We discussed the campaign of harassment and threats against Republican attorneys to get them to drop election challenges. New Jersey Democratic MP Bill Pascrell expanded that campaign this week with a malicious and reckless request to New York and other states to remove about two dozen attorneys representing Trump, the Republican Party, or the Trump campaign from the litigation . While democratic members and the media discuss attacks on democracy and the rule of law, they seem to have little problem with campaigning to threaten and harass both lawyers and lawmakers for raising questions about the election.
Many of us criticized Rudy Giuliani for his performance in this litigation, particularly for the controversial press conference that took place last week. In fact, I have previously criticized Giuliani for his public comments and allegations. However, Pascrell would like Giuliani to be excluded specifically for filing these litigation as well as for a variety of other attorneys.
Pascrell wrote to the Appeals Board for three New York Courts, “Mr. Giuliani has participated in a series of absurd lawsuits aimed at overturning the will of voters … and irreversibly damaged public confidence in the fair administration of our elections. Pascrell alleged that the filing of the cases was “clear” which was evident that he was violating the state’s professional misconduct rules which prohibit “dishonesty, fraud, deception” and “misrepresentation”.
The letters to various state bar associations seem to go out of their way to identify themselves as a vicious attack on lawyers who refuse to give in to demands to move away from any election challenges:
“The pattern of behavior of these individuals in setting up the sinister arson of Mr. Trump is not only a threat to our legal system but also unprecedented in our national life. In performing this perversion, they have clearly broken the … professional rules they were trying to abide by and should face the toughest sanction your body can impose: revoking their statutory licenses. Holding a legal license is a sacred responsibility. You have an opportunity here to make a strong statement in support of our democracy and prevent future charlatans and villains from distorting our legal and political aspects
Systems for their own profit. “
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a familiar campaign that evolves without objection from most media outlets, lawyers, or law professors. Indeed, this is a lawyer-against-lawyer campaign.
Groups like the Lincoln Project turned against law firms and launched a campaign to force lawyers to abandon Trump or his campaign as a client. These efforts resulted in Twitter blocking the Lincoln Project to target individual Trump attorneys in a tweet (accompanied by an emoji with a skull and crossbones) that was classified as threatening and abusive. That only seemed to excite the Lincoln Project. She reportedly targeted law firms like Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur along with Democrats and threatened their lawyers with professional ruin. It has been claimed that any company that works for Trump in election disputes is part of a “dangerous attack on our democracy”. The attempt to deprive people of their legal aid is of course the real attack on our democracy – and it worked: the law firm collapsed and withdrew. The pressure caused internal fighting and the resignation of at least one lawyer.
At the same time, Democratic leaders like Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel have threatened criminal prosecution of those who posted videos alleging election fraud and even threatened possible prosecution of lawmakers who meet with President Trump or question the election results . The media is virtually silent about these threats to silence lawyers and lawmakers. This is not seen as a threat to the rule of law. The threats against lawyers follow a pattern in which Democratic members demand black lists and others denounce any questioning of the Biden victory as “Holocaust denial”. I spoke to Republican attorneys last week who described death threats, doxxing, and constant harassment for representing them in these lawsuits. The news is that if you represent the wrong side, you will be denounced, doxxed, and disfellowshipped.
Pascrell isn’t the only one calling for such legal suits as a new way to put pressure on Republican attorneys, especially after the Pennsylvania lawsuit was dismissed a few days ago. While offering a damning analysis of the claims, the court also found that individual voters had “reasonable promises that their votes would be denied” and may be eligible for other relief. However, the court disagreed with the idea of negating the votes of others in response to such alleged voting errors. This is not the type of decision that leads to suspension, let alone banning. While the court criticized the Trump campaign for its legal claims, it did not impose any sanctions on the lawyers. I agree with the court’s conclusion and have found claims in some of these lawsuits inadequate to block certification. However, this does not mean that these voters – or their lawyers – should be disfellowshipped or penalized when seeking judicial review.
What Pascrell is doing is undermining our legal system by using his office to drive a campaign against attorneys and lawmakers who object to his party, which dominates the presidential election. As with the Lincoln Project campaign, this is raw retaliation and intimidation to prevent the use of our legal process. When such action was taken against lawyers representing civil rights groups and others in the 1960s, it was rightly labeled an outrageous abuse of our legal system. Now that Republican lawyers are being targeted, it has become a campaign that supports members of Congress, thousands of lawyers, and the media.
What Pascrell does is a dangerous form of demagoguery that should be denounced by people in good faith regardless of political affiliation.