Breaking: Professional Fabulist Denied License to Practice Law

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The California Supreme Court has held unanimously that Stephen Glass (they call him "Stephen Randall Glass" in the first sentence, so you know he's in trouble) cannot have a license to practice law in California. As you may recall, Glass worked for The New Republic in the 1990s but departed after it came to light that he fabricated more than 40 articles for that magazine and others. Luckily, he had a law degree to fall back on. Potentially.

Astoundingly, he later wrote a novel, The Fabulist, about someone named "Stephen Glass" who falls from grace after fabricating articles. You'd think he'd be better at making things up.

Anyway, the State Bar Court felt that although Glass had been hugely dishonest, a lot of time had passed and he had shown that he'd rehabilitated himself. Many people testified on his behalf, in fact. Over a strong dissent, the court held that in its view, Glass should get a license. Such decisions get reviewed by the state supreme court. Its decision: nope.

The case presented a serious question as to whether misdeeds will follow you the rest of your life (at least if you want a law license), or at some point you can get past them and show true rehabilitation. The answer is that you can, but Glass didn't. The court just did not seem to buy his rehab story, which it describes in great detail, so if you want you can decide whether you buy it or not. Many people who know and work with him did.

I just saw a very good journalist tweet, sarcastically of course, "Because lawyers are so moral and upright." Of course many of them aren't, but of course many of them are. There are dishonest journalists, too (obviously). Does that mean nobody is disqualified from journalism? If so, I'd be interested to know whether anybody would hire Glass as a journalist now.