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  • […] Fort Lauderdale, Fla., criminal defense attorney Sean Conway claims he was within his First Amendment rights and should not face disciplinary action over his blog comments calling one of the judges he practices before an “evil, unfair witch” who is “seemingly mentally ill”. (Jordana Mishory, “Attorney Argues His ‘Witch’ Comments About Judge Are Protected Speech”, Daily Business Review, Jul. 16; earlier). To me, this seems rather to miss the point: sure, almost everyone but a member of the local bar enjoys or should enjoy a First Amendment right to call a judge an evil, unfair witch. Lawyers admitted to practice, however, enlist as “officers of the court” with special obligations, among which may be (to name only one) to avoid the sorts of displays of enmity that might complicate future cases before that judge, as by provoking recusal. For an extreme instance, see the Geoffrey Fieger episode recounted here, here, here, and here. […]