New Report: Trump’s Big Lie made judiciary a target

Washington —  Former president Donald Trump and his allies targeted the judiciary in the days, weeks and months leading up to the January 6th attack, and their continued attacks on our courts and government institutions could lead to significant threats in the future, according a new report published today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Common Cause. The report analyzes specific aspects of the “Stop the Steal” movement’s targeting of the judiciary, including plans by a known white supremacist group to encourage their supporters to occupy court buildings and making direct threats toward the Supreme Court.

In the weeks after President Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 presidential election, Trump and Stop the Steal supporters attempted to illegally keep Trump in power despite his loss with a multi-pronged attack on government institutions, including the judiciary. Their targeting of the courts included: 

  • The Proud Boys’ reliance on the “1776 Returns” planning document, which called on extremists to forcibly seize and occupy the Supreme Court building and other federal buildings in Washington, D.C.  
  • Repeatedly criticizing courts and judges, prompting Trump supporters to threaten judges 
  • Hosting multiple “Stop the Steal” rallies on the steps of the Supreme Court prior to January 6th, where speakers used violent rhetoric about the Court to incite crowds. Trump supporters held three of these rallies including one the day before January 6th. 

 “There is no greater example of Donald Trump’s commitment to undermining our democracy than his and his allies’ efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of our electoral process and our courts system,” said CREW Executive Vice President Donald Sherman. “Their actions led to the violence and discord we saw leading up to and during the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. Ongoing threats of violence to the courts demand our serious attention so that they can act freely, fairly and without fear of retribution.” 

“Courts and judges play an important role in American democracy and should not have to fear violence for doing their job,” said Marilyn Carpinteyro, Common Cause interim co-president. “This report highlights why it’s so crucial that the courts and judges can enforce the law fairly and safely. Those in places of power—especially the president of the United States—have a responsibility to ensure judges can do their jobs free of intimidation.”

Click here to read the report online.  

Click here to download a PDF of the report.