Civil Liberties

Prominent Civil Liberties Groups Anticipate Life Under President Donald Trump

If Trump makes good on his many threats to curtail liberty, there will be resistance.


Trump makes civil liberties cool again
DonkeyHotey/Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Will President-elect Donald Trump be the autocratic leader feared by so many? Or is he all talk, and merely played the electorate using bluster and vulgarity as his means of shaking up the system?

A number of pro-civil liberties organizations are willing to take Trump at his word, and have released statements indicating how they intend to resist any potentional assaults on American constitutional rights.

Freedom of the Press Foundation's Trevor Timm wrote of the next president's aversion to the First Amendment and promised to hold him accountable if he makes good on any of his threats to sue journalists and their employers, or to "open up libel laws" to enable such efforts. Timm also noted Trump "has blamed 'freedom of the press' for a terrorist attack in New York and has said the press has 'too much protection' under the First Amendment." (To be sure, Hillary Clinton said essentially the same thing, but she's not going to be president, Trump is.)

Amnesty International's Salil Shetty wrote in a press release that "President-elect Trump must publicly commit to upholding the human rights of all without discrimination."

Human Rights Watch's Kenneth Roth wrote that although Trump "found a path to the White House through a campaign marked by misogyny, racism, and xenophobia," he should push to uphold the rule of law and lead a U.S. government that "demonstrates a better record on issues like the rights of women and children, criminal justice, Guantanamo, drone strikes outside conventional war zones, and justice for torture." (The "drone strikes" mention seems like a subtle—and necessary—dig at a favorite Obama administration tactic.)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) outlined the many ways they plan to defend an assualt on civil liberties by the Trump administration, and its executive director warned the incoming president they "will see him in court" should he make good on a number of his proposed policies.

Regarding Trump's plan to engage in the mass deportation of over 11 million undocumented immigrants, the ACLU says the government would have to arrest "more than 15,000 people a day on immigration charges, seven days a week, 365 days a year." To accomplish that would require actions which would "undoubtedly violate the Fourth Amendment's prohibition 'against unreasonable searches and seizures.'"

The ACLU asserts that Trump's dubious threat to ban Muslim U.S. citizens or legal residents from re-entering the country would violate "the Fifth and 14th Amendments from revoking an American's citizenship and banishing him based on the person's creed," adding, "any religion-based bar on lawful permanent residents trying to reenter the country would violate the due process clause."

The ACLU's lawyers also concluded that "Trump's policies, if implemented, would lead to a heavy edit of the Constitution. The First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution would no longer protect certain people."

NEXT: There Is No Violent Hate-Crimewave in 'Trump's America'

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  1. Boy I’m sure glad all these fine civil liberties groups woke up from their 8 year coma. We might have been in trouble otherwise.

    1. They always woke. Now they woken too.

      1. Do you feel that, Highlander? It’s the wokening.

        Remember, there can be only one.

        1. As long as the “civil rights” groups keep their speech within proper bounds, we can find a spot at the table for them too in our great nation. That being said, the fact of the matter is that these “groups” have been right to keep their indiscreet activities to a minimum, particular with regard to certain delicate issues involving inappropriate speech. Surely no one here would dare to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge in America’s leading criminal “satire” case? See the documentation at:

    2. Yeah, too bad they had no interest in these things for past 8 years. This is however one of the great advantages of having a Republican President.

    3. The saddest thing of all is that the proggies aren’t sincere about it at all. They’re still the same authoritarians they were last week. They still believe in the power of the federal government to make all the wrong-thinkers comply.

      We’ve been telling them repeatedly for ages that this is exactly why you don’t want the federal government having so much power over all our lives. The sneer and promptly forget that it won’t always be them who holds the reins.

  2. Timm also noted Trump “has blamed ‘freedom of the press’ for a terrorist attack in New York and has said the press has ‘too much protection’ under the First Amendment.” (To be sure, Hillary Clinton said essentially the same thing, but she’s not going to be president, Trump is.)

    And I’m sure Trevor would have been all over it, all over it! had Hillary won.

    1. How many predicted that the left’s concern for civil rights would magically re-awaken as soon as the President had an “R” after his name? C’mon, raise your hands!

