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‘Failed House vote a continued articulation of the antidemocratic activity of Jan. 6’

Northwestern faculty can discuss Jan. 6 anniversary and fallout

After multiple rounds of voting today (Jan. 3), Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had not yet been able to secure the majority required to become the Speaker of the House, highlighting the rift between traditional and hard-right Republican lawmakers that widened during the Trump presidency and post-presidency.

As the second anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol approaches, House Republicans’ inability to quickly coalesce on a leadership choice underscores the renewed boldness of hard-right members of the party just weeks after the outgoing Congress’s Jan. 6 committee recommended four charges against former President Donald Trump for his role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election and fomenting the violence at the U.S. Capitol two years ago.

Northwestern faculty from the Pritzker School of Law and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences are available to share their expertise on the fallout from Jan. 6 and developing news around the Speaker of the House role and federal charge referrals. 

Kathleen Belew is an associate professor of history at Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences where she teaches courses in American history and the history of violence. She is author of “Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America.” She can be reached by contacting Stephanie Kulke at 

Quote from Professor Belew

“The struggle in the House vote is a continued articulation of anti-democracy activity that showed its more militant side on Jan. 6 — these two movements, extremist power grabs in the House and literal power grabs by militant groups, are part of the same wave of activity.” 

Andrew Koppelman is the John Paul Stevens Professor of Law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. He is an expert on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. He can be reached by contacting Max Witynski at 

Quote from Professor Koppelman

“The fundamental idea of constitutional law is that even the highest public officials can’t break the law with impunity. The criminal referral of Trump vindicates that idea. America is not a monarchy.”

James Druckman is the Payson S. Wild Professor of Political Science in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and associate director of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern. He is a researcher for the COVID States Project and the Strengthening Democracy Challenge. He can be reached at

Quote from Professor Druckman

“Although we didn’t have direct data from those projects [COVID States and Strengthening Democracy], my reading of the survey data suggests this reflects a country that is moving in a sympathetic direction.

“The [Jan. 6 committee] recommendations come as voters, for the first time, since the 2020 elections, are expressing more confidence in elections and democracy. Partisans from both sides also have become increasingly suspicious of some of former President Trump’s behaviors (e.g., the taking of classified documents to Mar-a-Lago). Whether this shift in public attitudes emboldens the Department of Justice to move forward remains to be seen, however.”

Kevin Boyle is the William Mason Smith Professor of American History. His focus areas include economic and labor history, African Diaspora and African American history and legal and criminal history. He is the author of “The Shattering: America in the 1960s” (W.W. Norton, 2021) and was a Pulitzer finalist for “The Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age.” He can be reached at or by contacting Stephanie Kulke at

Quote from Professor Boyle

“At its final session, the Jan. 6 committee played a video of Donald Trump’s longtime aide Hope Hicks describing a conversation she had with the president in the tumultuous days after the 2020 election. She tried to warn him, she said, that his manic response to his defeat would destroy his legacy. He brushed her off with the toxic mix of bravado and insecurity that defines his sense of the world. ‘Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose,’ he told her. ‘The only thing that matters is winning.’

“There was the deepest danger that the Jan. 6 committee exposed. Not the president’s wild claims, his chaotic plotting, or his calls to violence, but his belief that politics is nothing more than a blood sport, to be pursued by any means necessary. And if democratic processes stand in the way of victory, then democracy be damned — as it still may be, if we don’t purge that poisonous idea from our public life once and for all.”

Alvin B. Tillery Jr. is a professor of political science and director of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy. His research and teaching interests are in the fields of American politics and political theory. His research focuses on American political development, racial and ethnic politics and media and politics. He can be reached at or by calling Stephanie Kulke at 847-491-4819.

Quote from Professor Tillery

“The conclusion of the Jan. 6th committee with the referral of former President Trump, who was twice impeached by Congress, to the Department of Justice for prosecution for four crimes is a watershed moment in American history. [Nevertheless], I was struck by what the committee left on the table with their decisions not to refer the sitting members of Congress who participated in the coup attempt and activists like Ginni Thomas, the wife of Clarence Thomas, who is a sitting associate Justice on the Supreme Court.

“While it may be difficult to get prosecutions of these figures, the country would certainly have benefitted from a robust national discussion of their roles. As it now stands, the committee’s work will isolate the head of the movement, Mr. Trump, but leave the most dangerous field generals of the insurrection in place to continue to sow discord and threaten the integrity of future elections.”

Juliet Sorensen is a clinical professor of law at Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law. She is an expert on legal ethics, corruption and human rights and can discuss legal questions relating to ongoing investigations by the Department of Justice against the former president and how the Department’s actions may be impacted by the committee’s criminal referral. She can be reached by contacting Max Witynski at