US Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, who went to Harvard Law School, and Josh Hawley of Missouri, who went to Yale Law School, are being condemned in online petitions by hundreds of fellow alumni for their last-ditch plan to block Joe Biden from becoming president.
The Republican senators are planning to formally object Wednesday when Congress meets to certify the Electoral College victory for Biden, a Democrat.
A petition for Harvard Law School “graduates and affiliates” had garnered nearly 400 signatures by noon Tuesday.
“We, the undersigned members of the Harvard Law School community, unequivocally condemn the attempt of fellow graduate Ted Cruz ’95 and any of his supporters to undermine democracy and our Constitution by improperly challenging the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as President and Vice-President of the United States,” the petition reads.
“An oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic precedes the taking of all elected offices in America. Inventing false claims of voter fraud that lawyers are too afraid to present in courts where there are actual consequences for lying, and trying to use the ensuing controversy to challenge a Constitutionally proper proceeding to ratify the decision of the Electoral College is by all fair measures utterly inconsistent with this oath,” the petition said.
Among the signers was San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who said in a tweet Sunday, “I was a law school classmate of @SenTedCruz. Apparently, only one of us paid attention in #Constitutional Law class.” Liccardo signed at the invitation of Sacramento Kings co-owner Chris Kelly, another alumnus, Liccardo’s office said.
Liccardo said in a telephone interview that he assumed Cruz knew there was little chance of blocking Biden. “I would presume that Senator Cruz and others are smart enough to read the tea leaves. I assume it’s merely to discredit the president-elect. Nevertheless, it has the effect of undermining our most sacred institutions, starting with the Constitution.”
A petition for Yale Law School “students, alumni, and educators” had garnered about 590 signatures by noon.
Hawley’s efforts are “a bare-faced assault on our democracy and a contemptible gesture toward a coup d’etat by President Donald J. Trump and his supporters. Whether meant to advance the Senator’s own personal ambitions, or to further erode and ultimately destroy the now fragile underpinnings of our two-century old republic, the filing of outlandish objections to lawful Biden-Harris slates would be a grave abuse of power,” the petition said.
Rachel Tuchman, a Yale Law graduate now working at a New York firm, started the petition. She said in an e-mail, “Senator Hawley’s actions are such an affront to our Constitution and everything we studied at Yale Law, it felt extremely important to publicly respond to this democratic crisis and his attempts to impede what should be a routine and orderly transfer of power.”
The move by Republican senators and congressmen to block certification of Biden’s victory comes as an increasingly desperate President Trump has vowed to “fight like hell” to stay in office. But the last-minute effort by Trump allies in the Senate and the House is considered all but certain to fail, with majorities in both houses expected to reject the attempt to overturn the election.
A Harvard Law spokesman said the school had no comment about Cruz. Yale Law did not return an e-mail message seeking comment.
Jeremiah Manion of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.
Martin Finucane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.