Award Recipient Confirms Judicial Threat To Free Speech and Democracy

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The grassroots good government and legal reform advocate known as POPULAR announces the midyear recipient of its “Restore Integrity Award”. She is Margaret Tarkington, Associate Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University. Tarkington foreshadowed her views in a 2009 article noting that curtailed speech among lawyers undermines “ . . . self-governance, robust debate on public issues, the unique sovereignty of the American people over government, and the ability of the public to employ democratic correctives to check and define the abuse of judicial power.”

POPULAR's Restore Integrity Award

Professor Tarkington submits that '(b)y punishing the speech of attorneys, the judiciary is promoting its own reputation, an interest the judiciary cannot promote by punishing speech outside of the requirements of (U.S. Supreme Court precedent.')

Last year the grassroots good government and legal reform advocate known as POPULAR, announced the midyear recipients of its “Restore Integrity Award” (RIA). This June marks the award’s first anniversary and “the first time we’ve bestowed our award on one person in a single category” says Zena Crenshaw-Logal, Executive Director for POPULAR, Inc.

POPULAR’s 2010 midyear RIA recipient is Margaret Tarkington, Associate Professor of Law at the J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University.

“Professor Tarkington is awarded in our private sector category, but her contribution reflects concerns usually addressed by recipients in our public sector and grassroots advocacy categories” explains Katherine Moore, a POPULAR Advisory Board member co-administering the RIA program.

POPULAR’s RIA is awarded bi-annually in the categories of public sector, private sector, and grassroots advocacy.

Mrs. L. Wilson interjects as POPULAR’s Advisory Board president that “all our award recipients have taken or otherwise pursued one or more specific acts or measures to eliminate significant inequity, waste, fraud, abuse, or other public and/or private sector corruption in America.”

Moore adds, “POPULAR defines corruption as any illegal or unethical conduct contributing to the systemic malfunction of government, commerce, and/or democracy in America as contemplated by the U.S. Constitution.”

Crenshaw-Logal indicates “we are honoring Professor Tarkington for her recent article, ‘A Free Speech Right To Impugn Judicial Integrity In Court Proceedings,’ and related writings.”

According to Crenshaw-Logal, “Tarkington contends that lawyers must be truly free to challenge judicial bias, incompetence, abuse, and error to protect the constitutional and legal rights of litigants to an unbiased and competent judiciary.”

Tarkington foreshadowed her views in a 2009 article noting that curtailed speech among lawyers undermines “ . . . self-governance, robust debate on public issues, the unique sovereignty of the American people over government, and the ability of the public to employ democratic correctives to check and define the abuse of judicial power.”

In November 2008, POPULAR proposed an international initiative entitled “Protecting Judicial Whistleblowers In The War On Poverty.” The corresponding White Paper is reportedly premised on recognition that “(i)t is the poor and disadvantaged who suffer disproportionately from judicial corruption due to their marginalized status and inability to pay bribes.”

Citing professional tribulations among its founders, POPULAR submitted “that state administered, lawyer disciplinary processes can be misused to silence government critics; the devastating impact extends beyond targeted lawyers and their families; in fact scores if not hundreds or thousands of poor and other disadvantaged Americans lack access to affordable, competent legal representation as a result; and the most fundamental, underlying problem is that state regulation of speech among lawyers and judges, transgresses the Privileges and Immunities Clause, Commerce Clause, and First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution beyond considerations of orderly, fair trials.”

Professor Tarkington submits that “(b)y punishing the speech of attorneys, the judiciary is promoting its own reputation, an interest the judiciary cannot promote by punishing speech outside of the requirements of (U.S. Supreme Court precedent.)”

Crenshaw-Logal reports that on April 15, 2010, POPULAR joined a coalition of grassroots advocates citing Tarkington among others in a statement to the U.N. for its upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of America’s human rights record.

“Our UPR statement concludes that the ability of average Americans to effectively petition their government is so diluted or compromised that what would otherwise be our constitutional and universal human rights are no more than privileges, doled out at government discretion. Broad judicial inhibition of lawyers helps create and preserve that unfortunate state of affairs” says Crenshaw-Logal. “And Professor Tarkington is part of an expanding class of mainstream commentators serving to confirm that reality.”

As usual, POPULAR will mail Professor Tarkington an encased certificate, commemorating her mid-year Restore Integrity Award. She was personally notified of and congratulated for receiving the award prior to this public announcement.

POPULAR will announce its next round of award recipients in December 2010.

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ZENA CRENSHAW
POPULAR, Inc.
888.478.4439 ext. 2
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