organizations, and law firms.

Did you know that oath-breaking judges were found in pro se cases?

Thus, it was not surprising to see in the Wall Street Journal‘s and Reuter’s investigations that oath-breaking judges were found in pro se cases and cases involving “the poor.”

See for e.g., the following pro se case at the Federal level:

Those numbers reflect only stock ownership, not recusal violations. However, the Journal found 37 judges who owned a bank stock while improperly hearing a case involving that bank.

Judge Emily Marks bought Wells Fargo stock two weeks after she was assigned a Wells Fargo case, a conflict that now threatens to upset a ruling she made.

In the suit, Jacob Springer and Jeanetta Springer of Roanoke, Ala., acted as their own attorneys in challenging Wells Fargo’s foreclosure of Ms. Springer’s father’s home.

In court filings, they said her ailing father missed a mortgage payment three months before he died, after which his daughter, who inherited the home, made payments. Wells Fargo foreclosed, saying the Springers missed payments of about $4,100 on an outstanding mortgage of more than $80,000; they said they had missed just one $695 payment.

“This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”— Jacob Springer, when told of the judge’s violation in the case he lost

Judge Marks, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama and an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was assigned the case in mid-August 2018. The judge bought Wells Fargo stock at the end of the month. In September, she adopted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to dismiss the Springers’ suit, a decision affirmed on appeal.

Judge Marks declined to comment. The court clerk told parties to the case that the judge had informed her of having owned the bank stock and directed the clerk to notify the parties. The clerk told them Judge Marks’s stock ownership didn’t affect her decisions in the case but would have required recusal.

Mr. Springer said, “This is outrageous. How am I supposed to know she owns stock in Wells Fargo?”

The Springers asked the court to reopen the case, saying in a filing that “a non-interested Judge” might have let them amend their pleadings. The court assigned a new judge to their suit in July. A spokesman for Wells Fargo declined to comment.

The nation’s 94 district courts are organized into 12 circuits, or regions. The Journal identified recusal violations in each region.

The U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t part of the Journal’s analysis. Nor did it include bankruptcy or magistrate judges.

Wall Street Journal: 131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest, James V. Grimaldi, Coulter Jones and Joe Palazzolo

I first encountered pro se plaintiffs when I was reporting on the mortgage crisis back in 2014. See for e.g.: Leaked Federal Reserve Documents.

Illegal foreclosures peppered the nation. Pro se plaintiffs were fighting for their homes. Many had lawyers initially but for different reasons ultimately they went alone and represented themselves. These homeowners had no choice but to learn how to represent themselves, and to litigate against powerful banker lawyers.

How to Legal BINGO Judges' Edition A Marinka Peschmann How to Legal Digital Download
Have fun. Shop How to Legal BINGO for crash course help.

It was pro se plaintiffs who inspired me to represent myself shortly thereafter. If they could learn the legal system and litigate against the big bank lawyers, so could I. Our legal filings, the evidence we meticulously submitted, the judge’s rulings, or lack thereof, the canons, and oaths tell the tale.

See also: Faith Karimi, “A former Texas judge is sentenced for accepting cash bribes stashed in beer boxes,” CNN, September 26, 2019.

Update: Two-faced oath/rule-breaking judges can be cruel. These judges have no problem abusing their authority and destroying innocent lives for some unjust gain and gratification — even the lives of children.

Kids for Cash former Pennsylvania well respected judge, Mark Ciavarella.

Oath-breaker v oath-follower judge Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal
Kids-for-cash trailer.
This is the once well-respected judge from Pennsylvania, Mark Ciavarella. He looks harmless, right? Don’t be deceived by impressive, shiny bios. How judges conduct proceedings tells you who they are.

See: Michael Rubinkam, “Kids-for-cash [Pennsylvania] judges ordered to pay more than $200M,” Associated Press, August 17, 2022.

Two former Pennsylvania judges who orchestrated a scheme to send children to for-profit jails in exchange for kickbacks were ordered to pay more than $200 million to hundreds of people they victimized in one of the worst judicial scandals in U.S. history…

“[Former judge] Ciavarella and [former judge] Conahan abandoned their oath and breached the public trust,” [Judge] Conner wrote Tuesday in his explanation of the judgment. “Their cruel and despicable actions victimized a vulnerable population of young people, many of whom were suffering from emotional issues and mental health concerns.”

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out some 4,000 juvenile convictions involving more than 2,300 kids after the scheme was uncovered.

