In the days following the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the United States Capitol, deans from law schools across the country condemned the violent attack in an open letter. Conversations between legal scholars coalesced around a theme: “Without lawyers—what they are charged to do and the constitutional oath they take—we have no democracy,” as Dean Anthony Crowell told Reuters.
The conversations continued, and Dean Crowell and 13 other law school deans, thanks to the great leadership of Villanova Law Dean Mark Alexander, came together to write a book grappling with the events from a legal perspective. Beyond Imagination? The January 6 Insurrection provides a roadmap to collective action and highlights “the roles of lawyers in promoting truth and respecting the rule of law are not only valuable, but they are fundamental to the preservation of our democracy,” as Dean Crowell writes in his chapter, “Civic Anemia: Law Schools Should Give Boosters to Counter Its Effects.”
Dean Crowell’s chapter examines the state of civics education in American schools. In the face of eroding civics education, he argues that law schools must reimagine and play a stronger role in civics education for new law students and the legal profession. He asserts that law schools must play a role in educating their students and the public to “make reasoned and accurate judgments about government processes and policies, and thus be able to discern fact from fiction, and truth from treachery.” The book’s other chapters are explorations of electoral politics, racism, leadership, and the unique role law schools play in upholding democracy.