The Legend of Michelle Obama’s Law License And…Barack Obama’s Law License

I’ve written about Michelle Obama’s “surrendered” law license several times – the last time in November 2009. We have both a President and First Lady who went through law school only to “voluntarily surrender” their license a few years later. To say that’s odd is an understatement. We are 40-some days away from the election. Let’s look at this again and start with Michelle and the ARDC Rule(s) under which she became inactive.

Barack and Michelle Obama

The Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois (ARDC) is keeper of records. Sometime around the time Michelle’s license went inactive, the Rules of the ARDC changed.

Note that Michelle is on “court ordered inactive status.”

The popular story is that Michelle voluntarily gave up her license and went inactive, maybe because she just didn’t plan to practice law in the future, or something of that nature. The story further goes that she can restore that license and go active at any time she wants to do so. Note that the form is titled “Registration and Public Disciplinary Record.”

Michelle Obama became inactive through ARDC Rule 771 in 1993. Rule 771 was titled Code of Professional Responsibility.

Rule 756 became effective February 1, 1973. This rule is titled Registration and Fees. Rule 756 is the vehicle for becoming voluntarily inactive, for whatever reason you want to do so, unless you have reason to be considered under Rule 753 – review and hearings.

April 1, 2004, approximately 11 years after the First Lady went inactive in 1993 under Rule 771, and the same year Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, some “reorganizing” of the rules happened…ome serious “reorganizing” of rules. She was inactive first under the Code of Professional Responsibility, later retitled Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline, then renumbered and titled Rules of Professional Conduct.

Rule 771 became Rule 770 which did not exist before April 1, 2004.
Rule 771 was originally titled Code of Professional Responsibility
Rule 771 was retitled Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline
Rule 770 was birthed and was titled Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 770 covered disbarment, suspension, censure, reprimand

It appears that the Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline were separated from Types of Discipline.

If you were “voluntarily inactive” pursuant to former Rule 770 see Rule 756(7), you must make a “petition for restoration” under Rule 759, and your petition must be reviewed by the Administrator – I assume because Rule 770 covers only disbarment, suspension, censure, reprimand. The Administrator decides to consent to the application or refer it to the Hearing Board. If go inactive under 771 770, you cannot become active again without hierarchal consideration. That is not the case for normal restoration procedure.

Rule 753 “hearing and review” appears to be the first step before disciplinary action.

Rule 759 pertains to those attorneys inactive due to “disability” or “hearing and review” (Rule 753). Rule 759 says that if an attorney is restored to active status under Rule 759, which is not the normal route to restoration, any “disciplinary proceedings pending against the attorney may be resumed.

Both 771 and 770 deals with professional responsibility and professional conduct. Neither dealt with voluntarily going inactive, simply because an attorney chooses to do so. That would be under Rule 756.

My guess is that Michelle Robinson Obama gave up her license rather than go through some type of investigative review which might become public. And if this is not the case, then what? Why not Rule 756?

In August, World Net Daily interviewed a deputy administrator and chief council for the ARDC. He says Michelle went inactive under Rule 770, but…Rule 770 didn’t exist in 1994. The following is from the ARDC today:

Rule 770. Reserved

Rule 771 770. Types of Discipline

Conduct of attorneys which violates the Code of Professional Responsibility Rules of Professional Conduct contained in article VIII of these rules or which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute shall be grounds for discipline by the court. Discipline of attorneys may be:

(a) disbarment;

(b) disbarment on consent;

(c) suspension for a specified period and until further order of court;

(d) suspension for a specified period of time;

(e) suspension until further order of the court;

(f) suspension for a specified period of time or until further order of the court with probation;

(g) censure; or

(h) reprimand by the court, the Review Board or a hearing panel.

Adopted May 26, 1978, effective July 1, 1978; amended June 3, 1980, effective July 1, 1980; amended August 9, 1983, effective October 1, 1983; amended October 13, 1989, effective immediately; amended and renumbered March 23, 2004, effective April 1, 2004.

(March 23, 2004)

Effective April 1, 2004, former Rule 771 (“Types of Discipline”) was renumbered as Rule 770 and a new Rule 771 (“Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline”) was adopted.