“They recounted his harsh and arbitrary nature, his disdain for due process, his extraordinary abruptness, and his cavalier and boorish behavior in the courtroom,” Conner wrote.

One unnamed child victim testified that Ciavarella had “ruined my life” and “just didn’t let me get to my future,” according to Conner’s ruling.

Said another plaintiff: “I feel I was just sold out for no reason. Like everybody just stood in line to be sold.”

Another victim described how he shook uncontrollably during a routine traffic stop — a consequence of the traumatizing impact of his childhood detention — and had to show his mental health records in court to “explain why my behavior was so erratic.”

Several of the childhood victims who were part of the lawsuit when it began in 2009 have since died from overdoses or suicide, Conner said.

“Kids-for-cash [Pennsylvania] judges ordered to pay more than $200M,” Associated Press, August 17, 2022.

It’s not the pro se parties who are bribing judges.

It’s not the pro se parties who are paying off judges in some way.

#BigLaw #BigBusiness

News outlets exposing unethical, oath-breaking judges with tip contact info

As we discussed in the second installment of How to LegalIdentifying real problems in the U.S. legal system, and here again above, among the solutions to restore trust and integrity in the justice system is via education, exposure, and accountability.

As such, we turn to media outlets that are doing that.


How to Legal rules Journalists exposing judicial misconduct 

Oath-breaker versus Oath-follower
Exposing judicial misconduct restores the integrity to the justice system

Journalists, like the Reuters journalists, Michael Berens and John Shiffman, who broke, “Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench,” Reuters, June 30, 2020, are seeking tips.

From “Holding judges accountable, The Teflon Robe,” a Reuters Investigation.


Not all judges who have violated their oaths of office, broken the law or misbehaved on the bench have been brought before their states’ oversight commission.

If you know of a judge who may have committed misconduct, please send us details at Include the name of the judge, the state, details of what the judge may have done wrong, and a way for us to contact you. Reuters investigates such tips and will contact you before publishing.

Reuters, June 30, 2020.

See also, some of the steps Reuters took as part of their investigation: Exploring the misdeeds of judges across America:

In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which state or local judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct.

Exploring the misdeeds of judges across America, Reuters, June 30, 2020.

If you don’t know who to trust in the media, you might want to spend time at Reuters with reporters who do the work. The same applies to the outlets below.

Wall Street Journal

As afore-stated above, the Wall Street Journals, “131 Federal Judges Broke the Law by Hearing Cases Where They Had a Financial Interest, James V. GrimaldiCoulter Jones, and Joe Palazzolo are also doing the important work of restoring integrity and trust to the justice system.

Journalists who expose judicial misconduct are preserving the integrity of the justice system

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal

See also: How the Journal Found Judges’ Violations of Law on Conflicts: Review accessed judges’ stockholdings, cross-checked with their court cases

See also: “When Judges Abuse Public Confidence: Ethics rules prohibit the appearance of unethical conduct as well as actual unethical conduct,” Wall Street Journal (Opinion: letters-written by a judge), it reads in part,

“If a GS-12 contracting officer I advised knew not to share an expensive cab ride with opposing counsel from the courthouse unless they split the fare, federal judges can figure out their conflicts or get competent advice—or they shouldn’t be on the bench. Ethics rules prohibit the appearance of unethical conduct as well as actual unethical conduct.”

Wall Street Journal

Indeed, it will be the ethical judges and lawyers who play a big role in holding their unethical colleagues accountable. They know the rules, canons, and oaths.

We found it very hard to believe that it was actually true, that so many judges were breaking the law. I mean, these are judges. They're lawyers. Judges interpret the law. They enforce the law. They don't break the law. But judges very rarely receive any kind of scrutiny, federal judges in particular. And they're used to being sort of the king and queens of their own domain. 
--- James V. Grimaldi, The Federal Law That 138 Judges Have Broken, WSJ, October 1, 2021

How to identify oath-breaking judges

As such, now it’s your turn to know them. The way to identify unethical, judges engaging in judicial misconduct is to essentially flip the oath, the canon, rule, or law. For example in the Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges we learn Canon 3A(5) states:

Canon 3A(5). In disposing of matters promptly, efficiently, and fairly, a judge must demonstrate due regard for the rights of the parties to be heard and to have issues resolved without unnecessary cost or delay. A judge should monitor and supervise cases to reduce or eliminate dilatory practices, avoidable delays, and unnecessary costs.

Prompt disposition of the court’s business requires a judge to devote adequate time to judicial duties, to be punctual in attending court and expeditious in determining matters under submission, and to take reasonable measures to ensure that court personnel, litigants, and their lawyers cooperate with the judge to that end.

