Events

Heaven Chee Moderating “A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Our Professional Responsibility to Safeguard the Rule of Law” Panel Discussion − February 25, 2021

"A Republic, If You Can Keep It: Our Professional Responsibility to Safeguard the Rule of Law”

Thursday, February 25, 2021 | 7:15 - 8:15 pm CST
1 hour of Texas CLE and 0.5 hours of Ethics Credit is pending for this event

Heaven Chee, Moderator   Yetter Coleman LLP
Angela Onwuachi-Willig — Dean and Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
Nadine Strossen —  John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law, Emerita, New York Law School; former President of the American Civil Liberties Union
Don Tamaki —  Partner, Minami Tamaki LLP; former attorney to Fred Korematsu
Stephen Vladeck —  Charles Alan Wright Chair In Federal Courts, University of Texas School of Law; Member, ACS Board of Academic Advisors

Register to attend

The program will be centered around the HBO documentary of Jon Meacham's book The Soul of America- The Battle for Our Better Angels and the January 6 attack on our nation's Capitol. The HBO documentary focuses on Meacham’s analysis of the country’s recent legal and political crises in light of many previous instances of division (including women’s suffrage, Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, McCarthyism, Japanese American incarceration, among others). Registrants will receive information on how to screen the film and will be invited to join us for a panel discussion with respected legal scholars and practitioners to discuss the role that the law (and lawyers) played in past crises and division and how they can pave the way for “better angels” to prevail to build a more antiracist society and an America that lives up to its ideals.

The January 6 attack on our nation's Capitol forcefully demonstrated that Benjamin Franklin's legendary reply to a woman's question after the 1787 Constitutional Convention, "what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?", was no mere witticism. Hamilton and Madison warned in their writings championing ratification of the Constitution they helped draft that past republics had ended in turbulence and tyranny. Franklin was being candid: The delegates had given the American people a republic if they – we -  can keep it.

President George Washington spoke directly to this in his Inaugural Address of 1789 when he proclaimed that, “ . . . the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people."

We are the trustees of that experiment today. The events of January 6 show that this experiment is under attack. Franklin’s and Washington’s words are directed to us today: We have been entrusted with a republic if we can keep it.