Pepperdine Caruso School of Law’s Chapter of the American Constitution Society Unites Student Organizations and Professors for Conversation on Insurrection and Impeachment
"United We Stand, Divided We Fall." That was the motto of the Pepperdine Caruso School of Law chapter of the American Constitution Society (ACS) as they worked to bring together students to process the events of January 6 at the U.S. Capitol and subsequent impeachment proceedings. On February 8, the ACS student leaders held the first event in their "Unity Under Democracy" series, in which members of the Pepperdine community were invited to come together to discuss the crises and divisions facing our nation.
Pepperdine ACS President Marielle Sider and Programming Chair Cooper McHatton spearheaded the discussion, inviting all Caruso Law student organizations to participate, and assembling a panel that included Professors Colleen Graffy, Barry McDonald, Chris Goodman, Mark Scarberry, and Edward Larson to answer and discuss the hard questions on the minds of Caruso Law students. With ACS at the helm, the event was co-sponsored by the Black Law Students Association, the Christian Legal Society, the Criminal Law Society, the First Generation Law Student Association, the International Law Society, the Multicultural Law Coalition, the National Latinx Law Student Association, the National Lawyers Guild, Students for Reproductive Justice, and the Women's Legal Association. A representative from each organization joined the newly formed "Unity Under Democracy Committee" to propose and discuss possible legal and historical questions for the panelists, with an emphasis on representing beliefs across the political spectrum.
The event received a great response from those who participated in the difficult discussion. As the professors discussed the sobering realities of our divisions and the constitutionality of impeaching a former U.S. president, the student body worked to stand united in a bipartisan manner while acknowledging present realities and injustices. Vice Dean Naomi Goodno emailed the organizers and panelists afterwards, stating that "[y]our work and willingness to discuss hard issues embody the essence of what makes this place so special."
As the Unity Under Democracy Committee discusses opportunities for future events, the students remain cognizant of the deep divisions in their community and country as a whole. As Professor Goodman stated during the event, "Ugliness in the darkness has a tendency to swell, to grow, to multiply even. That said, you can't keep beating someone over the head with their mistakes, it won't help everyone grow."