Petition in Support of the Disbarment of Ashley Moody
We, the undersigned, affix our names to this petition in support of the bar complaint filed by Florida resident Pamela Keith, against attorney Ashley Moody. We assert that we are over the age of 18, are residents of the State of Florida, and are in full agreement with the request that Attorney Moody be disciplined for conduct in violation of her oath of office and in abrogation of her responsibilities as an officer of the court, up to and including disbarment and permanent prohibition from the practice of law in the state of Florida.
I. VIOLATION OF THE OATH OFFICE
In order to be admitted to the Bar of the State of Florida, Ms. Moody swore an oath consisting, inter alia, of the following solemn obligations:
“I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Florida.”
“I will maintain the respect due to Courts of Justice and Judicial Officers. I will not counsel or maintain any suit or proceedings which shall appear to me to be unjust, nor any defense except such that I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land.”
On or about December 10, 2020, Ms. Moody affixed her name to a brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United States in support of a Motion for Leave to File a Complaint propounded by the Attorney General of Texas, asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the certified election results of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia (hereinafter “the Defendant States”). The gravamen of the petitioner’s request for leave to file a complaint was that the election procedures of the Defendant States were somehow deficient. The filing made no claim of large-scale voter fraud, nor did it take issue with the election results for any other races on the ballots of the states at issue. Importantly, the remedy sought in the Motion was the wholesale disenfranchisement of millions of voters who engaged in no wrongdoing whatsoever, in order to overturn the outcome of an election and install Donald Trump as president over the objection of the majority of the both the electorate and the Electoral College.
Ms. Moody joined with sixteen (16) other Republican State Attorneys General in a Friend of the Court (hereinafter amicus) brief in support of the Motion filed by the State of Texas. In doing so, she took an action to advance a purely partisan political objective that has nothing whatsoever to do with her representation of the people of the state of Florida, who are, in fact, the persons whom she is legally and ethically bound to represent. To the contrary, her actions materially harmed the citizens of the state of Florida inasmuch as they were likely to draw retaliatory enmity from the Attorneys General of the Defendant States, and most importantly, were acts in advancement of dissolution of the Constitution of the United States of America, and in furtherance of a seditious act designed to tear apart the fabric of federalism that allows this nation to function and thrive.
Wisely, the Supreme Court summarily denied the ludicrous Motion and refused to grant leave to file the Complaint. In so doing, the Court tersely referred the petitioner to Article III of the Constitution, which contemplates no right of a state to impose its will on another state for any reason, let alone for the immoral purpose of disenfranchising millions of voters. This basic concept of Constitutional law is taught to first year law students, and theoretically should have been fully comprehended by a person purporting to be the lawyer for the people of the state of Florida. There is no straight-faced argument that the effort to disenfranchise the voters of the four Defendant States is “debatable under the law.” It is not.
The Supreme Court is the court of original jurisdiction in disputes between the states. Traditionally, it is the place where states go to address disputes over territory or control of natural resources. That is why Justices Alito and Thomas concluded that the Court should have granted the Motion for Leave to file the Complaint. But even they had to clarify that they saw no merits to the Complaint. The other seven justices rightly concluded that despite the fact that the Court enjoys original jurisdiction in disputes between the states, the Motion filed by Texas did not involve a dispute that was cognizable under the Constitution of the United States, irrespective of the fact that it was a dispute between states. Put another way, the claim by Texas was completely out of bounds of the structure of the Constitution, indeed fundamentally inimical to it.
Pursuing legal challenges that are inimical to the Constitution is the opposite of “supporting” the Constitution of the United States. It is also the opposite of “supporting” the Constitution of the state of Florida. No right is more sacred than the right to vote. Had Texas succeeded in disenfranchising the voters of the Defendant States, what would prevent a similar fate to fall upon the voters of Florida in the future in retaliation, given the notorious issues in Florida elections. Put simply, the Texas motion was designed to tear apart the fabric of the United States. It is not an overstatement to call it an act of sedition. In choosing to participate in a seditious act, Ms. Moody violated her oath of office. The Florida Bar should investigate her conduct and ascertain if her transgression was of a nature warranting the removal of her license to practice law.
II. ABUSE OF THE COURTS
According to the preamble of the Code of Conduct for Florida lawyers:
A lawyer’s conduct should conform to the requirements of the law, both in professional service to clients and in the lawyer’s business and personal affairs. A lawyer should use the law’s procedures only for legitimate purposes and not to harass or intimidate others. A lawyer should demonstrate respect for the legal system and for those who serve it, including judges, other lawyers, and public officials. While it is a lawyer’s duty, when necessary, to challenge the rectitude of official action, it is also a lawyer’s duty to uphold legal process.
