Yesterday we witnessed an assault on our democracy. Congress was confronted by a violent mob intent on intimidating legislators to override the will of the people. It is critical that we condemn these lawless and hateful actions. It is equally important that, in the light of a new day, we take heart that the members of the United States Senate and the House of Representatives convened immediately after the violence to continue their work, and to fulfill their constitutional obligation to conduct the business of our government.
The United States has taken pride in the peaceful transfer of power since its inception. The unsubstantiated and baseless claims of a stolen election and the actions of those who attacked the heart of our democratic institutions will be a dark stain in the history books. As lawyers and future lawyers, we have an obligation to reflect on the actions of those who incited and enabled yesterday’s activities in Washington, many of whom are attorneys. We should also acknowledge the many judges and lawyers of both political parties who upheld the rule of law and kept the guardrails of our democracy in place. We must never forget that our most profound duties as lawyers are to stand for the rule of law, promote civil discourse and peaceful protest, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Dean Melanie Leslie