Almost 6,000 law school alumni and students have signed a petition calling for the disbarment of Senators Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz over their alleged roles in undermining “the peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election”.
The Republican senators, respectively representing Missouri and Texas, led efforts in the Senate on Wednesday to delay the counting of electoral votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the 3 November election.
They have been accused of using inflammatory rhetoric to rile up a pro-Trump mob, which subsequently engaged in acts of insurrection at the Capitol during the vote count.
Both senators have dismissed the allegations.
However, current students and alumni at the law schools they attended have signed onto a petition urging the bar associations of Texas, Missouri and Washington DC to begin disbarment proceedings against them.
Just two days after being posted to social media, the petition had amassed more than 5,000 signatures. The petition was started by seven third-year Yale law students.
The senators are described as being “fundamentally unfit for membership in the legal profession”, and for having “flagrantly violated some of the most elementary ethics rules” governing it.
Among those who have signed are more than one thousand members of the bar association to which the lawmakers belong.
The Washington Post reports that among those who have signed are former Senator Russ Feingold, Harvard Law professors Laurence Tribe and Michael Klarman, as well as retired appeals court judge H Lee Sarokin and former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter.
The law school students who started the petition said that they decided to take action as they did not think a condemnation of Mr Cruz and Mr Hawley was enough.
One of the students, Daniel Ki told the Post: “The senators’ actions to undermine democracy by spreading false claims of voter fraud and inciting insurrection violated the ethical and professional obligations of all members of the bar, and as aspiring lawyers, we thought it was important to speak up.”
He continued: “We decided to ask other law students and members of the bar to join in the call to begin immediate disbarment proceedings against Senators Hawley and Cruz and have been inspired and heartened by the overwhelming response.”
The New York Bar Association is reportedly also considering disbarring Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor and lawyer to the president, for his role in inflaming the crowd ahead of the assault on Congress.