Will Tennesse Speech Code For Lawyers Ban “Legitimate Advocacy” On Racial Issues?
Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) blogs:
A FORMER STUDENT WRITES THAT THE TENNESSEE SUPREME COURT IS CONSIDERING ADDING A “SPEECH CODE” TO THE RULES OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT, banning racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. speech in the course of professional conduct. Strictly interpreted, I think this rule would prevent attorneys from encouraging affirmative action, but I rather doubt that’s what’s intended.[More]
Reynolds is not simply reacting, as bloggers are said to do, to an MSM story. He`s Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, and has sources inside the Tennessee legal system.
The Tennessee Rules of Professional Conduct already ban all kinds of prejudice:
 A lawyer who, in the course of representing a client, knowingly manifests, by words or conduct, bias or prejudice based on race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, or socio-economic status violates paragraph (d) [i. e. conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice]when such actions are prejudicial to the administration of justice. Legitimate advocacy respecting the foregoing factors does not violate paragraph (d).[Rule 8. Rules of Professional Conduct. ]
Given that that`s already the rule, I assume the next step is to ban “legitimate advocacy.” That`s been the experience of many lawyers who have dared to make their opinions known on race. See Prosecutor Fired For Politics, about a lawyer who was fired from his job for attening an American Renaissance conference.
You`ll notice that the lawyer who mentioned this to Reynolds did so anonymously.