- - Monday, August 15, 2016

America has a noble tradition of lawyers standing up for unpopular causes. John Adams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. Lawyers have stood up though out the history of the Republic and have not been shy about offering their opinions.

But soon, if the far left American Bar Association has its way, the only opinions allowed will be liberal opinions.

The American Bar Association just passed changes to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct for American lawyers. The ABA does not have disciplinary powers over American lawyers. What it does is pass model rules which are often adopted verbatim by states, which do have the authority to regulate attorneys.

In its recent meeting, the ABA changed part of the model rules regarding attorney conduct. That kind of minutia is guaranteed to generate yawns from 99 percent of Americans. But every American should be alarmed by this because the purpose of these rules is to do nothing less than drive conservatives from the legal profession and ultimately deny conservatives their day in court by denying them legal representation.

The new rule states in part, “(Paragraph G) engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law. This paragraph does not limit the ability of a lawyer to accept, decline or withdraw from a representation in accordance with Rule 1.16. This paragraph does not preclude legitimate advice or advocacy consistent with these Rules.”

That sounds innocuous. Lawyers should not discriminate. The notes to that section explain what is really going on. “Discrimination and harassment by lawyers in violation of paragraph (G) undermines confidence in the legal profession and the legal system. Such discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical conduct that manifests bias or prejudice toward others. Harassment includes sexual harassment and derogatory or demeaning verbal or physical conduct.”

The important part is where it says discrimination includes harmful verbal or physical that manifests bias or prejudice toward others. In plain, non-lawyer English, if a lawyer happen to not approve of homosexual behavior, homosexual marriage, transgenderism, Islam or any number of other opinions and comments on them, the lawyer can lose their law license.

This rule is not limited to the courtroom. If a lawyer posts something on social media or offers an opinion that is not an approved opinion, they can and will be disciplined.

The purpose of this model rule is simple. It is to silence conservative lawyers.

Imagine this rule in practice. In recent years, brave American lawyers have secured billions in damages from Islamic terrorists. And some of those lawyers have been very outspoken about the evil of Islamic terrorism. Can you imagine how representatives of a terrorist state such as Iran would use this to take out the lawyers who want to sue?

How about some of the lawyers who have stood of for religious freedom? Lawyers who have advocated for bakers who will not bake cakes for homosexual weddings will be targeted. If the attorney says anything about his client’s position, it is grounds for a disciplinary complaint.

Lawyers are terrified of disciplinary complaints. After all, a disciplinary complaint can cost a lawyer his or her license to practice law. How many lawyers are going to refuse to take cases because they simply do not wish to endanger their ability to provide for their families?

That is the ultimate objective. Conservatives have done very well in the courts. Religious freedom, freedom of speech and association have been successfully defended by conservative lawyers. These new regulations, if adopted by the states, will open the doors to having lawyers disbarred simply for offering an opinion that is not politically correct.

How do we know this will happen? The rules pretty much give it away. While this new rule prohibits attorneys for engaging in discrimination, there is an out. Footnote four of the new rule helpfully notes that, “Lawyers may engage in conduct undertaken to promote diversity and inclusion without violating this Rule.”

George Orwell had it right. To paraphrase him, “All opinions are equal. Some are just more equal than others.”

The American Bar Association has long been a hack organization that does little more than advance a radical left wing agenda.

Today they look more like the Bar Association in the old Soviet Union, whose mission was to protect the Communist Party, not advance the rule of law.

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