Anastaplo, In re, No. 33149

CourtSupreme Court of Illinois
Writing for the CourtDAILY
Citation3 Ill.2d 471,121 N.E.2d 826
PartiesIn re George ANASTAPLO, Petitioner.
Docket NumberNo. 33149
Decision Date23 September 1954

Page 826

121 N.E.2d 826
3 Ill.2d 471
In re George ANASTAPLO, Petitioner.
No. 33149.
Supreme Court of Illinois.
Sept. 23, 1954

[3 Ill.2d 472]

Page 827

George Anastaplo, Chicago, petitioner, pro se.

Leon M. Despres, Abner J. Mikva, Alexander L. Polikoff and Bernard Weisberg, Chicago, for American Civil Liberties Union, amicus curiae.

Pearl M. Hart, Chicago, Jessica Davidson and Robert J. Silverstein, New York City, for National Lawyers Guild, amicus curiae.

Stephen Love, Chicago, amicus curiae.

DAILY, Justice.

George Anastaplo, to whom we shall refer as petitioner, having successfully passed the Illinois bar examination, filed with the Committee on Character and Fitness for the First Appellate Court District, an application for admission to practice before the courts of this State, together with affidavits as to his good moral character and general fitness to practice law, as required by section IX of Rule 58 of this court. (Ill.Rev.Stat.1951, chap. 110, par. 259.58.) Subsequently, and as further ordained by the rule, he appeared both before a two-man section of the committee and before the entire committee for the purpose of furnishing evidence of his moral character and good citzenship.

Page 828

Ultimately, on June 5, 1951, petitioner was advised that he had failed to prove such qualifications as to character and general fitness as, in the opinion of the committee, would justify his admission to the bar of Illinois. Petitioner did not seek a rehearing, as was his right and while the committee has continued to refuse to issue him a certificate of character, it has held itself open to further suggestions and arguments of petitioner, presented through [3 Ill.2d 473] the media of letters and one further appearance of petitioner before the committee.

Petitioner has now filed in this court what it termed a 'Petition and appeal from the refusal of the Committee on Character and Fitness * * * to sign a favorable certificate for admission to the practice of law for the Applicant and Motion to the Supreme Court of Illinois to provide for the admission of the Applicant to the practice of law in the state of Illinois.' Although we have held that the discretion exercised by the committee on character and fitness will not ordinarily be reviewed, in re Frank, 293 Ill. 263, 127 N.E. 640, and it is well established that a petition for admission to the bar, though a judicial function, is an administrative act rather than a judicial proceeding, In re Summers, 325 U.S. 561, 65 S.Ct. 1307, 89 L.Ed. 1795, it is our opinion, in the light of petitioner's claims that the committee abused its discretion and that certain of his constitutional rights were infringed upon, there exist circumstances which should cause us to set the matter down for argument and opinion. In re Summers, 325 U.S. 561, 65 S.Ct. 1307, 89 L.Ed. 1795; Brooks v. Laws, 92 U.S.App.D.C. 367, 208 F.2d 18. Accordingly, petitioner has filed a brief and argument, we have granted leave to the American Civil Liberties Union and to the National Lawyers Guild, as amici curiae, to file briefs in petitioner's behalf and have permitted Stephen Love, a Chicago attorney and one-time committee member who apparently did not concur in its action, to file his suggestions in the cause.

Looking to the record, to the committee report to this court, and to petitioner's brief, we find that the crux of the controversy is centered upon petitioner's refusal to answer as to whether he was a member of the Communist Party or of any of the subversive organizations on the list compiled by the United States Department of Justice. When first asked if he was a member of the Communist Party petitioner responded that the question was an inquiry into his political beliefs and an 'illegitimate question.' [3 Ill.2d 474] Similar responses to similar questions appear in other portions of the record of petitioner's examination and at no time did he answer the question. Predicated upon these refusals, the committee, on the basis of their opinion that a member of the Communist Party, because of such membership, could not in good faith take the oath of lawyer to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of the State of Illinois, then directed questions to petitioner designed to dlicit his views in what the committee felt were pertinent areas of inquiry. Briefly summarized, as the result of the committee's questioning, petitioner expressed his opinion that a member of the Communist Party, otherwise qualified, should be admitted to the practice of law and that the could see nothing contradictory or incompatible between adherence to the tenets of that party and the taking of the oath to support the constitutions. Likewise, at this time, he expressed his belief in the doctrine of revolution and the overthrow of government by force of arms, saying that the would embrace such doctrine if he could not agree with the existing government, or found it unsatisfactory, and felt that force of arms was the only means to attain the end desired. He stated that such view would not be altered even though the existing government provided for peaceful and orderly means of change. In its report, the committee states that the views and opinions expressed by petitioner on these matters were not the basis for the denial of a certificate, but that the committee agreed such views increased the importance of petitioner's refusals to answer and made more necessary a complete answer on the subject of membership in the Communist Party, so that the committee could better determine the ability of petitioner

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to take the oath of attorney in good conscience and his good citizenship.

