HARRISBURG, Pa.—Don Bailey, a former state auditor general and congressman, said Thursday he intends to fight a five-year suspension of his law license in federal court.

The state Supreme Court ordered the suspension Wednesday as recommended by the court's disciplinary board. The panel says Bailey violated the rules of professional conduct by making false statements critical of several federal judges in Pennsylvania.

In its report to the court, the disciplinary board said none of the dozen witnesses who testified on Bailey's behalf at his hearing provided testimony showing his allegations were true.

Bailey "attempted to create the perception of a far-ranging judicial conspiracy based on his subjective interpretation of events" the board said in its report to the court.

Bailey said Thursday he's being unfairly punished for exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

"The rules of conduct are clearly unconstitutional," he said. "The attorneys as a class are simply intimidated. You don't dare criticize a judge, you're going to lose your license."

In a separate 2009 case, Bailey received a private reprimand and was ordered to pay nearly $50,000 in fees and costs for making unfounded claims of judicial misconduct in a case.

The 68-year-old Bailey, a Vietnam War veteran, served as Pennsylvania's elected auditor general from 1985 to 1989. He also served two terms as the U.S. Representative of a western Pennsylvania district from 1979 to 1983.


Advertisement

In recent years, he has cultivated a reputation as a combative legal advocate for clients, particularly those who claim to have been wronged by government or discriminated against by employers.

"I'm defiant as ever," he said Thursday.