Rule 771. Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline

(a) Finality. All orders imposing discipline pursuant to these rules, except orders entered in cases that were accepted by the court for further consideration pursuant to Rule 753(e)(5)(a)(iii), are final when filed by the clerk of the court, and the mandates in all such cases shall issue at the time the orders are filed. No petition for rehearing pursuant to Rule 367 may be filed in such a case, nor will any motion or other paper submitted after an order is filed automatically stay or recall the court’s mandate. The finality of orders imposing discipline entered in cases accepted by the court for further consideration pursuant to Rule 753(e)(5)(a)(iii) shall be governed by Rules 367 and 368.

(b) Effective Date. Unless otherwise ordered by the court or unless governed by Rules 367 and 368, all orders of discipline are effective when filed by the clerk of the court, except that orders of suspension for a specified period of time which do not continue until further order of court or any orders of suspension which are stayed, in part, by a period of probation become effective 21 days after the date they are filed by the clerk of the court.

(c) Interim Suspension. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, all interim suspension orders imposed under Rule 761 or Rule 774 and all subsequent disciplinary orders entered while the lawyer is on interim suspension are effective when filed by the clerk of the court.

Adopted March 23, 2004, effective April 1, 2004.

(March 23, 2004)

Effective April 1, 2004, a new Rule 771 (“Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline”) was adopted and the former Rule 771 (“Types of Discipline”) was renumbered as Rule 770.

So what do you think happened? Hmmmm?

On to Barack Obama who surrendered his law license in 2008. We do not know under which ARDC Rule he went inactive.

Alamo City Pundit says he is an attorney and talks about having and giving up a law license:

“Voluntarily retired” — what does that mean? Bill Clinton hung onto his law license until he was convicted of making a false statement in the Lewinsky case and had to “Voluntarily Surrender” his license too.

This is the former editor of the Harvard Law Review who doesn’t seem to give a crap about his law license.

Something else odd; while the Search feature brings up the names, any seaches for the Disciplinary actions ends quicky.

As in, Too Quickly. Less than a half-second quickly on a Search Engine that can take five seconds to Search for anything.

As in, “there’s a block on that information” kind of thing.

So we have the first Lawyer President and First Lady — who don’t actually have licenses to practice law

I first found the ARDC form for Michelle at Atlas Shrugs who credits a tip from schmoopett which links to Chicago Tribune Ad for Obama Records. When the link in that article to Michelle’s law license at the ARDC is clicked, today you get a message saying: illegal operation.
Is it possible there is another form used for those voluntarily surrendering their license just because they no longer want their license. The two forms above are titled “Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission.” In the World Net Daily interview with the deputy administrator mentions only Rule 770. It is clear that Rule 770 and 771 pertain only to discipline, suspension and/or disbarment. Rule 755 is for voluntary surrendering assuming you have no pending disciplinary actions awaiting you. Under 770/771 you can skip the discipline an surrender your license. You cannot become active again without going through the disciplinary hearings first. Rule 756 is there for a reason.
756(5) An attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to assume inactive status and, thereafter, register as an inactive status attorney. The annual registration fee for an inactive status attorney shall be $105. Upon such registration, the attorney shall be placed upon inactive status and shall no longer be eligible to practice law or hold himself or herself out as being authorized to practice law in this state, except as is provided in paragraph (j) of this rule. An attorney who is on the master roll as an inactive status attorney may advise the Administrator in writing that he or she desires to resume the practice of law, and thereafter register as active upon payment of the registration fee required under this rule and submission of verification from the Director of MCLE that he or she has complied with MCLE requirements as set forth in Rule 790 et seq.
756(9) Permanent Retirement Status. An attorney may file a petition with the court requesting that he or she be placed on permanent retirement status. All of the provisions of retirement status enumerated in Rule 756(a)(6) shall apply, except that an attorney who is granted permanent retirement status may not thereafter change his or her registration designation to active or inactive status, petition for reinstatement pursuant to Rule 767, or provide pro bono services as otherwise allowed under paragraph (j) of this rule.
The links to the ARDC Rules are above. The pages I used in 2009 are still there unless they have been updated and changed again, although I see no notation of such updating.

