Saturday, October 22, 2022

Jeffrey Clark argues disciplinary agency has no jurisdiction over his conduct because it violates the principle of separation of powers

As you may remember, the District of Columbia filed disciplinary charges against both Rudy Giuliani and former Justice Department attorney Jeffrey Clark for their efforts to help former President Donald Trump overturn his 2020 election loss.  The case against Giuliani seems to be proceeding quickly since he recently announced the witnesses he intends to call.  Likewise, last week there was an interesting development in the case against Clark.

Clark has filed a petition to remove the case to federal court arguing that the agency of the D.C. Bar responsible for filing and adjudicating disciplinary proceedings against attorneys and the D.C. courts do not have the jurisdiction to bring ethics charges against him. He argues that "no state possesses the power to supervise the internal operations and deliberations of any branch of the federal government" and that the ethics case against him represents a "direct attack on the fundamental principle of separation of powers."  You can read his petition here.

So what happens when a lawyer tries to remove a state ethics discipline matter to federal court?  Does the court have jurisdiction?   Michael Kennedy, bar counsel for the state of Vermont, shares his experience on this matter here.  

Above the Law has a comment on Giuliani's case and Clark's cases here.

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