Birther Lawyer Gets Disbarred

No, it’s not Orly Taitz, who inexplicably remains a licensed attorney despite submitting documents to the courts that should be written in crayon and being sanctioned by multiple judges for malfeasance. Philip Berg, the one who started all this birther nonsense, has been disbarred by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

It may be some time before Pennsylvania lawyer Philip J. Berg files another lawsuit asking the Supreme Court to expel President Barack Obama from office. Earlier this month, Mr. Berg, whose law license was suspended last year for misconduct, lost his right to practice before the Supreme Court.

In 2008, Mr. Berg filed one of the first “birther” lawsuits, asking a federal judge in Philadelphia to bar Mr. Obama from office because of groundless speculation by some on the political fringe that the Democratic nominee had falsified records of his 1961 birth in Honolulu.

The court dismissed the case, finding that Mr. Berg had no standing to bring the claim, and was upheld by the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Philadelphia. Mr. Berg repeatedly sought Supreme Court intervention on his behalf, petitioning Justices David Souter and Anthony Kennedy, each of whom denied his claim, and then Antonin Scalia, who referred the case to the full court, which rejected the appeal without comment.

But while Mr. Berg doggedly pursued Mr. Obama, he was not so assiduous in caring for his own clients, according to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which in September suspended him from the practice of law for two years.

The U.S. Supreme Court followed by asking Mr. Berg to show cause why it should not disbar him from its practice; he responded by resigning from the Supreme Court bar, which the justices noted in an order earlier this month.

Berg, of course, says this is all retaliation against him and part of Obama’s grand conspiracy to….oh, whatever. Does it really matter?

8 comments on this post.
  1. D. C. Sessions:

    Does it really matter?

    About as much as any other entertainment. Is it a coincidence that you posted this on Super Bowl Sunday?

    I think not!

  2. caseloweraz:

    Earlier this month, Mr. Berg, whose law license was suspended last year for misconduct, lost his right to practice before the Supreme Court.

    So a lawyer can lose his law license and still retain the right to practice before the SCOTUS? That’s… counterintuitive.

  3. Modusoperandi:

    Earlier this month, Mr. Berg…lost his right to practice before the Supreme Court.

    To be fair, he should practice on his own time.

    caseloweraz “So a lawyer can lose his law license and still retain the right to practice before the SCOTUS? That’s… counterintuitive.”
    Why? Several of the judges have already made their decision before court starts. Pretend lawyers in front of pre-judged judges. It’s the essence of Justice!

  4. John Pieret:

    So a lawyer can lose his law license and still retain the right to practice before the SCOTUS? That’s… counterintuitive.

    Well, he hasn’t lost his license. He has been suspended from the Pennsylvania bar. But, for example, I’m admitted to two state bars, three Federal districts and the Court of Military Appeals. It may not be intuitive but, if I was suspended in one of those, I would not be automatically suspended in the rest. The fact that SCOTUS took that action speaks volumes about his behavior before that court.

    he was not so assiduous in caring for his own clients

    Not in any way a defense of Berg but this isn’t all that uncommon. I knew an attorney who became so immersed in the Agent Orange cases that he became, shall we say, less than meticulous with his other client’s cases and money. Never hire an obsessed attorney.

  5. tsig:

    Modusoperandi

    February 2, 2014 at 10:17 am (UTC -5)

    ” Earlier this month, Mr. Berg…lost his right to practice before the Supreme Court.

    To be fair, he should practice on his own time.

    caseloweraz “So a lawyer can lose his law license and still retain the right to practice before the SCOTUS? That’s… counterintuitive.”
    Why? Several of the judges have already made their decision before court starts. Pretend lawyers in front of pre-judged judges. It’s the essence of Justice!”

    Absolutely, justice must not only be done it must look like it was done.

  6. Sastra:

    John Pieret #4 wrote:

    Never hire an obsessed attorney.

    That’s probably good advice across the board: never hire an obsessed attorney, an obsessed doctor, an obsessed architect, an obsessed psychiatrist, and so on. The possible exception of course is if the issue the professional is obsessed with just happens to be the one that concerns you.

    This is where the shrewd judgement and need for practical wisdom comes in. Is the obsessed individual “obsessed” in the good way in which movie heroes are made — the scrappy underdog who will never give up the fight on the side of good and persists towards a glorious victory?

    Or is the obsessed individual “obsessed” in the bad way in which personal warnings are made — by the time we finally figured out s/he needed professional mental help we’d sunk in everything and lost it?

  7. Ben P:

    So a lawyer can lose his law license and still retain the right to practice before the SCOTUS? That’s… counterintuitive.

    Yes and no.

    There are many different “bars,” so to speak.

    I am personally admitted to practice before State Courts in Arkansas, The Federal District Courts for the Eastern and Western DIstrict of Arkansas, and the 8th Circuit COurt of Appeals. Never had a case appealed to SCOTUS so I’ve never petitioned for admission, but since I’m admitted in a state, it’s a simple matter of filling out forms.

    I could lose the right to practice in Federal COurt, and retain the right to practice in Federal Court.

    If I lose the right to practice in State Court, I would temporarily retain the right to practice in Federal COurt, but if I didn’t have an active state bar membership, I could potentially not be able to renew it when it came due. Berg may well have the right to practice in another state though. (DC is very common, since all you need to be admitted to the DC bar is admission in one other state).

  8. dingojack:

    Ben – how long does it take for the admission to get approved (and who does the approval?)
    Dingo

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