First, from Adams to the modern day, the notion that everyone deserves a lawyer has rested on the rationale of service. We celebrate a lawyer’s competent work defending a criminal suspect (even one later proved to be guilty), or a civil suit advocating for a client’s interests (even if they are unpopular) because it demonstrates the system’s impartiality and the community’s enduring commitment to fairness. The lawyer’s assistance, if it’s effective, signals to some degree the presence of justice. That rationale won’t stretch to cover Trump’s cause: He seeks to mute the community’s voice in choosing its government. If his efforts were successful in installing authoritarianism by judicial fiat, they would reveal the courts to be the tools of a dictator. One cannot serve the community by silencing it, or serve the republic by attempting to destroy it.

Second, lawyers are not simply advocates in court; they are also gatekeepers for the court. Each lawyer has a responsibility to evaluate the merits of a case or an argument before bringing it before a judge. No one, in fact, has a right to file frivolous lawsuits, and lawyers are supposed to either talk their clients out of filing frivolous claims or withdraw from the representation. Telling a client they have no case, when that’s what the facts and law indicate, is an essential part of the job. If lawyers fail to do so, court-imposed sanctions or bar discipline can follow.