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WASHINGTON — Disbarred D.C. criminal defense lawyer William Borders Jr. says his battle for reinstatement of his law license will continue in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of his case Monday. Without comment, the court denied review in Borders v. District of Columbia Office of Bar Counsel, 03-246. Borders, a former president of the National Bar Association, had asked the court to rule that because he was pardoned by President Clinton in 2001 of crimes he committed 22 years ago, his reinstatement as a lawyer should be automatic. “It’s not over,” says Borders, 64, the former president of the National Bar Association. Borders says he may ask the high court to reconsider or could apply to D.C. Bar officials for reinstatement — a process he claimed was unnecessary because of the pardon. “If I’ve been pardoned and can’t get my license back, how can anyone who is disbarred get his license back?,” Borders said in an interview last week on D.C. radio station WOL-AM. Caught in an FBI sting, Borders was convicted in 1982 of conspiracy to bribe Alcee Hastings, who was then a federal judge. Borders served three years in prison and was disbarred automatically in 1983. For the past 10 years, his efforts to regain his license have been rebuffed by D.C. officials, in part because he never testified against Hastings. With the help of former D.C. congressional delegate the Rev. Walter Fauntroy and other black leaders, Borders won a pardon on the last day Clinton was in office. Border then petitioned the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to vacate the disbarment on the grounds that the pardon nullified it along with his original crimes. The court refused, ruling that reinstatement was permitted, but not required. Borders petitioned the Supreme Court, garnering help from Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree and former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, now a D.C. partner at Kirkland & Ellis. They saw the case as a test of the scope of the presidential pardon power, arguing that a pardon swept away all “disabilities” that flowed from the original crime. Borders’ case has gotten considerable attention in Washington, D.C.’s black community. WOL radio talk show host Joe Madison devoted three hours of programming to Borders’ case following the high court action. Fauntroy was on hand in the studio, and Starr, among others, was interviewed. “It is fundamentally unfair” for Borders to have to apply for reinstatement when it should be automatic, said Starr. A pardon, Starr said, “wipes the slate clean.” In other action Monday, the justices granted review in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court, 03-5554. The issue is whether individuals can be required to identify themselves to police in a “Terry stop” situation where police do not have probable cause to suspect they have committed a crime. The Nevada Supreme Court said such a requirement did not violate the Fourth Amendment rights of Larry Hiibel, who refused to give his name when police stopped his car to check on a report that he had been fighting with a female passenger. Tony Mauro is Supreme Court correspondent for American Lawyer Media and The Recorder’s Washington, D.C., affiliate Legal Times. His e-mail address is [email protected].

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