Retired Attorney Mark Pulliam Addresses Increase in Woke Lawfare and the Punishment of Lawyers Engaged in Unpopular Advocacy

Live from Music Row, Wednesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed retired attorney Mark Pulliam to the newsmaker line to discuss increasing levels of lawfare based on woke ideologies and offer his advice to new law students.

Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line by our very good friend Mark Pulliam, who lives in Blount County. He’s a retired attorney, a constitutional conservative, and he writes at his blog, Misrule of Law. Good morning, Mark Pulliam.

Pulliam: Good morning, Michael.

Leahy: So you’ve got this piece that you wrote on Friday, “A Woke Catechism of Legal Academia.” My guess is, what I see is the bar association appears to be eager to get rid of anybody that’s an attorney who’s not woke. Your thoughts?

Pulliam: The entire legal system has turned upside down. And it’s not just the bar associations, it’s the law schools and their law firms. But it’s a serious problem that state bars have turned into tribunals for activist groups to punish lawyers for engaging in unpopular advocacy.

And so we’ve seen a trend around the country of lawyers like John Eastman, who did the unpardonable act of representing the president of the United States, and he lost his job on the Chapman Law School faculty and was dismissed from a visiting professor position at the University of Colorado. And now they’re trying to disbar him all together.

Leahy: And by the way, let’s talk about Eastman for a moment. To me, all he did was, he looked at what, the electoral count act of what, 1880-something, and said, look, here’s a way I think you can legally contest the Electoral College selections of various states: here’s a process. Do I have that right?

Pulliam: Yes. And in fact, Laurence Tribe, the Harvard Law School professor, had made exactly the same argument back in a less politically charged time. Remember, Barbara Boxer did exactly the same thing that the so-called January 6th insurrectionists did to challenge the electors because of alleged irregularities regarding elections in particular states.

So everything has become insanely politicized. But what we’ve done now is weaponized our legal system. This is all a form of what they call lawfare – using the legal system as a weapon to go after people we don’t like.

And it used to be that lawyers engaged in advocacy was considered a good thing. It would lead to social change that our adversarial system required people to be able to engage in litigation and make novel arguments.

Now they’re punishing people. Bill Barr is facing disciplinary charges. The most outrageous of all, in my opinion, is Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing disciplinary charges by the Texas State Bar for filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court that a dozen other state attorney generals joined in.

And they’re saying that this was a frivolous lawsuit. The Supreme Court didn’t consider it to be a frivolous lawsuit. But these left-wing activists who gravitate to these state bars are now going after – if the people of Texas don’t like their attorney general, they can elect a new one. It’s not up to a state bar to decide what the attorney general can and cannot advocate.

Leahy: And there’s an election on November 8th where they can do that. Aaron Gulbransen, our official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report, is in-studio and has a question for you.

Gulbransen: Mark, good to chat with you. So we’re talking in the same vein that conservative or Republican or just common-sense attorneys like you just mentioned in Texas, are facing problems with the law association over doing their job, filing suits, and that sort of thing. Are we seeing anything in movements?

And here’s a perfect example right here in Nashville, Tennessee, where we have a district attorney, Glenn Funk, who is vowing not to do his job as the district attorney.

Is there anything going on on that side of things where a bar complaint can be filed, or has been filed or anybody, or are they just turning a blind eye and they’re only targeting conservatives?

Pulliam: Unfortunately, it’s all very asymmetrical. It goes in one direction only. But the good news is that in Florida, where we have a courageous and principled governor, Ron DeSantis, when there was a district attorney that was refusing to enforce the law, he took it upon himself as the governor to say, well, then you have violated your oath and I’m relieving you of your duties.

So if a district attorney whose job is to enforce the law won’t enforce the law, the approach ought to be, well, then you basically said you’re not going to honor your oath and we’re going to find somebody else who will enforce the law, because that’s what you were elected to do.

Leahy: Mark, you have an illustrious career in law. You have retired from the practice of law. If you could restart the time clock and you were about to go to law school today and were a young man who just graduated from college and you’ve been accepted to law school today, what would be your advice to a young man or woman who’s just graduated from college and who has been accepted to law school and who is a constitutional conservative? What would be your advice to them?

Pulliam: I’m not sure that I would do it over again. Forty years later, the landscape has completely changed. And it’s not just the law schools, which have turned into indoctrination centers. Academia is so one-sided, so leftist.

And it’s not just, like I said, not just the law schools but law firms! When I started practicing law 40 years ago, it was a normal occupation. Now it’s completely woke. My old law firm, which was a well-respected corporate law firm, was very conservative when I joined.

It devotes tens of thousands of hours a year to pro bono. And one of the things that they’re proudest of is making the city of Boise to permit homeless people to camp wherever they want. And then they took this case to the Ninth Circuit. And now that is the law in the entire Western United States.

So when you see these cities in Portland and Seattle and Los Angeles and you wonder, why is it that they allow homeless people just to camp anywhere they want? It’s because my law firm, on a pro bono basis, made this happen. It’s completely ridiculous.

And the problem is, because it’s being done in the legal system by law firms, it’s not really something that the general public pays attention to. I pay attention to it because I’m a lawyer.

And I started my blog after I retired – Misrule of Law – thinking that that would be the subject of all of my writing. But it got to the point where it was so depressing, I couldn’t focus on it all the time.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Mark Pulliam” by Mark Pulliam.


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