New legal group aims to ‘bring sanity back to conservative lawyering,’ oppose Trump’s ‘legal excesses’

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Legal Theory

New legal group aims to ‘bring sanity back to conservative lawyering,’ oppose Trump’s ‘legal excesses’

Three op-ed authors in the New York Times said they are thankful for Trump administration lawyers who were willing to resign or be fired, “rather than advance his flagrantly unconstitutional schemes.” Image from Shutterstock.

An op-ed in the New York Times by three conservative lawyers takes issue with the conservative Federalist Society for “conspicuously” staying silent amid the “constitutional and other legal excesses” of former President Donald Trump, including his attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Enter the Society for the Rule of Law, a group formed “to bring sanity back to conservative lawyering and jurisprudence,” according to the op-ed. The authors are lawyer George T. Conway III; J. Michael Luttig, a former judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Richmond, Virginia; and former Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia.

The op-ed has gone viral, “in legal-nerd circles, at least,” according to a post at Original Jurisdiction written by Above the Law founder David Lat.

The op-ed authors said they are thankful for Trump administration lawyers who were willing to resign or be fired, “rather than advance his flagrantly unconstitutional schemes.”

“But these exceptions were notably few and far between,” they asserted. “More alarming is the growing crowd of grifters, frauds and con men willing to subvert the Constitution and long-established constitutional principles for the whims of political expediency. The actions of these conservative Republican lawyers are increasingly becoming the new normal.”

The Society for the Rule of Law was first formed in 2018 under the name Checks & Balances. The new group plans to recruit dues-paying members, inspire young lawyers, provide mentorship and career opportunities, “speak out against the endless stream of falsehoods and authoritarian legal theories” and focus on building scholarship to “counteract the new orthodoxy of anti-constitutional and anti-democratic law.”

“We have seen in recent years what the unchecked spread of wildly untrue and anti-democratic lies gets us,” the authors wrote. “We lawyers have a gift for advocacy and persuasion; we must use it.”



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