More than 15,000 lawyers have stepped up to the plate to defend this country and our Constitution from the threat of President-elect Trump’s appointee of Steve Bannon as Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. Nancy Leong, associate professor at the University of Denver law school co-authored the letter calling for Trump to “rescind his appointment of Mr. Bannon,”
Bannon, long known for his bigoted comments, is an open white supremacist. He’s anti-Semitic and a domestic abuser. While he has served as the Executive Chair of Breitbart, the fascist hate-rag has steadily churned out a stream of incendiary propaganda that features unrepentant racism, sexism, and homophobia.
The question of politics is not even at issue here—Bannon’s comments are wrong regardless of what side of the pendulum one is on. .
“Many of the signatories to the letter self-identify as conservative or libertarian,” says Leong. “Opposing the appointment of someone who has enabled white nationalism and other hate-based ideologies is not a partisan issue.”
The letter reads as follows:
As attorneys, we swore an oath to uphold the Constitution. We committed to protect the institutions upon which our democracy depends. We committed to provide zealous representation for all our clients, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic.
Mr. Bannon has demonstrated his opposition to the stable, democratic form of government that our profession embraces and strives to maintain. His words could not be more clear: “Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal, too . . . I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” This contempt for our longstanding governmental institutions has no place in a crucial leadership position.
At no point does the letter disparage Bannon’s personal views—the larger issue is that he has profited and been rewarded from promoting hate and is therefore unfit to hold a position that takes a just perspective for granted.
“It is not relevant whether Bannon himself is a white supremacist, an anti-Semite, etc.,” Leong affirms. “He has shown himself willing to profit personally from a website that encourage those ideologies (he himself has called Breitbart ‘the platform for the alt-right’). That’s more than enough to demonstrate that he shouldn’t hold a key position in the White House.”
To ensure the utmost quality in the signatures on the letter, Leong has made sure that only those who have included their bar affiliation are included. Leong will send the ever-growing list of those who want Bannon out before he begins, to Congress and Trump’s transition team this Tuesday. All additional signatures will be sent as an addendum following this date, so that the team knows the full breadth of what they’re up against.
The full letter can be read here — please share it with any lawyer you know.
Christine is an avid supporter of progressive politics. She is currently getting her Masters degree after concentrating in Gender Studies as an undergrad.