Wednesday, June 27, 2007
By Allison Hayward
Greetings, readers of the Legal Professions Blog! I want to throw out an issue of special relevance to me today. As some of you may know, the Supreme Court released a significant campaign finance decision, and as I happen to be familiar with that area, I've been approached about my opinion. As it happens, I did not work (formally or informally) on the case.
But suppose I did? How much involvement in one of these big controversial decisions is sufficient before a pundit should disclose his or her ties? I've been friends with Jim Bopp (counsel for the winning side) for at least 10 years. That's clearly not enough - a disclosure of that would sound almost silly. If he paid me to consult on the case, then I think as obviously I should tell people that - I'm part of the team and so people considering my views on the case should be able to take that into account. There's a range of situations in between where it is hard to say whether disclosure is important, harmless, or invasive. (For example, having attended a meeting about the case with potential amici.)
I'd like to know what people think - not so much how the rules work, but where the line should be.