Shortly before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a 7-point plan of action to take on the new administration that threatens to violate the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. On the day of Trump’s inauguration, the ACLU initiated the plan by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demanding documents related to Trump’s potential conflicts of interest.
On the day before Trump’s inauguration, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero released a statement saying, “That man is now on the verge of swearing a solemn oath to ‘preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.’ 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. The day after the election, we took the president-elect’s extreme rhetoric seriously and began prepping for the incoming administration.
“Two months later, we have the strategy and some of the resources needed to challenge the Trump administration’s policies and protect the Constitution. We will be the David to the federal government’s Goliath. The ACLU has 300 litigators, spread out among our national headquarters and each of the 50 states. The federal government’s legal firepower is vastly greater: The Department of Justice has 11,169 lawyers, including 223 at the FBI; the Department of Homeland Security has 2,197 lawyers; and the Departments of Education, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Labor have 5,539 lawyers among them. In total, these six federal executive departments have nearly 19,000 lawyers at their disposal to fight our 300-person team’s relentless work to secure justice and accountability. (These numbers don’t include the federal intelligence agencies, such as the CIA, which do not disclose the size of their legal teams.)”
On Friday, the ACLU initiated the first step in its 7-point plan by filing a FOIA request with the Office of Government Ethics and three other government offices in order to disclose any potential conflicts of interest held by Trump, his family connections, or his businesses. Besides demanding government accountability and transparency, the ACLU also vows to defend whistleblowers and journalists against the Trump administration.
To protect the rights of immigrants, the ACLU announced they will mount a rapid response to any immigration raids while defending “Dreamers” if their status comes under attack. The ACLU will also challenge any unconstitutional immigration policies targeted against Muslims.
In their third point, the ACLU vowed to defend women’s reproductive rights. Besides opposing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the ACLU will continue to challenge any existing and future restrictions against abortion.
The ACLU also asserted to protect First Amendment rights, defend LGBT rights, defend core civil liberties, and mobilize the American people through protests, petitions, and lobbying. They also plan to raise $100 million for a Constitutional Defense Fund in support of this plan, in which the ACLU has already acquired more than $47 million.
Immediately following Trump’s inauguration on Friday, many people began to notice that the pages on civil rights, LGBT rights, climate change, and health care had abruptly been removed from the White House website. Due to Trump’s failure to disclose his tax returns, completely divest from his businesses, incessant unconstitutional rhetoric, controversial appointees, and numerous scandals, the ACLU is preparing to defend civil rights by battling the Trump administration from every angle.
“With thousands of lawyers now under the command of Trump and his appointees, we need all the support we can get in order to challenge the administration every single day in the battle to protect the rights of all people,” Romero wrote. “Let’s fight like hell for our country and the Constitution.”