WASHINGTON D.C. – August 19, 2019 Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton issues a complaint to the Rhode Island Chair of the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee Thomas W. Madonna that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse committed an unauthorized practice of law.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island filed an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Kirsten Gilliband (D-NY). An amicus curiae brief is “an individual or party that is providing expert information to the court on the subject matter of a particular case before the court.”
The case (brief attached to Judicial Watch letter as Exhibit A) is Docket 18-280 New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc., City of New York, New York, et al.
Senator Whitehouse lists himself on the cover page as Counsel of Record with an address at the Hart Senate Office building in Washington, DC. Judicial Watch points out that Senator Whitehouse is listed as a Rhode Island resident and under Rhode Island Bar Rules, would be practicing law in Rhode Island. He is not a member of the DC Bar. So he violated two rules. He violated the “Unauthorized Practice of Law” rule of D.C. as well as the rule from the Rhode Island Supreme Court on “the Periodic Registration of Attorneys.”
Judicial Watch also points out that by openly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, he has violated the “Rhode Island Rules of Professional Conduct”. His brief concludes by stating: “The Supreme Court is not well. And the people know it. Perhaps the Court can heal itself before the public demands it to be ‘restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics.’ particularly on the urgent issue of gun control, a nation desperately needs it to heal.” Judicial Watch states that Senator Whitehouse is saying, “if the U.S. Supreme Court does not rule the way Senator Whitehouse and his clients prefer, they will use their power as Senators to restructure the Court.”
The Judicial Watch letter also goes on to state: “Attacking the federal judiciary and openly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court is unbecoming for a member of the legal profession as well as a sitting U.S. Senator. Senator Whitehouse’s assertion, without basis, that the Court does not rule on the merits of cases but rather on partisan beliefs undermines confidence in the legal system. It is one thing for a politician to make such a claim on the campaign trail, it is another for a lawyer to make such a charge as part of a legal proceeding. In doing so, Senator Whitehouse has violated the rules of professional conduct.”
Mr. Fitton concludes by requesting a full investigation by the committee.
To read the full letter containing the amicus brief and proof of Senator Whitehouse’s license being inactive, click here.