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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Lawyers, Oaths, and the Insurrection

Many posts have discussed oaths .

 Jessica Levinson at MSNBC:

Simply put, with power comes responsibility. Thus, before law students can become lawyers, they must prove that they are of good moral character. This may involve not only taking an exam but also completing something called a moral character application, which is in many ways akin to a background check. Part of this application includes obtaining references who can attest to one’s character. And that’s where law professors like me enter the picture.

Furthermore, once one passes that moral character vetting process, not to mention the bar exam, future lawyers must also take an oath to become a member of the bar. The oath requires that applicants pledge to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions of where they plan to practice, and to faithfully execute their duties as a lawyer. In California, for example, applicants are required to swear to “faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability. As an officer of the court, I will strive to conduct myself at all times with dignity, courtesy and integrity.” put, before someone can enter the hallowed halls of our profession, we need to know we can trust that person. Less than ethical lawyers could abuse that trust — and their clients' trust — by, say, misusing or stealing a client’s money. Other examples could include breaking a trust on a far larger scale. For example, one could advise the president of the United States to file frivolous lawsuits based on lies but not law, or to devise an unconstitutional scheme to steal a presidential election. In these cases, you’ve fundamentally shown yourself undeserving of holding a position of public trust.