In the News

IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING: At a time when press and social media are flooded with loud opinions, we believe there must be a thoughtful, fact-based accounting of threats to the rule of law. If you see examples of this, please send us an email at press@lawyersdefendingdemocracy.org. Your submission should include a copy or link to source material, a brief explanation of why and how the example threatens the rule of law, and instructions on how we should refer to you in your post. Once we’ve reviewed and approved your submissions, we’ll post them on our website and share them on social media. Thank you.


The Hill Opinion: On government and public confidence

May 17, 2020 – LDAD Steering Committee member Eugene R. Fidell authors another persuasive op-ed for The Hill’s Opinion section. In it, he explores what it means for a President to foster the public’s confidence in government and the administration of justice.
Click here to read the full opinion >>


Boston Globe: Judge Sullivan must reject Barr’s usurpation of judicial power

May 11 2020 – A new Op-ed by Professor Laurence Tribe urges Judge Sullivan to move ahead and sentence Michael Flynn.
Click here to read the Op-ed >>


Lawyers Allied to Uphold the Rule of Law (LAUROL)

May 2020 – LAUROL is a nationwide, nonpartisan coalition of lawyers, legal scholars, and retired jurists dedicated to “ensuring that all persons in the United States receive fair and impartial justice.” In a letter to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, the group expresses their concerns about actions taken by the Department of Justice and the present Administration.
Click here to read the letter >>


DOJ Alumni Statement on Flynn Case

May 11, 2020 –  A statement made on behalf of former Department of Justice employees in response to the Department’s motion to drop the charges against Michael Flynn condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s political interference, expresses support for the career employees of DOJ, implores Judge Sullivan to scrutinize the Department’s purported justification for dropping the charges, and calls on Congress to hold Barr accountable, including formally censuring him.
Click here to read and sign the Statement >>


Washington Post: Experts weigh in on the pandemic

May 8, 2020 – LDAD Steering Committee member Stanley Marcuss weighs in on President Trump’s refusal to let Anthony S. Fauci testify before the House of Representatives in a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post.
Click here to read the letter>>


The Hill: Today should be ‘Rule of Law Day’

May 1, 2020 – LDAD Steering Committee member Eugene R. Fidell makes a powerful case in The Hill’s Opinion section. “ Law Day needs a facelift, and I suggest we begin by renaming it Rule of Law Day, because the Rule of Law itself — a phrase we usually employ when talking about other countries — is as much under siege as our society as a whole is because of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Click here to read the full Opinion >>


The Hill: Federal officials fired by Trump face tough road in court

April 11, 2020 – President Trump’s recent shake-up of agency watchdogs has his critics fuming, but legal experts say that federal officials fired for even apparently political reasons have little legal recourse. A group of legal heavyweights, Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD), said Trump’s treatment of the inspectors general undermined the rule of law.
Click here to read the full article >>


The Crime Report: 300 Lawyers, Judges Call for Barr’s Resignation

March 25, 2020 – Attorney General William Barr’s intervention in the Roger Stone case and his efforts to distort the conclusions of the federal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election make him unfit to be the highest justice official in the U.S., charges a letter signed by 300 leading attorneys, former judges, and bar association presidents.

The letter, organized by Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD), a nonprofit advocacy group formed in 2018, called on Barr to resign, arguing that his behavior “undermines both the appearance of impartial justice and impartial justice itself.”
Click here to read the coverage of LDAD’s Call for Barr’s Resignation >>


Law and Crime: Lawyers Call for Barr’s Resignation: COVID-19 Is a Danger to Our Health and Economy, Barr Is a Danger to Democracy

March 24, 2020 – A self-styled non-partisan group of lawyers and former judges continued a tradition of sorts on Tuesday by calling for Attorney General William Barr’s resignation.

Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD), a group of 300 attorneys, former judges, state and federal prosecutors, penned an open letter to say that the COVID-19 pandemic is a danger to Americans’ health and the economy, but that Barr is a danger to democracy.
Click here to read Law and Crime’s coverage of LDAD >>


Boston Bar Association: Statement on Maintaining Public Trust in the Justice System

February 14, 2020 – Lawyers Defending American Democracy applauds the Boston Bar Association’s warning that the prosecution of Roger Stone poses a serious threats to public confidence in the Department of Justice and the rule of law.
Click here to read the statement by the Boston Bar Association >>


New York City Bar Association: Sends Letter to Congressional Leaders and Department of Justice Inspector General Regarding the Prosecution of Roger Stone and Related Actions by the Department of Justice

February 12, 2020 – Lawyers Defending American Democracy applauds the statement issued today by the New York City Bar Association which calls for immediate investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General in connection with the prosecution of Roger Stone.
Click here to read the statement by the New York City Bar Association >>


Above the Law: Hundreds Of Lawyers Protest On Steps Of Supreme Court To Demand ‘Impartial Justice’ In Trump’s Impeachment

January 31, 2020 – Today, Lawyers for Good Government, along with Lawyers Defending American Democracy, Lawyer Moms of America, and Demand Justice will join together in solidarity to protest on the steps of the Supreme Court in an effort to demand that every United States Senator fulfill their duties and obligations to our country.
Click here to read the full article >>


Boston Globe Letters: Senate trial underway beneath a shadow of partisanship

January 20, 2020 – It is too often said that a Senate trial following impeachment is political, so the Senate can proceed in whichever way it chooses. Yes, the Senate is a political body, but that does not make an impeachment trial political.
Click here to read the Letter in the Boston Globe >>


Boston Globe Opinion: Why Mitch McConnell must allow Senate to call witnesses in Trump’s impeachment trial

January 14, 2020 – By voting in favor of calling witnesses and demanding documents, Democrats will necessarily take the chance that the information revealed will help exonerate the president. If that turns out to be the case, so be it. At stake is not how best to achieve a preordained partisan result, but how best to conduct a fair trial. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but, in the end, there it is.”
Click here to read Professor Larry Tribe’s Opinion in the Boston Globe >> 


LAW.COM / The National Law Journal: ‘Indefensible’: Hundreds of Lawyers Criticize McConnell Over Senate Impeachment Trial

January 7, 2020 – Hundreds of lawyers have signed onto an open letter criticizing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his comments saying the Senate’s upcoming impeachment trial does not have to be impartial.

In the letter to the Senate, published Tuesday by the group Lawyers Defending American Democracy, the lawyers said that McConnell’s “assertions cannot withstand scrutiny.”
Click here to read The National Law Journal’s coverage of LDAD >>


The Hill: Hundreds of lawyers urge McConnell to ‘do impartial justice’ at Senate impeachment trial

January 7, 2020 – Hundreds of attorneys from across the legal profession on Tuesday published a letter calling on the Senate to conduct a fair and impartial trial of President Trump once the upper chamber receives the House-passed articles of impeachment. 

The more than 280 signatories of the open letter comprise two dozen academics including Harvard law professor and outspoken Trump critic Laurence Tribe, a former Massachusetts attorney general, and former judges, prosecutors and managing partners of prominent law firms from across the country. 
Click here to read The Hill’s coverage of our Open Letter >>


Times Union: The President Must Follow the Law

December 30, 2019 – Early signer and strong LDAD supporter Daniel Sleasman and Chairman Scott Harshbarger examine the dominant issue of the moment – whether or not President Donald Trump should be removed from office and if President Nixon’s famous remark – “Well, when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal” – stands up.
Click here to read the Op-ed >>


Los Angeles Times: Trump’s war on the rule of law

As discussed in this column from the LA Times, it is hard to imagine a more dangerous assault on the rule of law than Donald Trump’s use of the pardon power to reward and galvanize political supporters. In his hands, what was a rarely used remedy for injustice is becoming a refuge for outlaws.
Click here to read the article >>


LDAD’s Letter to Congress

October 16, 2019 – In late September, LDAD’s Congressional Outreach Committee delivered a letter to the offices of more than 200 Congress-people who themselves are lawyers. The same letter was also delivered to key staffers for the Senate and House of Representatives “Gang of Eight”, to the Chairs of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, House Oversight Committee, Senate Government Operations Committee, and to each of their subcommittees’ Chairs. 

