Indiana deans sign letter calling attack on Capitol a betrayal

The deans of two Indiana Law Schools have joined more than 150 of their colleagues from around the country in denouncing last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol as a betrayal of the Constitution’s core values.

Indiana University Maurer School of Law Dean Austen Parrish and Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Dean Karen Bravo were among the 157 deans from law schools across the United States who signed a joint statement on the 2020 election and the events at the Capitol. Also signing was Antony Page, dean of Florida International University College of Law and former vice dean at IU McKinney.

The letter, which was issued Jan. 12, highlighted the legal profession’s responsibility to adhere to the rule of law.

“…(W)e 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,” the deans wrote. “This betrayed the values of our profession.

“Our profession demands that when lawyers pursue legal action, they must bring claims in good faith, grounded in facts and evidence, and demonstrate respect for the legal system. Only then can lawyers fulfill their responsibilities as lawyers and public citizens to promote public confidence in the rule of law and the justice system — duties that extend to all professional activities, whether lawyers are representing a client or not. The rule of law is as much as touchstone of our profession as it is of our Constitution.”

One week ago, a violent mob crashed through barricades and stormed into the U.S. Capitol while a joint session of Congress was certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election. Afterward, Indiana Republican Reps. Jim Baird, Jim Banks, Greg Pence, brother of Vice President Mike Pence, and Jackie Walorski voted against one or more of the Electoral College results. Indiana Republican Sen. Mike Braun changed his mind and decided not to object after the attack, which left five people dead.

The deans concluded their statement by asking all members of the legal profession to help repair the damage to the country’s democracy.

“A sustained effort will be necessary to repair and preserve our precious democratic institutions,” the deans wrote in their statement. “As legal educators and lawyers ourselves, we must redouble our effort to restore faith in the rule of law and the ideals of the legal profession. … We call upon all members of the legal profession to join us in the vital work ahead.”

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