Contributions by ‘Daniel J. Hemel’

Self-Coup and the Constitution

After the violence at the Capitol that left five dead and dozens injured on January 6, 2021, observers struggled to find a word or phrase that would fully describe the day’s bloodshed. Early reports characterized the attack as a “riot,” a term defined at common law as “three or more persons . . . unlawfully assembled to carry out a common purpose in such violent or turbulent manner as to terrify others.” But outside the common law context, “riot” typically implies spontaneity, and the more we learned about January 6, the clearer it became that the storming of the Capitol that day was a premeditated attack.

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