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.
“The hallmark of the Trump Administration is a concerted and systematic effort to erode and corrupt the rule of law and the core legal principles and norms of our democracy,” said former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, co-founder and president of the organization. “Every lawyer has a special obligation to read the Mueller Report for themselves,
to educate colleagues and friends on its findings, and to join the fight for our democracy.”
Lawyers Defending American Democracy launched earlier this year with an Open Letter, https://lawyersdefendingdemocracy.org, meant to rally lawyers to the cause of defending “the values and norms of political behavior on which our democracy depends,” and setting out five core principles of the Rule of Law. Seven of the 10 episodes discussed in the Mueller Report regarding obstruction of justice involve evidence of violations of one of those specific principles: the “independence, integrity, competence and nonpartisanship of federal criminal justice and intelligence agencies.”
The force of Mueller’s findings in this regard has even greater weight and immediacy because of the April 23rd statement of prominent conservative lawyers in Checks and Balances. They wrote, in part: “[t]he facts contained in the [Mueller] report reveal that the President engaged in persistent conduct intended to derail, undermine and obstruct ongoing federal investigations.”
Already more than 500 attorneys from across the country have signed on to the Letter. Most recently, Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) endorsed the organization’s Letter, and also introduced it into the Congressional Record.
“We have a clear message to lawmakers of both parties: the abuse of power by the President must be met with real action, not just words,” continued Harshbarger. “Lawyers have been at the vanguard of important social change in our country, it’s time we take leadership in protecting our country’s legacy of democracy.”