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Judges, Just Ta Hold Grudges In Da Courtroom November 15, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.
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WE’VE GOT ALL THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT HATIN’ ON US, PEOPLE

FITSNews – November 15, 2007 – Since we’ve already royally pissed off the legislative and executive branches of government in South Carolina, we figured we might as well go for the hat trick last week by letting the judicial branch in on the fun … well, fun for us, anyway.

Sadly, our efforts in uncovering Scandal A and Scandal B have gone over about as well as a stink bomb in the S.C. Supreme Court‘s chambers, particularly with Judge Don Beatty, who famously told us earlier this year that we’d “done more to destroy judicial integrity in this state” than anyone he’d ever met.

Uhhh … right back atcha, Judge. Right back atcha.

What Judge Beatty, Chief Justice Jean Toal and the rest of the Supremes need to understand is that when it comes to laying down the law on people for colossal lapses in judgment, we flat don’t give a rip a) who you are, or b) what you think of us. We’re not radical revolutionaries or anything, but we do happen to be radically delicious. And nutritious.

EXTRA CREDIT – The FITS gals have ruled unanimously that anyone who can correctly identify the Outkast song quoted in the headline above automatically passes the S.C. Bar Exam … well, as long as you’re related to Andre Ice Cold 3000.

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Comments»

1. just sayin - November 15, 2007

Have you ever noticed how much Judge Toal looks like Lou Holtz?

2. Scared - November 15, 2007

Don’t expect many comments, Sic Willie. The lawyers are scared to their professional deaths to comment on this latest Jean Toal abuse of process. The silence of the SC BAR’s Board of Governors should show to the public that this powerless Board knows there is nothing that can be done to her.

3. Silence Dogood - November 15, 2007

FITS quit chasin’ cars, better come back down to Mars, because real commenters only go for real down to Mars blogs

– but I guess you already knew that.

4. FITSNews - November 15, 2007

Silence, wrong song, but it’s good to see you with at least a rudimentary understanding of the genius of Ice Cold and Big Boi …

… and we is a down to Mars blog.

-FITSNews

5. Sad Day for SC - November 15, 2007

Thank you for keeping the pressure on the powers that be regarding this issue. Even if they don’t ever give a better explanation, at least the public will know the truth.

6. The Observer - November 15, 2007

I think the whole “bar exam scandal” was really more of a terrible PR play. I have struggled back and forth with this, as Chairman Harrison is a friend. At first, I was like no way, then it was are you kidding me, WTF? The more I think about it though, what we have is an unfortunate situation where someone whose daughter failed the bar, her father happened to be a lawyer and knows that there is precedent for appeals, but only if you can proove that a portion or all was unfair. As a lawyer, you should know this, but also you should know what ethical bridges you can and can’t cross, and while it appears that the chairman and Judge may have teetered on that line, I highly doubt they would put their own careers on the line for the sake of their kids over a test…that they can take again in February. Even without the WTE section thrown out, it still means they passed a majority of the exam. Anyhow, maybe I am being naive, but I think if they would have handled the PR better, this would not be as big a deal.

7. atliens - November 15, 2007

i wanna see your support bra, not support you.

8. Been there, done that - November 15, 2007

Roses

9. Scared - November 15, 2007

Just throwing this in for the US Attorney, Attorney General and Richland County Soliticitor to chew on: The crime of obstruction of justice includes crimes committed by judges, prosecutors, attorneys general, and elected officials in general. It is misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in the conduct of the office. Most commonly it is prosecuted as a crime for perjury by a non governmental official primarily because of prosecutorial discretion. Prosecutors and attorneys general however commit obstruction of justice when they fail to prosecute judges and other government officials for malfeasance misfeasance or nonfeasance in office.

10. Silence Dogood - November 15, 2007

The Observer,

“The more I think about it though, what we have is an unfortunate situation where someone whose daughter failed the bar, her father happened to be a lawyer and knows that there is precedent for appeals, but only if you can proove that a portion or all was unfair.”

