NAAMJP v. Holder Complaint Analysis

This writing assignment is from my Intro to Judicial Clerkships class. The prompt was to summarize the facts and legal arguments of the complaints in 2 pages as if I were a clerk for a judge.

The case was 4-cv-02110-RJC, NAAMJP v Eric Holder. The complaint can be found here.


 Case No. 14-cv-02110-RJC, NAAMJP v Eric Holder, et al., challenges the constitutionality of Maryland District Court’s Local Rule 701.

The first Plaintiff is the National Association for the Advancement of Multijurisdiction Practice (NAAMJP). NAAMJP “is a public benefit corporation organized under California law with offices in Los Angeles, CA . . . engaged in interstate commerce and advocacy throughout the United States for the purpose of improving the legal profession, by petitioning for admission on motion in the dwindling minority of jurisdictions that have not yet adopted the ABA’s recommendations for reciprocal admission for all lawyers.” COMPLAINT, ¶19, NAAMJP v Eric Holder, et al., No. 14-cv-02110-RJC (D. Md.) The other Plaintiffs are non-Maryland attorneys who are currently ineligible for admission to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland bar under current local rules. Id, at ¶ 20-24.

The first Defendant is the Attorney General for the United States, Eric Holder. The Attorney General is a defendant in this case because the Plaintiffs allege he has failed to enforce the law. Id, at ¶ 25. The other defendants are the Chief and Associate Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The judges are defendants in this case because they have previously enforced Local Rule 701 which the Plaintiffs allege is unconstitutional. Id, at ¶ 26.

Plaintiffs’ first cause of action alleges that Local Rule 701 violates 28 U.S.C. § 2071 and 28 U.S.C. § 2072.  Plaintiffs allege that “Local Rule 701 abridges and modifies the substantive rights of Americans: to counsel, the right to association, and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances by categorically excluding Plaintiffs and other highly qualified lawyers; and it categorically enlarges the substantive rights of the members of the Maryland Supreme Court.” Id, at ¶ 45.

Plaintiffs’ second cause of action alleges that Local Rule 701 violates the Supremacy Clause. The Supreme Court has previously ruled in Sperry v. Florida, that state licensing requirements cannot be enforced on Federal bar admission. Sperry v. Florida, 373 U.S. 379, 385 (1963). Plaintiffs allege that Local Rule 701 violates Sperry and imposes Maryland’s bar admission requirement on the Federal Court bar admission. Id, at ¶ 52.

Plaintiffs’ third cause action alleges that Local Rule 701 is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment. Plaintiffs allege that Local Rule 701 is overbroad; amounts to viewpoint discrimination; is a prior restraint because it restricts attorneys from bar admission because they are not members of the Maryland Supreme Court bar; is compelled association; and, violates out-of-state attorneys’ right to petition. Id, at ¶ 55, 57, 67, 75, 77.

Plaintiffs’ fourth and fifth cause of action alleges that Local Rule 701 is unconstitutional because it violates the Fifth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause. Plaintiffs allege that Local Rule 701 violates the Equal Protection Clause because it undermines both constitutionally protected admission on motion and the ABA’s recommendations for reciprocity of bar admission. Id, at ¶ 89. Plaintiffs allege they are denied due process because “the same defendant judges who promulgate and enforce the Local Rules are the same judges who decide whether they are unlawful, and no man can be a judge in his own case.” Id, at ¶ 100.

Plaintiffs are seeking an order declaring Local Rule 701 unconstitutional; an order requiring local rules to accept other states’ bar admission; an order admitting plaintiffs to the District Court bar; costs; and, attorney’s fees. Id, at ¶ 103.

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