Clinton asks to quit Supreme Court Bar
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former President Clinton asked to resign from the U.S. Supreme Court Bar on Friday rather than face a threatened suspension.
Clinton's requested resignation, which stems from an investigation that began in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case years earlier, means he would not be allowed to try a case before the Supreme Court.
The former president has admitted that his actions "merited censure," said Clinton lawyer David Kendall.
"In order to avoid the burden of litigation for all parties, to achieve an expeditious and definitive resolution, and in acknowledgment that his actions merited censure, former President Clinton agreed to the suspension and fine," Kendall wrote in a letter to the court.
The former president had until Friday to respond to an October 1 order from the court saying it would suspend Clinton after he agreed to a similar disciplinary action from the Arkansas bar.
Clinton agreed to the Arkansas suspension and a $25,000 fine on the day before his presidency as ended part of a settlement ending the investigation into whether he offered misleading testimony in the Jones case. Those allegations led to the exposure of Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, his 1998 impeachment by the House of Representatives and subsequent acquittal by the U.S. Senate.
As is its custom, the Supreme Court offered no explanation for the order. Court observers said such suspensions nearly always lead to permanent disbarments.
Clinton can apply to be reinstated to practice before the Supreme Court at a later date.
The Supreme Court has never disbarred a former president. Richard Nixon -- disbarred from the New York bar in 1976, two years after he resigned the presidency -- resigned from the U.S. Supreme Court bar before any action was taken, said author and legal scholar Stanley Kutler.
Nixon, who argued one case before the Supreme Court before becoming president, also resigned from the California bar.
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