The California Supreme Court has denied disgraced former journalist Stephen Glass a license to practice law.
Pointing out in its ruling that â€œGlassâ€™s journalistic dishonesty was not a single lapse of judgmentâ€ but â€œinvolved significant deceit sustained unremittingly for a period of yearsâ€ â€” made the more reprehensible because it took place â€œwhile he was pursuing a law degree and license to practice law, when the importance of honesty should have gained new meaning and significance for himâ€ â€” the court found that Glass had not adequately redeemed himself.
For all of Glassâ€™ past history â€” and Iâ€™ll get to that, at length, in a moment â€” the judgment is remarkable. The last time California barred a lawyer before heâ€™d even practiced his first case, it involved a man named Eben Gossage, who served three years for killing his sister then returned to prison for possession of heroin.
If you recall, Glass was The New Republic associate editor who in the late 1990s fabricated in whole or part dozens of articles, mostly published in The New Republic but also for Harpers, Rolling Stone, and the now defunct George magazine. At the time, it was the journalism scandal to end all journalism scandals. Glass vanished for a while, heading off to law school (and a brief stint as an improv comedian) before finally passing the California bar exam in 2009. The California State Bar promptly banned him from practicing, based on his prior moral turpitude, a decision he successfully appealed. The case wound through the courts, leading to todayâ€™s final decision by the stateâ€™s Supreme Court.