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Professor Larson weighs in on Capitol insurrection for several media outlets

News Posted on January 11, 2021

In the wake of the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, Professor Carlton F.W. Larson lent his expertise to several leading media outlets.

Larson wrote a Jan. 7 op-ed for The Washington Post. Headlined “The framers would have seen the mob at the Capitol as traitors,” the op-ed asserts that an armed attack aimed at obstructing the certification of electoral votes easily qualifies as treason under the framers’ original understanding of the treason clause. But in a perverse irony, Larson continues, the mob might be protected from a treason prosecution because of an 1851 case arising from the Fugitive Slave Act. 

Larson spoke to the Los Angeles Times’ George Skelton for Skelton’s Jan. 11 column, headlined “American exceptionalism is a myth. Our Constitution is the only thing keeping us from authoritarianism.”

PolitiFact quoted Larson in its Jan. 6 fact-check article “Is this a coup? Here’s some history and context to help you decide.”

Larson also appeared on the “Good Law/Bad Law” podcast and on the “Lawyer 2 Lawyer” podcast on the Legal Talk Network.

In December, Larson appeared on the WORT 89.9 Madison’s “8 O’Clock Buzz”  to discuss sedition.

Carlton Larson's research interests focus on constitutional law and legal history. One of the nation’s leading authorities on the law of treason, Professor Larson is the author of the ABA Silver Gavel Award finalist book The Trials of Allegiance: Treason, Juries, and the American Revolution (Oxford University Press). His book On Treason: A Citizen’s Guide to the Law (Ecco/HarperCollins) was published in September.