Many people objectively reading the new rules promulgated by the court, think that avenue was closed and to try an appeal was an ethical violation. Very, very few people, who frankly don’t seem to be very objective, have read the rule to mean that in very peculiar circumstance no appeal or other review actually means, certain people can appeal or get some other sort of review. This is a sad situation, and while I seriously doubt any heads will role, many heads, of persons not involved but who just happen to be associated with or in the legal profession in S.C. will hang – either is sorry, sadness, disgust, frustration or all of the above.

11. Anonymous - November 15, 2007

Observer,
I understand your comments, being that you are a personal friend of Mr. Harrison’s, but just because they “passed a majority of the exam” does not make them competent to practice or be barred. You must pass 6 out of the 7 sections to pass the whole test.

4 sections would constitute “most”, but someone who fails 3 sections of the bar should definitely not be considered a candidate for bar membership. That person would have failed the test miserably.

12. Anonymous - November 15, 2007

The fact of the matter is that had any other non-legally or politically connected parent of a student who failed the exam called in to ask about the appeals process, they would have been given a cold, hard and probably rude answer in the negative. That is if they even got to actually speak to anyone at the Supreme Court or to Hearn. The exam grades DEFINITELY would not have been changed.

Had a non-connected parent called Harrison to ask for help as he is the Judicial Committee Chairman, and say in the event that his daughter had not failed the Bar, he would have politely told that “constituent” that he claims he would have helped in a recent Greenville News article, that he would be unable to assist and that they would need to contact the Office of Bar Admissions regarding this question since they are the ones who handle this type of thing, rather than legislators. That would have been the end of it. Certainly no grades would have been changed.

Harrison told the Greenville News the following:
“I did the same for her as I would do for any constituent or any father would do for his child,” Harrison said of his daughter, “and that is simply to raise the issue that there’s something that needs to be looked at, and if it is looked at, let the chips fall wherever they may.”

Maybe its just me, but I doubt Harrison would have gone to the lengths that he went to or even merely made a call to anyone on behalf of a common, average joe “constituent” who’s child had failed the Bar. Sorry, but I am just not buying it.

And, yes, maybe Mr. Harrison did do “what any father would do for her child.” The only problem is that most father’s don’t have the power over the judiciary that Harrison has and most fathers would not have had the influence that he had. For Christ sake, he is the chairman of the committee who appoints the judges in this state. I mean, come on, I believe that it is quite obvious that judges have a motive in getting on the guy’s good side. People in these positions of power are the ones that the rule that Harrison violated are meant to apply to more than perhaps any others. I can’t help but think that any Average Joe father who had called in would have gotten a rude, patronizing response and even potentially gotten his child in trouble for violating the rule against contacting the court regarding the grading of the test. Certainly if the average joe father were an attorney himself, he would have gotten in trouble for unethical contact himself had he pulled even a few of these stunts.

The ones that I truly feel sorry for are those young aspiring attorneys who still failed the Bar and will have to retake it in February, perhaps merely because they didn’t fail the same essay section that Harrison’s daughter failed. Perhaps they only failed one essay section too, but it happened to be one other than Wills, Trusts. They will have to retake it again, in the face of those others who passed due to their family’s political connections getting the opportunity to get sworn in, despite the fact that they were all on the same exact level in terms of sections of the Bar that they had failed. I would be furious if I were in their shoes.

In another State article found at: http://www.thestate.com/news/story/225558.html
Mr. Harrison stated that he believed that an appeals process should be enacted to help ensure that these mistakes don’t happen in the future. Well I personally do not believe that there ever was a Wills, Trusts mistake other than the examiner not realizing that he had failed none other than the Judicial Committee Chairman’s own daughter. Nevertheless, if Mr. Harrison truly does believe that an appeals process should be enacted, then he is the man to get to work lobbying to have it enacted. He is the one in the position to get such a change made. As far as I know, he has done nothing to have such an appeals process enacted other than briefly mentioning it in the paper in the midst of all of the public outcry for answers, probably mentioning this more to take the focus off of himself than for any other reason. I feel that it was a “public policy and procedures of grading are the problem and I was merely making sure that the public policy was good in this respect – I had no personal intentions”. If you were truly doing all of this for the public, Mr. Harrison, then why has your work to make sure that public policy and procedures are fair stopped at the moment that your daughter got put on the passing list? We all just want an explanation – that’s it.

