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You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about a speech given by Mario Cuomo in which he advocated that American lawyers take to the streets to march in support of the US Constitution and the rule of law in the United States. Well, things seem to be happening. We got some interesting email from Steve Fox of the American Freedom Campaign, who tells us:

Here is what is happening. For the past few weeks, I have been working with Vince Warren and Michael Ratner at the Center for Constitutional Rights and Marjorie Cohn at the National Lawyers Guild to build a "lawyers’ movement" in defense of the Constitution. (The Alliance for Justice has also joined the campaign.) The inspiration behind the effort is the situation in Pakistan and the actions lawyers have taken there to defend their Constitution. In order to protect the Constitution in this country, we are asking lawyers to band together and call on Congress to launch investigations into the numerous unconstitutional actions that have been carried out by the Bush administration

I am writing now because the group Naomi helped start with Wes Boyd, David Fenton and others, the American Freedom Campaign, is coordinating a great new project. We have dozens of law professors involved and, as the result of me seeing a posting on FDL by looseheadprop about a Mario Cuomo speech, I even approached Governor Cuomo and he is now involved.

Holy Cow! My little blog post did that? I am humbled and honored and a little flabbergasted—but in a good way.

So here’s what they have set up:

We crafted the statement below and recruited 72 prominent lawyers, including Cuomo, to be the initial signers of the statement. With the help of organizations and bloggers like you, we are now circulating the statement with the 72 names throughout the Internet so that lawyers around the country can add their names. (We have set up a page on our site so that this is simple.) In mid-December, we will release the statement publicly in some manner.

Would you like to read the statement? I got that too, just below my call to action:

I was going to say "you know what to do"—but then I thought, yes, it’s good to Digg and Spotlight it, but there is one more thing you can do that is so grassrootsy it makes my toes tingle.

Go through your email contacts. I’ll bet a nickel, that each and everyone of you know at least one lawyer. Forward the statement and the link to the signup page to every lawyer you know along with your own covering message.

Those of you who are lawyers, maybe you can get it included in your local bar association’s newsletter or blast email to members. Folks this is as retail and as grassroots as it gets. Please spread the word.

We, the undersigned lawyers in the United States, have been inspired by the many lawyers in Pakistan who have risked their own liberty and careers in an effort to preserve their nation’s freedoms.

Their courage has deepened our own resolve to defend the rule of law in our nation. As lawyers, we have both a moral and professional responsibility to preserve and defend the Constitution of the United States.

To that end, we are committed to creating a movement of lawyers in this nation dedicated to monitoring and, when appropriate, challenging the actions of our government when those actions threaten our nation’s freedoms.

As our initial act, we are issuing the following statement to the U.S. House and Senate Judiciary Committees, urging hearings into the unconstitutional and possibly criminal actions of the Bush Administration.
***

Message to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy from

American Lawyers Defending the Constitution

We are lawyers in the United States of America. As such, we have all taken an oath obligating us to defend the Constitution and the rule of law from those who would violate and subvert them, and to hold wrongdoers accountable.

We believe the Bush administration has committed numerous offenses against the Constitution and may have violated federal laws. Evidence exists that it has illegally spied on Americans, tortured and abused men and women in its direct custody, sent others to be tortured by countries like Syria and Egypt, and kept people in prison indefinitely with no chance to challenge the bases of their detention. Moreover, the administration has blatantly defied congressional subpoenas, obstructing constitutional oversight of the executive branch.

Thus, we call on House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy to launch hearings into the possibility that crimes have been committed by this administration in violation of the Constitution, federal statutes, and international treaties. We call for the investigations to go where they must, including into the offices of the President and the Vice President. Should these hearings demonstrate that laws have in fact been broken by this administration, we support all such legal and congressional actions necessary to ensure the survival of our Constitution and the nation we love.

