Debunking the Myths – Sovereign Citizens – The right to practice law

Recently, in one of Anthony William’s court ‘appearances’, he cited several cases that he believes allows him to practice law (or perfect law as he calls it) without being properly admitted. However the cases do not really support his position, when looked at in more detail.

Schware v. Board of Bar Examiners of NM, 353 US 232 – Supreme Court 1957

A State cannot exclude a person from the practice of law or from any other occupation in a manner or for reasons that contravene the Due Process or Equal Protection239*239 Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[5]Dent v. West Virginia, 129 U. S. 114. Cf. Slochower v. Board of Education, 350 U. S. 551; Wieman v. Updegraff, 344 U. S. 183. And see Ex parte Secombe, 19 How. 9, 13. A State can require high standards of qualification, such as good moral character or proficiency in its law, before it admits an applicant to the bar, but any qualification must have a rational connection with the applicant’s fitness or capacity to practice law. Douglas v. Noble, 261 U. S. 165; Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, 319-320. Cf. Nebbia v. New York, 291 U. S. 502. Obviously an applicant could not be excluded merely because he was a Republican or a Negro or a member of a particular church. Even in applying permissible standards, officers of a State cannot exclude an applicant when there is no basis for their finding that he fails to meet these standards, or when their action is invidiously discriminatory. Cf. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U. S. 356.

In other words, a State can exclude a person from practicing law as long as the qualification has a rational connection with the applicant’s fitness or capacity to practice law. The requirement that a lawyer passes the Bar exam is a rational connection with the fitness or capacity to practice law.

And yet those arguing that the Court cannot exclude such people “argue”

Schware v. Board of Examiners, 353 U.S. 238, 239. ..”The practice of law (medicine etc.) is not within the States grace to regulate.” The practice of law (medicine etc.) is an occupation of common right as per Sims v. Ahrens, 271 S.W. 720 (1925). No State in the Union of the United States of America licenses lawyers, only the State Bar, which issues a private corporation type of “Union Card”/certificate for payment of dues/fees. (See also ExParte v. Garland, 4 Wall 333, 370 (1866), which authorizes only the practice of law in the courts as an officer of the court and a member of the judicial branch of government, to represent wards of the court such as infants and persons of unsound mind and as a public defender in criminal cases.) …Cannot license an occupation of common right …Redfield v. Fisher, 292 P. 813, 817-819

Redfield v Fisher is more properly cited as Redfield v. Fisher 292 P. 813, 135 Or. 180, 1930. As the observant person may notice, this is case from the Supreme Court of Oregon.

If an ad valorem tax is levied on property, then, in the absence of statutory, charter, or constitutional restrictions, the only limits to the exercise of the power to tax are the necessities of the public treasury; but where a municipality is authorized to license occupations and businesses, either for the purpose of regulation or for revenue, the power cannot be used unreasonably, nor can the tax be fixed so high that it will practically prohibit the pursuit of ordinarily lawful businesses.”


“The individual, unlike the corporation, cannot be taxed for the mere privilege of existing. The corporation is an artificial entity which owes its existence and charter powers to the state; but, the individual’s rights to live and own property are natural rights for the enjoyment of which an excise cannot be imposed.”

Source: Westlaw Citation Notes

Note that no attempt has been made that the right to live and own property and the privilege to practice law are in any form or manner equivalent. The fact remains that the Court or State can require that doctors or lawyers are properly licensed to practice in the state or court.