More Links Coming Soon! [Contents] || [Feedback] || [V&FT]

Complaint and Answer
in Federal District Court


Complaint [Plaintiff]

Answer [Defendant State Bar]

I. JURISDICTION Defendant State Bar of California, a public corporation, hereby answers plaintiff James Kevin Craig's complaint filed herein, as follows:
1 This action arises under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. 1. Answering the allegations of paragraph 1 of the complaint, defendant admits the same.
2 Statutes which impinge on the Free Exercise of Religion are governed by the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," (42 U.S.C. 2000bb1-4) which is dispositive of this action. 2. Answering the allegations of paragraph 2 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 can be found at 42 U.S.C. 2000bb 1-4.

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

3 All remedies within the State of California have been pursued, without relief. No plain, speedy, and efficient remedy may be had in the courts of this state.

 

3. Answering the allegations of paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that on July 27, 1993, plaintiff filed a petition for writ of mandate or other appropriate relief; memorandum of points and authori- ties in support thereof in the Supreme Court of California, case number S034117.

 

Further answering paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that on August 17, 1993, defendant filed its brief in response to plaintiff's petition.

Further answering paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that plaintiffs' petition to the Supreme Court of California was denied on April 27, 1994.

Further answering paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that in August 1994, plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court of the United States, case number 94-301.

Further answering paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that on or about September 28, 1994, defendant filed its brief in opposition to plaintiff's petition.

Further answering paragraph 3 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that plaintiff's petition to the Supreme Court of the United States was denied on October 31, 1994.

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

II. STATEMENT OF CLAIMS SHOWING ENTITLEMENT TO RELIEF
4 Petitioner seeks admission to the practice of law in California. He has passed the California Bar Examination and is otherwise qualified to practice. 4. Answering the allegations of Paragraph 4 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that plaintiff took and passed the July 1988 California Bar Examination. Further answering paragraph4 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that rule IX of the Rules Regulating Admission to Practice Law in California provides as follows:

"No applicant shall be eligible for certification to the Supreme Court for admission to practice law unless such certification shall have been made and the applicant shall have taken the oath of office within five years after the last day of the administration of the General Bar Examination or Attorney's Examination at which the applicant was successful, unless for good cause in a particular case the Committee extends such time limitation."

Further answering the allegations of paragraph 5 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that plaintiff was not in fact certified for admission to the practice of law in California within the five year period.

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

5 The State of California will not authorize Plaintiff to practice law until he swears a "Support Oath." The full oath reads: "I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitu- tion of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability." Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 6067. 5. Answering the allegations of paragraph 5 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that California Business and Profession Code section 6067 provides as follows:

"Every person on his admission shall take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and faithfully to discharge the duties of any [sic] attorney at law to the best of his knowledge and ability. A certificate of the oath shall be indorsed upon his license."

Further answering the allegations of paragraph 5 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that the State Bar of California Oath Card provides as follows:

"I solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability."

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

6 Based on his understanding of judicial interpretations of the first half of this oath, Petitioner believes that he cannot take the entire oath without violating his conscience, and would be subjected to disbarment or charges of perjury if he did. 6. Answering the allegations of paragraph 6 of the complaint, defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in said paragraph, and on that basis denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
7 Plaintiff has no objection to the second half of the oath, "that I will faithfully discharge the duties of an attorney and counselor at law to the best of my knowledge and ability." 7. Answering the allegations of paragraph 7 of the complaint, defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in said paragraph, and on that basis denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
FIRST CLAIM
8 Plaintiff is a Christian pacifist whose religion teaches against violent acts toward our neighbors. The concept of a "State" is thus condemned as the institutionalization of violence, and the political philosophy which justifies the existence of this violence is contrary to Plaintiff's religion. 8. Answering the allegations of paragraph 8 of the complaint, defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in said paragraph, and on that basis denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
9 Plaintiff is thus burdened with the requirement to choose between practicing law and affirming religious beliefs which are not his own, by swearing his "support" for Constitutionalism. 9. Answering the allegations of paragraph 9 of the complaint, defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in said paragraph, and on that basis denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
10 The Government has no "compelling interest" in requiring plaintiff to "support" a particular political philosophy in order to practice law.

 

10. Answering the allegations of paragraph 10 of the complaint, defendant denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
SECOND CLAIM
11 The exercise of Plaintiff's religion includes the taking of oaths in the Name of God, oaths which must be sacred, not secular. 11. Answering the allegations of paragraph 11 of the complaint, defendant is without sufficient knowledge or information to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations contained in said paragraph, and on that basis denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
12 Defendant claims that an explicitly Christian, theocratic oath, voluntarily taken, is now prohibited by statute. Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 6067. See also Torcaso v. Watkins 367 U.S. 488, 81 S.Ct. 1680, 6 L.Ed.2d 982 (1961). 12. Answering the allegations of paragraph 12 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that it is precluded by law from allowing plaintiff to substituted his "explicitly Christian, theocratic oath," for the oath or affirmation required by California Business and Professions Code section 6067.

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

13 A requirement to take a secular oath and a denial of an opportunity to modify the oath to conform to Plaintiff's religious beliefs burdens Plaintiff's religious exercise. 13. Answering the allegations of paragraph 13 of the complaint, defendant denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
14 The Government has no "compelling interest" in requiring a secular oath in place of an oath which is explicitly Christian. 14. Answering the allegations of paragraph 14 of the complaint, defendant denies generally and specifically each and every allegation contained therein.
15 The Framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as an unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. 42 U.S.C.A. 2000bb(a)(1) 15. Answering the allegations of paragraph 15 of the complaint, defendant admits and alleges that 42 U.S.C 2000bb(a)(1) provides: "the framers of the Constitution, recognizing free exercise of religion as unalienable right, secured its protection in the First Amendment to the Constitution':

Except as expressly admitted, and alleged hereinabove, defendant generally and specifically denies each and every allegation contained in said paragraph.

16 The Federal District Court was given jurisdiction by Congress to protect rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution.[1]

 

III. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that this Court:
1. Assume jurisdiction of this action;
2. Enjoin Defendant from requiring from this Plaintiff an oath to "support the Constitution" of the United States and the State of California as a condition to his admission to practice law in the State of California;
3. Order Defendant to permit this Plaintiff to modify the oath required of attorneys to conform to his religious beliefs;
4. Grant such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.
Dated: November 30, 1994 By: ________________________
James Kevin Craig,
Plaintiff in Propria Persona
 

1. See Nicholson v. Board of Commissioners of the Alabama State Bar Association, 338 F.Supp. 48, 52-53 (1972)

As a first affirmative defense, defendant alleges that plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

As a second affirmative defense, defendant alleges that plaintiff's complaint is barred by the doctrine of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel.

As a third affirmative defense, defendant alleges that plaintiff's complaint is barred by the statute of limitations.

As a fourth affirmative defense, defendant alleges that plaintiff's complaint is barred by laches.

As a fifth affirmative defense, defendant alleges that this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because it is not entirely clear that congress intended to waive the state's immunity in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

 

WHEREFORE, defendant prays as follows

1. That plaintiff take nothing by reason of his complaint, that judgment be rendered in favor of defendant;

2. That defendant be awarded its costs of suit incurred in defense of this action; and

3. For such other relief as the Court deems proper.

 

Dated March 10, 1995

 

 

Vine & Fig Tree
12314 Palm Dr. #107
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
[V&FT Home Page]