Can Any Lawyer Be This Silly? Why Obama Voluntarily Retired as a Lawyer
From around the nation lawyers are sending me explanations for why Barack Obama voluntarily retired from the legal profession in January 2008. The official term is voluntarily retired, according to the website of the Illinois State Bar Association. You can verify this here.
Remember, he was a United States Senator at the time. How many United States Senators have voluntarily retired from the practice of law and turned in their licenses? Only one.
This letter presently tops my list of preposterous arguments. It came on September 8. But I am sure some other lawyer will raise the bar. (Raise the bar. Get it? I’ve got a million of ‘em.)
“I’m on Inactive Status with the Texas Bar and surrendered my license to the Illinois Bar. Why? Because the only way to keep my licenses after I changed careers would have been to pay ongoing licensing fees and to satisfy ongoing requirements for Continuing Legal Education — courses related to changes in law, firm management, etc. I case I wanted to reclaim my license(s), I’d have to pay fees and complete courses; I don’t imagine ever doing so.
I didn’t go to Harvard Law, no, but the school from which I did graduate — the University of Texas Law School — was a top-ten law school, and the chit is a valuable one. One needn’t retain one’s license to exploit one’s law degree, as the cases of Romney and the Obamas demonstrate.
My point is that you’ve overlooked a reason why Pres. Obama might have surrendered his license.”
First, Mr. Obama did not go on inactive status. His wife did. He voluntarily retired from the profession. He had been the editor of the Harvard Law Review, the most prestigious academic journal in the field of law, through which law students at Harvard Law School judge the relevance and competence of articles submitted by America’s practicing lawyers and law professors. (Law is the only field in which a tiny group of self-screened, professionally non-certified kids judge the intellectual competence of the best legal minds in America, which gives you some idea of the overall wisdom of the American legal profession.) Anyway, without explanation, this Senator quit the profession. Was this front-page news? No. It was memory hole news.
Second, because my critic is on inactive status, President Obama could not have hired him to defend his decision in front of a jury. But I can still imagine the closing statement of the opposing lawyer.
“Ladies and gentlemen if the jury, please consider what my learned opponent has asked you to believe.
First, the state bar association was threatening a United States Senator with public suspension because he was unwilling to take a course to prove that he is keeping up with the law. In short, a man who is making the law is falling behind on his legal education.
Next, he wants you to believe that the Bar Association was ready with sanctions if he failed to take his legal education extension course. It would announce, in the middle of a Presidential campaign, that it was suspending the license of the Democrats’ candidate.
The Bar Association of Illinois. You know: Chicago and its suburbs.
But, my distinguished opponent could have said, maybe the Bar Association would have waited until after the election. At that time, it would have released this notification to the media.
“The Illinois Bar Association has suspended the law license of the newly elected President of the United States, Barack. H. Obama. In his new job, he will not be able to take his required Illinois continuing education courses, which identify a member of the Illinois Bar as a person who is keeping up with the latest developments in the law. As President, Mr. Obama will be too busy with political matters unrelated to the law to be able to maintain his status as an educationally certified attorney in Illinois.”
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, do you think the Illinois Bar Association would be that out of touch with reality? No? Neither do I. But my learned opponent thinks the Association would have taken that step in full public view. But why would it have done this? Perhaps in order to strengthen its claim to represent professionals who possess intellectual rigor and a firm grip on reality.
I therefore ask the members of the jury to conclude that Barack Obama — also known as Barry Soetoro — had a different motivation.”
I can understand why the lawyer who sent me this letter is on inactive status. It is less embarrassing than being on active status.
To read a letter from a lawyer who confirms my analysis of surrendering a law license, click the link.