Signed,

Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice*
Marjorie Cohn, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law, President, National Lawyers Guild*
Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights*
Vince Warren, Executive Director, Center for Constitutional Rights*

*Sponsoring organizations
*****

Richard L. Abel, Connell Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles
George J. Annas, Edward Utley Professor and Chair, Department of Health Law, Bioethics & Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health, School of Law, & School of Medicine
Fran Ansley, Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, University of Tennessee College of Law
Elvia R. Arriola, Associate Professor of Law, Northern Illinois University
Frank Askin, Professor of Law and Director, Constitutional Litigation Clinic, Rutgers Law School
Michael Avery, Professor of Law, Suffolk Law School, Past President, National Lawyers Guild
C. Edwin Baker, Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Derrick Bell, Visiting Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
Barbara L. Bezdek, Professor of Law, University of Maryland School of Law
Maria Blanco, Executive Director, Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity and Diversity, Boalt Hall Law School, University of California, Berkeley
Carolyn P. Blum, Clinical Professor of Law Emeritus, Boalt Hall Law School, University of California, Berkeley
Richard Boswell, Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Cynthia Grant Bowman, Dorothea S. Clarke Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
Richard Oliver Brooks, Professor Emeritus, Vermont Law School
Doug Cassel, Professor of Law and Director, Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre Dame Law School
Erwin Chemerinsky, Alston & Bird Professor of Law and Political Science, Duke University
Kenneth D. Chestek, Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis
Carol Chomsky, Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School
Kenneth Cloke, Director, Center for Dispute Resolution, Santa Monica, CA
Luke W. Cole, Executive Director, Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment, San Francisco, CA
Ruth Colker, Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Lois Cox, Clinical Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
The Honorable Mario Cuomo, Former Governor of New York
Constance de la Vega, Professor of Law and Academic Director of International Programs, University of San Francisco School of Law
Pamela Edwards, Professor of Law, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law
Nancy Ehrenreich, Professor of Law, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver
Peter Erlinder, Professor of Const. Criminal Law, Wm. Mitchell College of Law, Past President, National Lawyers Guild
Anthony Paul Farley, Raymond and Ella Smith Distinguished Professor of Law, Albany Law School
Martin Flaherty, Leitner Family Professor of International Human Rights and Co-Director, Leitner Center for International Law & Justice, Fordham Law School
Sally Frank, Professor of Law, Drake University
Ann L. Iijima, Vice Dean for Academic Programs, William Mitchell College of Law
Marc Galanter, John & Rylla Bosshard Professor Emeritus of Law and South Asian Studies, University of Wisconsin Law School
Phoebe A. Haddon, Professor of Law, James Beasely School of Law, Temple University
Paul Harris, Charles Garry Professor of Law, New College Of California School of Law
Kathy Hessler, Professor of Law and Associate Director, Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Conflict and Dispute Resolution, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Steven J. Heyman, Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Aziz Huq, Director, Liberty and National Security Project, Brennan Center for Justice
Eileen Kaufman, Professor of Law, Touro Law Center, Co-president, Society of American Law Teachers
Kevin Keenan, Executive Director, ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties
Walter J. Kendall, III, Professor, The John Marshall Law School
Stephen Loffredo, Professor of Law, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law
Gregory P. Magarian, Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law
Tayyab Mahmud, Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law, Co-president, Society of American Law Teachers
Wendy K. Mariner, Professor of Health Law, Bioethics, and Human Rights, Boston University School of Public Health
Vanessa Merton, Professor of Law, Pace University School of Law
Margaret Montoya, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law
Jennifer Moore, Professor of Law, University of New Mexico School of Law
Odeana R. Neal, Associate Professor, University of Baltimore School of Law
Kate O’Neill, Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Law
Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
James Gray Pope, Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Kevin G. Powers, Rodgers, Powers & Schwartz LLP, Boston, MA
William P. Quigley, Professor of Law, Loyola University New Orleans
Jamin Raskin, Professor of Law and Director of the Law and Government Program, Washington College of Law at American University
Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Professor of Legal Methods and Director, Public Interest Resource Center, Widener University School of Law
Ruthann Robson, Professor of Law & University Distinguished Professor, City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law
Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of the Law
Florence Wagman Roisman, William F. Harvey Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis
David Rudovsky, Senior Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Law School
Liz Ryan Cole, Professor of Law and Director, SiP/ESW, Vermont Law School
Herman Schwartz, Professor of Law, Washington College of Law at American University
Judith A. Scott, General Counsel, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Peter M. Shane, Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law and Director, Project on Law and Democratic Development, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University
Steven Shiffrin, Charles Frank Reavis Sr. Professor of Law, Cornell Law School
Marjorie A. Silver, Professor of Law, Touro Law Center
John Strait, Associate Professor of Law, Seattle University School of Law
Jamienne S. Studley, President, Public Advocates Inc.
Lawrence Velvel, Dean, Massachusetts School of Law
Joan Vogel, Professor of Law, Vermont Law School
Peter Weiss, President, Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, New York, NY