Memo: Activities of Lawyers Defending American Democracy

Dated: March 9, 2020
Written by: Gary Ratner, Co-founder, LDAD

At Scott’s request, I’d like to provide a summary of LDAD’s activities.

I think the big picture for our activities has been to use whatever forms of advocacy we can think of to speak out publicly on the threats to fundamental principles of American democracy posed by President Trump and his administration and to engage other lawyers to speak out on these issues. For LDAD, this has chiefly consisted of issuing open letters signed by lawyers around the country and other statements signed by LDAD’s Steering Committee. 

I believe the most significant statements  we have published have been our February 2019 “Open Letter to the President and Congress,” describing fundamental principles we are defending and how Trump has been violating them; September 2019 statement “Stop Presidential Attacks On Our Democracy,” describing values underlying these principles and more recent examples of violations; and January 2020 “Open Letter to the Senate”, refuting Senator McConnell’s claims that there was no need for him to be impartial in the impeachment trial and nothing judicial about such a trial.

To maximize the impact of these statements, we have sought as much media coverage as we can for them, with press releases that include quotations from prominent attorneys.  (Professor Larry Tribe has been an LDAD supporter since early on and has been particularly helpful in bringing visibility to our statements, especially through his own c. 750,000 twitter following.)  We have also reached out to key members of Congress, Senate and House, Republican and Democratic, and pivotal members of their staffs in three different initiatives, and actively supported a January 2020 Capitol Hill  lawyers’ march calling for “impartial justice” in the impeachment trial.  We have successfully encouraged at least a small number of supporters to write op-eds in their local newspapers and to issue tweets to help disseminate LDAD’s open letters and other statements. 

In addition, LDAD has given guidance and support to Alaska lawyers in issuing their own Open Letter to their two U.S. Senators, similar to LDAD’s February 2019 Letter, and has reached out to collaborate with like-minded national and local organizations, including bar associations. 

To pull it all together, we’ve established that contains all of our statements, including lists of signers, where applicable, media coverage, how we got started, etc.

I’d be pleased to talk further at your convenience, if that would be of any assistance.

Gary Ratner