ACLU Kicks Off 7-Point Plan to Fight Trump Administration, Protect Civil Liberties

By Sameer Rao Jan 20, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) detailed its strategy to counter future Trump Administration attacks on marginalized communities and civil liberties in a seven-point plan of action announced yesterday (January 19).

"That man is now on the verge of swearing a solemn oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,’" ACLU executive director Anthony D. Romero wrote about Trump in an essay on the legal advocacy organization’s website. "While it’s true that all presidents swear this oath and inevitably go on to abuse their powers, we believe the Trump Administration poses the single greatest threat to civil liberties, civil rights and the rule of law in modern memory. With such dark clouds appearing on the horizon, it would be irresponsible not to prepare for the inevitable storm." Trump took that oath during his inauguration today (January 20).

The seven points outlined in Romero’s announcement include steps to protect vulnerable groups, hold the administration accountable and mobilize ACLU members:  

  • "Demand government accountability and transparency" through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and defense of whistleblowers
  • "Protect the rights of immigrants" by representing DREAMers against legal attacks, challenging Islamophobic immigration policies and "systemic litigation" against unlawful detention
  • "Defend reproductive rights" by opposing measures to defund Planned Parenthood, challenging federal and state-level abortion restrictions and battling laws that let service providers deny reproductive health care or information on religious grounds
  • "Protect First Amendment rights" with expanded efforts to inform and provide legal assistance to protesters, as well as actions against heavy-handed government surveillance
  • "Defend LGBT rights" ​from infringement via anti-LGBT bills and religious exemption measures
  • "Defend core civil rights and civil liberties from erosion," which involves action against voter suppression measures and police departments that violate citizens’ Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights
  • "Mobilize the American people," especially card-carrying ACLU members, in direct actions and fundraising for a "Constitutional Defense Fund" that can support the aforementioned actions

The ACLU set its plan in motion with a FOIA request for federal memoranda and communications on potential and confirmed conflicts of interest for Trump’s relationships. Romero described the request as "the first rock in our slingshot." It was filed simultaneously with the Department of Justice‘s Office of Legal Counsel, the Office of Government Ethics, the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management. 

Read the full seven-point plan here.