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Court Rejects White Supremacist

November 13, 1999

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ White supremacist Matt Hale vowed to take his quest for a law license to the nation’s highest court after the Illinois Supreme Court refused to consider the case.

The ruling issued Friday leaves in place a decision by the state’s Committee on Character and Fitness to deny Hale a law license. The one-paragraph ruling included no explanation.

Hale, leader of the East Peoria-based World Church of the Creator, said he believes the court failed in its duty by refusing to consider his appeal of the committee decision.

``It has sent a message that if you are politically incorrect or have views that might seem extreme, you may not get your day in court,″ he said.

Hale said he will take his appeal of the committee decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. He said he also is considering federal lawsuits against the Illinois Bar Association and the state for violation of his civil rights.

``I’m going to pursue this to the hilt,″ said Hale, who graduated from Southern Illinois University law school in 1998 and passed the bar exam.

The Committee on Character and Fitness originally turned Hale down for a law license last summer. Members argued that Hale’s racist views would prevent him from fulfilling a lawyer’s duty not to discriminate against litigants, jurors, witnesses or others for reasons of race, religion or national origin.

Shortly afterward, a former member of the church went on a shooting spree that targeted minorities, killing two people and injuring several others before committing suicide.

After Hale asked the Supreme Court to review the committee’s decision to deny him a license, the committee argued Hale’s response to the shooting spree demonstrated he should not be a lawyer.

``The record evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that Hale is not fit to practice law. The evidence also demonstrates that Hale lacks the moral character necessary to satisfy even minimal bar admission standards,″ the fitness committee said in court papers.

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