(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Friday, May 02, 2003

Thanks to Howard Bashman, I see that the AP is now covering the fact that Bill Pryor's Lawrence v. Texas amicus brief out-Santorumed Santorum, in his assertion that gay sex is like necrophilia from a constitutional point of view. And don't forget, everybody -- when you hear his defenders say, "hey, by filing that amicus brief, he was just doing his job, which is to defend the State's laws whenever there is a good constitutional argument for doing so," you can say: "Oh really? Then why didn't he file an amicus brief to defend the State's law, as the vast majority of other state AGs successfully did, in the IOLTA case (Brown v. Legal Foundation)? Could it have something to do with the fact that the right-wing group Washington Legal Foundation -- one of the few groups lucky enough to receive a link on his official State website -- was challenging the law? Or perhaps with his ideology? Why is it more important to defend an anti-gay sex law, or to defend the State's prohibition of vibrators, than to protect State laws that provide legal services for poor people?"

UPDATE: The internet's most dogged defender of Bill Pryor, Feddie at Southern Appeal, says that I'm badly wrong because (he says) Alabama's IOLTA program is "voluntary" in that a lawyer can opt out of it, and therefore was not jeopardized in Brown. I firmly believe that Feddie is wrong. Alabama law -- Rule of Prof. Conduct 1.15(g) -- requires that every lawyer who maintains a separate account to hold client funds must give the interest to the IOLTA program. A lawyer can decide not to have such a separate account, but if the lawyer has such an account, the interest is "taken" by the IOLTA program. And the interest, under the Washington Legal Foundation theory, was the client's -- not the lawyer's -- and so the client would have had a takings claim in Alabama under the (rejected) WLF theory, if the lawyer was one who had decided to have such an account. Nice try, Feddie, but no cigar. {Further: According to the Indiana Bar, 21 states have opt-out programs; but at least several of those, including Indiana itself, joined in the States' amicus brief in support of IOLTA. Presumably they recognized, as I do, that their programs were in the same jeopardy as the other states'. If you want to investigate, do a google search for the words iolta and opt-out; then note various states with opt-out programs who, through their AGs, joined the amicus brief. Pryor did not join. Retraction, please, Feddie?}

posted by sam 7:17 AM 0 comments


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