Contributions by ‘Aziz Z. Huq’

The January 6 Insurrection and the Problem of Constitutional Guardianship

To my mind, there are at least three different ways in which the January 6 insurrection manifests and enables a complex, multifaceted democratic emergency. This term is first an appropriate description of January 6 simply as an event—an eruption of violence wreathed in constitutional slogans and defended, paradoxically in the name of (ordinarily nonviolent) democratic practice. Second, that day also revealed an institutional crisis—an unveiling of the fragility of democracy’s legal foundations—that might also be labeled an emergency. For example, January 6 cast an unflattering light on the creaky apparatus for counting Electoral College votes. And third, as already intimated, it manifested a democratic emergency as in the sense of a sharp splintering of the shared public understandings that are essential for the peaceful back-and-forth of elected office via elections. Divergent understanding of supposedly basic empirical facts (e.g., which candidate won the 2020 election), as well as discordant views about what happened on January 6, constitute a crisis of public knowledge—a sense that Americans no longer share a common ground of facts. This is an epistemic crisis as emergency.

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