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Constitutional FAQ Answer #158

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Q158. "If an attorney is an officer of the court — is it legal for attorneys to be members of Congress — since they would then be serving in both the judicial and legislative branches of government — or is it permissible to serve in two separate branches concurrently?"

A. It is unconstitutional for a person to serve in two branches of the government at once. However, a lawyer, being an "officer of the court", is not a member of the judicial branch in that sense, so a lawyer is not then barred from being a member of the legislative branch solely because of that profession. The Supreme Court ruled on a case like this in Cammer v U.S. (350 US 399 [1956]) — if a lawyer is not an officer of court that can be summarily tried for misconduct, it follows that a lawyer is not an member of judicial branch, barred from serving in the legislative branch.


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