Thousands of lawyers and law school alumni on Sunday signed an open letter calling for Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to be disbarred over their leading roles in the effort to undermine Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote declaring President-elect Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 race.
The two Republican lawmakers were key figures in the effort to halt the certification process last week and, by doing so, support widely debunked claims of rampant voter fraud in an election that saw Biden triumph over President Donald Trump by more than 7 million votes. A pro-Trump mob, inflamed by the president’s own statements, stormed the U.S. Capitol in an unprecedented assault on Congress, leading to at least six deaths — four riot participants and two Capitol Police officers.
“In leading the efforts to undermine the peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election, Senators Hawley and Cruz attacked the foundations of our democracy,” reads the petition, which as of 10 p.m. Sunday had been signed by more than 5,000 lawyers and law students, as well as more than 1,000 members of the Missouri and Texas bars. “Senators Hawley and Cruz directly incited the January 6th insurrection, repeating dangerous and unsubstantiated statements regarding the election and abetting the lawless behavior of President Trump.”
The petition was started by seven Yale law students, and has grown rapidly to include prominent names such as former Sen. Russ Feingold and Harvard professor Laurence Tribe, per The Washington Post.
Hawley is a graduate of Yale Law School and Cruz of Harvard Law School, and both are members in good standing of their respective state bars, as well as the District of Columbia Bar. Both have rejected assertions they contributed to the insurrection. A photo shows Hawley giving rioters a salute with a closed fist.
The senators have faced fierce criticism in recent days from a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as well as calls they resign. On Sunday, Cruz’s longtime friend, Chad Sweet, said the man “must be denounced” and said he could no longer support him.
“In particular, I made it clear to Senator Cruz, whom I have known for years, before the Joint Session of Congress, that if he proceeded to object to the Electoral count of the legitimate slates of delegates certified by the States, I could no longer support him,” Sweet wrote, saying he had to rise above part “to defend democracy.”