Supreme Court Lawyers Only

Just another example of how far we have come from our founding.
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You must be a lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court.

Thought that already was the case? It wasn’t until Monday, when the Supreme Court revised its 80-page rule book for the first time since 2010.

The update covers items such as filing deadlines but also adds Rule 28.8, which requires anyone arguing before the court to be a lawyer. The high court says the new rule simply codifies a “long-standing practice of the court.”

A nonlawyer hasn’t argued before the justices in more than three decades, though not for a lack of trying. A magazine publisher, entrepreneur and paralegal-in-training asked but were turned down, the paralegal-in-training the past year.

New York resident Samuel H. Sloan, now 68, was the last nonlawyer to do it when he represented himself in 1978 in a lawsuit involving stock trading. Sloan says he interviewed several lawyers who volunteered to represent him for free, just for the prestige of appearing before the court, but he decided to handle the job himself.

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