California Bar Journal
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Dominance by politicians would be fatal
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Supreme Court in the 1930s. The strength of our nation lies in the U.S. Constitution, which separates the powers of government into three branches: legislative, executive and judicial.

We lawyers must meet the requirements of the California Supreme Court in order to secure authorization to practice law. Once so qualified, we each became part and parcel of the judicial department of California. Under no circumstances can our department as represented by the courts, judges and lawyers submit to domination and direction by either the legislative department or the executive department.

The judicial departments of our national and state governments protect all American citizens and residents from the evils of communism, fascism, discrimination and bias. Article III of the Constitution describes our national judicial department. The California Constitution, Article III, is even more explicit:

“The State of California is an inseparable part of the United States of America, and the United States Constitution is the supreme law of the land (Section 1) . . . . The powers of state government are legislative, executive, and judicial. Persons charged with the exercise of one power may not exercise either of the others except as permitted by this Constitution.” (Section 3)

For members of the legislative department and executive department of California who are licensed lawyers to compare us to the medical profession is odious. Replacing our board of governors by laymen appointed by the governor is not only abhorrent, but also unconstitutional by any standard.

Many of us became lawyers in order to help the poor, the oppressed, the uneducated as well as those imposed upon and discriminated against. To turn the legal supervision of these concepts over to the politically ambitious men and women in either the executive department or legislative department of our federal or state government would be fatal.

Let us not destroy the State Bar. We need time and money to improve it.

Rawlins Coffman of Red Bluff is a certified specialist in probate, estate planning and trust law. He originally wrote this as a letter to all the members of the state legislature.