While I won't list all of the details, suffice it to say I PASSED THE BAR. We now return to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress.
While watching the "We Are One" concert on HBO this afternoon, I realized how much I want to be in Washington D.C. to observe the historic moment on Tuesday of the Inauguration of President-Elect Barrack Obama and Vice President-Elect Joe Biden. I've met Joe Biden briefly during my stint with the DNCC in Boston and what you see is what you get. He is a man of class and character and he will make a great Vice President.
On an aside, I have always wondered what it would take to win a congressional seat. In really boils down to three things, (1) money, (2) timing, and (3) connections. Depending on the district and the level of competition, it is not out of the ordinary for a congressional campaign to spend somewhere between $750,000 to $1,000,000. But seeing that two other William Randalls have been elected to Congress, it doesn't seem impossible. The first William H. Randall was a Representative from Kentucky from 1863 to 1867 and a member of the Unconditional Unionist party. The second William J. Randall was a Representative from Missouri from 1959 to 1977, a Democrat, and a close personal friend to Harry Truman. Both were lawyers.
As for me, I have a law degree with my bar admission pending, I've been a staff member to multiple Democratic National Conventions, and I've had to handle the media and think on my feet. I think this millennium needs a William Randall in Congress. Unfortunately, the timing is kinda bad and the district I would like to run in has an incumbent that has been in office since 1999 and consistently ranks as one of the most corrupt members of Congress by CREW. Not to mention the money and connection issues. But, I do think that there is an opportunity here and it may just take a little work to be successful.
As for now, I'm going to keep this idea on the back burner. But who knows? When the timing is right and money is there I'm going to jump at the chance.
Henderson, NV- There is an old adage in politics that goes like this, “Vote Early, Vote Often.” While the second part is illegal, the first part is legal and can be done in eight states, including California and Nevada. October 18 was the first day of Early Voting in Nevada and as part of the Nevada for Change Election Protection team, which consisted of lawyers and law students in a volunteer capacity; I was assigned to monitor an early poll location in Henderson, NV. Upon my arrival to the polling location, I introduced myself to the staff from the Clark County Elections Department and signed an affidavit stating that I would not interfere with voters, I would not communicate in any way with voters, and that if there is a dispute the final decision of the polling staff will prevail. I was then given a bright pink neon “Observer” sticker that I was required to wear according to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). While the polls were scheduled to open at 8:00am, a large number of voters where patiently waiting and the election staff decided to open the polls early.
A steady stream of persons came through the polling station throughout the day. Some who stopped at the Albertson’s to get their shopping done for the week saw the polling station and decided to knock off one more chore by voting at the same time. From checking in to voting, most voters took no more than seven minutes. It did appear at times that there was some confusion over whether a voter needed to present a photo ID in order to vote, but the only voters who needed to show ID were first time voters. In most cases the Voter’s ID was confirmed by matching the voter’s signature with the official registrar rolls. The Help America Vote Act requires states to confirm the identity of first time voters by presenting some form of photo ID. The photo ID does not have to be government issued however.
The stream of voters filing through the polling station was busiest from opening until about 2:00PM. At one point, I spoke briefly with the Registrar of Voters for Clark County, Larry Lomax, about the Nevada Early Voting program and its popularity. He pointed out that compared with the Early Vote turnout from 2004, the Clark County Election department estimated that by the end of the day on Saturday nearly one percent of all eligible voters will have cast a ballot, a new record for Early Vote turnout.
As for the fear that registered voters would be turned away from the polls due to the ACORN issue, only one voter was informed that she was not listed on the registration roll. The voter however was still able to cast her ballot by using a provisional ballot, which is counted only after the voter’s registration is confirmed at the Registrar’s office. What was ironic was that the voter publicly exclaimed they were Republican.
The NRS also prohibits “electioneering activity” within 150 feet of a polling station. This usually includes, advocating for or against a candidate or ballot proposition, communicating with a voter about how the voter voted or intends to vote, and among others, the wearing of campaign paraphernalia such as buttons or T-shirts. Nevada law allows that if an item of clothing cannot be easily removed or covered, the voter is still allowed to vote but the poll workers must expedite the voter through the voting process. Throughout my shift, I observed a number of voters wearing Obama for President t-shirts and not one was turned away.
By 6:00PM, my shift came to a close. By the end of the day, approximately 1,880 voters voted at a single precinct location, an astonishing number to say the least. The Elections Staff was professional and courteous to each voter and democracy ran like clockwork. By the end of the first weekend, Democrats were outvoting Republicans in Early Voting by nearly 3 to 1. While it was a long day and difficult to stay focused for a ten-hour shift, I will not have to be returning to Nevada in order to be a witness in a trial to decide the Presidency.
What does this have to do with Orange County? You ask. Well in a word, Everything! Voting is easy, it can be done via mail, at the polling station, before Election Day or on Election Day. The most time consuming part is learning about the issues in order to make an informed decision, but once you are at the polls, the process of voting will on average take less than 10 minutes and you will have exercised your voice in the political process. The OC is fortunate to have a number of early voting locations throughout the county. Polling locations and hours can be found at the Registrar of Voters OC Registrar of Voters.
No Excuses! VOTE!
In order to become an attorney in California one must (1) Complete the necessary legal education (J.D. or LLM program), (2) take and pass the Bar Examination, and (3) receive a determination of good moral character from the State Bar. Now while there are exceptions to the Legal Education requirement (chamber study, etc...) most will meet this requirement by just showing up and paying attention in Law School. The second requirement is a little more difficult as it requires stamina and focus to complete a three-day exam comprising of six essays, two performance exams, and a 200 question multiple-choice test on "Bar Law". The third requirement is the most puzzling requirement, as it seems to be an archaic requirement that one has to meet in order to become a lawyer in California. Essentially, the state, in its function as a regulatory body, has to ensure that all applicants to practice law are of "good moral character" in order to protect clients. This requires an extensive application that entails previous employers, references, academic history, recommendations by practicing attorneys, previous civil and criminal matters that the applicant may have been involved along with and there resolution, bankruptcies (if any) and medical history that would be relevant in the practice of law (Mental history, etc....). And when the Bar asks for the above information, they require EVERYTHING!
Quite a few years ago (in a galaxy far far away....) I was involved in a minor civil matter (no biggie, except for the fact that it lasted 10 years and went to the California Supreme Court). The case ended before I turned 18, but it was a matter of public record. Lo and behold, the state bar wondered why it was missing in my application and delayed the processing of my application until I provided them with the information. It was an unintentional omission, as I thought the application only concerned information about an applicant after the applicant turned 18, but as was explained to me, they want everything! So, if you were involved in a car accident as a 6-month old and your name was on the suit, you better be able to list it along with all of the attorneys and parties involved. Trust me, it is a pain in the neck to have to go back and look up court records for a case that is over ten years old and had more attorneys involved than most law firms have attorneys, but I digress.
So, in my response to the state bar, I included the omitted information, a letter explaining the reasons for the omission, and a copy of the slip opinion (I know it's overkill, but anything that would make their job easier is greatly appreciated). And after eight months of waiting, I finally received the letter that I was waiting for stating, "we have determined that you are of good moral character." (Of course I already knew that.)
The lesson from all of this - include everything, as honesty is the best policy. Now that I have two of the "big three" out of the way I still have to wait for my bar results. UGH!