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Law Professors Tell DC Circ. Trump Must Face Riot Suits


September 30, 2022

Constitutional law professors on Friday came out against former President Donald Trump’s bid to assert absolute immunity in three lawsuits seeking to hold him liable for the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, telling the D.C. Circuit Trump’s actions that day were more akin to a “disgruntled candidate” than president.

Six professors from Harvard Law School, the University of Michigan Law School, Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and elsewhere urged the appellate court in an amicus brief to reject Trump’s arguments that he is immune from allegations he incited the riot that left five dead, including a Capitol Police officer.

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The separation of powers principle also mandates that the D.C. Circuit affirms Judge Mehta’s ruling against Trump because the only circumstance in which the Constitution allows the president to interfere with Congress is when the two chambers can’t agree on an adjournment time, the professors added.

The professors’ arguments echoed those made in a Sept. 23 joint brief filed by the lawmakers and police officers suing Trump, in which they argued Trump crossed a line with the speech he delivered ahead of the insurrection and attempted to improperly influence an act of Congress in which the president is deliberately excluded from participating by the Constitution.

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The other lawmakers are represented by Joseph M. Sellers, Brian C. Corman and Allison Sarah Deich of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, Janette McCarthy-Wallace, Anthony P. Ashton and Anna Kathryn Barnes of the NAACP and Robert B. McDuff of the Mississippi Center for Justice.

Read the complete article on Law360.