Professor Lisa Tucker explored the “character and fitness” scrutiny to which all members of the bar must submit, in an op-ed published in the National Law Journal on Sept. 19.
In every state, Tucker noted, bar applicants must provide references who can attest to their moral fitness to represent clients transparently, ethically and responsibly. In many states, she added, those references in turn are asked to identify individuals not named by the applicant who might also address the candidate’s character and fitness.
Law schools commonly advise students who’ve had speeding tickets and other minor brushes with the law to disclose all misdeeds, because “admitting her wrongs is seen as evidence that an applicant has taken responsibility and thereby has the requisite character and fitness,” Tucker said.
While it’s impossible to know if Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford as she has publicly alleged, Tucker argued, the public and members of the bar must be able to trust the honesty and impartiality of any justice on the nation’s highest court.
In the meantime, Tucker said, one of the arguments made by Senate Republicans—that an act that may have occurred decades ago should not interfere with Kavanaugh’s nomination—does not square with basic fitness requirements for judges or lawyers.