For 2nd time this year, Supreme Court suspends wrong guy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jim Robbins’ seven years of service at the Supreme Court was not enough to keep him from the being the second lawyer this year who was mistakenly suspended from the court’s prestigious bar.

“They suspended me?” a surprised Robbins asked with a chuckle Tuesday from his home outside San Francisco.

They did, but they didn’t mean to.

The court acknowledged Monday that it had confused another James A. Robbins, a New York lawyer who tried to cover up his loss of a client’s will, with the former Supreme Court employee.

In May, the court mixed up a lawyer who was convicted of drunken driving with the incoming president of the Massachusetts state bar.

Anyone who argues in front of the Supreme Court must be a member of its bar, but few of the nearly 4,000 lawyers on average who join the bar each year ever argue a case there. Bar members get a certificate suitable for framing, a credential for their resume and the chance to join a shorter line for lawyers who want to see Supreme Court arguments.

The court has a process for verifying whether lawyers who commit crimes or are disciplined where they work also are members of the Supreme Court bar.

But the process is not error-proof, even at an institution that has the final word on matters of law in the U.S.