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Man loses challenge to denial of admission to Indiana bar

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A Kansas attorney who was denied admission to join the Indiana bar can’t bring his suit against various state actors in federal court because of the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

Bryan K. Brown, who was a practicing attorney in Kansas before moving to Indiana, sought admission to practice here. The Indiana Board of Law Examiners referred Brown to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program for an evaluation. He was eventually denied admittance because he couldn’t demonstrate good moral character and fitness under Admission and Discipline Rule 12.

Brown appealed the decision to the Indiana Supreme Court, which left the BLE’s decision intact. The Supreme Court of the United States denied Brown’s petition for certiorari. He then brought a suit in federal court against JLAP, Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard and other state actors alleging federal and state constitution violations. Brown believed he was being prevented from joining the Indiana bar because of his religious beliefs.

Judge Theresa Springmann dismissed the suit, finding the claims were barred under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine because they were inextricably intertwined with the Indiana Supreme Court’s adjudication of his bar application and finding that his as-applied challenges to Admission and Discipline Rules were unripe. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

“Because Brown’s claims of religious bias require a federal district court to review the judicial process followed by the Indiana Supreme Court in deciding the merits of Brown’s bar admission application, Brown’s claims are ‘inextricably intertwined’ and fall squarely under Rooker-Feldman’s jurisdictional bar,” wrote Judge Richard Cudahy in Bryan J. Brown v. Elizabeth Bowman, et al., No. 11-2164. “Further, a simple reading of Brown’s complaint shows that his religious discrimination claims in district court are essentially the same arguments he made to the Indiana Supreme Court.”

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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