April 20, 2018

Nobody is Above the Law, Not Even the President

Russia Probe

by Sarah Mahmood, Stanford Law School ‘19, ACS Co-President 2017-2018 and Sophia Carrillo, Stanford Law School ‘18, ACS Co-President 2016-2017, Next Generation Leader

The weekend of January 27, 2017, we didn’t do any of our constitutional law reading. Instead, we swapped the library for the airport for a different kind of legal education. As we sat in circles on the airport floor, holding makeshift signs affirming our support for love and justice, we joined the crowd in its many choruses. And after “No bans, no walls!” came another refrain, one that reminded us of why we had applied to law school in the first place—“Thank you, lawyers!”

Punctuated by claps, the chant was a moving tribute to the lawyers who had worked all night to free those detained at the airport as a result of President Trump’s travel ban. It was a humbling moment, one that reminded us that even when it seemed like everything was falling apart, we were not helpless, but there to help put things back together—that as lawyers and law students, we had both the immense responsibility and the incredible privilege to pursue justice and uphold the rule of law.

We have written this letter to carry out that duty, which starts not with passing the bar, but on our first day in the classroom. As our elected leaders once again threaten to undermine our democracy, we instead take on the charge to protect our country. Nobody is above the law, not even the President—and as current law students and future lawyers, we promise to safeguard this founding principle of our nation.

Executive Power, Separation of Powers and Federalism