Mr. Harrison, if you truly believe that an appeals process is needed, then make some effort in getting it done. No, it will not help your daughter to pass (the work to get that accomplished has already been completed), but it will perhaps help your “constituents” whom you claim to be behind and it will help (even if only minimally) in restoring the publics’ faith in the legal system that has been truly tested in the past few weeks.

I guess what I’m saying Mr. Harrison is that you should stop trying to save your own hide and start putting your money where your mouth is by showing the public, not merely telling them, that you want to fix some of these problems. Believe me it is the least that you can do.

13. Bar Member - November 15, 2007

The article in the State’s Opinion section today was right on the mark. The Supreme Court, in all respects dealing with the Bar Exam and admissions process, is not acting in its capacity as a judicial entity, but rather in an administrative capacity which oversees the State Bar. In this particular capacity, the Supreme Court is held accountable to give reasons for questionable decisions or orders. To fail to give answers is a violation of due process. Great article today.

I wonder if any lawsuits will come of this, maybe from students who failed or from elsewhere. I was curious about it and checked the law on these issues today. Almost ever bar exam failee who has sued to have their exams regraded on due process violation grounds has lost. Nearly every state supreme court that has ruled on such a case has claimed that in the absence of a prima facie case against the Board of Examiners for partial treatment of some examinees over others, a failee suing on these grounds cannot prevail because the court will look no further into the matter without the Plaintiff’s proving a prima facie case. From what I found, there has not ever been a single failee who has sued and prevailed in any part of the country. All of these who did not prevail had one thing in common – not one them had any grounds for proving a prima facie case for impartiality, thus the state Supreme Courts would look no further into the issues.

It appears that the well-documented happenings in our state would, however, provide for a very good prima facie case of admissions and grading partiality. Even more interesting, the federal courts have never heard a case on bar admissions or bar exam issues because they leave this to the states themselves. However, it seems that in this situation, there is a federal subject matter issue, as the Supreme Court itself played a role, creating a bias and creating a substantial federal question regarding a due process violation. Sounds like federal question jurisdiction to me -thus bringing the matter to the federal courts.

I wonder if any lawsuits will come of this. A good constitutional law attorney could win such a case, if he could get it to the federal level I believe. Of course he/she would also probably not ever prevail in front of the justices if he/she were to pursue such a case. Any opinions?

14. State of Denmark - November 15, 2007

And which South Carolina lawyer, exactly, do you think would take that case?

15. KING RICHARD - November 15, 2007

Watch out another cabinet post may be brewing.

16. Bar Member - November 15, 2007

No SC lawyer would take the case. It would be career suicide. But it could be done.

17. Wow - November 15, 2007

To Post 6, The Observer:

It’s good to know that “Chairman Harrison is a friend” of yours and that the he has friends who use such hip lingo as “I was like no way” and cool internet abbreviations like “WTF.”

18. Anonymous - November 15, 2007

So the S.C. lawyers do nothing, and their standards slowly lower as they come to accept these issues and the fact that they cannot or will not do anything about it.

19. Zealous advocacy my ass - November 15, 2007

A member of the bar who has long been disillusioned with Queen Toal’s bullshit and sees an opportunity to show the Supremes what equal protection is all about.

20. disappointed - November 15, 2007

maybe a law professor who does not regularly practice? doubt it. best shot would be someone who is getting ready to retire and does not care about the rest of their career.

21. Gillon - November 15, 2007

So what’s the big deal? Another unqualified lawyer is turned loose on the people of SC. It’s not like it’s never happened before. She should fit right in.

