Amy Howe at SCOTUSBlog posted her summary, The Fisher Argument in Plain English, after oral arguments today in one of the Court's most-scrutinized cases of the term, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Fisher involves a challenge to the use of race in the UT undergraduate admissions process. For full SCOTUSBlog coverage of Fisher, visit the recap page on SCOTUSBlog.
This paper engages with the
central question in legal ethics concerning the lawyer's role, analyzing this
fundamental question in terms of professional identity. Literature in this
debate frames the lawyer either as a professional who exists entirely to serve
her client (the "standard conception"), or as a professional whose
primary duties are to the legal system. I reposit and examine the lawyer's
professional identity as an officer of the court — an identity marginalized by
those who favor the standard conception — noting that the phrase was coined to
draw attention to a supplanting threat to legal professionalism. Providing a
uniquely detailed examination of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence and of U.S.
judicial system structure and function, this investigation yields strong and
consistent evidence that the lawyer's identity as an officer of the court is
the actual, legal standard conception of the lawyer, as well as the defining
basis of her identity — her sine qua non.