During the 2021 Ulysses and Marguerite Schwartz Memorial Lecture, UNC School of Law Professor Michael J. Gerhardt, '82, discussed a series of presidential-congressional conflicts that were settled outside of the courts. Drawing from his experiences as special counsel to congressional leaders in these conflicts, Gerhardt, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee during President Trump's first impeachment proceeding, illuminated a number of constitutional lessons we ought to learn from these challenges.
“Our difficulty is, with the Constitution outside of the Court, that lawyers feel even freer not to comply with the very things that define their profession and ensure their integrity,” Gerhardt said to students during the lecture. “It’s all going to be up to you. Your integrity is what’s going to make a difference in terms of whether or not presidents do the wrong things or not. Somebody, not just on the outside, but people on the inside, have to be protecting as well, ensuring that the rule of law is respected. And if it’s not, then lawyers are complicit.”
A full video of the lecture can be viewed above.