22. Scared - November 15, 2007

At 6:33 pm today on the South Carolina BAR eblast -the online SC BAR news rag which 99.999999% of the time only says that they think will make her magesty happy, the Board of Governors of the South Carolina Bar (aka FOJ’s – Friends of Jean’s) issued the following statement:
“The South Carolina Bar regrets that recent events involving the bar examination have resulted in criticism of the legal profession. The South Carolina Bar has no role in any aspect of the bar examination process and has no information other than what has been stated by the Supreme Court. The South Carolina Bar encourages those charged with responsibility for the bar examination to further explain what happened and take steps to avoid a recurrence of these events.”
In other words don’t blame us, and you guys in charge of the bar examination better cough it up before SHE starts slinging the pink slips. It COULDN’T have been HER. Also, if, by chance the 5 Supremes are all indicted on obsturction of justice, we will all be killing each other to get a slot as the new supreme dictator.

23. Susie Q - November 15, 2007

The SC Bar statement is as nice as 99% of the SC Bar could possibly be even to CJ Toal’s face. She is probably going to have to consider stepping down.

24. Skeptic - November 15, 2007

I am very pleased with the Board of Governor’s statement. It is very professionally and respectfully worded, and doesn’t make allegations. Moreover, it requests exactly what the vast majority of bar members want: an explanation of what happened.

I’m glad the bar spoke up and said something (anything). Individual lawyers are unwilling to risk retribution by speaking up. The bar association is a good alternative because it can speak as a unified body on behalf of all SC lawyers, thereby reducing the risk of retribution toward any one member.

25. anon - November 15, 2007

Credible sources are saying the initial bar results were so poor for Charleston School of Law (i.e. under 50% passage rate) that the results had to be altered to provide for a higher passage rate for CSOL graduates. Only later did the grades get altered for a second time (during Toal-gate scandal) allowing 20 extras to pass. Frankly, I find the former situation more disturbing than the latter….

Also, people have lost sight of the fact that to fail the bar exam you must fail two sections. Therefore, all 20 who benefitted from Toal-gate either failed another essay section or the Multistate section.

FITS.. confirm with your sources…

26. Scared - November 16, 2007

Do not EVER forget —– Queen Jean and her 4 do-boys OWN the SC BAR. See South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 410.

27. Bar Member - November 16, 2007

#25, I don’t really see the significance of your the fact that people had to fail another section as well. I think that we all know this.

Please elaborate more on the accuracy of these sources from which you have obtained this 50% CSOL pass rate information.

28. The Observer - November 16, 2007

Hey WOW –

KMA Jackass-

29. Rule 8.2, SCACR - November 17, 2007

I would remind those posters who claim to be attorneys of Rule 8.2 that prohibits any statement that calls the integrity of a judicial officer into question with reckless disregard to its truth or falsity. If you are relying on the reports from this website (controlled by a juvenile political lackey of the governor) and the State newpaper to make accusations of impropriety, you are taking a very loose interpretation of the rules. I agree that further explanation is greatly desired, but to forclose the possibility of a legitimate explanation and make accusations of impropriety without ANY proof is reckless and, in my opinion, worthy of a complaint to ODC. You are lawyers and you should act as such.
Anyone who thought the SCBar’s statement was mild or written for the benefit of the Chief Justice should confine themselves to reading Curious George books (or this blog). The Bar expressed disappointment in the Supreme Court and called for further explanation. Essentially, they are calling the CEO to task and asking for an explanation of an executive decision. I was shocked at the tone, but I agree with it whole-heartedly. Considering the muck-raking that has taken place over this issue, we all need further information to put it to rest or engage in further investigation.

30. NCLawyer - November 18, 2007

#29,

Is that said out of concern; or because you want to quell discussion; or because you fancy yourself to be a know it all? Plus, what wins: US Contitution or SCACR?

31. Rule 8.2, SCACR - November 20, 2007

Membership in the bar is a privilege, not a right. If you enjoy making unsubstantiated allegations about the highest court in this state while cowardly hiding under the shroud of anonymity this half-wit provides you, please continue.

32. Friggin’ Lawyers « FITSNews For Now - November 21, 2007

[…] – the S.C. Bar Association folded faster than cheap suit yesterday in an effort to curry favor with the Justices. In a statement praising the “integrity” of the bar admissions process, the association […]


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