I've learned to regard with some skepticism many of the more bizarre claims made about President Obama--but this comes straight from the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Barack Obama surrendered his license to practice law in 2008:
Voluntarily retired and not authorized to practice lawWhat? Why, exactly, would someone who is running for president of the United States surrender his license to practice law? This seems...peculiar.
UPDATE: Just to clarify: President Clinton didn't give up his law license when was elected. He did afterwards--but that wasn't voluntary.
UPDATE 2: A reader who is a retired Texas lawyer says that the difference between inactive and retired isn't dramatic, and it is plausible that Obama just figured that he wasn't ever going to practice law again.
UPDATE 3: A number of readers have pointed out that Michelle Obama also went inactive in 1993, and suggest all sorts of disciplinary reasons for this. However, the August 4, 2009 World Net Daily (not exactly part of the Obama fan club) points out:
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.There's nothing to this story, really.
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.