Skip to comments.Judicial Watch Files Complaint With Rhode Island Supreme Court Against U.S. Senator Sheldon...
Posted on 08/19/2019 10:18:00 AM PDT by jazusamo
Full title: Judicial Watch Files Complaint With Rhode Island Supreme Court Against U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse For Unauthorized Practice of Law
Alleges Whitehouse filed a brief with U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of four clients while
maintaining inactive status and that the brief was nothing more than an attack on the
federal judiciary and an open threat to the U.S. Supreme Court
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a complaint with the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee of the Rhode Island Supreme Court against U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is a member of the Rhode Island bar, for filing an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of four clients while maintaining inactive status as a lawyer. In addition, Judicial Watch argues: the brief Senator Whitehouse filed was unbecoming of the legal profession as it is nothing more than an attack on the federal judiciary and an open threat to the U.S. Supreme Court. The complaint contains a copy of the Whitehouse brief.
At issue in the Supreme Court case in which Senator Whitehouse submitted the brief (NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. City of New York (18-280)) is whether New York Citys ban on transporting a licensed, locked and unloaded handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is consistent with the Second Amendment, the commerce clause and the constitutional right to travel.
The Judicial Watch complaint reads as follows:
August 19, 2019
Via Certified Mail and Electronic Mail (UPLC@courts.ri.gov)
Thomas W. Madonna, Chair
Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee
c/o Rhode Island Supreme Court Clerks Office
250 Benefit Street
Providence, RI 02903
Re: U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse Unauthorized Practice of Law Complaint
Dear Chair Madonna:
Judicial Watch files this unauthorized practice of law complaint against Rhode Island bar member U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of four clients while maintaining inactive status. In addition, the brief Senator Whitehouse filed was unbecoming of the legal profession as it is nothing more than an attack on the federal judiciary and an open threat to the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to the Rhode Island Judiciary website, Senator Whitehouse maintains inactive status. As an inactive member of the Rhode Island bar, Senator Whitehouse cannot practice law in Rhode Island. However, on August 12, 2019, Senator Whitehouse did just that. He filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Senators Mazie Hirono, Richard Blumenthal, Richard Durbin, and Kirsten Gillibrand. The filing of a brief let alone all that is required to file a brief on behalf of clients is indisputably the practice of law.
To be clear, Senator Whitehouse may not have spoken to his clients, researched the law, or written the brief in Rhode Island. However, he provided a Providence, Rhode Island address to the Rhode Island Judiciary. In addition, there is no dispute that Senator Whitehouse is a Rhode Island resident and spends a substantial amount of his time in Rhode Island. If Senator Whitehouse is practicing law in another jurisdiction, it is merely incidental or temporary. Under the rules, Senator Whitehouse was practicing law in Rhode Island.
In addition, to Judicial Watchs knowledge, Senator Whitehouse is not authorized to practice law in another jurisdiction. Senator Whitehouse lists a Washington, D.C. address on the brief; yet, according to the District of Columbia Bar website, Senator Whitehouse is not a member of the DC Bar. Therefore, if Senator Whitehouse claims he was not practicing law in Rhode Island but in Washington, D.C., he violated the Unauthorized Practice of Law rule of D.C.
Besides practicing law without the proper authorization, Senator Whitehouse also violated the Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct by attacking the federal judiciary and openly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief concludes:
The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it to be restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics. Particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.
In other words, if the U.S. Supreme Court does not rule the way Senator Whitehouse and his clients prefer, they will use their power as Senators to restructure the Court.
Such a threat violates the spirit if not the letter of Rhode Islands Rules of Professional Conduct. As the preamble explains:
Attacking the federal judiciary and openly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court is unbecoming for a member of the legal profession as well as a sitting U.S. Senator. Senator Whitehouses assertion, without basis, that the Court does not rule on the merits of cases but rather on partisan beliefs undermines confidence in the legal system. It is one thing for a politician to make such a claim on the campaign trail, it is another for a lawyer to make such a charge as part of a legal proceeding. In doing so, Senator Whitehouse has violated the rules of professional conduct.