We have received and are waiting on additional responses. Still our work is not done. To help with Congressional Outreach, please feel free to customize the letter linked below or email us at hello@lawyersdefendingdemocracy.org.
Click here to read the Letter to Congress >>


Regarding the White House Letter in Response to the Impeachment Inquiry

October 8, 2019 As lawyers with decades of experience in litigation and government, this letter may be the most unprofessional document we’ve ever seen. Congress should ignore it. The author’s position is reprehensible.
Click here to read the White House’s Letter in full >>


Anchorage Daily News – LDAD Steering Committee Member Lisa Weissler: “Alaska’s U.S. Senators Must Defend the Constitution”

September 24, 2019 – In America’s system of government, laws are only as good as those willing to uphold them. When governmental institutions fail to enforce the law equitably or violate their statutory and constitutional mandates without consequence, the system crumbles. One of the greatest institutional failures we face today is the U.S. Senate’s abandonment of its duty to serve as a check on President Donald Trump’s disregard for the Constitution and the laws that govern our society.
Click here to read her Opinion >>


LAW.COM / The National Law Journal: Legal Heavyweights Call Out Bar Associations to Respond to Trump Mistruths

September 13, 2019 – Representatives of hundreds of attorneys, law firm partners, scholars and  judges who raised alarm in February over what they called the abandonment of the rule of law by the Trump administration have released another call to the legal community to speak out against attacks on truth and justice.
> (opens in a new tab)”>Click here to read Law.com’s coverage of LDAD’s recent call to “Stop Presidential Attacks On Our Democracy” >>


Linda Greenhouse via The New York Times: A ‘Train Wreck’ Was Averted at the Supreme Court, but for How Long?

July 18, 2019 – Linda Greenhouse was absolutely right about the Constitutional near miss that occurred in the census case last week. How long will the ABA keep silent?”
Click here to read her Opinion >>


Boston College Law School Magazine – LDAD Steering Committee Member John Montgomery decries President’s Contempt for the Rule of Law

Summer Edition 2019 – John T. Montgomery ’75, former First Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and retired managing partner at Ropes & Gray, was among more than 200 attorneys, including several others with ties to BC Law, who stepped forward April 25 to defend American democracy and the rule of law.
Click here to read the full article >>


Harvard Magazine – LDAD Chair Scott Harshbarger Urges “The Center Must Hold”

Summer Edition 2019 – Scott Harshbarger, LL.B. ’68 writes, “Joining with several Harvard Law and College classmates in the fall of 2018, we formed Lawyers Defending American Democracy (LDAD), hoping to mobilize our legal profession colleagues and leaders in a nonpartisan effort to defend the rule of law and our core legal principles against the systematic assault by President Trump – and his leadership enables – to weaken, erode, and corrupt these institutional constraints that serve as the foundation for democracy. In February, we released our Open Letter articulating five core legal/democracy principles regularly being violated by the President with impunity, and we invited our colleagues to sign on publicly. Our objective is to get law school, law firm, and bar association leaders to stand and deliver to protect and defend these principles so that ‘things do not fall apart!’ ‘The Center must hold.”


The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School: After the Mueller Report: The AG, White House, and Congress–A Constitutional Crisis?

