A petition circulating among lawyers and law students calling for the disbarment of Republican Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz for their roles in inciting last week's deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol has received more than 7,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon, including over 1,000 members of the Missouri and Texas bar associations.
"In leading the efforts to undermine the peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election, Sens. Hawley [Mo.] and Cruz [Texas] attacked the foundations of our democracy," the petition reads. "Hawley and Cruz directly incited the January 6th insurrection, repeating dangerous and unsubstantiated statements regarding the election and abetting the lawless behavior of President [Donald] Trump."
"In leading the efforts to undermine the peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election, Sens. Hawley and Cruz attacked the foundations of our democracy."
—Lawyers' and law students' petition
"A violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol," the petition continues. "Five people have died. The nation and the world watched as rioters took over the very halls and chambers that embody our democracy."
"Yet after the violence and terror of the day's events, Sens. Hawley and Cruz still chose to stand in the chamber of the U.S. Senate and persist in their baseless objections to the will of the people," it adds.
The Washington Post reports prominent signatories of the petition include former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe, a professor at Harvard Law School, Cruz's alma mater.
In less than 72 hours, thousands of lawyers and law students have called for the disbarment of Sens. Hawley and Cruz.
Lawyers—even U.S. Senators—must defend our democracy, not sabotage it. Join the movement, sign the petition, and share widely.https://t.co/mYcXJ2VWhh
— Daniel Ki (@danielrki) January 10, 2021
The petition was started by seven students at Yale Law School, where Hawley earned his juris doctorate. One of the students, Daniel Ki, told the Post that "we thought it was important to speak up."
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"We decided to ask other law students and members of the bar to join in the call to begin immediate disbarment proceedings against Sens. Hawley and Cruz and have been inspired and heartened by the overwhelming response," said Ki.
The petition follows calls by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Chris Coons (Del.), Patty Murray (Wash.), and Ron Wyden (Ore.) for Hawley and Cruz to step down. Murray on Friday accused the pair of having "broken their oath of office."
Even Republicans have strongly condemned the senators, with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) on Sunday calling them "complicit in the big lie" that the 2020 presidential election was "stolen" or plagued with "widespread fraud." Toomey, however, stopped short of calling on the senators to resign.
Across the nation, people still reeling from what they saw unfold last week on live television joined in the chorus of condemnation of the senators and demanded their immediate resignation. Several hundred protesters braved subfreezing temperatures and the Covid-19 pandemic to take to the streets of downtown St. Louis on Saturday, chanting, "No Hawley. No KKK. No fascist USA" and painting "RESIGN HAWLEY" in the street in front of the historic Old Courthouse.
— St. Louis Post-Dispatch (@stltoday) January 10, 2021
The petition comes as the House of Representatives on Monday moved closer to impeaching Trump for inciting insurrection after Republican lawmakers blocked a House resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
The vice president—who was apparently marked by some of the Capitol insurrectionists for possible execution due to his perceived disloyalty to Trump—has given no indication that he would consider such a constitutional remedy.