Democratic Member Seeks To Disbar Two Dozen Lawyers Challenging Election Results

We have been discussing the campaign of harassment and threats against Republican lawyers to get them to drop election challenges. New Jersey Democratic Rep. Bill Pascrell expanded that campaign this week with a malicious and frivolous demand for New York and other states to disbar roughly two dozen lawyers for representing Trump, the Republican party, or the Trump campaign in the litigation.  While Democratic members and the media discuss attacks on democracy and the rule of law, they appear to have little problem with campaigns to threaten and harass both lawyers and legislators for raising questions about the election.


Such calls have become common place. Indeed, during the impeachment trial of President Trump, North Carolina Law Professor Michael Gerhardt predicted that the entire Trump legal team would be disbarred after their representation of the President.

Many of us criticized Rudy Giuliani for his performance in this litigation, particularly the controversial press conference held last week. Indeed, I have previously criticized Giuliani for his public comments and allegations. However, Pascrell wants Giuliani disbarred specifically for filing these legal actions as well as a host of other lawyers.

Pascrell wrote to the Grievance Committee for three New York Judicial Districts that “Mr. Giuliani has participated in the filing of a series of absurd lawsuits seeking to overturn the will of the voters … and has caused irreversible damage to the public trust in the fair administration of our elections.” Pascrell claimed that filing the cases constitutes “clear” evident that he was violating the state’s Rules of Professional Misconduct that prohibit “dishonesty, fraud, deceit” and “misrepresentations.”

The letters to various state bar associations seems to go out of its way to self-identify as a vicious attack on any lawyers who do not yield to demands that they remove themselves from any election challenges:

“The pattern of behavior by these individuals to effectuate Mr. Trump’s sinister arson is a danger not just to our legal system but is also unprecedented in our national life. In carrying out that perversion, they have clearly violated the … Rules of Professional Conduct they swore to uphold and should face the severest sanction your body can mete out: revocation of their law licensures. The holding of a law license is a sacred responsibility. You have an opportunity here to make a powerful statement in support of our democracy and deter future charlatans and miscreants from warping our legal and political
systems for their own profit.”

As I have previously discussed, it is a familiar campaign that is unfolding without objections from most media figures, lawyers, or law professors. Indeed, this is a campaign that has been led by lawyers against lawyers.

Groups like the Lincoln Project targeted law firms and launched a campaign to force lawyers to abandon Trump or his campaign as a client. This effort resulted in Twitter blocking the Lincoln Project for targeting individual Trump lawyers in a tweet (accompanied by a skull-and-crossbones emoji) that was deemed threatening and abusive. That only seemed to thrill the Lincoln Project. It reportedly joined Democrats in targeting law firms like Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur and threatening its lawyers with professional ruin. It claimed that any firm working for Trump on election litigation was part of a “dangerous attack on our democracy.” Trying to strip people of their counsel, of course, is the real attack on our democracy — and it worked: The firm buckled and withdrew, saying the pressure caused internal struggles and at least one lawyer’s resignation.

At the same time, Democratic leaders like Michigan’s Attorney General  Dana Nessel have threatened criminal prosecution against those who have posted videos alleging voting fraud and even threatened possible prosecution of legislators who meet with President Trump or raise challenges to the election results.  The media is virtually silent on these threats to coerce lawyers and legislators into silence. That is not viewed as a threat to the rule of law.  The threats against lawyers follows a pattern where Democratic members are calling for blacklists and others denounce any questioning of the Biden victory as akin to “Holocaust denial.” I spoke last week to Republican lawyers who described death threats, doxxing, and continual harassment for their representation in these lawsuits. The message is that if you represent the wrong side you will be denounced, doxxed, and disbarred.

Pascrell is not alone in calling for such bar actions as a new way to pressuring Republican lawyers, particularly after the dismissal of the Pennsylvania lawsuit a couple days ago. However, while the court offered a scathing analysis of the claims, it also found that the individual voters had “adequately pled that their votes were denied” and might be entitled to other relief. However, the court balked at the notion of negating the votes of others in response to such alleged voting errors.  That is not the type of ruling that leads to suspension, let alone disbarment. While the court slammed the Trump campaign on its legal claims, it did not impose sanctions against the lawyers. I agree with the court’s conclusion and I have been critical of claims in some of these lawsuits as facially insufficient to block certification. However, that does not mean that these voters — or their lawyers — should be barred or punished in seeking judicial review.

What Pascrell is doing is undermining our legal system by using his office to advance a campaign targeting lawyers and legislators who raise objections to his party prevailing in the presidential election. As with the Lincoln Project’s campaign, this is raw retaliation and intimidation to deter the use of our legal process. When such actions were taken against lawyers representing civil rights groups and others in the 1960s, it was correctly denounced as an outrageous abuse of our legal system. Now that Republican lawyers are being targeted, it has become a campaign supported members of Congress, thousands of lawyers, and the media.

What Pascrell is doing is a dangerous form of demagoguery that should be denounced by people of good-faith regardless of their political affiliations.


309 thoughts on “Democratic Member Seeks To Disbar Two Dozen Lawyers Challenging Election Results”

  1. It seems that the left is creating a new oppressed group with their continued threats. I wonder how history will treat them once the McCarthyism period of the elite is over with?

      1. What happened to alan Dershowitz a life long Democrat and liberal is now happening to Turley on this blog. Same actions from mindless reptiles.

        1. O.J. Dershowitz, the guy who took millions to trash the LAPD and get a killer off?
          The same one who flew on Epstein’s aircraft to the island?
          THAT Dershowitz?

    1. “how does Jonathan Turley still have a job at GW? He’s a disgrace…”
      Typical of the left. They can’t answer arguments, so they try to cancel the person they disagree with.