July 2019 – Last month, Boston College Law School’s Rappaport Center for Law & Public Policy hosted a panel focused on the Mueller Report featuring Frank Figliuzzi, Joyce Vance, Chuck Rosenberg, and Michael Sullivan. The panel was moderated by Professor and Rappaport Faculty Director Daniel Kanstroom.
Click here to read James F. McHugh’s take on the panel >>
Click here to watch video of the panel >>


Via The Wall Street Journal: Accusing the New York Times of ‘Treason,’ Trump Crosses a Line

June 19, 2019 – The Wall Street Journal hosts New York Times publisher A.G. Sultzberger’s direct and powerful response to the President’s unacceptably dangerous use of the “treason” label use to criticize a Times news report. 
Click here to read the full article >>


Rep. Jamie Raskin Supports and Submits LDAD’s Open Letter and Appendix into the Congressional Record

May 9, 2019 – “Madam Speaker, while the nation has been focused on Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election and questions of presidential obstruction of justice, President Donald Trump’s violation of fundamental principles and norms of American democracy have been far more comprehensive.”
Click here to read the full Congressional Record >>


Montana Standard: Bound by the chains of the Constitution

May 9, 2019 – All lawyers and others interested in preservation of the Rule of Law should be actively involved in preserving the “Constitutional chains” discussed by Retired Justice James C. Nelson.
Click here to read the full essay >>


Via Medium: Statement by Former Federal Prosecutors

May 6, 2019 – Powerfully supporting the Rule of Law, 450 ex federal prosecutors from Republican and Democratic administrations found in the Mueller report “overwhelming evidence” that Pres. Trump “with corrupt intent” “obstructed or attempted to obstruct” Mueller’s “truth-finding process.
Click here to read the full statement >>


Press Release: Prominent Attorneys Recognize “Law Day” By Calling on Lawyers to Fight for Democracy

BOSTON – In 1958, President Eisenhower, facing Russian threats to American democracy, declared May 1 would henceforth be known as “Law Day,” a day to honor and celebrate the Rule of Law. Today, facing threats to democracy at home, Lawyers Defending American Democracy – a bipartisan, national coalition of attorneys, many of them leaders in the profession – called upon all lawyers to shine a spotlight on President Trump for violating fundamental, non-partisan principles and norms of American democracy.
Click here to read our full press release >>


ThinkTech Hawaii: Lawyers Defending American Democracy

April 30, 2019 – Lawyers Defending American Democracy Co-Founder, Scott Harshbarger and Steering Committee member, Eugene Fidell discuss the origins and mission of the organization with ThinkTech Hawaii host, Jay Fidell.
Watch the full interview here >>



U.S. Department of Justice: The Mueller Report, With Redactions

April 18, 2019 – Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election to Congress and the public. Lawyers have a special responsibility to contribute to the public understanding in times like these. We encourage our colleagues to read the report and engage in that discussion.
Click here to read the 400 page report >>


Boston College Law Review: Former Massachusetts Supreme Court Justice Robert Cordy argues for an independent and strong judiciary and press

April 15, 2019 – As Robert Cordy demonstrates, a vibrant democracy needs both a strong and independent judiciary and a free and independent press. But the freedom and independence of both is particularly important in an era when they are under relentless assaults from the Nation’s Chief Executive.
Click here to read the essay >>


NECN: ‘Lawyers Defending American Democracy’ Decry Trump’s Disregard for Law

February 28, 2019 – John Montgomery, former managing partner, Ropes and Gray, and Fernande R.V. Duffly, former justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, join Sue to talk about the non-partisan group they have formed called “Lawyers Defending American Democracy.” They discuss their concerns about the erosion of the rule of law under President Donald Trump and what they hope Congress plans to do.
Watch the full interview here >>


The National Law Journal Shines Light on LDAD’s National Movement

February 22, 2019 – More than 200 lawyers have formed a new legal advocacy group challenging what they call the erosion of the rule of law under the presidency of Donald Trump.

“We, as lawyers, cannot ignore or remain silent about President Donald Trump’s disregard of these core values and principles. We must speak out,” the lawyers wrote in an open letter that was distributed Thursday.
Click here to read the full article >>


CNN Politics Features LDAD’s Official Launch

February 20, 2019 – More than 200 lawyers have formed a new legal advocacy group challenging what they call the erosion of the rule of law under the presidency of Donald Trump.

A newly formed group of lawyers is pushing the nonpartisan legal community — including members of Congress — to call out what they say is President Donald Trump’s continued abuse of constitutional, political and democratic values and norms.
Click here to read the full article >>