A Compelling Interest in an Oath [Contents] || [Feedback] || [V&FT]

Petition for Rehearing

Before the Federal District Court

 James Kevin Craig
 311 S. Main St.
 Santa Ana, CA 92701
 (714) 835-6304
 [In Propria Persona]


  JAMES KEVIN CRAIG,     )    CASE NO.              
          Plaintiff,     )    CV-94-8090 RSWL (SHX)
                         )    PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR
               vs.       )    RECONSIDERATION OF
                         )    DENIAL OF MOTION FOR
          Defendant.     )

Plaintiff respectfully petitions the court to reconsider its denial of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and its granting of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. This request is based on a manifest error of law made by the court, and a fact which could not have been known by the Plaintiff in the exercise of reasonable diligence at the time the cross-motions for Summary Judgment were filed.


By way of review, the Plaintiff in this case is prohibited from taking the oath to "support the Constitution" (required for admission to the Bar) by the case of In Re Summers, 325 U.S. 561 (1945). Because the Plaintiff is committed to "uphold, interpret, and apply the laws as defined by" the Constitution, the Plaintiff refuses to take the oath in bad faith. Since "support" of the Constitution is required only of governmental officers (Article VI, 3, U.S. Const.), and an attorney is not such an officer, Plaintiff proposed a modification of the oath which eliminated the "support" language (which the Summers case bars him from taking) and substituted language which expressly set forth the admittedly compelling interests of the State.


In its gratuitous discussion of the merits of this case, the court relies on the case of Bernal v. Fainter, 467 U.S. 216 (1984), a case cited by neither Plaintiff nor Defendant in all their pleadings. Citing this case, the court states: "[C]ourts have upheld laws excluding aliens from holding positions that are intimately related to the process of democratic self-government." (Order at 10-11) In fact, the Court in this case did not uphold, but struck down a law excluding aliens from a position which the state of Texas argued was "intimately related to the process of democratic self-government."

Based on this error, the court goes on to apply the Bernal case to Plaintiff's Petition to become an attorney:

Just as states may impose citizenship requirements on police, teachers, and probation officers based on the nexus between their citizenship and their jobs, the Defendant has a compelling interest in requiring an attorney to swear specifically to support the United States and California State Constitutions.

It cannot be overemphasized that this is the exact opposite of what the U.S. Supreme Court has held. Even if the Bernal Court had upheld the Texas notary public statute, it acknowledged that there was no similar "nexus" between citizenship and attorneys. The Bernal Court cites In re Griffiths, 413 U.S. 717 (1973) (repeatedly cited by Plaintiff), which held that attorneys are not "officers" of the government, and are not "intimately related to the process of democratic self-government" in the same way "police, teachers, and probation officers" are. Thus the U.S. Constitution, Art. VI, 3, does not require attorneys to "support the Constitution," and that language should be modified in deference to the First Amendment.

Plaintiff unhesitatingly assumes that this oversight was an unintentional one on the part of the court. It is, however, a manifest error of law. Two conclusions must be drawn. First, Plaintiff is committed to "uphold, interpret, and apply the laws as defined by those charters." Plaintiff is entirely, wholeheartedly, and passionately committed to the faithful discharge of the duties of an attorney, including the duty

To employ, for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to him or her such means only as are consistent with truth, and never to seek to mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law. (Bus. & Prof. 6068(d))

Had the Plaintiff misstated a rule of law (as was unintentionally done with the Bernal case, above) knowingly and willfully in order to mislead the court, he would have violated a duty of an attorney. This is precisely what the attorney's oath seeks to prevent; this is an example of the state's compelling interest. One can be committed to "uphold, interpret, and apply the laws as defined by those charters" without granting the moral or Biblical legitimacy of those charters. The Apostle Peter commands Christians, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (1 Peter 2:13), yet he reserves ultimate sovereignty to God (Acts 5:29). The Apostle Paul commanded Christians to "be subject unto the higher powers" (Romans 13:1), thereby animating Plaintiff's commitment to the faithful discharge of his duties as an attorney, while at the same time reminding Plaintiff of the demonic nature of the State (Ephesians 6:12).

