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Loyalty Tests for Admission to the Bar (with John D. Fassett), 20 U. Chi. L. Rev. 480 (1953)

Abstract

Traditional nonacademic standards for admission to the bar require the applicant to be of good moral character and to support the Constitution. The inquiry of this paper is to what extent these comfortable norms nowadays include, or are supplemented by, loyalty tests. Indefinite in its boundaries, the current insistence on loyalty gains some content by its identification with the quality of not being a Communist. But experts tell us it is difficult to detect communism, and the search for its essence takes us off again in many directions. Lawyers are likely to find the heart of communist disloyalty not in the support of public housing or racial equality, but in the fostering of revolution, allegedly on behalf of the oppressed masses, but actually, most of us believe, in the interests of the Kremlin. Even with the virus thus isolated, there remain troubling questions, of perhaps only philosophical importance, about the sincerity of a revolutionary's belief, and about his possibly deep devotion to an America which he envisages with different eyes from the rest of us. But if we confine our attention to the loyalty of lawyers, some of these uncertainties diminish. What the Association of American Law Schools recently observed about teachers of law applies as much to the legal profession at large:

To say that a man is free to believe as he sees fit does not mean that his attitudes toward his chosen profession are irrelevant to his qualifications for that profession. A belief in lawful procedures may properly be demanded of one who undertakes to be a teacher of law. Whatever ideals he may cherish, he must be willing to work for a realization of them within the framework of orderly, lawful and democratic processes. The teacher of law with no real belief in the principle of legality is a contradiction in terms.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1953

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