Politics has trumped any semblance of principle in the case of Rudy Giuliani’s suspension from the New York Bar. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.com:
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.
Here is the column:
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.
The 33-page opinion is damning and embarrassing; in all likelihood, it will result in Giuliani’s eventual disbarment. It also is deeply concerning in its heavy reliance on Giuliani’s statements out of court. While lawyers have been disciplined for out-of-court statements in some cases, this suspension seems primarily a judgment on Giuliani’s public advocacy. The court states that when he uses
“his large megaphone, the harm is magnified. … One only has to look at the ongoing present public discord over the 2020 election, which erupted into violence, insurrection and death on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol, to understand the extent of the damage that can be done when the public is misled by false information about the elections. The AGC [Attorney Grievance Committee] contends that respondent’s misconduct directly inflamed tensions that bubbled over into the events of January 6, 2021 in this nation’s Capitol.”