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The Champion

June 2003 , Page 52 

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Lawyers: Do they have First Amendment rights?

By Barry Tarlow

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A lawyer’s obligation to maintain due respect for the courts, to refrain from “undignified or discourteous conduct which is degrading to a tribunal,” and to avoid conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice is “almost universally recognized in American jurisdictions.” In re Snyder, 472 U.S. 634, 645 n.7 (1985); ABA, Model Code Prof. Resp. DR 7-108(C)(6). In developing the Model Rules, which replaced the Model Code, the ABA committee attempted to reduce restrictions that arguably discouraged criticism by lawyers. ABA, Annotated Model Rules Prof. Conduct 562 (4th ed. 1999). While retaining the provision condemning knowingly false statements about a judge’s qualifications or integrity, Model Rule 8.2(a); Model Code DR 8-102(B), the rules eliminated “the requirement that a lawyer be ‘temperate and dignified’ (EC 1-5), and the requirement that the lawyer be ‘certain of the merits of his complaint, use appropriate language, and avoid petty criticism.’ (EC 8

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