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PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION BAR ASSOCIATION v. RICHARD THORNBURGH (10/08/82)

decided: October 8, 1982.

THE PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION BAR ASSOCIATION, BY ITS PRESIDENT, MICHAEL C. SCHNIERLE, AND VICE PRESIDENT, DANIEL P. DELANEY, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
RICHARD THORNBURGH, GOVERNOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, STATE ETHICS COMMISSION, LEROY S. ZIMMERMAN, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, RICHARD A. LEWIS, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF DAUPHIN COUNTY, RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS



498 Pa. 589.

Hutchinson, J., files a dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 498 Pa. Page 590]

ORDER

Application denied.

HUTCHINSON, Justice, dissenting.

In a declaratory judgment proceeding the Commonwealth Court held section 3(e) of the Ethics Act, Act of October 4, 1978, P.L. 883, 65 P.S. ยง 403(e) is unconstitutional as applied to lawyers who have served as assistant counsel in the Public Utility Commission and seek to practice before the Commission within one year after leaving that body.*fn1 In so holding the Commonwealth Court concluded "where an attorney purports to render professional services to a client, whether or not those services relate to activities which in and of themselves, may not constitute the practice of law, the attorney's conduct is regulated exclusively by the Supreme Court." 62 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 88 n.7, 434 A.2d 1327, 1331-32 n.7 (1981).

This Court affirmed by way of per curiam order. 498 Pa. 589, 450 A.2d 613 (1982) (Hutchinson, J., dissenting). The Ethics Commission now seeks clarification as to what constitutes the "practice of law" under that per curiam order. Because the case involves important and delicate issues relating to the division of power within our tripartite system

[ 498 Pa. Page 591]

    of government, I believe the Commission is entitled to clarification. I further believe a refusal to clarify demonstrates the majority's continuing failure to appreciate and address the tension between its per curiam affirmance and that doctrine. Hence this opinion.

Article 5, section 10 of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides, inter alia:

(c) The Supreme Court shall have the power to prescribe general rules governing practice, procedure and conduct of all courts, justices of the peace and all officers serving process or enforcing orders, judgments or decrees of any court or justice of the peace, including the power to provide for assignment and reassignment of classes of actions or classes of appeals among the several courts as the needs of justice shall require, and for admission to the bar and to practice law.

Pa.R.D.E. 103 which interprets article V, section 10 states:

The Supreme Court declares that it has inherent and exclusive power to supervise the conduct of attorneys who are its officers (which power is reasserted in Section 10(c) of Article V of the Constitution of Pennsylvania) and in furtherance thereof promulgates these rules which shall supersede all other court ...


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