More from March 2010, Doug Ross – To be (a lawyer) or not to be. Someone, anyone, explain why Michelle is not inactive under Rule 756. Photo credit: Gateway Pundit


Grumpy Opinions linked and has a story from Walid Shoebat: Innocence of Muslims Created by Muslims

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  • Why doesn’t Barack’s have his former full name?

    • Ima Wurdibitsch, another one of those oddities and mysteries.

    • And why do we not hear anything about Obama’s former wife? Who was she? Where is she?

      • Norm, that’s one I haven’t heard before.

        • Me either, let’s hear more! This Obamnation is full of it, huh!
          BTW TraveLight is NOT a feed. . .it’s a website telling about a self-help card game, that America should be following, so we would not be in this mess of listening to the God awful Excess Baggage that Obama is putting off on the American Taxpayer. Obama is stuck at Dysfunction Junction going down a Destructive DEAD END road. America has
          made a Wrong Turn with Obama and needs to get on The Success Highway with Romney/Ryan to have a WIN/WIN.
          God Bless and TraveLight.

      • Norm, BTW I fixed the link in my sidebar. I’ve been out of town, just got back in and guess I was trying to move too fast.

        • charles coker

          michelle obama was order by a judge to surrender her law license, or face charges and a trail for insurance fraud.
          barack h obama was told to surrender his law license, because it was found that he lied on his application to the illinois bar.

          • charles coker, I’ve seen that everywhere but with no confirming information. If you have confirmation, let me now and I’ll get the news out.

  • A.Men

    I want to know why the Editor of The Harvard Law refuse give us his law license! Moochelle gave her law license, also. Very Odd! Is his license under Barry Soetelo or Buh-rock Hussein Obama Jr. ?

    They are both Chicago thugs.

    Romney/Ryan 2012.

    • A.Men, Barack’s law license is under Barack Hussein Obama.

  • Is there anything NOT odd about these two?

  • Steve is right. Nothing adds up with these two.

  • W.C. Taqiyya

    I have a question. Why and how would a rule change 11 years after Michelle Obama gave up her law ‘licence’ matter? I don’t see any connection to anything that matters. However, speculation is fun. So, there’s that.

    I sort of think the Obama’s were comfy in their cushy do-nothing jobs. I sort of think they probably didn’t want to pay the dues and fees any more. I sort of think they weren’t cut out for real legal careers. I think they knew they didn’t have the skills or fortitude. I mean, Obama supporters and other ignorant people still talk about Constitutional Law Professor Obama. But he never was. At best, he was an adjunct professor, which is like being a substitute teacher in college. Anyone with a masters degree can be an adjunct professor. The school provides the lesson plans, books, etc. Nope, Mr. Obama hides his school records for a reason. Being a good bullshit artist is not the same as writing a coherent paper. And Michelle’s dissertation from Princeton proves her writing skills suck. See the success of affirmative action ablaze in all of it’s glory? Push the semi-literate ‘minorities’ through Ivy League schools and cry havoc. I just love how government programs to help everyone work so well. So, while speculation about their law licenses is fun, it is also too deep in the weeds to matter. You know, like whether or not Obama is a natural born citizen. Few Americans care about such things. If they did, he would not be president.

    • W.C. Taqiyya, the bottom line point of this story is that she went inactive under Rule 770.

      • funnybunny71

        You attempt to provide “evidence” that implies that Michelle Obama surrendered her law license due to unethical behavior.

        As you note, the rules were reorganized. You attempted to guess what the rules were at the time Michelle Obama went inactive, but you weren’t able to adequately do so. There is no evidence that Michelle Obama went inactive under Rule 770, 771, et cet. Unless you have the actual rules that were in place in 1993, your “guess the rule” game is worthless.

        What did you miss? Two things.
        1)You didn’t pay attention to the fine print. Every Rule has been amended at some point. From your link:

        Under Rule 770:
        “Adopted May 26, 1978, effective July 1, 1978; amended June 3, 1980, effective July 1, 1980; amended August 9, 1983, effective October 1, 1983; amended October 13, 1989, effective immediately; amended and renumbered March 23, 2004, effective April 1, 2004.”

