Bar v. Blog II Update

Believe it or not, Brenda v. Blog is still meandering along.

At this point it seems more accurate to rename it Bar v. Blog II, as the Bar’s palpable distaste for all things JAABLOG has seemingly relegated Brenda to stalking horse stature. Despite all the muckraking by the blog and its commenters over the years, which has undoubtedly helped clean up the ranks of officialdom and level the scales of justice in Broward County, we’re still public enemy number one, Bar motto be damned:

And Rumpole’s take:

It’s disappointing, to say the least, that the Bar is still going forward in the name of a complainant under a criminal investigation opened in part due to her sworn and under penalty of perjury filings in the instant bar complaint, but hardly surprising.  South Florida Bar prosecutors were also recently slammed by Jorge Cueto in his referee’s report for another astounding and destructive overreach, which can be read over at Rumpole’s place.  A disturbing trend of achieving an objective, right or wrong, political or otherwise, no matter the cost, seems to be en vogue at our beloved Bar, with Brenda’s original complaint being twisted beyond even the Constitutional threshold crossed by the pending IP Address scandal.  The specific new and latest developments, hopefully to be broken soon by mainstream media, are chock full of due process, free speech, and other concerns important to both lawyers and laypeople alike, and an insult to anyone with a sense of fair play.

Simply put, it’s not only Brenda v. Blog that needs to be rechristened.  Our characterizations of the Bar’s actions over the years as a War on Free Speech and harassment have also been plain wrong; it’s a War on the Truth.

For control purposes, and for maintaining status quo of a system corrupted beyond belief by political patronage and self-interest, the Bar doesn’t want any insider or informed person not wearing a robe, holding elected office, or having politicked their way to the top of the Bar itself having access to a bully pulpit where they can freely, and from the safety of anonymity (if they so choose), call out corruption, hypocrisy, and shortcomings in their elected officials, or make fun of same, which is precisely what JAABLOG affords any reader, licensed or not.  It’s always been easier to ignore or massage problems, or half-heartedly attempt to fix them from the inside absent the glaring accountability of public embarrassment, even if this mindset has only proven to proliferate and compound stubborn problems of institutional racism and other serious injustices, or even simple inefficiencies within the system, and foster levels of division, distrust, and anger on all sides not seen in this nation since the 1960’s.  And now, despite the national malaise and bi-partisan calls for serious change and accountability in our public officials, the Bar is risking further damage to its reputation by pursuing avenues that pose serious risks to the core of our democracy, all in a misguided effort to prop-up and protect those that often don’t deserve protecting, and to silence a communication medium that chips away at the traditional hierarchies of power, of which they are part and parcel.  To state it another way, they just don’t want any of us having a say, particularly without a supervising editor, and especially on a forum where reporters and other people can read it.  It’s too damaging.

Are some blog comments sometimes offensive or downright nasty?  You bet.  But federal and state laws protect them, and until such a time comes when the Bar works to change the rules and laws we all live under, as we’ve been telling them to do since at least 2013, their concerns in this area remain their problems and decidedly not ours, even if we’re once again the presumed scapegoat.  It therefore remains our duty and privilege under the Oath of Attorney and the Constitutions underpinning it to defend JAABLOG in its present form until the bitter end, whether they like it or not. They’ve had nearly fourteen years since the blog’s inception to figure it out, and if Brenda is the torch-bearer they’ve finally settled on, all readers should be more than concerned.

In closing, it must be stressed that the Bar’s actions aren’t the only glaring problem here, although we do expect more from them than from their complainant.  Brenda needs to answer for her behavior as well, which is why we recently sent the Bar a response asking them to put up or shut up.  We relish the opportunity to finally have our day in court, just as Brenda’s former husband Howard Forman did, who was also falsely accused of various actions by the current Clerk.  Discovery should be allowed to start immediately, and as an added bonus, if another goal of the Bar is to protect their complainant at the ballot box in 2020 by restricting critical speech of Brenda here on JAABLOG, we can’t think of a better way to focus the spotlight on both her and the constitutional questions posed than through a very public trial process that should last the duration of campaign season:

Let the games begin!

WSJ – After Janus, Free the Lawyers ; A First Amendment challenge to forced bar association dues

… “In other words, the bar is not merely a professional organization that sets ethical standards and disciplines lawyers. It is a quasi-government enforcement body. The plaintiffs argue that forcing them to fund the bar’s political speech infringes on their First Amendment rights by compelling them to subsidize views they disagree with” …