In a criminal case, the 8th and 14th amendment confer the right of a defendant to appear pro se. However, Sec. 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 confirms the right of a civil litigant to appear pro se.
From O’Reilly v. NY Times 692 F.2d 863 (C.A.2 (N.Y.), 1982):
We start with the proposition that the right to self-representation in civil cases conferred by Sec. 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, although not enjoying the constitutional protection subsequently afforded to the right of self-representation in criminal cases, Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975), is a right of high standing, not simply a practice to be honored or dishonored by a court depending on its assessment of the desiderata of a particular case. As the Court said in Faretta, supra, 422 U.S. at 830 n. 39, 95 S.Ct. at…
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