        (March 23, 2004)

        Effective April 1, 2004, former Rule 771 (“Types of Discipline”) was renumbered as Rule 770 and a new Rule 771 (“Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline”) was adopted.

        THEN TO ….

        Rule 771. Finality of Orders and Effective Date of Discipline ….”

        All you have is evidence of what the rules are for 2012! You don’t have evidence of what the rules were in 1993 OR what various amendments meant and how those changes effected 1993 vs. 2012! Some of the rules were amended in 2011!

        2. You made no attempt to see what the rules were in the 1990’s.
        The WayBack (Internet Archive) for your link only goes back to 7/16/2001.

        It appears that there was a Rule 770 before 2001. (See Rule 756 for quote): “An attorney who is on voluntary inactive status pursuant to FORMAL Rule 770 who wishes to register for any year after 1999 shall file a petition for restoration under Rule 759.” There must have been a rule 770 years earlier and then it was put on reserve and then in 2004, rule 770 was resurrected as something different. Reorganization occurred more than once.

        If I were to try to untangle the 2001 rules in an attempt to guess why Michelle Obama surrendered her law license, I would be committing the very act of poor research and hypothesizing that you did.

        You need 2 things in order to solve this unimportant exercise:
        1) The specific Rules that were in place in 1993.
        2) Actual info on why she voluntarily surrendered her license.

        Much is made by the “court-ordered inactive status”. Each state has it’s own rules for what it does to notify the courts that a lawyer is no longer licensed to practice law. It is typical for state bar associations to file a form with the court system in the said state. This allows the court to create an order, which notes to the state’s entire court system that the lawyer isn’t licensed anymore. This is most effective way for a state bar and a state court system to have the same info at the same time. The state court isn’t going to check with the state bar every time a lawyer files a pleading/motion within the state court system. A court-order may be the way IL keeps track of this kind of licensing change. Other states do process licensing inactive status changes via court order.

        I can’t say that IL used this practice in 1993. Nor can you without calling the IL Bar Association.

        An example of the use of court orders regarding a lawyer’s licensing: If an attorney licensed in WA wants to represent a client in Oregon, that lawyer must obtain permission from the court to practice law in Oregon for that one client. If the Judge approves the WA lawyer’s request, the court issues a court order. Because every state has a court system hierarchy (municipal, county, state), courts use court orders to communicate with each other regarding lawyers’ status routinely.

        • funnybunny71

          Part 2: I found a site that did more research on this issue. I think all will find this of interest. At the below link, you will find 2 articles on this issue. I’m not going to quote … those interested can read more at the link.

        • funnybunny – I do know she went inactive under a disciplinary rule because the deputy administrator and chief council said she went inactive under Rule 770 – which didn’t exist at that time, but 771 did. Only 756 is for what we consider voluntarily going inactive with nothing “disciplinary” attached to it. It has been the same since 1973. There could NOT have been a reason she would not have used 756 for her purposes unless she could not.

          I did give dates, by the way! I will be helpful if you will read what I wrote before you begin harping about it.

          Rule 771 covered all the various Codes of Professional Responsibility. That changed when Barack went into the Senate.

          Michelle is on court ordered inactive status. Barack is not.

          • funnybunny71

            I see that you read nothing of what I wrote. (I will use all caps for emphasis; I’m not shouting. Honest!!)

            I did make one error in my use of all caps which may have made my previous comment unclear. When I quoted Rule 756, I wrote the word FORMAL instead of FORMER. I apologize for my error; how 1 word can make a difference!!

            I quoted rule 756 only to show that a Rule 770 had existed previously to 1999. Please keep reading for more details. I did see your dates. Unfortunately, your dates don’t go back to 1993. That was all I said about your provided dates. You don’t have the Rules that were in place in 1993. 20 years makes a difference.

            I noticed that you didn’t link to WND’s article when you claim that “the deputy administrator and chief council said she went inactive under Rule 770”. I searched WND, and I assume you are referring to

            WND argues against your implication that Michelle Obama voluntarily became inactive for disciplinary purposes or for misconduct.

