Power of Supreme Court – More Thoughts


Posted On Feb 18 2017 by

I think the Supreme Court began expanding its power over the Washington State Bar Association of 1913 in 1987 or so when William S. Gates, Sr., in a letter to the Court, wrote about WA General Rule 12.  I also think that at that time the Supreme in GR 12.1(b)22 said:

(22) Establish the amount of all license, application, investigation, and other related fees, as well as charges for services provided by the Washington State Bar Association, and collect, allocate, invest, and disburse funds so that its mission, purposes and activities may be effectively and efficiently discharged. The amount of any license fee is subject to review by the Supreme Court for reasonableness and may be modified by order of the Court if the Court determines that it is not reasonable.

The power the court thinks it has is shown by this: “The amount of any license fee is subject to review by the Supreme Court for reasonableness and may be modified by order of the Court if the Court determines that it is not reasonable.”

I do not know where the Court got this notion.  This sentence cannot be characterized as a regulation.  Instead, it is a power to say a fee is not reasonable and that it may be modified.  This means the court can tell the bar association and its members what the fee should be.  This might be permissible with regard to the fee as to the portion which sustains the disciplinary function.  But the fee is not so limited.  It may be used for other bar purposes, expression?  Where does the court get the authority to impose fees for expression of bar members?

 

Last Updated on: February 18th, 2017 at 6:20 am, by Stephen Eugster


Written by Stephen Eugster