Should lawyers run for nonjudicial office?

By Ronald Bibace
web posted July 26, 1999

Lawyers who are members of the Florida Bar are barred legally from running for public office in the executive and legislative branches. The Constitution prohibits them from running for mayor, commissions, school board, sheriff, the Legislature or any other elected office that is not part of the judicial branch of government.

The language of the Florida Constitution's separation-of-powers clause, Article II, Sect. 3, is unambiguous. It states: "No person belonging to one branch shall exercise any powers appertaining to either of the other two branches unless expressly provided herein."

In 1949 the Florida Bar was "unified" with, and became a part of the Supreme Court. (See Petition of Florida State Bar Assn. 40 So. 2d 902.) That made every state Bar member/lawyer a person "belonging to the judiciary branch of government." They are, therefore barred from holding public office in the other two branches of government.

This prohibition is not an "unintended consequence" of the 1949 action by Florida's lawyers. The prohibition lies at the very heart and the soul of both the Florida and the US constitutions.

Non-lawyer James Madison's Constitution had one principal goal: to create a government that had sufficient power to govern, but insufficient power to oppress. To do so, he neutralized the first four known sources of tyranny, which he identified as the monarchy, the aristocracy, the military and the church.

Madison then addressed the last source of tyranny, which he defined as: "a same-hands group or faction that had a common interest adverse to the Nation as a whole." Lawyers and every other professional group fit this definition.

To protect the state against this "same hands" tyranny, Madison implicitly instituted the separation-of power principle in the US Constitution. In Florida, Article II, Section 3, is the explicit state equivalent. Florida lawyers and the judges have ignored this prohibition.

What is true in Florida is also true all over the land. From this abuse of power by the legal profession, this nation now suffers from what Madison, Montesquieu, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton called, "the very definition of tyranny." That tyranny arises when a single "same-hands" group makes the law, enforces the law and interprets the law.

That tyranny, whether or not perceived, is at the heart of most of the nation's problems in the areas of crime, education, health, welfare, frivolous lawsuits, devastating divorces and countless other problems. That tyranny has undermined the Constitution and fundamentally flawed all government. It has resulted in enormous harm to people, both in dollars and emotional distress.

Historically tyrants neither acknowledge their tyranny nor voluntarily give up their power. That explains why the members of the legal profession are in a state of denial.

That is why the people must correct the situation by voting all lawyers out of office outside the judicial branch. Until that occurs, very little substantial and permanent improvement will occur anywhere. If the situation is not corrected, the nation likely will go down to chaos, revolution and, perhaps, even civil war in the near future.

Ronald Bibace is a Fort Lauderdale businessman and constitutional scholar. Further information on this and other constitutional matters is available at

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