NEW YORK (AP) New York’s highest court has overturned a state ban on attorneys and lobbyists, saying the practice violated the state constitution.
The court found in favor of a group of lawyers and community advocates that argued that a similar ban on the practice violates the state’s First Amendment right to free speech.
The New York Court of Appeals said the state has the power to regulate and control the profession, not the other way around.
It’s not clear how the court will rule.
The case has drawn national attention, with prominent Democrats such as Gov.
Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic nominee for governor, criticizing the court for reversing a law passed in 2010.
The law, which was widely criticized as too broad, banned lawyers and others with a direct interest in the court from serving on the court’s seven-member bench, which is the nation’s largest.
The decision comes after the court on Monday overturned a lower court ruling that said a lawyer’s attendance at a court proceeding is a form of “entertainment.”
The state has appealed that decision.
In a dissent, Justice Joseph T. O’Donnell said the New York law does not prohibit the presence of a lawyer or an employee of a law firm, but does impose a requirement that lawyers provide the public with an “explanation of why they are there.”