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In this edition of his Government and Election Law column, Jerry H. Goldfeder writes: During this fraught era when our constitutional democracy is undergoing a stress test like no other time in our lives, lawyers have many opportunities to make a critical difference. Each of us should,
October 21, 2021 at 12:00 PM
5 minute read
In May 2019 I had the privilege of addressing the graduating class of Fordham Law School. One of my themes was that lawyers have a significant role in preserving our constitutional democracy. My short-hand admonition was “Save the Republic.” I had already raised a concern that peaceful succession might be elusive (“A Donald Trump Coup if He Loses in 2020?”, USA Today, March 14, 2019), but little did I appreciate how imperative our task would be following the presidential election.
Immediately after last November’s vote, we witnessed some 60 cases brought in both state and federal courts to overturn certified results; an extraordinary extra-legal effort by the defeated president to persuade election officials to “find” additional votes or ignore actual totals; a concerted attempt to have the U.S. Department of Justice declare results in certain states as fraudulent; and to pressure Congress and the Vice President to name President Trump the winner of the electoral college vote. It was against this backdrop that supporters of the president, some of whom were armed, invaded the United States Capitol in the most egregious attack on our constitutional process since the Civil War.

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