11:11, October 23 66 0 abajournal.com

2017-10-23 11:11:06
Should ‘offensive tactics’ be squelched in name of civility? Gorsuch comments on ABA model rule

Gorsuch said that civility should not interfere with free speech, and pointed to efforts to suppress debate on college campuses, report the Associated Press and the National Law Journal (sub. req.), which had more extensive coverage of his remarks.

“I’m a great believer in the First Amendment. It worries me when young people today at universities are not able to express themselves,” Gorsuch said. “When civility goes so far as to suppress disagreement, you’ve gone too far.”

Gorsuch also expressed reservations about a comment to Rule 1.3 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, according to the National Law Journal account. The model rule requires lawyers to act “with reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client.”

The comment to the model rule reads, “The lawyer’s duty to act with reasonable diligence does not require the use of offensive tactics.” The comment “worries me,” Gorsuch said, because offense tactics could sometimes be “a very good idea.”

Gorsuch did say, however, that lawyers should advise clients who wants to use “junkyard dog” tactics that it doesn’t help. If the client persists, the lawyer may want to consider whether to fire the client. “The rewards of an ethical practice are a lot more profound than the dollars and cents, the mansions, the cars,” he said.

The National Law Journal covered Gorsuch’s remarks on another subject: the kindness of people who offered their support during his confirmation hearings. He recalled one person who sent him a package that was “inspected, radiated, irradiated.” The package was found to be safe and Gorsuch opened it up. It contained a pair of socks and a note.

The sender watched the confirmation hearings on TV. “You looked like you needed a new pair of socks,” the note read.