#14 Summer 1994


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A flyer announcing The Association for Objective Law's Essay Contest for law students has been finalized. Later this year, the flyer will be distributed to all American law schools. The purpose of the contest is to promote awareness of Ayn Rand's philosophy among law students. Students will be asked to write an essay concerning the application of Ayn Rand's political philosophy to legal issues that the students might face in law school. Cash prizes will be awarded as follows: First Place, $1,000; Second Place, $700; Third Place, $300. TAFOL members will receive a copy of the flyer with this Newsletter.

Your assistance is requested in promoting the contest. If you have access to a campus that has a law school, you could post extra copies of the flyer on the appropriate bulletin boards. Also, although the contest is open to entries from students at foreign law schools, we do not have a list of these schools. So, if you have a way to get flyers posted at a foreign law school, your help is requested. Extra copies of the flyers are available for these or other promotional uses by contacting Tom Bowden (see below).

TAFOL welcomes donations for the cash prizes and operating expenses, which will include substantial sums for printing and mailing. TAFOL has § 501(c)(3) public charity status, and thus the Internal Revenue Service recognizes donations as tax deductible.


TAFOL is uniquely qualified among Objectivist professional groups to prepare and file amicus curiae briefs in all state and federal courts in the United States. Usually, the deadlines for filing such briefs impose a narrow "window of opportunity," often only a few weeks long, for filing such briefs. Thus, we rely upon our members to act as "spotters" to identify cases in their localities (or, for that matter, on the national scene) where the appellate court could benefit from an amicus brief written along Objectivist lines. The more advance notice, the better; you need not wait until an appeal is filed to alert us. Please note: TAFOL itself does not represent parties, either at the trial level or up the appellate ladder. Rather, TAFOL lawyers file briefs on behalf of TAFOL that are aimed at supporting the position of one or the other party to the litigation.

If you have identified an opportunity for TAFOL to file an amicus brief, please contact immediately one of the TAFOL officers or directors listed below:
* Arline Mann: [data omitted]
* Steve Plafker: [data omitted]
* Tom Bowden: [data omitted]
* Michael Mazzone: [data omitted]
[See “CONTACT US” link on this web site to email TAFOL]


Steve Plafker, Arline Mann, and Tom Bowden will deliver a four-hour course entitled "Rights and the Courts" at the upcoming "Ideas for the Rational Mind" conference, sponsored by Second Renaissance Conferences. The two-week conference will be held at the Meadowlands Hilton in Secaucus, New Jersey, July 16 through July 31, 1994. Tom's lecture will explain how the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade has become the battleground on which the future of natural law jurisprudence in America will probably be decided. Arline will discuss the method by which concepts of rights are

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developed, case by case, in the legal system, using the texts of actual court decisions as examples. Steve will focus on how the criminal law secures rights substantively (by convicting criminals) and procedurally (by protecting the rights of the accused). For a brochure describing the lectures planned in philosophy, economics, history, art, and music, write to: SR Conferences, [data omitted - See Link to The Ayn Rand Institute]

The Texas Supreme Court heard oral argument in the Gomez mandatory pro bono case in January of this year. The argument concerned the jurisdictional issue of which court will decide the merits of the case. The background of that jurisdictional issue is as follows (non-lawyers need not read further!): The case was originally filed in 1991 by several indigents against the Texas State Bar Association, alleging that each member of the bar has a duty to provide free legal services to the poor. The trial court dismissed the case on grounds that only the Supreme Court of Texas has jurisdiction to award the relief sought by the plaintiffs. A Texas appellate court then held that the trial court erred, and the trial court did have jurisdiction to hear the plaintiffs' case. The State Bar of Texas appealed this decision to the Texas Supreme Court. The appeal asks that the decision of the intermediate appellate court be reversed and that the case be dismissed, consistent with the decision of the trial court.

Michael Mazzone, TAFOL's Vice President, is a party to the case and will present further arguments against mandatory pro bono, if and when a court eventually hears the merits of the case.

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Michael Mazzone has also sued the Justices of the Texas Supreme Court in federal district court, asking for an end to Texas' Interest on Lawyer Trust Account ("IOLTA") program. IOLTA laws seize the interest income earned on clients' money in lawyers' trust accounts and then disperse that income for so-called "public interest" purposes. The suit claims that the IOLTA program violates the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment claim alleges that IOLTA violates clients' free speech rights by forcing them to finance the advocacy of viewpoints with which the clients may disagree. The Fifth Amendment claim alleges that IOLTA takes private property for public use without just compensation. The Justices have moved to dismiss the case, responses have been filed, and the Court's ruling will follow.

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A number of high school students in the Bethlehem (Pa.) Area School District who refused to perform mandatory community service were denied their diplomas and prevented from participating in their schools' official graduation ceremonies. To honor these "Seniors of Liberty and Freedom," who at significant personal cost took a stand against mandatory service, approximately 100 people (including students, teachers, families, media, and members of the school board) attended an alternative graduation ceremony on June 14, 1994. Two of the graduating students in attendance were plaintiffs in the case of Steirer v. Bethlehem Area School District, in which TAFOL filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During the ceremony, these students and one other who had participated in litigation aimed at overturning the mandatory service requirement were presented, on behalf of TAFOL, with gift certificates redeemable at Second Renaissance Books.

Copyright © 1994 The Association for Objective Law. All rights reserved. The Association for Objective Law is a Missouri non-profit corporation whose purpose is to advance Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, as the basis of a proper legal system.