Caroline Fredrickson

  • February 16, 2017

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    Late Show's host Stephen Colbert gave me the best Valentine’s eve presents: laughter and some straight talk.

    In typical fashion in the opening monologue, Colbert satirized White House senior adviser Stephen Miller's explanation of executive power. In response to a question about the lessons of Trump's Muslim ban during an appearance on Face the Nation, Miller declared that “the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”

    After showing a video clip of Trump's advisor, Colbert asked “Will not be questioned? Let me test that theory. What the f--- are you talking about?” That line received the biggest applause.

    We all have to question Trump. The second biggest question - after what did Trump know about Kremlingate and when did he know it - is what can we do to resist Trump?

    Friends, family, colleagues and neighbors ask the (second) big question slightly differently, depending on the day and what scared them in the news. There are so many variations of this essential question:

    How can we combat fake news stories?

    What can I do to push back on Trump’s attacks on judges?

    How can I resist the Muslim ban?

    What is the best way to fight against fill in the blank millionaire or billionaire Trump cabinet pick?

    There is one answer for all of these questions: volunteer.

    Last week, ACS started a new page on which we collect and disseminate volunteer projects. For example, this week we encourage everyone – and I mean everyone – to contest fake news and fake history by teaching "Love Our Constitution," a classroom program in which lawyers, law students, and others concerned about our courts and legal system will conduct presentations and discussions across the United States about our highest law of the land and courts during the week of Valentine’s Day (Sunday, Feb. 12- Saturday, Feb. 18).

    Help us spread the word. Tell your friends and family to check our list of volunteer projects. And most importantly, volunteer your time and show you love our Constitution by opposing unlawful presidential acts.

  • January 23, 2017

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    On Jan. 23 – President Donald Trump’s self-proclaimed day one, it is worth remembering the first words of the Constitution

    We, the people, are the "historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen." Pictures of Women's Marches all over the world prove it. 

    The majority of Americans did not vote for Trump. Historically low approval ratings and small inaugural crowds show Trump does not have a mandate for his agenda.

    So now we must get to work. Movements need consistent, sustained people power. Here are five ways to fuel the movement:

    -Join many groups - start with ACS

    -Run for office or support champions of your favorite issues in statehouses and Congress

    -Call your members of Congress and tell them what you think about Trump's cabinet picks - start with the attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

    -Fight fake news by forming a rapid response group with your family, friends and colleagues

    -Volunteer for ACS projects

    -Research

    -Pro bono work

    -Constitution in the Classroom

    -Mentor

    -Write

    If you are interested in volunteering for ACS projects, email us at lcemails@acslaw.org.

    Like anything worthwhile, our movement is an everyday commitment. We have so much at stake.

  • December 20, 2016

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    Chuck Jones deserved better, especially from the president-elect who tweeted:

    “Chuck Jones, who is President of United Steelworkers 1999, has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!”

    Roughly 75 minutes later, the soon-to-be head of state posted another tweet:

    “If United Steelworkers 1999 was any good, they would have kept those jobs in Indiana. Spend more time working-less time talking. Reduce dues.”

    For 30 years, Jones has represented workers in Indianapolis, including employees at plants owned by air conditioner manufacturer Carrier and Rexnord, a maker of values and ball bearings for heavy equipment. 

    On Dec. 15, Jones and other workers received notice that Rexnord would close the plant and move the roughly 300 jobs to Mexico despite a “no more” tweet from Trump. This notice from Rexnord followed similar news about layoffs from Carrier.

    2016 was a tough year for Jones. He spent the year in negotiations with manufacturers who in one instance expect to save $65 million by sending jobs in the U.S. to Mexico. In a Dec. 8 article about Carrier, Jones explained that “We couldn’t match that unless we were willing to cut wages to $5/hour and cut all benefits.”

  • November 30, 2016

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    President-elect Trump posted one outlandish tweet after another all the way to the White House. But his latest tweet on flag-burning topped most of the others.

    On Nov. 29, Trump tweeted:

    Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag – if they do, there must be consequences – perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!

    The tone and text of the post read like something that a ruler from a bygone era without the checks and balances of the U.S. Constitution would say.  Most alarming is the sweeping and ominous part about “consequences.” Fortunately, a chorus of critics checked Trump.

    The very next day, both The New York Times and The Washington Post editorialized against Trump’s tweet.  The headline in the Post’s View summed up the problem, “In one tweet, Trump trashes two constitutional amendments.”

    In 140 characters, the next president knocked the First and 14th Amendments. The Supreme Court ruled almost three decades ago that burning a flag is protected speech under the First Amendment. Ironically, Trump’s model of the ideal Supreme Court Justice, the late Antonin Scalia, joined the majority decision in the 1989 case, Texas v. Johnson.

    Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) chimed in right after the tweet to educate the public and president-elect about the First Amendment protection. Both members of Congress felt compelled to voice their support for this protected speech. McCarthy tried to shut down the debate by stating the unlikelihood of congressional action.

  • November 3, 2016

    by Caroline Fredrickson

    Let’s project past the partisan noise and hand-wringing of the Nov. 8 election. It is never too early to take stock of judicial nominations in the post-election lame duck session of Congress. 

    Since Senators left the Capitol in September, vacant seats on the federal bench quietly keep growing. On Oct. 31, Judge Donovan Frank of the District of Minnesota retired from a full-time caseload, creating the second vacancy in one of the busiest courthouses in the nation. This seat has been designated a judicial emergency by the Administrative Office for U.S. Courts and is the second one for this District alone. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) promptly announced their process for filling these vacancies.

    Now Minnesota has only five full-time federal district court judges. When fully staffed, it has seven. This smaller bench translates into larger caseloads for remaining judges and longer wait times for anyone seeking justice. 

    For a second year in a row, this court will operate with a minimum of one vacancy. The court last year had a vacancy for six months. In a bit of good news, the Senate confirmed Judge Wilhelmina Wright, the first female African American federal judge in Minnesota, to fill the vacancy this past January.