Tues 11/10: “Jones Day, Hands Off Our Ballots – Do the right thing!” Updated: 11/17

Write a comment to lawyers suing over the elections. Theirs is an unAmerican effort to destroy public confidence in our elections.

(wapo) Law is a profession, but these mega-law firms are also big businesses. Like any business, they can be held accountable by the public — and by their other customers — for how they choose to deploy their considerable resources. It’s not out of bounds to criticize those who agree to bring cases that could be so damaging to our democracy.

Of course, there is something painful and unpleasant about making life uncomfortable for someone familiar, especially a professional colleague. There is also something deeply uncomfortable about calling out someone you know for immoral conduct. But our constitutional order depends on people doing just that. Scholars have identified professional networks as important guardians of norms: Government officials and elites abide by norms in part because they fear approbation or repudiation by their professional and social networks if they do not. Yet those networks are now sending the signal that their members have nothing to fear at all—because they will never be held accountable for participating in cruel and destructive policies.” – U. of Michigan law professor Leah Litman.

The lawyers know it’s wrong. Many lawyers in these large firms know these nuisance suits are wrong, possibly sanctionable, but at the very least embarassing to their reputation, but their bosses are deeply intertwined with the Trump administration. What they are doing cannot be compared as participating in a criminal defense. But you can’t run a law office if everybody leaves.

(The Hill) “The newspaper (New York Times) interviewed several lawyers at Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, firms representing Trump’s campaign. According to the report, lawyers from the latter law firm have held meetings to voice their discomfort with what they are being tasked to do (i.e. create election lawsuits.) The Times reported that one lawyer quite his job in protest.

We know who they are.

  • Jones Day: A “Jones Day, Hands Off Our Ballots” mural has been painted in the street outside Jones Day’s office in San Francisco, a firm mired in Trumpian politics. Donald F. McGahn II, partner at the firm, served as Trump’s outside lawyer, leading recount fights in critical states in 2016. He later became Mr. Trump’s White House counsel, before returning to Jones Day. Other partners had administration roles as well – Noel Francisco became  Mr. Trump’s first solicitor general, Eric Dreiband is an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department and John M. Gore, who is helping to lead the election cases, previously served as an assistant attorney general in Mr. Trump’s Justice Department and who lied under oath.
  • Porter Wright Morris & Arthur: Well, they’ve already deleted their Twitter account. Since there’s no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, that’s the least price they should pay.

They need to be making their choices soon. (Vanity Post) “The never-Trump Republican Lincoln Project, meanwhile, told the Washington Post, that they intend to launch a half-a-million dollar campaign—with TV and digital ads—targeting Jones Day (as well as their other clients) and Porter Wright for representing the president. “I’d like to know how General Motors justifies working with a company that’s aggressively seeking to undermine the validity of a free and fair democratic election,” Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, told the Post’s Greg Sargent.” 

Tell them to do the right thing. Here are links to the corporate websites of both firms. It is easy to find the mail addresses of the folks at both this firms’ Washington DC offices. Write POLITE and respectful emails to encourage them. Walking away from a job, any job, is a big deal.

One possible script: In every critical juncture of history, history will look back to see who acted on selfish or corrupt interests and who was brave enough to do the right thing. Over at the DOJ, Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip Halpern did the right thing, publicly stating that he is “fleeing” the department over Attorney General William Barr’s “slavish obedience to Donald Trump’s will.” At Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, a colleague has already resigned to protest being associated with an unAmerican effort to undermine public confidence in our country’s elections. This is more any moral qualms you may have in defending a venal corporation. Undermining the integrity of elections is what happens in dictatorships. And the longer these nuisance lawsuits go on, the chances of right wing violence among those who won’t distinguish between legal wrangles that won’t change the outcome and a “stolen election” will increase. This is your country, too. Even if you are in a department that has nothing to do these corrupt lawsuits, you will be tarnished by your association and inaction. There are other law firms that value integrity. Take your place in history on the right side. Walk away.

Share your thoughts: If you come up with a great comment you want to share, send them to indivisibleventura@gmail.com with JONES DAY in the subject line.

Additional information that may be useful.

Update 11/13: You can’t just hack away at democracy as a tool of a political party and hope to remain anonymous anymore. We don’t care if you work both sides of the political aisle. If you take cases with no other real purpose than to undercut the public’s faith in our election system, you will be called out.

Update 11/13:  (guardian) Porter Wright Morris & Arthur firm, which brought a suit on Monday alleging that the use of mail-in ballots had created “an illegal two-tiered voting system” in the state, abruptly withdrew from that case in a memo to the court.

  • A distinction without a difference: Jones Day is trying to wiggle off the hook, with some lawyerly hair-splitting that makes no ethical difference to us heathens.
    • What they said...“Jones Day is not representing President Trump, his campaign or any affiliated party in any litigation alleging voter fraud,” the firm said. “Jones Day also is not representing any entity in any litigation challenging or contesting the results of the 2020 general election.
    • ..which is hard to square with this: Jones Day and Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, have filed four lawsuits in Pennsylvania, examining the possibility of establishing fraud took place. “The firms represent the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, which is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to ban the state from counting mail-in ballots that arrived up to three days after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3. Jones Day partner John Gore, a former Trump Justice Department official, is leading the litigation. He’s joined by Kathleen Gallagher, co-chair of Porter Wright’s election law practice.”
  • Porter Wright is directly supporting a lawsuit by Donald Trump: Another nuisance suit was filed by lawyers at Porter Wright in federal court in Pennsylvania against the Pennsylvania secretary of state and a number of county election boards, alleging that there were “irregularities” in voting across the state. We appreciate their statement that they do work for Democrats, as well, but sometimes, circumstances should force a judgement as to whether there really are good people on both sides.
  • Hmmm Do you think other clients might care about this?:
    • This is a real reputation disaster for Jones Day; both with staff and with their #Fortune500 clients, especially those with consumer brands,” Republican strategist and Trump critic Mike Murphy said in a tweet early Tuesday morning. “Do they want to be associated with key lawyers in Trump effort to destroy faith in US elections?”
    • Amid protests, the firm has had to reassure their clients that their work with Mr Trump has no bearing on their legal work on other lawsuits and issues.”
  • Hmmm… Yes, we’re sure undermining democracy will have no untoward affect on business.

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