Today, 157 law school deans from schools across the country, including University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Dean Theodore Ruger, published a statement addressing the 2020 election and the events that took place at the United States Capitol last week.
The statement marks a rare occasion. It is unusual for such a diverse group of law deans to come together to speak as one on an issue that falls outside the ambit of legal education.
“The violent attack on the Capitol was an assault on our democracy and the rule of law,” reads the statement. “The effort to disrupt the certification of a free and fair election was a betrayal of the core values that undergird our Constitution. Lives were lost, the seat of our democracy was desecrated, and our country was shamed.”
The joint statement goes on to reflect upon the roles that lawyers played in recent events and affirm the deans’ commitment to working together to repair the damage to democratic institutions and rebuild faith in the rule of law.
“Many lawyers and judges worked honestly and in good faith, often in the face of considerable political pressure, to ensure the 2020 election was free and fair. However, we recognize with dismay and sorrow that some lawyers challenged the outcome of the election with claims that they did not support with facts or evidence. This betrayed the values of our profession.”
The deans conclude with a call to action.
“As legal educators and lawyers ourselves, we must redouble our efforts to restore faith in the rule of law and the ideals of the legal profession. We have enormous faith in the law’s enduring values and in our students, who will soon lead this profession. We call upon all members of the legal profession to join us in the vital work ahead.”
To read the full statement and see the list of signatories, please click here.