The Trump campaign filed no less than fifty (50) legal challenges across the country to undermine the election results. It filed cases in state and federal courts, both at the trial and appellate level. It succeeded in only one case of minimal import, and was summarily dismissed for want of presenting a scintilla of admissible evidence in dozens of courts. It produced no evidence of wide-scale election fraud and has become a national joke of jurisprudence, repeatedly filing court papers of dubious merit, rife with lies, baseless speculations, inaccuracies, and obvious technical mistakes. It has been given every reasonable opportunity to make its case and has simply not be able to do so in any court. Its filing at the Supreme Court was an abuse of process, and a total waste of valuable taxpayer resources.
Ms. Moody’s participation in the Supreme Court proceedings, and her decision to allocate Florida taxpayer resources to that farce of a proceeding, was wasteful and an abuse of legal proceedings. It was an outrageous betrayal of Floridians and an attack on the unwitting voters of the Defendant States, who did nothing to deserve an attack from Florida other than choosing Joe Biden over Donald Trump for the presidency. The Trump Campaign’s Motion was frivolous and without any basis in law, and Ms. Moody’s participation in such an abuse of process is worthy of sanction, up to and including disbarment.
III. CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ABUSE OF POWER
Rule 4-1.7 holds that a lawyer must not represent a client if there is a substantial risk that the representation of one client will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client. Ashley Moody is the lawyer of the people of the state of Florida. She ran for office and was elected to the role. Ms. Moody is not the lawyer for Donald Trump, the Trump Campaign, the Republican party, or the body of persons who want Donald Trump to be reelected. Clearly, Ms. Moody, like the Attorney General of the United States, believes her client is Donald Trump, or perhaps in her case, Governor Ron DeSantis. Such is most definitely not the case.
In participating in, and supporting the effort to disenfranchise voters and overturn the will of the people in an election, Ms. Moody acted in advancement of partisan political objectives rather than in service to the people of the state of Florida. Ms. Moody was not acting in her private capacity when she joined the action, but rather acted in her official capacity, thus dragging all Florida residenta into her partisan folly without so much as a “by your leave” from her clients.
In joining the partisan disenfranchisement effort, Ms. Moody placed her own political leanings and ambitions above her responsibilities and obligations to the people of the state of Florida. She also abused the power vested in her by the people of the State of Florida for a purpose unrelated to her actual duties, and diametrically opposed to her sworn oath. Her signature on the amicus brief, which implied that her position reflected the will of the people of the State of Florida to support the Texas Motion, was a false and inaccurate representation, and a betrayal of the people she is supposed to serve.
IV. BAD FAITH AND LACK OF CANDOR TO A TRIBUNAL
Rule 4-3.3 prohibits a lawyer from presenting misleading legal argument, or argument based on knowingly false representations of law. Furthermore, a lawyer has a duty to disclose directly adverse authority in the controlling jurisdiction. The amicus brief signed by Ms. Moody falls woefully short of this requirement. To be fair, there is little precedent for the notion of one state disenfranchising the voters of another state, but at a minimum, her filing should have pointed out that the outcome of the Civil War, Article III, and the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution prohibit the relief sought by petitioner.
Furthermore, the amicus brief conveniently fails to address the fact the Motion takes no issue with the election results in the Senatorial, Congressional and down ballot races of the Defendant States, which is internally inconsistent and illogical. If, as the Motion intimates, there were substantial irregularities in the conduct of the election, surely the down-ballot races were equally corrupted. And yet, the filings make no suggestion that the Republican members of Congress from the Defendant States were not properly elected and should not be seated in Congress. The idiocy of this glaring problem is proof of the inexcusable bad faith on the part of Texas, and advanced by Ms. Moody in her support of the Trump Team effort.
Ms. Moody was well aware that the internal theory of the argument in the Motion made no sense. She was also aware that the Texas Motion was rife with lies, misstatements of facts, wild unproven accusations, speculation and vague untenable legal theories. Ms. Moody saw fit to join this pathetic example of legal argument in order to create doubt about the legitimacy of the election result in the court of public opinion, and pressure on the Supreme Court to hear the case, regardless of the damage that such would do the American people.
Ms. Moody's bottomless bad faith is further evidenced by the fact that she supports a claim that the use of Vote By Mail by the Defendant States was somehow unconstitutional. It should not be lost on the reader that Vote by Mail has been used in Florida for years. Ms. Moody was well aware of that fact. So how, exactly, could she support an assertion that Vote by Mail is unconstitutional when it is the very procedure she has validated in her own state, and one of the means by which she was elected. It bears repeating that none of the partisan GOP litigants had issue with Vote by Mail in regards to the election of Senators or members of Congress.
The absurd Texas maneuver, and the whipping up of Republican support for it was partisan political theatre, designed to undermine faith in the election result and sow division and dissent in the greater populace. The entire effort was committed in bad faith and in advancement of the dissolution of the Constitution of the United States. Ms. Moody’s choices were a serious and profound violation of the standard to which Florida lawyers are held, and are worthy of censure and sanction, up to and including permanent disbarment.
For the reasons stated herein, I ask that the Florida Bar investigate Ms. Moody’s actions and ascertain if she should be allowed to continue practicing law in the state of Florida.
Pam Keith Contact the author of the petition
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