      1. How many predicted that the left’s concern for civil rights would magically re-awaken as soon as the President had an “R” after his name?

        I’m pretty sure everyone who regularly comments here either predicted it or agreed with the prediction.

        I also can’t wait for the NYT headline “President Trump Resumes Bush Administration War on Terror Tactic” only to find out that they’re talking about the use of – you guessed it – drone strikes in countries we’re not even formally at war with. Ignoring the fact that Obama ordered far more drone strikes more often than Bush did and Obama invented the presidential “kill list.” And people wonder why I’m so cynical and pessimistic.

    2. And I’m sure Trevor would have been all over it, all over it! had Hillary won.

      Well, he criticized her harshly when she was running for president, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t expect him to criticize her after she’s elected.

      Similarly: What’s up with the people claiming that the ACLU has been in a coma for eight years? I’ve got my disagreements with the group, but they haven’t refused to go after Obama. It’s not hard to do a Google.

      1. They may have worked against a few of his anti-liberty policies, but they certainly never put out a piece like this about him. Just look at the headline:

        Donald Trump: A One-Man Constitutional Crisis
        The Republican President-elect’s statements and policy proposals would blatantly violate the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

        Can you imagine the ACLU writing something like that about Obama?

  3. Reason, you’re taking a dump on my proggie tear-fest. Couldn’t it have waited till Monday?

  4. Democrats: I understand your anxiety and concern over Donald Trump. But I think I found your mistake. You’ve been demanding an imperial presidency for almost as long as I’ve been awake… but you accidentally left in the Thrill of Democracy. That means the Kingship might change hands every four years– and you don’t always win. You might want to get on that.

      1. I’ve heard this epistocracy argument before. And it’s very seductive– which is why it scares the fuck out of me. I learned years ago that when an attractive woman sidles up next to me, she’s probably there to kill me.

        1. You shouldn’t have run afoul of the Bene Gesserit like that.

      2. wow. wait, so the same people that say requiring an ID to vote is discriminatory and basically implying these people are too stupid to be capable of getting an ID and therefore are being denied voting rights should not really be allowed to vote anyway? Oh wait, I see, install one “smart” guy that will vote the same way for all of them. convenient.

    1. It’s hard not think they’re totally retarded, as they keep making this mistake.

      The problem with a number of “rights” groups these days is that they seem more interested in identity politics than civil liberties.

      1. And enabling government boots (on the right people’s foots) to stomp on human faces forever…

    2. I’m starting to come around to getting rid of the Electoral College. I could move to a nice state like Tennessee and never see another presidential ad or candidate.

  5. Or is he all talk, and merely played the electorate using bluster and vulgarity as his means of shaking up the system?

    Scott Adams seems to think so. See #8: Pacing and Leading.

    1. The presence of Ghouliani and the Fat Bastard give me pause however.

      1. Yeah. That was kind of a yuge disappointment.

        1. Was it a surprise, though? At all?

  6. Given that he’s literally Hitler, the old trumpenf?hrer won’t have any problem steamrolling his way through the ACLU and gang.

    Don’t worry folks. The manichaeism will eventually get old.

  7. “The ACLU’s lawyers also concluded that “Trump’s policies, if implemented, would lead to a heavy edit of the Constitution. The First, Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Amendments to the Constitution would no longer protect certain people”

    The ACLU itself condones editing out 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms and has no concern for 5th Amendment private property rights.

    1. Yeah, fuck the ACLU, especially since their interpretation of the constitution generally includes “positive rights” to other people’s labor and wealth.

  8. I assume the SPLC has vowed to redouble their fundraising efforts.

  9. What’s the opposite of a fair-weather friend?

  10. It’s like he might set up a huge surveillance state that answers to no one, leave Guantanamo open, shoot US Citizens from a drone in the sky without due process or unilaterally impose a new unconstitutional tax on all Americans!

    Can you imagine??!!??!!


