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In re Matter of Matthew F. Hale, Petitioner

723 N.E.2d 206 (1999)

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In re Matter of Matthew F. Hale, Petitioner

Illinois Supreme Court

723 N.E.2d 206 (1999)

Facts

Matthew Hale (defendant) openly advocated racist beliefs. When Hale applied to practice law in Illinois, the Committee on Character and Fitness (the committee) (plaintiff) found that he was not morally fit to practice law and denied his application. The committee did not find that Hale had engaged in any conduct that justified denying his application. Instead, the committee based its decision on its finding that Hale’s views conflicted with the rules of professional conduct and that Hale would likely violate the rules at some point in the future. The committee also specifically decided that, for purposes of regulating an attorney’s professional conduct, protecting the constitutional considerations behind an individual’s First Amendment right to hold unpopular views was less important than upholding the constitutional considerations behind the fundamental truths of equality and nondiscrimination. Hale petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court, asking it to review the denial of his bar application.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

Dissent (Heiple, J.)

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