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A Joint Appeal to Protect the Rule of Law in the 2020 U.S. Elections



The following statement is issued on behalf of a diverse group of civic leaders reflecting a broad cross-section of American society. Signatories are drawn from the legal profession, private sector, higher education, philanthropy, labor, faith-based organizations, think tanks, and retired military and government service. They have come together to make a joint, nonpartisan appeal for the rule of law to be upheld during the 2020 election process. The statement calls on those in positions of public responsibility to “take all necessary measures to safeguard the election process so that all Americans can have confidence in the ultimate outcome.” It also urges all Americans “to exercise patience, civility, and restraint, so that the results of the elections can be determined in accordance with the rule of law and peacefully accepted by the American people.”




For more information or for media inquiries about this statement, please contact: press@worldjusticeproject.org



As the framers of the Declaration of Independence recognized, governments derive “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” That consent is expressed through free and fair elections and their corollary: the orderly and peaceful determination and implementation of the results. These are among the principles that stand at the heart of the rule of law under the U.S. constitutional order.

In recent weeks, concerns have been raised in various quarters about the security and integrity of the upcoming U.S. elections and the possibility that the results would not be honored. Given such concerns, it is essential that those in positions of public responsibility take all necessary measures to safeguard the election process so that all Americans can have confidence in the ultimate outcome.

We therefore call on public officials to ensure that:

  1. All who are entitled to vote are able to do so safely and securely, whether in person or through other authorized means, and without interference or intimidation;

  2. All ballots are counted in accordance with a lawful, accountable, efficient, and well-organized process;

  3. Authorized election observers enjoy adequate access to polling places and other election facilities; and

  4. Election disputes are resolved in a fair, open, and orderly way in accordance with the law.

We call on all citizens to respect the rights of free expression, media freedom, and peaceful assembly before, during, and after the election, and we call on members of the media, including social media, to exercise their important role responsibly and in accordance with professional standards of accuracy, fairness, and truthfulness.

We also call on all eligible voters to cast their vote in a timely manner, whether in person or by mail. Voters should expect that there may be delays at the polls and that it may take time — especially given the challenges posed by the pandemic — for all ballots to be counted and official results to be confirmed. Some jurisdictions may experience procedural difficulties in voting and vote tabulation. Such circumstances may give rise to litigation and public demonstrations after Election Day. We urge those in leadership positions to encourage peaceful participation in the election process and to condemn any threats or acts of violence. We also urge all Americans to exercise patience, civility, and restraint, so that the results of the elections can be determined in accordance with the rule of law and peacefully accepted by the American people.

Organizational Signatories

Alliance for Peacebuilding American Anthropological Association American Association of University Women (AAUW) American Bar Foundation American Leadership Initiative American Political Science Association American Society of International Law Association of American Law Schools Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law Chinese American Bar Association of Greater Chicago Freedom House Human Rights First Law School Admission Council McCain Institute for International Leadership NAFSA: Association of International Educators National Education Association New York Bar Foundation Transparency & Accountability Initiative T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights World Justice Project

Individual Signatories

(Organizational affiliations are for identification purposes only)

Rahmah A. Abdulaleem Executive Director, KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights

Mark D. Agrast Executive Director and Executive Vice President, American Society of International Law

Maryam Ahmad President, Chicago Bar Association

Madeleine K. Albright Former U.S. Secretary of State

Benes Z. Aldana President and CEO, The National Judicial College

Paige Alexander CEO, The Carter Center

Danielle Allen Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University

Catherine Amirfar President, American Society of International Law

Elizabeth Andersen Executive Director, World Justice Project

Dennis W. Archer Former President, American Bar Association

Aurora A. Austriaco President, National Conference of Bar Presidents

Hilarie Bass Former President, American Bar Association

David Beckmann President Emeritus, Bread for the World

John B. Bellinger, III Former Legal Adviser, U.S. Department of State

Laurel G. Bellows Former President, American Bar Association

Aileen Bhandari President, South Asian Bar Association Chicago

Sheila S. Boston President, New York City Bar Association

Paulette Brown Former President, American Bar Association

Mariann Edgar Budde Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Bob Carlson Former President, American Bar Association

