ACSBlog

  • April 25, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Barbara McQuade, Professor from Practice, University of Michigan Law School, and former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan

    The Democratic National Committee filed a federal complaint yesterday alleging that Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign conspired to damage the Democratic Party and help elect Donald Trump. This is a significant case, which seeks to vindicate the interests of the American people in open and uncorrupted elections and to redress damage to the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Party that undermined their ability to communicate their policy positions to the American electorate and their efforts to support the Democratic nominees for President and for other elected offices. But most importantly, the lawsuit lays out the case that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to gain the presidency.

  • April 23, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Eric Rothschild, Senior Litigation Counsel, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Andrew Nellis, Constitutional Litigation Fellow, Americans United for Separation of Church and State

    On December 7, 2015, then-candidate for President Donald Trump issued a statement “calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” It was met with condemnation from leaders across the political spectrum, including then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence, who wrote that “[c]alls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.”

    Trump, however, never backed away from his position. Instead, he consciously and expressly changed his rhetoric, so that he was, in his words, “talking territory instead of Muslim.” But the underlying policy, he explained, remained the same. And one week into his presidency, he followed through on his plan, rushing out an executive order—without consulting any of the government’s national-security experts—that immediately barred nationals of seven overwhelmingly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Public officials and ordinary citizens protested in horror against the prejudicial policy, and the courts quickly stepped in to block it.

  • April 20, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Caroline Fredrickson, ACS President

    Firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or any investigator in the Russia probe without cause would clearly create a constitutional crisis. We must get ready to respond now. That’s why I asked the Federalist Society to join us “in a united effort to avert a constitutional crisis relating to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election” in a letter, covered by Reuters, The Hill and Above the Law.

    And today over 400 ACS law students pledged “to ensure nobody is above the law” if Trump attempts to undermine Special Counsel Mueller. “If the Special Counsel or Deputy Attorney General is fired, we will find our voice and use it,” stated the student letter.

    President Trump and his enablers have engaged in a nine-month long smear campaign against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The aim of the campaign against the Mueller investigation – the most successful attack against officials in the executive branch since Joe McCarthy – is clear: obstruction of justice. We are watching a slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre.

    In a recent editorial, appropriately titled “The President Is Not Above the Law,” the New York Times concluded that “if the president does move against the investigators, it will be up to Congress to affirm the rule of law, the separation of powers and the American constitutional order.”

  • April 20, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Cynthia Romero, Director of Communications, Catholics for Choice

    On the heels of President Trump’s proclamation on Religious Freedom Day, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a controversial rule on January 19 that allows healthcare providers to deny care to patients for religious, moral or any other reasons. The department also created a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office of Civil Rights. These efforts are at the heart of a carefully crafted strategy by religious conservatives to radically redefine religious freedom and roll back progress on basic civil liberties— most notably a woman’s constitutional right to abortion and the rights of LGBT people.

  • April 20, 2018
    Guest Post

    by Laurie R. Blank, Clinical Professor of Law and Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law

    The moral imperative to respond to another ghastly chemical attack on civilians in Syria was powerful. The justification of destroying chemical weapons facilities and stockpiles to prevent or at least hinder future brutalities was sensible and narrowly tailored — although the lack of an overall strategy for after the strikes and the broader Syria conflict is troubling. But what about the law? Moral justifications are an essential tool for mobilizing public support and justifying the decision to put U.S. personnel in harm’s way, but they do not provide legal authority or substitute for solid legal arguments.