The misconduct of Senator Whitehouse noted above appears obvious on its face. Senator Whitehouse either violated Rhode Islands or D.C.s rules, or both. Senator Whitehouses filing of a brief on behalf of clients without an active law license anywhere in the country is inexcusable. Senator Whitehouses attack on the federal judiciary and open threat to the U.S. Supreme Court raises substantial questions about his character and fitness to practice law. His actions warrant a full investigation by the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee.
Senator Whitehouse is violating basic legal ethics in threatening the Supreme Court while engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. He should be held accountable for these abuses.
Can we challenge a few Supreme Court Injustices for the same reason of practicing politics without a license?
Judicial Watch does more to strengthen this nation than any elected official save President Trump!
I can’t take judicial watch seriously, with all the errors and oversights in its submission. The United States Supreme Court governs admissions to the Supreme Court Bar and who can practice before the Court — and not the Supreme Court of the State of Rhode Island. The primarily requirement for admission to practice before the SCOTUS is as follows:
“To qualify for admission to the Bar of this Court, an applicant must have been admitted to practice in the highest court of a State, Commonwealth, Territory or possession, or the District of Columbia for a period of at least three years immediately before the date of application; must not have been the subject of any adverse disciplinary action pronounced or in effect during that 3-year period; and must appear to the Court to be of good moral and professional character.”
Although an applicant has to be admitted in good standing to the highest court of the state where the applicant practices for at least three years immediately before the SCOTUS application date, once admitted to practice before the SCOTUS, the applicant has no obligation to remain active in the states where admitted to practice law. Indeed, I know several attorneys who practice exclusively within the federal court system and no longer maintain a membership in a state bar.
So was whitehorse admitted to practice before the supreme court? If not, your argument on his behalf fails.
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Is Senator Whitehouse admitted to practice before the SCOTUS? If he is not admitted to the SCOTUS Bar, this complaint seems pretty damn valid.
I don’t think this is well taken, as the brief was filed in the US Supreme Court, not the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and there is a Supreme Court case called, I think, Steele v. Florida, where the Florida bar could not punish a Florida resident who was not a member of the Florida bar for providing patent law services for applicants at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
I despise Whitehouse as much as anyone on here; however, this is not a winning issue for us.
BTW,Whitehouse is a complete political piece of sh*t. I watched his asinine antics during the Kavanaugh hearings because I was in the hospital so I pretty much saw the whole spectacle that also had Booger from NJ and Ms. Mattress and Feinstein from Cali. Feinstein looked and sounded like something form a sci-fi movie. Durbin was a complete dick.
Yep, I agree. Saw most of too and all the Rats were jerks.
I am assuming that he is admitted to practice before the SCOTUS, otherwise Judicial Watch would would have raised the issue as additional grounds for sanctions.
See Post No. 14. Also, if Whitehouse is not admitted to practice before the SCOTUS, then JW should have complained to the SCOTUS, rather than the State of Rhode Island, which has no real authority to sanction Whitehouse for violating rules of the SCOTUS.
JW does the best legal work in the Country.
Judicial watch may have assumed since he isnt a member of the DC bar that he isnt admitted to the USSC.
The DC bar and SCOTUS are unrelated in that an attorney does not have to be admitted to the DC bar to be admitted to the SCOTUS bar. For example, I am admitted to the SCOTUS bar, but not the DC bar. If JW made this erroneous assumption, then like I said in my original post, I can’t take JW seriously.
You are correct.
But if he isnt admitted to the USSC he probably shouldnt be filing briefs as an attorney if he is not active.
Go get that sick SOB. He’s Rhode Island’s clone to the other psycho, Sen. Blumenthal (D-Ct) whose ass I didn’t see in Nam (because he was NEVER there despite his lies, which should have automatically disqualified him for public office. However, Connecticut is such a corrupt, Marxist state, anything goes there if you are a Democrat or Red.
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