Turley: Why Giuliani’s Suspension Should Worry All Lawyers
BY TYLER DURDEN
MONDAY, JUN 28, 2021 – 12:00 PM
Authored by Jonathan Turley,
- Below is my column in The Hill on the suspension of Rudy Giuliani by the New York Bar. The widespread hatred for Giuliani may be blinding many to the more troubling aspects of the opinion by the New York Supreme Court.
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This week, New York’s Supreme Court took the extraordinary step of suspending Rudy Giuliani, former federal prosecutor and counsel to former President Trump, from practicing law. As a long-standing critic of Giuliani for his baffling, self-defeating and at times bizarre statements, I found the action was, on some level, reaffirming.
However, the fluid standard applied in Giuliani’s case raises serious concerns over how and when such suspensions will be imposed against lawyers in public controversies. Indeed, the Giuliani standard would seem to implicate a wide array of attorneys who straddle the line of legal and political advocacy.
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The concern in this case is that we are seeing a weaponization of bar investigations after a wide (and well-funded) campaign to harass Republican lawyers, their firms and their clients after the 2020 election. And it has worked: Many law firms are unwilling to take on Republican or conservative causes for fear of being targeted.
The Giuliani opinion fuels those concerns. Despite a damning account of exaggerations and falsehoods, it often reads more like a venting — rather than a vetting — of grievances against Giuliani. Instead of issuing a well-deserved reprimand, the court declared Giuliani to be a public menace if allowed to continue practicing law, even for the period of his own adjudication. The premature suspension made little sense. The bar was focused on Giuliani’s public statements, which will continue unabated by any suspension.
Nevertheless, the suspension thrilled many in today’s bloodsport politics. Yet while the court seemed to apply a special “Giuliani rule,” it is unlikely to stay that way if — to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz — the bar becomes “nothing but a continuation of politics by other means.”
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Seems like EVERYTHING has become political.
With different standards if you’re of the “wrong” political party.
Sounds like the NY Bar needs to get a slap down by SCOTUS!