In Selling v. Radford, 243 US 46 (1917), the United States Supreme Court considered whether an attorney no longer admitted to any state bar could nonetheless appear before it. The case is seminal with respect to admissions issues, and courts considering pro hac vice admission motions often cite to the Court’s flexibility and interest in allowing an attorney the courtesy to practice without the most basic prerequisite- state bar admission.
He had lost his admission to the state bar of Michigan through disbarment. He had continued to hold himself out as a licensed attorney in Detroit on the basis of his admission to the rolls of the US Supreme Court.
The Court considered that the disbarment ruling by the state bar of Michigan had no precedential effect on it from a technical standpoint. Therefore, it requested further information and a statement by the attorney why his admission to the court should not be revoked.
Courts around the country, when faced with disciplinary issues or other reasons to deny a motion for admission pro hac vice, have cited this case for the proposition that in all but the most egregious circumstances, attorneys should be afforded admission until they prove otherwise.