The Boston Bar Association is appalled and deeply saddened by the violence that erupted yesterday in Washington, D.C., as Congress convened to fulfill its constitutional duty to accept the electoral votes cast in the 2020 Presidential election. The rioters did more than attack a building or a political institution. They attacked the founding premise of our democracy, the rule of law—best defined by John Adams when he wrote that ours is a “government of laws not of men.”
Yesterday’s events are a sobering reminder of how fragile this principle can be. As we turn from a chapter in our history that saw unprecedented challenges to the rule of law from officials at the highest level of our government, including personal intervention by the President in the actions of Department of Justice, baseless challenges to valid election results, and repeated attacks on the independence of the judiciary, we must continue to confront the reality that the rule of law cannot defend itself.
As lawyers, we have a special relationship to the rule of law, and a special responsibility to persuade our fellow citizens of its importance and to continue to fight to ensure that it will not only survive, but prevail. Defending and upholding the rule of law, and explaining that true democracy cannot exist in its absence, must and will remain a central focus of the Boston Bar Association.