Code of Conduct for United States Judges

Thus, based on the above, a judge who violates Canon 3A(5) is a judge who did not dispose of matters promptly, efficiently, or fairly. The judge did not demonstrate due regard for the rights of the parties to be heard and to have issues resolved without unnecessary cost or delay, and so on.

Oath-breakers v oath-followers

How to Legal
“Justice” can look like this in a court with an oath breaking judge

These judges also violate their oaths.

Remember, essentially flip the oath.

So to know if you have possibly stumbled across an oath-breaking judge, instead of seeing a judge adhering to 28 U.S. Code § 453 – Oaths of justices and judges, and a proper proceeding, you will see a judge who did not administer justice with respect to persons; who did not do equal right to the poor and the rich, and a judge who did not faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon [them]… under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

So what have we learned? Based on ethical judges, we’ve learned that every day an oath-breaking judge doesn’t come clean, and seek redemption, is another day where these judge(s) know they are guilty of judicial misconduct.

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal. Do not do to others what you don't want to be done to you Confucius

Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench. 

Justice system. Legal profession
Oath-breaking judge(s) undermine the integrity of the justice system and democracy.

It’s another day where two-faced judges know their misconduct continues to undermine the justice system.

It’s another day where two-faced judges gave a wrongdoer(s) a free pass to keep doing whatever they were doing.

It’s another day where two-faced judges continue to rob innocents of their due justice while masquerading as decent, ethical people in robes.

As the Reuters and Wall Street Journal investigations tell us, their skewed rulings and or improper procedures tell the tale.

As demonstrated above there’s a big difference between the judges who follow their oaths and the judges who don’t. Already the Wall Street Journal’s investigation is making it harder for oath-breaking federal judges to remain hidden.

See also: Asher Klein, “NH Judge Arrested for Allegedly Falsifying Documents, Lying About It,” NBC Boston 10, February 11, 2021. 

As such, this is great news for everyone who respects the law. This is great news for everyone who wants to see integrity and trust in the justice system restored, and for all the victims (survivors) of judicial misconduct who can finally obtain overdue justice.

I don’t know about you, but I need a music break. The harm oath-breaking judges cause people, their ethical colleagues, while knowingly undermining the U.S. justice system is stomach-turning.

Learning more about the different ways they do it takes a toll.

This time my music pick it’s Stromae – Sante. It’s in French (with subtitles) and it celebrates the people who can’t celebrate. What’s your music pick? >> Stromae’s official website.

Marinka Peschmann's How to Legal. 
Ethical lawyers follow their oaths and advocate for their clients --within the bounds of the law. That's the kicker --within. Unethical don't.
Ethical lawyers advocate for their clients —within the bounds of the law. That’s the kicker –within. Unethical don’t.

Where to find attorney oaths and the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (governing lawyers)

Moving forward, let’s take a quick look at what is required for a person to become a licensed lawyer.

Here we turn to the invaluable Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute to find out. Following is an excerpt from their Admission to Practice Overview:

Admission to the practice of law (admission to the bar of a state) is governed by rules and regulations promulgated solely by a state’s courts, legislatures, and/or bar association. The rules must not violate the constitutional requirements of due process and equal protection or be unrelated to one’s ability to practice law.

The general requirements for admission to the bar are similar throughout the fifty states. An applicant must have good moral character, be a resident (or employed) in the state, have graduated from an accredited/certified law school, and pass a bar examination. Exceptions to these general requirements are occasionally made….

Upon admission to the bar an attorney normally must take an oath declaring his or her obligations to the court, state, and country as an officer of the court; register with the court; and receive a license to practice. A member of the bar of one state may be permitted to practice in another without further certification. Some states waive the examination requirement for attorneys who are already a member of another bar.

Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute

If you wish to see the oaths lawyers take, check out the oaths of admission of all 50 States. This list was compiled by Judge Margaret Robb of the Indiana Court of Appeals.

As you can see below by comparing the Alabama and Alaska oaths of admissions for lawyers, while there are similarities, there are differences, state to state. Some oaths are specific while others are more general, but they essential cover the same rules.


I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will demean myself as an attorney, according to the best of my learning and ability, and with all good fidelity, as well to the court as to the client; that I will use no falsehood or delay any person’s cause for lucre or malice, and that I will support the Constitution of the State of Alabama and of the United States, so long as I continue a citizen(or legal resident) thereof, so help me God.

