The First Thing We Do is Praise (Certain) Lawyers

Dick the Butcher in Henry VI, part II, act IV, Scene II, Line 73 explains the necessary first step to seizing power illegally.

Trump really did attempt a coup.

Mr. Rosen, Mr. Donoghue and Mr. Pak — all Republicans — testified that Mr. Trump was not seeking their legal advice, but strong-arming them to violate their oaths of office, undermine the results of the election and subvert the Constitution.

What stopped him?  Two things: 1) Lawyers with a basic core of ethics that required fidelity to bedrock democratic values;  and 2) the general incompetence of the plotters (cf. events of Jan 6, 2020).

I believe this has important implications for how we teach law students.  More discussion of (or paeans to?) the values of the rule of law in a democratic society may be in order.  At least until the Supreme Court makes ashes of it in our mouths, at which point…what?…Edward Luttwak?

Required note for the overly literal: Luttwak’s book, written in the guise of a how-to, is actually a scholarly analysis of how coups happen.

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One Response to The First Thing We Do is Praise (Certain) Lawyers

  1. C.E. Petit says:

    One must also remember the context of the Shakespearean quotation: It’s from the mouth of a proponent of tyranny/usurpation, seeking to hamstring the opposition in advance. And the point there is that it’s complicated, not unambiguous.

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