The California Supreme Court will decide whether Stephen Glass, the disgraced former New Republic reporter whose web of journalistic deceptions inspired the 2003 film “Shattered Glass,” should be allowed to practice law despite his past indiscretions.
Two lower courts have sided with Glass and found that his efforts to make amends for cooking up fake stories are sufficient and that he should be accepted to the bar. However, the California Committee of Bar Examiners, which vets applicants, believes that despite the fact that Glass has apologized for past misconduct, his offense violates certain tenants of the legal profession like trustworthiness and candor, and cannot be overlooked.
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“While applicant has provided some evidence of rehabilitation, in light of the egregious acts he committed, he must do more than live an acceptable lifestyle. He must be proactive and attempt to correct the wrongs he imposed upon others,” the committee’s lawyers write in an appeal.
The California Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case on Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 at 9 a.m. in Sacramento. The oral arguments will be broadcast live on the California Channel, a spokesman for the court said.
A lawyer for the committee of bar examiners declined to comment. Glass and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Glass, washed out from reporting in spectacular fashion, after the New Republic was forced to admit in 1998 that some 42 articles he had bylined were fabricated or contained partial falsehoods. His case was seen as a precursor to other infamous instances of plagiarism or shoddy reporting by the likes of Jonah Lehrer and Jayson Blair.
He has since authored a fictionalized novel about his experience entitled “The Fabulist,” and has worked as a paralegal after graduating from Georgetown Law School in 2004.
The New York State Committee of Bar examiners denied his application to be admitted to the bar, because of his ethical abuses, and Glass has turned his attentions to being admitted in California since that time. He has passed bar exams in both New York and California and his candidacy as drawn support from some former media critics like the New York Times’ Joe Nocera.