Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bellying Up to the Bar, Again

A poster over at offered up a new wrinkle on the Michelle Obama/law license scenario, so I might as well quelch it now while the topic is fresh:
"I first read of Mich**le being disbarred on texas darlin td blog. The gal writing in said when you voluntarily give up your license to practice law it is done under Rule 756, but when it is court ordered it is under rule 770. She indicated Mich**le's was under rule 770, which does cover disciplinary reasons, and had something to do with insurance fraud. She provided no links to authenticate any of this, and it was some weeks back on the td blog. I think this gal also posted it on, but can't recall exactly."

Posted by changeling, January 10, 2009

I couldn't find such a post on texasdarlin's website, but I did find exactly such a post in the comments at Atlas Shrugs:

Rule number is all about types of Discipine...and reasons for a lawyer to be disbarred

See, Rule 756 is about voluntary inactive status, which simply costs $105/year, no biggie. That's what you'd do if you were a lawyer wanting to go inactive, voluntarily without any extraneous forces.

But Rule 770 is all about DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS. An attorney may be on "voluntary inactive status persuant to Rule 770" but that is not the same as Rule 756, which is invoked purely on personal whim. Michelle's ARDC report states: "No malpractice report required, as attorney is on court ordered inactive status."

Court ordered means court ordered, not Michelle ordered.
If Michelle had ordered it, that would be via Rule 756. Michelle Obama is on "Court Ordered Inactive Status" pursuant to Rule 770, i.e. disciplinary rules, to avoid reporting of malpractice. Compelled to go voluntarily inactive would be the kindest description of this outcome.

Posted by tminu, January 04, 2009

What we have here from tminu is sloppy research. A quick glance at the text of Rule 770, which is available via tminu's own link, shows that the Rule 770 he's referring to used to be Rule 771. Another quick glance at the commentary below the Rule explains further:

"Effective April 1, 2004, former Rule 771 ("Types of Discipline") was renumbered as Rule 770 and a new Rule 771 ("Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline") was adopted."

Michelle Obama went inactive in 1993, eleven years before this new Rule 770 was adopted. As my previous post observed, in 2000 the old Rule 770 was deleted , and Rule 756 was amended to include an inactive registration status. Under the rules that were actually in effect in 1993, voluntary inactive status was done under Rule 770, just as Michelle did.


  1. Good to know. I've been hearing around this same thing about Michelle Obama being barred.

    I do hope that you post this info on those site that are saying she has been court ordered barred.


  2. Even the ARDC website explains:

    "Prior to November 1, 1999, former Supreme Court Rule 770 provided for a proceeding in the Court for any voluntary transfer to inactive status, whether because of some incapacitating condition or solely as a matter of the lawyer's preference because the lawyer would not be practicing law." (

    Michelle Obama accepted employment in the nonprofit sector in 1993 -- not coincidentally the same year that her status was voluntarily transferred to inactive. Her transfer, being "Prior to November 1, 1999" require her to go through the ministerial court proceeding.

    A Google search to find this provisions took 0.32 seconds -- the ARDC webpage with this info was the first one listed. Goes to show that accurate info is just 30 seconds away.

  3. I tried for weeks to explain this on the Berg Mothership and posted it on texasdarling (I was banned for the Berg blod and I believe it was moderated or deleted at TD).

    Either they simply do not care to accept facts or are basically too stupid to grasp them. I believe it is a combination of both.

    When unsophisticated, minimally educated people attempt to understand law with the "guidance" of those who have an agenda to misrepresent the truth, only bad can come of it, IMHO.

  4. And personally, I find such an accusation to be disgusting! It amounts to defamation per se, not that Michelle will take action against them, and they know it!
    Most jurisdictions also recognize "per se" defamation, where the allegations are presumed to cause damage to the plaintiff. Typically, the following may consititute defamation per se:

    Attacks on a person's professional character or standing;
    Allegations that an unmarried person is unchaste;
    Allegations that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted disease;
    Allegations that the person has committed a crime of moral turpitude