            The deputy admin explains that the FORMER Rule 770 dealt with voluntary inactive status for non-disciplinary reasons.

            You are saying that there was no Rule 770 in 1993. Your own sources, the deputy admin and chief counsel for the ARDC and WND say that there was.

            From the WND link:

            “James Grogan, deputy administrator and chief counsel for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, or ARDC, has been with the commission for 30 years. He told WND that on July 1, 1994, the Illinois Supreme Court entered an order allowing Michelle to be transferred to inactive status pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court rule 770.

            The ARDC website explains,“PRIOR TO NOVEMBER 1,1999 FORMER SUPREME COURT RULE 770 provided for a proceeding in the Court for any voluntary transfer to inactive status, whether because of some incapacitating condition or solely as a matter of the lawyer’s preference because the lawyer would not be practicing law.”

            Grogan explained, “At the time, the only way to go on inactive status was to do what she did – WHICH WAS TO FILE A PETITION in the Illinois Supreme Court.”

            He said attorneys often filed a petition for 770 when they wanted to pursue other careers, retire or begin raising a family.

            “At the time, this happened all the time,” he said. “OUR OFFICE WOULD HAVE TO FILE WHAT’S KNOWN AS A CONSENT.”

            Grogan said his office would have IMMEDIATELY ALERTED THE COURT IN A PUBLIC FILING if there had been reason to believe she SHOULD face DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS.

            “We filed a consent in Michelle Obama’s case in which we had no objection to her transferring to inactive status,” he said. “In the event that she did go on inactive status and she engaged in any disbarrable offenses, THERE WOULD BE A DISCIPLINARY CASE OF PUBLIC RECORD.”


            Inundated by numerous 770 filings that each required a separate court ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court LATER SIMPLIFIED THE INACTIVATION PROCESS. In 2005, after Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, he changed his status to inactive as well.

            By 2005, which is several years later than his wife, THE RULE WAS CHANGED such that you no longer had to file a petition that was such a pain for the court,” Grogan explained. “Instead, THE COURT CHANGED IT TO TWO TYPES OF STATUS: INACTIVE OR RETIRED. Either situation involves merely sending a letter to us basically saying, ‘I want to transfer to inactive status.’”


            “A lot of people who aren’t practicing say, ‘Why bother?’” Grogan said.”

            All you have shown is that in 2004, there was no Rule 770. But the very deputy you rely on says that there was a FORMER Rule 770 before 1999, which dealt with voluntary inactivity for personal reasons. Thus, your assertion that Michelle Obama’s court-ordered inactive status is due to disciplinary issues is shown false by both of your own sources.

            Because there was a FORMER Rule 770 before 1999, you cannot claim that the 2004 Rule 771 is related to Michelle Obama in any way.

            One more interesting note: WND and both rely on Grogan for their detailing of the law license process. Both sources agree that there is no evidence of misconduct and that Michelle Obama has not shared why she decided to make her license inactive.

            • funnybunny, I did intend to link the WND article. As you can see, I am a big linker for confirmation. I will do so. As to Rule 770 and the link you gave me, in 1994, Rule 770 was still “reserved” and unlike other Rules, gives no data on amendments and changes. The dates give are under Rule 771 which became 770, with 770 above it marked through and saying “Reserved.”

              I have read Rule 756 in the WayBack but do not see the “quote” you referred to. You say you quoted 756 only to show that 770 existed. Can you lead me to that?

              • funnybunny, nevermind, I just found the quote. I’ll look into it.

              • funnybunny, since there is no text available for 770, but 756 mentions it, there is a way to restore your license if you have been disciplined, through a hearing and review.

                770 never – never supports itself. Look at some of the other Rules. They don’t go away. They are struck through. 708 is an example of that and it happens throughout.

                770 has no text. 770 is reserved – for some reason, until 2004 when perhaps, as we have seen over and over with the Obama’s, things get changed, sealed and disappeared.

                It is possible that 770 has never had text because it dealt with discipline at differing levels. Why can we not find the text for 770?

