Trump Era: What is the likelihood that the laws that protect our civil liberties will be diminished
“Have no doubt about it: Donald Trump’s policies, if implemented, would trigger a constitutional crisis.”
Those are strong words from the country’s largest nonprofit civil liberties group that strives to remain nonpartisan. The American Civil Liberties Union has taken a hard stance against President Donald Trump’s policy proposals – and the organization has been vigorously fighting many of those policies in court.
Which policies from President Trump threaten civil liberties the most?
The ACLU lists several stances from President Trump that could impact the civil liberties afforded to us. These include:
- Profiling of Muslim-Americans – President Donald Trump, before he became president, called for an increase in surveillance on Muslim-American communities, even saying that he would not rule out having Muslims carry an ID card. He said mosques in the United States should be monitored, and he agreed that law enforcement should be able to “secure” Muslim neighborhoods. But the ACLU argues that such a policy would be very hard to enforce thanks to the Fifth Amendment.
“Courts are rightly very suspicious of any law or government policy that singles out groups of people united by a core characteristic, like race or religion … any law passed or policy pursued by a Trump administration that specifically subjects Muslims to heightened suspicion, surveillance, or special registration because of their religion would be met by the courts with a heightened degree of scrutiny.”
So far, he has not implemented any surveillance policies on Muslim American communities. He has, however, instituted a travel ban barring people from countries that he deems extremist Muslim from entering the United States for a period of time. That ban was challenged in court and has been softened from its original version.
- Libel laws and protections for a free press – The First Amendment is pretty clear about a free press and the laws that protect the press, and although President Trump said he would “open up” libel laws in America so publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post could be sued more easily, there’s not actually a federal “libel law” to target.
The ACLU points out that libel laws are handled at the state level, but that doesn’t mean President Trump will not encourage state legislatures to change their laws, according to the ACLU. So far, that has not happened.
What other rights do leaders say are threatened in the Trump Era?
- Women’s reproductive rights – A woman’s right to choose — i.e. a woman’s right to have an abortion — has been a well-established federal protection since Roe v. Wade in 1973. President Trump is markedly pro-life, and on his first day of office he signed an executive order banning federal money for international organizations that perform abortions or distribute literature or information about abortions.p
If you believe the civil rights of you or someone you love have been violated, you need the help of an experienced civil rights attorney. Contact Jacqui Ford’s office today.