Oaths of Admission of all 50 States lawyers


I do affirm:

I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Alaska;

I will adhere to the Rules of Professional Conduct in my dealings with clients, judicial officers, attorneys, and all other persons;

I will maintain the respect due to courts of justice and judicial officers;

I will not counsel or maintain any proceedings that I believe are taken in bad faith or any defense that I do not believe is honestly debatable under the law of the land;

I will be truthful and honorable in the causes entrusted to me, and will never seek to mislead the judge or jury by an artifice or false statement of fact or law;

I will maintain the confidences and preserve inviolate the secrets of my client, and will not accept compensation in connection with my client’s business except from my client or with my client’s knowledge or approval;

I will be candid, fair, and courteous before the court and with other attorneys, and will advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless I am required to do so in order to obtain justice for my client;

I will uphold the honor and maintain the dignity of the profession, and will strive to improve both the law and the administration of justice.

Oaths of Admission of all 50 States lawyers

Attorney Rules

Similarly, the same applies to the rules.

The American Bar Association (ABA) provides the “Model Rules of Professional Conduct” governing attorneys, so if you’re looking at a specific case or lawyer, be mindful that you are reviewing the ABA’s Model Rules and the local rules for attorneys where the court case (also known as a proceeding or an action) is located. You can typically find the rules on a court’s website.

Fake News Notebook

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When you know the oaths and the rules, it will help you identify whether or not they are being followed or broken in a court case. This way you will not get freaked out, disseminate fake news, or end up in prison because you believed oath-breaking lawyers like these lawyers and storm the U.S. Capital or something.

Moreover, if you know the oaths and rules, then you would know that the Trump lawyers were not admonished, sanctioned, and/or (potentially soon-to-be) disbarred, because of politics, but because they broke their oaths, the rules, and the laws.

See for example:

Rule 1.2: Scope of Representation & Allocation of Authority Between Client & Lawyer

(d) A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent, but a lawyer may discuss the legal consequences of any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist a client to make a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.

ABA Professional Rules of Model Conduct

Indeed, lawyers must zealously advocate for their clients, but —within the bounds of the law. That’s the kicker —within.

If a lawyer had an innocent client(s) would they be willing to break the rules to try and “win?” Lawyers who break the rules while racking up legal fees make a mockery of the rule of law and undermine the integrity of the justice system and democracy.

It’s important to know these things. Why? Barry Malone at the American Bar Association explains why in “The Burden of Our Privilege.”

Like every business, industry, institution, and profession, it’s only as strong as its weakest link(s).

Update: Following is another case involving a lawyer and potential misconduct. This time it is a lawyer who politically would be perceived to be on the “left.” See: Sonam Sheth, “Special counsel John Durham’s office charged a lawyer connected to the DNC’s law firm with lying to the FBI,” Insider, September 16, 2021.

Update: Harper Neidig, “Judge allows Durham to move forward with [attorney] Sussmann prosecution,” The Hill, April 13, 2022.

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that Special Counsel John Durham can proceed with his office’s prosecution against a lawyer with ties to Democrats for making a false statement to the FBI in 2016.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper denied a motion from Michael Sussmann to dismiss the single charge against him, which stems from a 2016 meeting with the FBI’s top lawyer to present evidence supposedly linking then-presidential candidate Donald Trump to a Russian bank.

The Hill

So as you can see, it’s not about politics—at least it should not be. At the end of the day, lawyers either follow the rules, laws, and their oath, or they don’t.

Update: Josh Gerstein, “Sussmann acquitted on a charge brought by special counsel Durham: The jury acquitted Michael Sussmann, 57, on a charge that he lied when he allegedly denied he was acting on behalf of any client in alerting the FBI to claims that a secret server linked Trump and a Moscow bank,” Politico, May 31, 2022.

How to Legal so you won't be deceived by fake news. How to identify oath breaking U.S. lawyers
If you know the rules and oaths, you can help restore integrity to the U.S. justice system–peacefully.

How to identify oath-breaking lawyers

Now that you know how to find the oaths and rules you can identify the oath breaking lawyers. These lawyers show you who they are when they engage in conduct during a legal proceeding that is contradictory to their oaths and the rules.

This is why if you have any concerns about a case, a lawyer, or a judge, you need to read all the court filings and follow the docket.

So using the Alabama oath as an example, you would essentially flip it. Reverse the oath.

Alabama Oath

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will demean myself as an attorney, according to the best of my learning and ability, and with all good fidelity, as well to the court as to the client; that I will use no falsehood or delay any person’s cause for lucre or malice, and that I will support the Constitution of the State of Alabama and of the United States, so long as I continue a citizen(or legal resident) thereof, so help me God.