                Barack’s license was a retirement. Michelle’s was court ordered. As Barack famously said “words matter.”

                I think Grogan gave a very concise answer, whether truthful or not. The Obamas are a protected species.

                • funnybunny71

                  Hi Maggie,

                  Thank you for your response.

                  Grogan makes it very clear that prior to 1999, there was a Rule 770. Rules are amended and re-organized all the time. This happens in organizations, in state laws, in fed laws, etc. You have no solid evidence that the rules don’t go away. 708 simply shows changes to the same rule over time. You can’t use 2012 notations to hypothesis about previous processes.

                  Why Rule 770 became a “hold” after 1999, I do not know. But Grogan and IL Rules both confirm that there was a Rule 770 before 1999. You could contact the IL State Bar and ask them for a copy of the Rules that were in place in 1993, or even 1993-1999. The Rules from 1993 simply aren’t online. That is the case for many professional organizations. The Wayback Machine doesn’t have anything for the IL State Bar site before 2001. In Oregon, the Wayback only goes to 2005. CA posts their laws back to 1989. WI, 2006. NY, 2009.

                  Without the Rules as written in 1993, you can’t honestly claim that Michelle Obama was in any way involved in disciplinary actions or facing disciplinary actions. Grogan, your own source, confirms that Michelle Obama was not facing any form of disciplinary actions.

                  Grogan also explains that the wording for inactive status changed in 2005:
                  “By 2005, which is several years later than his wife, THE RULE WAS CHANGED such that you no longer had to file a petition that was such a pain for the court,” Grogan explained. “Instead, THE COURT CHANGED IT TO TWO TYPES OF STATUS: INACTIVE OR RETIRED. Either situation involves merely sending a letter to us basically saying, ‘I want to transfer to inactive status.’” WND.

                  You refuse to agree with your own supporting source.

                  Thanks again for your replies. And thank you for adding the link to WND. You are good about linking; this is a technical article, so it is easy to imagine forgetting one link! Goodnight!

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  • jclady

    Add this to the ever-expanding list of, “things that make you go, hmmmmm”.

    This couple are obviously shadow puppets and the fact that Congress will not (cannot because of the Senate) open impeachment hearings is heartbreaking.

    More importantly that gaining the Presidency is gaining the Senate. Only the Senate can initate impeachment proceedings.

    • jclady, I agree about the Senate. If we can only have one, we need to have the Senate. With this Senate, Romney couldn’t get much done anyway, so I see the Senate as top priority.

  • Gary F. Witting

    This is crazy non-sense. Lawyers put there license into “inactive” status all the time. Some people do it because they do not want to practice law anymore. Some people do it for health reason. Some people do not want the responsibility. It is pretty normal depending upon the circumstances.

    Take care,

    • Sophist

      Don’t bother these people with facts. They already know that the Obamas are shadowy and sinister, so obviously the explanation for their inactive licenses must be shadowy and sinister too, and nothing you write will convince them otherwise.

      • Sophist, I gave you facts. You’re not “bothering” with them.

    • Gary F. Witting, in Illinois they put their license inactive under 770 but under 756. I understand what you are saying. Ill health and disability has it’s own Rule number under which to go inactive. Rule 770 and Rule 771 are a completely different status. Click the links I gave you and read.

  • Gerry


    Do you plan to correct your false attribution in the Sept 24 item on Romney’s standings in polls? You falsely attributed a photo from a 2008 Obama rally (packed by the way) in Portland to a Romney rally in ohio in August.

    Just wondering if the irony is too much for you to stand. I guess lying is all you have left, just like Mitt!

    • Gerry, I’ve been out of town – just got back to the computer and saw this dustup. I left a comment about it on that post.

  • Bunkerville

    It will take years for all of the real stuff that is and has gone down comes out. That is if it is permitted to be written. Great post.

    • Thanks Bunkerville. I agree.

      • Me Too! The tangled web of lies and deceit of the Obama’s have well surpassed the 50th Century of ever finding out the truth. I don’t even think people will find them interesting after they lose the election. Donald Trump calls Obama The Unlucky President, unlucky for America. HOW TRUE!