In “Getting our minds right in Minnesota,” we discussed at length the background to the refusal by Minnesota attorney Elliot Rothenberg to comply with the Minnesota Supreme Court’s elimination-of-bias requirement for Minnesota attorneys.
Rothenberg’s refusal brought him before the Minnesota Supreme Court, where his license to practice has hung in the balance. Elliot’s position is a little like that of Bartleby the Scrivener in the great Herman Melville story. His response to the Court’s commandment is, in essence, “I would prefer not to.”
Our Supreme Court’s elimination-of-bias continuing education requirement is utterly ill-founded and obnoxious. The Supreme Court justices themselves have unanimously declined to defend it in public before a knowledgeable audience of Minnesota attorneys when invited (by me) to do so at the Federalist Society-sponsored program on the requirement — “Elimination of bias: What bias?” The program will take place in Minneapolis on June 22.
Rothenberg has challenged the constitutionality of the elimination-of-bias requirement. In an opinion released on March 25, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that its requirement was good and legal. The ABA Journal Web site has posted a report on the opinion with links to the opinion and other relevant material: “Required course on bias upheld.”
Just about everything that can properly be said about the opinion has been said by my tenacious and learned colleague Peter Swanson on his Bias CLE 599 to 1 site devoted to opposing the requirement. Peter has posted a multipart series responding point by point to the Supreme Court opinion.
From my parochial perspective, the refusal by the Court to defend its own requirement in public before attorneys on whom it has imposed its yoke says just about everything that needs to be said on the subject. On his site Peter says everything else that remains to be said.
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