FACT Report: March 27, 2013

Will Tennessee’s Supreme Court Kill All the Lawyers? (March 27, 2013)

“The first thing we do is kill all the lawyers,” wrote Shakespeare This oft-quoted statement was actually a suggestion for how a tyrant could take control.  That’s because lawyers are supposed to protect the rule of law and an individual’s rights, like freedom of speech, religion and association, particularly when it comes to individuals or groups whose views may then be unpopular.

Yet some have asked the state’s Supreme Court to make it an ethical violation for a lawyer to evidence bias or prejudice against a homosexual.

Now bias and prejudice are wrong, but to some, advocating for a biblical view of marriage is evidence of bias. If lawyers risk being disbarred if they represent those who are culturally unpopular, then good luck finding a lawyer if someday you are deemed part of such a group.

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Note: public comments on the proposed rule change are due by the close of business this Monday, April 1, 2013.

Although the proposed rule change involves lawyer ethics, the public is free to comment on them. Comments may be submitted either in writing to the Clerk of the Tennessee Appellate Courts or through an online form on the Tennessee Supreme Court’s website.

To submit comments using the online form, click here. Note that you must:

Select “Supreme Court Rule 8, Section 8.4” in the Rule Change field.
Type in the docket number, M2013–00379-SC-RL1-RL, in the Docket Number field.

If comments are submitted in writing, they must be received by the Clerk no later than this Monday, April 1st, reference the name of the Supreme Court rule and the docket number listed above, and be addressed to:

Mike Catalano, Clerk
Tennessee Appellate Courts
100 Supreme Court Building
401 7th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37219-1407

Read more about this issue in David Fowler’s recent commentary, The Nightfall of Your Personal Liberty.

To see some of the other comments submitted to date to the Tennessee Supreme Court about this proposed rule change, go here.