Oaths of Admission of all 50 States lawyers

When you flip the oath, according to the oath, among the unlawful conduct you might see is a lawyer:

  1. filing falsehoods in their legal briefs;
  2. making false statements in court and/or to a third party; and
  3. drag out a case for lucre. Lucre is money gained in sordid and dishonorable ways.
  4. drag out a case for malicious reasons;
  5. violate the Professional Rules of Model Conduct; and
  6. not support the Constitution of the State of Alabama and/or the United States Constitution.

You can locate the state constitutions via Google. Google the name of the state and “constitution.”

I found Alabama’s constitution in many places, including at Justia US Law.

To demonstrate potential misconduct, for example, in the Alabama Constitution we learn at Section 80:


Same — Offer, gift, etc., of money, etc., to executive or judicial officers or members of legislature to influence official acts.

Any person who shall, directly or indirectly, offer, give, or promise any money, or thing of value, testimonial, privilege, or personal advantage, to any executive or judicial officer or member of the legislature to influence him in the performance of any of his public or official duties, shall be guilty of bribery, and be punished in such manner as may be provided by law.

Alabama Constitution

As such, you can also identify oath-breaking judges at the same time. According to the judges’ oaths, canons and rules, these judges would not hold oath-breaking lawyers accountable in any meaningful way when potential misconduct occurred during legal proceedings.

These are judges who abuse their authority, who victimize and abuse a party seeking due justice. These are officers of the court who undermine the United States justice system according to the canons and the oaths. #SaveDemocracy.

Imagine what it must be like for a person(s) being in a court with an oath-breaking lawyer(s) and judge(s) throwing a case for some unjust gain.

You can use the same process with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct (governing attorneys).

How to identify a rule breaking attorney

For example, see Rule 1.6 and essentially flip it:

Rule 1.6: Confidentiality of Information

Client-Lawyer Relationship

(a) A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the representation or the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b).

(b) A lawyer may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the lawyer reasonably believes necessary:

(1) to prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;

A lawyer fails to reveal information that they know may lead to death or substantial bodily harm.

(2) to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the lawyer’s services;

A lawyer fails to prevent the client from committing a crime or fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another …..

(3) to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance of which the client has used the lawyer’s services;

A lawyer fails to prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interest or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime or fraud in furtherance…

(6) to comply with other law or a court order; or

A lawyer fails to comply with other laws or court orders.

And so on and so on.

See also: “Letter from 1,500 attorneys says Trump campaign lawyers don’t have ‘license to lie’” Washington Post … according to the rules, not politics.

Like all the rules, the rules governing attorneys must be followed to ensure justice is served. This protects the integrity of the justice system and prevents more people from getting hurt.

See also: Altered exhibits and pleadings—How to Legal to learn the difference between “Good faith versus bad faith. Lawful versus unlawful” conduct based on court cases.

Update March 2023:

Now we can add the California State Bar apologizing for not protecting people from corrupt lawyers which was pretty much the State Bar’s entire purpose. In the (now disbarred) Thomas Girardi attorney case the California State Bar failed for forty (40) years. That[‘s four decades.

“‘We failed.’ State bar apologizes for not acting sooner against now disbarred LA lawyer | Opinion,” March 15, 2023.

It is with great humility that we, as representatives of the State Bar of California’s Board of Trustees and leadership team, respectively, apologize on behalf of the State Bar to the people of California for our history of failing as an institution to hold former attorney Thomas Girardi accountable to his clients, despite having received over 200 complaints spanning 40 years.

As an agency, we failed to oversee and detect potential mishandling of client funds; overlooked mishandling of conflicts of interest; and rarely identified patterns of complaints. We accept responsibility to continue making changes required to restore your trust in the State Bar, and to continue dedicating ourselves to our mission of protecting the public by holding attorneys accountable to their clients.

California State Bar

Oath-breakers in the legal profession undermine the integrity of the justice system and chip away at democracy. It’s a big deal. It can affect you even if you have nothing to do with the legal system.

News source exposes U.S. law firm

To find news outlets covering lawyers who have been sanctioned, and/or are facing potential disbarment, do an online search for names like “Sidney Powell” and “Rudy Giuliani,” “sanction,” and “disbarment.”

Newspapers, journalism. Journalists shining a light on judicial misconduct are saving democracy

In addition, there’s the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (“ICIJ”).

ICIJ is a news organization that exposes lawyers, the powerful, and corruption in the U.S., and around the world.

