The message to lawyers who would represent Republicans in election disputes is clear: We will come after you, so do yourself a favor and stay away.
“It’s an insidious attack on democracy when you attack the lawyers who were trying to ensure that elections are free and fair,” says Victoria Marshall at The Federalist.
She’s right, and if anything, understating it. We covered the effort to attack Republican lawyers previously, Dem Operative David Brock To Launch Attack On Republican Election Lawyers: “make them toxic in their communities and in their firms”,
The issue is even more important as we approach the November elections. Democrats are trying to deplatform the Republican legal team.
Thanks to President Biden’s epic first two years in office, all signs point to a Republican wave in the November mid-term elections. Voters are poised to hand the President and his party a slice of humble pie. But wait! Not so fast! Here comes The 65 Project.
The home page of The 65 Project ever-so nobly frames itself as “A bipartisan effort to protect democracy from abuse of the legal system by holding accountable lawyers who engage in fraudulent and malicious lawsuits to overturn legitimate election results and fuel insurrection.” Bi-partisan, huh? Actually, it is “is a dark money-fueled nonprofit tied to Democrat Party bigwigs.”
Their mission is described as follows:
“Following Biden’s victory an army of Big Lie Lawyers filed 65 lawsuits based on lies to overturn the election and give Trump a second term. While the nation’s legal institutions stood up to this attempted “coup-via-courtroom,” Trump has worked to further seize control of state and local election processes and ramp up malicious election litigation efforts — which only embolden future fraudulent legal actions aimed at overturning legitimate elections. Simultaneously, the lies and disinformation included in these lawsuits continue to give oxygen to the Big Lie, which festers in right-wing political and media circles and social media discussions and is a long-term threat to American democracy.”
Wow! “The Big Lie Lawyers” and “coup-via-courtroom” sounds like some scary stuff!
And now for the lecture portion of how they are going to save the Republic:
“Lawyers take an oath to stand as officers of the court, bound by a code of conduct and ethical requirements that do not apply to the public more broadly. They cannot uphold that duty while lying to the court or the public about the factual grounds for phoney claims. The 65 Project will work to hold accountable the lawyers who raise fraudulent claims to overturn legitimate elections results, while also creating a rule-based system to prevent future attempts and to strengthen the mechanisms for accountability and deterrence.”
The 65 Project “Filings” tab is the manifestation of the politics of personal destruction. It lists names and links to the ethics complaints filed against over 20 lawyers who The 65 Project decided to target. The undertones are hardly subtle- they are sending a message to those who dare to point out election irregularities or challenge the victory of who they want to put into office.
The goal is to prevent Republican attorneys from challenging election results in the future, including the upcoming 2022 midterms.
The message is clear: we will come after you, so do yourself a favor and stay away. Linda Kerns, a Pennsylvania attorney targeted by The 65 Project explained what happened to her: “It was all nonsense, but the average person isn’t going to know that. They did what they set out to do: They embarrassed me and got the message out to the public that this lawyer did something wrong…They want to destroy our livelihoods.” The 65 Project leaked the story to the press intentionally violating what is supposed to be a private process to protect the reputation of the attorney, and The Philadelphia Inquirer ran the story about her on its front page.
What To Do?
Jeffrey Clark, Former Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. DOJ proposes a three-part counter-attack:
“First, we need to fund, on a dollar-per-dollar basis, a Project 65 counterproject. If left unchecked, then at the least Project 65 will burden and frighten any lawyer willing to take on Republican clients. At its worst, Project 65 will go on to create lasting structural and systemic change in the American legal system. Canceling Trump-adjacent lawyers is just Brock’s starting point. The end goal is to create a reality where left-wing ideology and the legal system are one and the same. If America’s businessmen and right-leaning donors aren’t willing to step up now and fund a counter-Project of their own, then they should not be surprised if the day comes where they can’t get a lawyer either.”
Second, “Personal knowledge should be required for bar authorities to open an investigation into any Project 65 complaint….Joe Officious Intermeddler shouldn’t be able to read a Washington Post article or search state and federal election lawsuit databases and gin up carbon-copy complaints about the conduct of Trump-hired lawyers they have had no personal contact with.”
Third, “Any lawyer who participates in drafting a Project 65 bar complaint should be required, under penalty of perjury, to disclose his identity to the bar authorities where he or she files such a complaint. And the drafters of “model” bar complaints that Project 65 takes off the shelf to adapt to launch against any single lawyer should similarly not be allowed to hide in the shadows.”
Mr. Clark gives a dire warning: “Attacking the dignity of the bar will be the death knell of our Anglo-American legal system and for fair, competitive politics more generally. Project 65’s lawsuits are an assault on the principle of equal protection under the law and on the Constitution’s Petition Clause. This is a fight that patriotic Americans must win, or the United States will just be the latest example of a republic decayed into a phony, failed oligarchy.”
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