Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Winfield C. Cook Constitution Day Program

Democracy Stress Test: Analysis of Attempts to Overturn the 2020 Election Results

Mary McCord, Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection

David Thornburgh, Committee of Seventy

Jonathan Winer, Law Offices of Jonathan M. Winer

Although Joe Biden won the 2020 Presidential Election by 306 to 232 votes in the Electoral College (and by 7 million in the popular vote), Donald Trump refused to acknowledge the result and instead led an unprecedented onslaught of legal challenges in state and federal courts with an array of claims of voter fraud and conspiracy. When the court challenges failed, President Trump continued to seek ways to overturn the election results. These efforts culminated in the assault on Congress on January 6th, one of the most serious threats ever to our democracy. Our democracy prevailed, but weaknesses were exposed. In this program our panelists will discuss some of these weaknesses and how we might address them moving forward.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues.

Biographies (provided by the panelists)

Mary McCord HeadshotMary McCord is executive director of the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) and a visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center. At ICAP, McCord leads a team that brings constitutional impact litigation at all levels of the federal and state courts across a wide variety of areas including First Amendment rights, immigration, criminal justice reform, and combating the rise of private paramilitaries.
McCord previously served as the acting assistant attorney general for National Security at the U.S. Department of Justice, principal deputy assistant attorney general for National Security,  and assistant U.S. attorney for nearly 20 years at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

McCord is a statutorily designated amicus curiae for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. McCord served as legal counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force 1-6 Capitol Security Review appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCord also served on the Columbus Police After Action Review Team tasked with evaluating how the Columbus, Ohio, Police Department responded to the 2020 summer protests.

McCord is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a nonresident fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism. She has written about domestic terrorism, unlawful militia activity, public safety, and the rule of law for publications including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Slate, Lawfare, and Just Security. She has appeared on NPR, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, and other media outlets.

McCord received the Oliver White Hill Courageous Advocate Award from the Virginia Trial Lawyers’ Association in 2018, based on her work with ICAP litigating against white supremacist and private militias that attended the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017.

She graduated from Georgetown University Law School and served as a law clerk for Judge Thomas Hogan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

David Thornburgh (biography forthcoming)

Jonathan M. Winer is the former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for International Law Enforcement, U.S. special envoy for Libya, and was counsel to Senator John Kerry for ten years, during which he worked extensively on election law legislation and policy. He was awarded the two highest honors granted by the State Department for extraordinary service, which stated that “the scope and significance of his achievements are virtually unprecedented for any single official.”

Educated at Yale and at NYU Law School, he has practiced election and political compliance law, and most recently written on the legal and enforcement issues associated with the 2020 elections for The Washington Spectator and Just Security.  He serves on the advisory council of Keep Our Republic, a non-partisan civic action organization dedicated to protecting a republic of laws and strengthening the checks and balances of our democratic system. He also cohosts the podcast series, Unconventional Threat at,  which has addressed the unusual threats that are currently posed to our democracy.

Winfield C. Cook Constitution Day Program
The annual program is endowed through the generosity of Winfield C. Cook, former Dickinson Trustee. Each year the Clarke Forum invites a prominent public figure to campus to speak on a contemporary issue related to the Constitution. The event celebrates the signing of the United States Constitution and commemorates Dickinson’s connection to that document, through John Dickinson’s participation as an original signer. Previous speakers have included Kenneth Starr, Ira Glasser, Lowell Weicker, Marjorie Rendell, Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff and Kimberlé Crenshaw.