ICIJ engages in investigative, “impact” and “accountability” journalism. They work with approximately “280 investigative journalists in more than 100 countries to collaborate on in-depth reporting.”

Among the litany of stories ICIJ broke, based on the Pandora Papers, for example, they exposed a powerful U.S. law firm. See:Pandora Papers investigation prompts new scrutiny of law firms’ role in offshore abuses.” #BigLaw #BigBusiness

ICIJ, like Reuters, are also seeking tips:

Do you have a story about corruption, fraud, or abuse of power?


ICIJ accepts information about wrongdoing by corporate, government or public services around the world. We do our utmost to guarantee the confidentiality of our sources.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists 

While trust and confidence in the media are at all-time lows, if you don’t know who to trust, for me, I’d be consuming news from journalists engaged in investigative, impact, and/or accountability journalism over a talking head any day. But that’s me. You do you.

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How to identify lawyers who should be sanctioned and possibly disbarred according to a Federal District Court Judge

As demonstrated above, when you know the oaths, canons, and rules you can identify the officers of the court who live by them. By knowing them you can have confidence that justice was served in that court proceeding, and you will not be deceived by fake news, political gamesmanship, or by bad actors either.

Therefore, a great way to learn how to identify unethical lawyers is to learn from a Federal District Court Judge who holds them accountable.

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Oath-breakers Oath-followers
Nobody learns everything in a day. Pace yourself.

That would be a judge who faithfully and impartially discharged her duties 28 U.S.C. § 453 and upheld and protected the Constitution of the United States, 5 U.S.C. § 3331. Not from an oath-breaking judges.

As such, you should know about the following case, King v. Whitmer (2:20-cv-13134). The judge’s order is over 100 pages, but worth the read when you are ready.

You can also use this ruling as a benchmark to identify unethical judges. Why? Because if any attorney engages in the same or similar conduct as attorney Sidney Powell engaged in, and was not held accountable in some way by the presiding judge, then, according to the oaths, rules, and canons, you have found an unethical, oath-breaker judge.

No ethical judge would tolerate any of the misconduct Attorney Sidney Powell engaged in one time, let alone multiple times, according to the rules, and canons.

See: Hon. Linda V Parker’s order in King v. Whitmer (2:20-cv-13134).

If this case is too much information for you, bookmark How to Legal, read more installments to keep familiarizing yourself with the legal system, and come back when you are ready. Nobody learns everything in a few days. Pace yourself. I’m always learning more.

See also: Nicole Hong, William K. Rashbaum and Ben Protess, “Court Suspends Giuliani’s Law License, Citing Trump Election Lies,” New York Times, June 24, 2021.

The former mayor of New York, once the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, is temporarily barred from practicing law in the state and faces possible disbarment.

New York Times

Update: Here’s another oath-breaking lawyer who was caught… See Erik Larson and Christian Berthelsen “[Attorney] Michael Avenatti Found Guilty in Theft of Stormy Daniels Book Advance,” Bloomberg, February 4, 2022.

Now that you know where to find the rules and oaths, let’s wrap this up, and move on to Freedom of Speech: What’s Slander? What’s Libel?–How to Legal.

As always, I hope you found this installment informative and empowering. I also hope How to Legal gives you an appreciation and respect for the judges, lawyers, and all the officers of the court, who follow their oaths, stand firm against corruption, and hold their oath breaking colleagues accountable.

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None of the information on this website is legal advice.  While I have litigated as a pro se plaintiff when according to WSJ and Reuters there was a lot of judicial misconduct going on, I am not a lawyer. This information is for educational purposes, and to serve as a public service to help combat fake news. If you need legal advice, please consult with a licensed professional in your area.

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If you see any typos or mistakes, kindly send me an email so I can fix them. Thanks. No lawyers like Sidney Powell, please. I’ve read the rules multiple times.

+ This post was updated to include the Admission to Practice for lawyers, Giuliani’s Law License suspension; “Special counsel John Durham’s office charged a lawyer connected to the DNC’s law firm with lying to the FBI,” Insider, September 16, 2021; Attorney Michael Avenatti found guilty in theft of Stormy Daniels Book advance; the Texas Judge who took bribes stashed in beer boxes CNN report; NBC Boston 10 report, “NH Judge Arrested for Allegedly Falsifying Documents, Lying About It;” the Durham v Sussman case update and acquittal; and “Kids-for-cash [Pennsylvania] judges ordered to pay more than $200M,” Associated Press, August 17, 2022.