  2. Sidney Powell is another matter. Her comments at the presser last week were over the line and probably in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Probably worthy of at least a public reprimand.

    1. Which comment and why?

      Her duty is to represent her client. I guess you don’t understand what duty and responsibility are.

  3. Jonathan: Any attorneys who have represented el caudillo Trump in his 34 spurious and unsuccessful court challenges to the election should not be disbarred but should be required in future court appearances to wear signs on their backs that read: “I am one of the attorneys who represented Mad King Trump in his attempt to steal the 2020 election”. This should include Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, et. al., who disgraced themselves and the legal profession by filing lawsuits they knew they could not win. Giuliani’s befuddled appearance before Judge Matthew Brann in Pennsylvania was noteworthy because he confused Brann for another judge in a separate district and then falsely claimed it was illegal in Pennsylvania to assist voters in correcting their ballots. He didn’t even know the law. No wonder Judge Brann threw him out of court. If that was not bad enough Sidney Powell, one of the attorneys on Giuliani’s legal team until she went off the reservation, also showed her legal incompetence by claiming in an unspooled conspiracy theory that voting software used by Georgia was created at the direction of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez . She also falsely claimed votes for Trump were intentionality switched by Democrats for Biden.

    Trump’s legal team is a embarrassment for the nation and the legal profession. The real tragedy is that legal and constitutional scholars like you would choose to defend attorneys who will sell their souls to defend a Banana Republic wannabe dictator who would overturn the will of the American people just to stay in power..

    1. Dennis,

      I’m not sure if you wrote your post in jest or honestly believe that Trump’s lawyers are disingenuous in their legal arguments.
      I would have to argue that the judge sees the only cure is to remove the vote from others because of the acts which disenfranchised some of the voters.

      The reality is that the actions taken in PA taint the election for all. There is no integrity in the vote count.
      So the cure would be to toss those votes in the counties where the illegal acts occurred.

      Of course removing those totals would give Trump the state based on the other counties.
      If that doesn’t satisfy you… then toss the entire state and not award either candidate PA’s electoral votes.

      If you look at the other legal challenges and if they were successful in their arguments, then neither candidate could reach 270.
      It goes to the House and Senate for POTUS and VP selection. (Trump should win that which would force you to cry foul.)

      The sad truth… this corruption of our election process has been in the making for years.

      Trump’s lawyers are making their arguments.
      In the end, I suspect some of these arguments will be heard by SCOTUS and that’s where it will be decided.

      Too many anomalies which can’t be explained along with too many affidavits from eye witnesses that also need to be addressed for this to go away quietly.

  4. What is evident from the several letters – which are exact copies of one another changing only the recipient State Disciplinary Authorities and names of the targeted lawyers – is that they weren’t really written for their recipients. (The cases are different in the different States and each poses different questions of law and fact). Pascrell simultaneously tweeted his news release out and provided hyperlinks to the letters hosted on Google docs. The intended audience is the partisans in the Press, left wing activists, and assorted crazies who will take the identities of the lawyers and embark on a campaign of harassment. It’s entirely foreseeable that some crazies might take Pascrell’s hyperbole at face value and physically harm the attorneys and/or their families.

    1. The cases are different and fall under the various Attorney regulation regimes of the several noted States, but in any event Rule 11 contemplates monetary or directive sanctions to abate or deter, not censure or disbarment. Attorney dishonesty meriting disbarment is usually limited to, for example, fabricating evidence, criminal conviction for perjury or stealing from a client. It is not an all-purpose accusation to be thrown at attorneys who represent clients that Bill Pascrell finds noxious, imputing his own perception and opinions of the client onto counsel.

  5. “dishonesty, fraud, deceit”

    Just more dishonest, fraudulent, and deceitful, guilty dogs, barking.

    If Bill Pascrell and the rest of his cohorts had nothing to hide they would welcome any and all investigations.

    That’s what innocent people who have nothing to feel guilty about do. Whereas guilty actors do everything they can to stop any and all inquiry, while simultaneously accusing the investigators of that which they know they are guilty of doing.

    Pascrell is a child in a grown mans body.

    1. It is not incumbent upon a litigant to begin a case only if he is in possession of all of the evidence sufficient to prove the case at trial. The gathering of evidence is what Discovery is intended to permit. The failure of public officials charged with administering an election and the counting of votes to observe statutory requirements ensuring election integrity is a sufficient basis for the initiation of a lawsuit and the subsequent gathering of evidence.

  6. I was drafted as Deputy Foreperson on a federal criminal grand jury in 2006, and experienced for myself the corruption of it by Bush crooked politicians.

  7. ” When such actions were taken against lawyers representing civil rights groups and others in the 1960s, it was correctly denounced as an outrageous abuse of our legal system. Now that Republican lawyers are being targeted, it has become a campaign supported members of Congress, thousands of lawyers, and the media.”

    A fair number of those civil rights lawyers in the 60’s were GOP. And nearly all of abusers then were Dems, as now.

      1. The race issue followed politics, not parties, as conservatives versus liberals. The Democrats kicked the segregationists out of their party, so they went to TrickyDick Nixon and the Republicans, where they squat to this day.

      2. “Because the parties have switched on race…. but maybe you missed that in US history.”
        Please inform Senator Tim Scott (R, SC) that the parties have switched on race. Scott has been elected twice to the US Senate in South Carolina, The Cradle of the Confederacy, where the the electorate is about 65% white. Racist Democrats call Scott a race traitor and Uncle Tom. Democrats still think Blacks are their property, at least politically, and insult any who want to leave the Democrats’ plantation.

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