Petitioner presently contends that the committee abused its discretion and exceeded its function by inquiring into his political views, directly and indirectly, and charges that its [3 Ill.2d 475] action in denying him a certificate stems from hostility and differences of personal opinion rather than from considerations of his lack of moral character or general fitness to practice law. At the outset of our consideration of this point, we wish to say that we find nothing in the record to substantiate petitioner's conclusion that the committee was hostile to him or that its decision was motivated by personal opinions differing from his own. What does appear clearly is that the denial was based upon the doubts as to his ability to take the oath of lawyer in good conscience created by his refusal to answer whether he was a member of the Communist Party or other member of the Communist Party or other known subversive 'front' organizations for that party. Thus our first consideration must be directed to whether petitioner's membership or nonmembership in the party was a relevant field of inquiry or...

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20 practice notes
  • Anastaplo, In re, No. 780
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 19, 1959
    ...se. Harry Kalven, Jr., and Roscoe T. Steffen, Chicago, amici curiae. PER CURIAM. The present proceeding is a sequel to In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 121 N.E.2d 826. Page 430 George Anastaplo passed the Illinois bar examination given in August of 1950. Thereafter, following extended hearing......
  • Commercial Nat. Bank of Chicago v. City of Chicago, No. 55457
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 25, 1982
    ...by our constitution (Lozoff v. Shore Heights, Ltd. (1977), 66 Ill.2d 398, 401-02, 6 Ill.Dec. 225, 362 N.E.2d 1047; In re Anastaplo (1954), 3 Ill.2d 471, 475, 121 N.E.2d 826; People ex rel. Chicago Bar Association v. Goodman (1937), 366 Ill. 346, 349, 8 N.E.2d 941; In re Application of Day (......
  • Horwitz v. Holabird & Root, No. 89351.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • May 20, 2004
    ...The taking of an oath is a condition precedent to the practice of law in this state and is imposed by the legislature. In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 475, 121 N.E.2d 826 (1954). This court has repeatedly made clear that the practice of law is a privilege and not a right. In re Anastaplo, 3 ......
  • Ullmann v. United States, No. 58
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1956
    ...him. See Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U.S. 485, 72 S.Ct. 380, 96 L.Ed. 517. A lawyer risks exclusion from the bar (In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 121 N.E.2d 826); a doctor, the revocation of his license to practice (cf. Barsky v. Board of Regents, 347 U.S. 442, 74 S.Ct. 650, 98 L.Ed. 82......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
20 cases
  • Anastaplo, In re, No. 780
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • November 19, 1959
    ...se. Harry Kalven, Jr., and Roscoe T. Steffen, Chicago, amici curiae. PER CURIAM. The present proceeding is a sequel to In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 121 N.E.2d 826. Page 430 George Anastaplo passed the Illinois bar examination given in August of 1950. Thereafter, following extended hearing......
  • Commercial Nat. Bank of Chicago v. City of Chicago, No. 55457
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • January 25, 1982
    ...by our constitution (Lozoff v. Shore Heights, Ltd. (1977), 66 Ill.2d 398, 401-02, 6 Ill.Dec. 225, 362 N.E.2d 1047; In re Anastaplo (1954), 3 Ill.2d 471, 475, 121 N.E.2d 826; People ex rel. Chicago Bar Association v. Goodman (1937), 366 Ill. 346, 349, 8 N.E.2d 941; In re Application of Day (......
  • Horwitz v. Holabird & Root, No. 89351.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Illinois
    • May 20, 2004
    ...The taking of an oath is a condition precedent to the practice of law in this state and is imposed by the legislature. In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 475, 121 N.E.2d 826 (1954). This court has repeatedly made clear that the practice of law is a privilege and not a right. In re Anastaplo, 3 ......
  • Ullmann v. United States, No. 58
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • March 26, 1956
    ...him. See Adler v. Board of Education, 342 U.S. 485, 72 S.Ct. 380, 96 L.Ed. 517. A lawyer risks exclusion from the bar (In re Anastaplo, 3 Ill.2d 471, 121 N.E.2d 826); a doctor, the revocation of his license to practice (cf. Barsky v. Board of Regents, 347 U.S. 442, 74 S.Ct. 650, 98 L.Ed. 82......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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