Thomas Carothers Senior Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

James H. Carter Former President, American Society of International Law

Maxine Clark CEO, Clark-Fox Family Foundation

N. Lee Cooper Former President, American Bar Association

Elizabeth Cousens President and CEO, United Nations Foundation

Kenneth C. Frazier Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck

George T. French, Jr. President, Clark Atlanta University

Francis Fukuyama Senior Fellow, Stanford University

Donald Guy Generals President, Community College of Philadelphia

Tom Ginsburg Chairman, Comparative Constitutions Project & Professor, University of Chicago Law School

Kristy Gonowon President, Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area

Michael S. Greco Former President, American Bar Association

Robert Grey, Jr. Former President, American Bar Association

James Grossman American Historical Association

Paul G. Haaga, Jr. Retired

Hon. Lee H. Hamilton Former Member of Congress (IN)

John Hamre Former Deputy Secretary of Defense

Tim Hanstad CEO, Chandler Foundation

Stephen Heintz President and CEO, Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Reid Hoffman Co-Founder, LinkedIn & Partner, Greylock

William C. Hubbard Chair of the Board of Directors, World Justice Project & Former President, American Bar Association

R. William Ide Former President, American Bar Association

Rabbi Nancy Kasten Chief Relationship Officer, Faith Commons

Scott M. Karson President, New York State Bar Association

Robert O. Keohane Professor Emeritus of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Nannerl O. Keohane President Emerita, Wellesley College and Duke University

Stephen King CEO, Luminate

Linda Klein Former President, American Bar Association

Larry Kramer President, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation

Mike Kubzansky CEO, Omidyar Network

Carolyn Lamm Former President, American Bar Association & Former President, The DC Bar

Eli Lehrer President, R Street

Steven J. Lepper Major General, USAF (Ret.)

Ed Liebow Executive Director, American Anthropological Association

Nancy Lindborg President and CEO, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Eric Liu CEO, Citizen University

Robert Malley President and CEO, International Crisis Group

Rev. Dr. George A. Mason President, Faith Commons

Karen J. Mathis Former President, American Bar Association

Ajay K. Mehrotra Executive Director and Research Professor, American Bar Foundation

Sarah E. Mendelson Former U.S. Ambassador to UN ECOSOC

Dale Minami Senior Counsel, Minami Tamaki LLP

Alberto Mora Former General Counsel, U.S. Navy

James A. R. Nafziger Thomas B. Stoel Professor of Law and Director of International Programs, Willamette University College of Law

William H. Neukom Founder and CEO, World Justice Project & Former President, American Bar Association

Michael A. Nutter Former Mayor, City of Philadelphia

Joseph S. Nye, Jr. University Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, Harvard University

Eileen M. O’Connor Senior Vice President, The Rockefeller Foundation

Stewart Patrick Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Anthony F. Pipa Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Rebecca Pringle President, National Education Association

Robert D. Putnam Research Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Roberta Cooper Ramo Former President, American Bar Association

Rip Rapson President and CEO, The Kresge Foundation

Lucy Reed Former President, American Society of International Law

Susan Reichle President and CEO, International Youth Foundation

Richard W. Riley U.S. Secretary of Education 1993–2001 & Honorary Chair, World Justice Project

Melissa Rogers Former Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director, White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Lesley F. Rosenthal President, New York Bar Foundation

Theodore Ruger Dean, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School

Rabbi David Saperstein U.S. Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom (Ret.)

Kim Lane Scheppele Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Sociology and International Affairs, Princeton University & Past-President, Law and Society Association 2019–2020

Mark Schneider General Counsel, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, an AFL-CIO chapter

Dr. Rajiv Shah President, The Rockefeller Foundation

James R. Silkenat Former President, American Bar Association

Mariko Silver President and CEO, Henry Luce Foundation

Anne-Marie Slaughter CEO, New America

Brad Smith President, Microsoft Corporation

Alan D. Solomont Dean, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University & Former U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra (Ret.)

Rev. Adam Russell Taylor Acting President and President Elect, Sojourners

Richard Trumka President, American Federation of Labor & Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Darren Walker President, The Ford Foundation

Jim Wallis Founder, Sojourners

Hon. William H. Webster Former Director of the FBI and the CIA

H. Thomas Wells, Jr. Former President, American Bar Association

Ridgway H. White President, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner President, Skinner Leadership Institute

Stephen N. Zack Former President, American Bar Association & Former President, The Florida Bar

(Signatories current as of 10/28/2020)

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