The announcement by High Point University in June caught everyone off guard — everyone, that is, who knew the name of Mark Martin, and wondered why on Earth HPU would name him as the founding dean of its brand new law school.
True, Martin served as chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 2014-19, which definitely qualifies him as a notable name in NC legal circles.
But more than his service to our state, Martin has become known as one of the architects behind the Jan. 6 Insurrection, as first reported in the New York Times just four days after the armed mob attempted to thwart our democratic processes.
His role in the insurrection was not mentioned in the HPU press release.
Until last week, all we had to go on was hearsay reporting by the Times relaying that President Trump had told Vice President Mike Pence that he, as VP, had the power to overturn the Electoral College; that assertion by Trump was reportedly on the word of Martin.
But now we have an actual document that has been uncovered by the Jan. 6 Commission: a memo from Virginia attorney William Olson to the president from Dec. 8, 2020.
The memo itself is certifiably bananas. Olson plays to Trump’s vanities while perpetuating the Big Lie, advising him to fire all his lawyers and the attorney general along with several other steps that, if taken, would have kept Trump in the White House.
But for our purposes here, the most important piece is that it confirms Martin’s contact with Trump during the planning stages of the insurrection. And it nails him as a partisan, someone willing to twist the law to suit his own desires, as well as implication of a profound disrespect for American institutions and processes.
We don’t have much yet on the content of those conversations, but everybody knows what happened afterwards: A vicious mob hell-bent on disrupting the transfer of power after a free and fair election killed five cops and injured a hundred more while attacking one of our nation’s most sacred spaces. And the guy who helped make the plan got named founding dean of High Point University Law School.
Which begs the question: What sort of law will they be teaching over there?
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