UPDATE: Kentucky Lawyers Still Not Allowed to Fight Duels

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As I wrote in more detail last year, since 1849 Kentucky has required every new legislator, public officer and member of the bar to take an oath stating that, among other things,

[I] have not fought a duel with deadly weapons within this State nor out of it, nor have I sent or accepted a challenge to fight a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second in carrying a challenge, nor aided or assisted any person thus offending, so help me God.

Ky. Const. § 228. This was originally intended to deter men (only men were dumb enough to do this) who might aspire to public office from fighting in duels, a practice that was once rampant especially in the South until the Civil War basically left everybody all dueled out.

Earlier this year, a Kentucky legislator introduced a bill that would have removed the no-dueling pledge from the oath, partly because the language is outdated and partly because he was tired of people "snickering" about it when they were supposed to be taking a solemn oath. As I learned this week while working on an article (my year-in-review piece for the Green Bag), that bill (HB 36) apparently did not pass; it looks like it somehow ended up in the Appropriations Committee, where it quietly expired.

No similar bill has yet been "prefiled" for the 2011 legislative session, although legislators have already found time to propose amendments that would extend their terms of office and, in what I'm sure is a coincidence, expand the right of convicted felons to vote.

So, at least in the near term, lawyers of Kentucky, no dueling.