May 26, 2021

Legal Scholars Urge Creation of Bipartisan January 6 Commission to Ensure Security, Protect Democracy

Contact: Pablo Willis, 

 Washington, D.C.  – Leading legal and constitutional scholars from around the country have signed on to a letter urging Congress to support the creation a bipartisan independent commission to investigate the January 6 violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  

 The letter was coordinated by Peter Shane, the Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law, and the American Constitution Society. Shane is a member of the ACS’s Board of Directors and Board of Academic Advisors.  

“A January 6th Commission could provide an invaluable service to the cause of American democracyAt a time when partisanship seems to threaten the ability of people of goodwill even to settle on a common factual understanding of important events, the Commission would be well situated to develop an objective account of the facts and causes related to the January 6th attack—an account in which Americans of all parties could have confidence,” the letter states.  

 The findings of the commission would be “pivotal for ensuring the future security of the Capitol complex and its personnel, protecting the safety of our elected representatives and their staffs, and ensuring that we fortify our democratic institutions before it is too late,” according to the letter.  

 Last week, the House voted 252-175 to approve legislation to create the commission. The Senate will take up the proposal as early as Thursday. 

 The scholars' letter notes that the proposed January 6 Commission would be modeled after the 9-11 Commission, which “set the gold standard for bipartisan insight into complex national security issues, producing recommendations that made our country safer.” The proposed January 6 Commission provides for equal representation of both major parties in the composition and would require that all subpoenas be bipartisan.  

 The letter concludes: “As scholars who teach students about the importance of accountability in a functioning democracy, we regard Congress’s prompt creation of a January 6th Commission as a matter of national urgency.”  


ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that the law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at or on Twitter @acslaw