Here's something,* objecting to negative reactions to statements made by Indiana lawyer James Bopp, statements made while representing and on behalf of his client, Michael Gableman:
The first big assumption is that every word said by an attorney automatically and verbatim represents the exact personal thoughts of the client.Nobody even remotely suggested such a thing but, anyway ...
The [Wisconsin] Rules of Professional Conduct state that an attorney’s representation of a client does not constitute an endorsement of the client's "views or activities" (SCR 20:1.2(b)).Here's how SCR 20:1.2(b) reads:
A lawyer's representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities.In other words, the rule purports to insulate the attorney from having attributed to him the client's views. For obvious reasons, such as a lawyer providing representation to a white supremacist, or to a doctor who performs abortions (as is explained in the Comments published below SCR 20:1.2(b)).
The purpose of the rule is to help ensure that even clients "whose cause is controversial or the subject of popular disapproval" may secure legal representation. Exactly opposite of what the Federalist Society's student recruiter is trying to show, which is that the client is protected from the attorney's political, etc., views. Baloney.
To be sure, SCR 20:1.2(b) protects Bopp against being ascribed the opinions of Gableman by dint of Bopp's legal representation, not the other way around. But what Wisconsin law says, as the learned counsel William Tyroler (who, to the best of my knowledge, is neither from Indiana nor on the FedSoc payroll) put it here some time ago:
"Surrogates" — client Gableman and counsel Bopp enjoy a principal-agent relationship (as do all attorneys and their clients). State v. Divanovic, 200 Wis. 2d 210, 224-25, 546 N.W.2d 501 (Ct. App. 1996) ("The attorney-client relationship is one of agent to principal, and as an agent, the attorney must act in conformity with his or her authority and instructions and is responsible to the principal if he or she violates this duty.") In a word, Bopp is Gableman's mouthpiece. We can assume that Bopp, the agent, utters words approved by and therefore attributable to Gableman, the principal.Yet the FedSoc official soldiers on nevertheless:
In a similar way, an attorney’s unscripted response to a reporter’s question should not be treated as though it came from the mouth of the attorney’s client as an exact representation of his personal thoughts on the matter.Nothing but hyperbole here and in any event not similar to the present situation. Moreover, Bopp made substantially identical remarks in court, on the record, in the course of directly presenting Gableman's defense to a panel of three Wisconsin appellate judges.
Live and in person.
Agent Jim Bopp's statements are reasonably understood as those of his principal, Michael Gableman. That's what the law says.
And I clearly recall a number of occasions when Gableman promised to follow the law (as opposed to following the rules, which seems to have been an endeavor more distinguished by its arbitrariness).
* Intriguing too, is the Federalist Society employee's own objection to Justice Butler's disposition toward the accused's right to present evidence in his defense at trial: Forest Shomberg is innocent.
Is it any wonder, then, that he would champion Bopp's strategeries?