Second, the present case is not distinguishable from Bessard v. California Community Colleges, 867 F.Supp. 1454 (E.D. Cal. 1994), another case cited by the court but mentioned by neither Plaintiff nor Defendant in all their pleadings. That court held that the oath must be narrowly tailored, "directed . . . to actions rather than beliefs" (at 1465). This court, in contrast, held that "the purpose of the oath is to ensure that officers of the court are willing to commit themselves to uphold the laws under which they practice," but "nothing less than their specific promise to 'support the Constitution' will suffice." It is clearly manifest error to hold that the State must require the exact words "I support the Constitution" and has a compelling interest in not permitting the words "I am willing to commit myself to uphold the laws under which I practice," or some similar modification which might satisfy the State's interest.

In light of the court's reliance on this misinterpretation of previously uncited cases, the merits of Plaintiff's argument should be reconsidered by this court.


The court's ruling on the issue of Res Judicata should be reconsidered in light of newly-discovered facts. Plaintiff, a pro se litigant with no experience before the California Supreme Court, was unaware of the nature of that court's action until the Defendant State Bar procured a certified copy of Plaintiff's California Supreme Court file and presented it to this court as Exhibit 12-1. It was only very recently that Plaintiff noted that some member of the court staff handwrote a notation that "Court Clerk says treating as petition for review" (emphasis in original) on the cover of Plaintiff's Petition. This results in a manifest injustice, which only this court can remedy. As Plaintiff has argued, the State Bar did not adjudicate the merits of this case. The State Bar contended that it had no authority to do so. It conducted no discovery or followed other procedures which are prescribed by law for determining the merits of a case. This court misstates the facts when it reports, "In July 1993, Plaintiff filed a writ of mandate with the California Supreme Court seeking review of that decision." There was no decision, and Plaintiff did not seek "review" of it. Plaintiff accepted the statement of the State Bar that it lacked authority to deal with Plaintiff's petition, and so he petitioned the California Supreme Court to give such a mandate to the State Bar. The conversion of Plaintiff's writ to one of "review" results in the following sequence:

(1) State Bar refuses to adjudicate merits of Plaintiff's case, citing lack of authority to do so.

(2) California Supreme Court refuses to review that decision.

(3) State Bar then asks Federal Court not to hear the merits of the case, claiming the "res" has been adjudicated by the mere refusal to hear it.

On page 6 of its Order, this court cites the case of Konigsberg v. State Bar 353 U.S. 252 (1957) in support of the contention that "the California Supreme Court's decision denying Plaintiff's Petition for Writ of Mandate or Other Appropriate Relief was a final, appealable judgment on the merits." Konigsberg received a number of hearings before the State Bar, which attempted to adjudicate the issues before it.  The best interpretation of the facts would hold that the California Court did not adjudicate the merits of that Petition; it simply reviewed the abstinence of the State Bar and agreed that the substantial federal issues could not be adjudicated by that body. The California court implicitly directed that those substantial federal issues be adjudicated in Federal Court.


More is at stake in this case than the admission of one individual to the practice of law. Plaintiff has extensively documented the history of the oath, and has shown that the secularization of the oath has resulted in its trivialization. Those who have taken the oath (which the U.S. Supreme Court has held should indicate an affirmation of "the organic law" of the nation) have gone on to repudiate the organic law, thus violating their oaths. This is producing a breakdown in the integrity of the legal order itself. Permitting a Trinitarian oath will foment a reconstruction of the oath and the integrity of the law.

Plaintiff respectfully requests that this court reconsider these issues.

Dated: March 5, 1995 s/___________________________
Plaintiff, In Propria Persona

[This pleading was never filed.]