By Senator David Howard
A little History:
The American Bar Association, (ABA) an Illinois non-profit POLITICAL ADVOCACY GROUP is pushing rule 8.4g nationwide through States Supreme Courts. This rule would make it a legal ethics violation (meaning a lawyer could lose his or her license to practice law) if he or she verbally violated new proposed rule 8.4g. Montana’s own Supreme Court is sponsoring this rule and has sent this out to Montanans for comment. The Public Response has been overwhelming negative. Over 500 Montanans have responded to the Supreme Courts new proposed rule 8.4g and 99% are listed as against this rule.
The proposed rule states in part:
“It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:…(d) 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.
The ABA makes it clear that the rule applies to a lawyer’s personal behavior. There “verbal conduct” as well as “physical conduct” and can apply anytime a lawyer is speaking to another person outside of a courtroom even in a social environment.
Montanan’s make no mistake: If a government has the authority to control speech and punish for wrong speech then the citizens are in bondage to that government. Remarkably even the American Bar Association’s own Discipline Committee (legal review), cautioned against Rule 8.4(g) and told the ABA’s Ethics Committee (political advocacy) before they actively promoted ratification of the Rule to Montana’s Supreme Court, that it was advocating a rule that clearly violates the Constitution of the United States of America.
How would this affect lawyers and those they represent? A lawyer, for example, who belongs to the Catholic Church and openly espouses that marriage, is between one man and one woman could be sanctioned for misconduct under this rule.
Further a lawyer serving in the legislature making a political speech decrying an organization that sponsor illegal immigration could be disciplined and debarred for discrimination because it would fall under the undefinable, ‘socioeconomic status’.
Professionally, lawyers would be restricted on who they can represent, and what they can say, and if they fail to comply with ABA’s oppressive rule, they could be sanctioned, or disbarred.
The reasoning behind Senate Joint Resolution 15: This resolution sends a clear message to the Supreme Court and the Governor of Montana that Montana’s legislature will not tolerate the unconstitutional content in ABA rule 8.4g. Also, the Legislature is telling the Supreme Court of Montana that if it should implement ABA rule 8.4g they would violate Montana’s Constitution, Section One, Separation of
Powers. Therefore, the Supreme Court of Montana cannot infringe upon the legislatives branches territory by rule, which changes the definition of discrimination or regulates free speech. This process is totally under the power and authority of Montana’s Legislature!
The “Separate Ranch” Analogy Explains in Simple Terms the Nature of the Problem Generated by the Judicial Branch of Montana.
To explain the Separation of Powers Doctrine in the Montana Constitution: All three branches of Montana Government, the Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary, all have their own Ranches with strict boundaries set up by the people of Montana.
This is the law of the land but by threatening to enact Rule 8.4g the MT Supreme Court would be raising Kangaroos and intentionally letting then jump the boundaries, and camp out on the Legislature’s front lawn leaving scat on their porch. Thus, the Legislature Ranch has the affirmative duty as duly elected
Representatives of the People of Montana, to direct the Supreme Court to respect the boundaries of the Constitution of the Great State of Montana. This resolution politely tells then to take their kangaroos and stay within their boundaries. If the Legislature does not act, we will in fact be bounder-less and a 7 member oligarchy will violate Montana’s constitutional boundaries. This cannot happen or Montana’s
freedom and system of a Constitutional Republic will be lost.