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Legal Ethics

Lawyer Faces Possible Sanction for Signing Client Memo Calling Judges ‘Bigoted Catholic Beasts’

Posted Dec 8, 2011 7:32 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Updated: A Minnesota lawyer is facing a possible sanction after she signed a legal memorandum written by her client calling a bankruptcy judge a "Catholic Knight Witch Hunter.”

The document signed by lawyer Rebekah Nett said the courts were "composed of a bunch of ignoramus, bigoted Catholic beasts that carry the sword of the church,” the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Nancy Dreher has issued an order to show cause why Nett and her client, Naomi Isaacson, shouldn’t each be fined $10,000.

Isaacson is also a lawyer who once clerked for a Hennepin County judge, according to a lawyer who previously represented her. The Minneapolis woman does not represent private clients, a state website says. She is president of a subsidiary of the Dr. R.C. Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology Inc.

The Pioneer Press says the Institute is a religious group, but Isaacson tells the ABA Journal in a letter emailed Thursday night that it is an educational institution that provides free education to underprivileged students in India. She writes, in part: "As a legal publication, you should at least check your facts before vomiting propaganda that has been spoon-fed to you by the church. This leads me to question in my mind if you are an agent of the church, as the Catholic Church has hundreds of thousands of organizations working undercover in the United States."

Nett, who has a law office in Hastings, was ordered to pay $5,000 earlier this year for "gratuitous and offensive comments" in a civil filing that accused a federal judge of religious discrimination, the story says.

In a footnote, Dreher said she has never been Catholic and she is “not of any particular faith.”

Updated at 9:00 p.m. to include comments emailed by Isaacson.

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