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If the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land then...

Atlanta, GA |

Why do I hear of judges threatening contempt for a pro se, bringing up the Constitution in "their" courts?

Attorney Answers 7


  1. Best answer

    If you are going to argue Constitutional law, you have to have a constitutional claim, properly pled and presented. There is a principal in the law that if a claim can be determined on any ground other than the constitution, it is to be decided that way. Constitutional questions are the exception, not the rule, and are raised in unusual cases, not as a matter of course in any case. These types of claims are also quite complex, as the constitution generally applies indirectly, not directly, to state claims, which are the types of claims that most people are dealing with in the courts. Even with federal claims, direct constitutional claims are rare.

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  2. There is undoubtedly more going on than some one making a reference to a constitution.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.


  3. It obviously depends on a lot of specifics. While I'm not a federal court litigator, I do know its not wise to upset a federal court judge, or for that matter a state court judge. I expect that the pro se is misstating the constitutional provision at issue and getting the judge irritated...

    THESE COMMENTS MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as Avvo.com are provided for information purposes only. The only way to determine how the law may apply to your particular situation is to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation.


  4. I think you are leaving out some important facts. Pro se litigants frequently have a problem focusing on the legal issues and expect some vague reference to the Constitution to carry the day. Get a lawyer, pay for the advice, and follow it. Good luck.


  5. Unfortunately, your question makes no sense that I can see.

    Your reference to 'their' does not seem related to the Constitution, or your litigation, or being pro se.

    I would say that if you are on the verge of contempt, you're not listening to the judge has to say--that is 'ungood' as it portends for your case.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this matter.


  6. Just because you're Pro Se doesn't mean you can argue anything you want. If the argument is fictional, such as the "sovereign citizen" claims, the judge can easily hold you in contempt for that. Judges have the right to keep their courtrooms free of stupidity.

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  7. Did you Federal Judge that he or she was not following the Constitution? If you felt the judge violated your rights, just appeal. Do not argue with your judge or you may be in contempt - period.

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