Statement on the Situation in Ukraine
We sadly watch—once again—an assault on democracy, on institutions of justice, and on the foundations of the rule of law. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is not simply the brute imposition of one nation’s will on the people of another, irrespective of their needs and desires. It is a blatant rejection, a denigration, a strike at the very principles of self-determination, human dignity, and freedom of thought, principles that are the heart of democracy, justice, and equality. These principles have, for over 75 years, maintained relative peace and prosperity across the globe. Adherence to these principles has ensured protection for fundamental human rights, encouraged unprecedented economic development, and facilitated the resolution of disputes without resorting to armed conflict and war. What we see now is not a step toward progress guided by ethical principles, but a return to an era when rules meant little and the currency of human relationships was crude power. People across the world suffered in that system just as the people of Ukraine painfully suffer now.
We as individuals and as members of professions dedicated to justice cannot remain silent in the face of this assault on a sovereign democratic nation. Silence and inaction will lead to a world where the interests of the many are displaced by the will of the few, where human rights are ignored, and where fundamental principles of justice become merely fungible items in the face of tyranny, easily disregarded. Indeed, as history has taught us, the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing. And we cannot do nothing. We, therefore, call upon all judicial leaders, attorneys, and justice-system professionals in the United States and around the world to stand against such tyranny and raise their voices in support of the rule of law, human rights, and the peaceful resolution of disputes.