Ray Brescia Examines Lawyers’ Role in Contesting 2020 Election Results and Calls on Profession to Defend Democracy

Ray Brescia (’92), Professor of Law at Albany Law School, published a piece on the Future of Change highlighting lawyers’ special obligation to uphold the rule of law following lawsuits seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election (“When Lawyers Seek to Undermine Democracy Itself, It Requires Special Attention—And Accountability,” Aug. 30). Citing U.S. District Court Judge Linda Parker’s opinion in King v. Whitmer, Ray noted “Judge Parker found that the lawyers bringing this case did not just play fast-and-loose with the facts and the rules. Indeed, their goals went beyond winning the case. She found their actions were designed to undermine the institutions of our democracy and the rule of law itself.” The blog also pointed to Ray’s related article in Hofstra Law Review (“Lessons from the Present: Three Crises and Their Potential Impact on the Legal Profession,” Feb. 25, revised June 12) discussing the pandemic, civil-rights reckoning, and our crisis of democracy. “The litigation that ensued in the aftermath of the election, and the riot that took place at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, are the manifestations of this crisis. Since members of the legal profession advanced those lawsuits, which, in turn, likely supplied some of the fuel for the Capitol riot, the legal profession should not just take stock of the extent to which the current system’s professional norms and values may have played a role in checking this crisis, but should also recognize that that system’s failings may have helped contribute to it.”