Yesterday, Rudy Giuliani's license to practice law in New York was suspended. Ruth Marcus writes:
Attorneys are supposed to — they are ethically bound to — zealously represent their clients, however unpopular. As a general matter, we should salute this zealousness, not punish it, for fear of chilling representation of those who need it most. The quintessential example of this principle is John Adams, who as a young lawyer famously defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre.
But advocacy has its limits, and Rudy Giuliani, it is safe to say, is no John Adams. One man defended the defenseless in the greater service of the rule of law; the other asserted the indefensible in the service of overturning the results of an election.
For Marcus, the universe is unfolding as it should:
This is a welcome and entirely justified development. In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Giuliani wasn’t the only Trump lawyer to make unsupportable claims about voter fraud, but he was the most prominent. Both in and out of court, Giuliani made repeated false statements: That Pennsylvania received more absentee ballots than it had sent out before the election. That Trump was pursuing a claim of voter fraud in the Pennsylvania courts when in fact he was not. That dead people — sometimes 8,021, at another point as many as 30,000 — voted in Philadelphia, including heavyweight boxer Joe Frazier.
Giuliani also accused the manufacturers of voting machines and others of cheating:
That Dominion Voting Systems machines manipulated the final tallies in Georgia. That thousands of underage voters, variously 65,000 or 66,000 or 165,000, cast ballots in Georgia, along with numerous felons and dead people. That security cameras showed Georgia election officials illegally counting mail-in ballots. That “illegal aliens” voted in Arizona.
A disciplinary panel of judges found that:
“These false statements were made to improperly bolster respondent’s narrative that due to widespread voter fraud, victory in the 2020 United States presidential election was stolen from his client. We conclude that respondent’s conduct immediately threatens the public interest.”
The suspension of Giulian's license occurred thirty-five years to the day that another of Trump's lawyers -- and Joe McCarthy's lawyer -- Roy Cohn was disbarred. During the proceedings against Cohn, Trump appeared as a character witness for Cohn.
As Leo Tolstoy noted, character is destiny.
Image: Vanity Fair