Sunday, April 14, 2013

Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman case brief

Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman case brief summary
487 U.S. 59 (1988)

Appellants, the state supreme court and its clerk, challenged the decision of the United States Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the district court's decision that entered summary judgment in favor of appellee, an applicant to the state bar (applicant), in an action alleging that the state's residency requirement for bar admission violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause, U.S. Const. art. 4, § 2, cl. 1.

OVERVIEW: In her constitutional action, the applicant challenged the Virginia state bar's requirement that qualified lawyers who were admitted in other states and wished to be admitted to the state bar on motion, without taking the bar examination, had to be permanent Virginia residents.

On appeal, the Court held that the residency requirement violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

-The practice of law was sufficiently basic to the national economy to be deemed a protected privilege, and that the residency requirement burdened that privilege by discriminating among otherwise equally qualified applicants solely on the basis of citizenship or residency.
-The Court rejected the justification that the requirement ensured that admitted attorneys were committed to the community, holding that there was no reason to assume that nonresident attorneys would lack adequate incentives to remain abreast of changes in Virginia law or to fulfill their civic duties.
-Also, the requirement was not necessary to ensure enforcement of Virginia's full-time practice rule; to be admitted on motion, attorneys already had to commit to operating a Virginia office.

OUTCOME: The court affirmed the court of appeals' decision.

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