  11. I don’t think Trump is all talk, but I don’t think he can shut up for four years either.

    I think it’s best to judge him by what he does–it’s that way with everybody. For example, once you get past mansplaining things to your girlfriend, you may find there’s another quirk to intersex communication. Sometimes when women are talking, what they’re saying isn’t meant to be believed or disbelieved. It’s just meant to be said and heard. You certainly don’t judge women by what they say in such conversations. You judge them by what they do.

    Even when Trump is talking about trade negotiations with Mexico and China, you don’t go into such negotiations telling people what you’re willing to settle for beforehand. You tell them you’re willing to give them less than they’re asking for to see what you can get from them. Reagan used to get blasted in the press for not being willing to publicly capitulate ahead of SALT talks with the Russians that way. This is why journalists shouldn’t be trusted to negotiate anything.

    1. Journalists are idiots, they are experts and knowledgeable in absolutely nothing.

  12. Same thing with the threats of defamation suits. There were women coming out of the woodwork to accuse him of all sorts of things–some of whom had no credibility whatsoever. If Trump saying a few words could get the legal department at these places to reign the slander in some, then why wouldn’t he do that? Actually suing a journalist for defamation might be inappropriate, but words are just words.

    Obsessing over appearances and what people say to the exclusion of what they do is a progressive thing. Who cares if Barack Obama has killed more innocent children with drone strikes than Adam Lanza? The scary thing is that Donald Trump said he would bomb ISIS even if there were civilian casualties!!!

    I don’t see the world that way. The world isn’t that way.

    The election is over. What Trump says is even less important now than it was before, and the appropriate way to judge him (or anyone else) is always by actions rather than his words.

    1. Totes McGotes.

  13. The ACLU asserts that Trump’s dubious threat to ban Muslim U.S. citizens or legal residents from re-entering the country

    Jesus fucking Christ. Get off of this already. Is this what we get to expect for the next four years from Reason? Repeating dishonest leftist talking points that have been handily refuted months ago? He was obviously talking about immigration in a press release about immigration, and when pressed George Stephanopopopopolous for clarity, he gave it in no uncertain terms.

    Mr Fisher I’m not asking you to be a journalist and I’m not asking you to refrain from being an activist masquerading as a journalist, I’m just asking that you do the bare minimum of research so that you, and by extension this publication, don’t earn a reputation as a lying shill.

    1. author was merely quoting the ACLU and plainly indicated the source of the quote. Take a deep breath and untangle yer knickers. When I read that line I remembered what Trump had said and its context, and also what ACLU were attempting to spread their loaded lies to discredit Trump. They still are. They are too stupid/focused to realise the playing field is now changed….. they and their ilk no longer are on top. They are on their whinge to attempt to neutralise what has happened. but its too late. America have spoken. Its about time.

      When a writer quotes a third party by repeating what that third party said, as long as that quote is accurate, no further research need be done.

    2. Sorry, that’s baloney. The original policy statement was about banning Muslims from entering the US. When pressed by the media on whether that included US citizens returning home, the Trump campaign said yes.

      Now, I believe you are right in that the original statement was supposed to be only about immigration. But the Trump campaign strategy at that point was all about being un-PC and socking it to the liberal media, so they felt they had to say yes, it applies to citizens too.

  14. I assume they said all this, crying hysterically, from one of those promotional event money boothes

  15. Oh shit, the SWPL women on my FB have moved on to Harry Potter analogies. I guess this is progress. “Black people are like Muggles, see. And white people are like DeathEaters. That makes us Hermione!”

    1. I mean. Obviously, the metaphor is stretched because these women aren’t black woman who have discovered they are actually white. And maybe only Trump voters are Death Eaters. Its still evolving. But the important thing is that they get to identify with Hermione and their black friends are Weasleys.

  16. Given the repugnant misinformation campaign in which so-called journalists participated in collusion with the corrupt Clinton crime family there are a whole lot of them that should be facing criminal charges. Perhaps that will restore some accountability and long missing ethics for unbiased reporting to the profession.

    Its no secret Donald J Trump was criminally slandered by disgusting unprofessional and unethical biased reporting all throughout this election.

    Do not scew the thruth here. Those are the scumbags hiding their criminal malfeasance behind the 1st Amendment. The 1st Amendment protects Freedom of Speech not Freedom of libel and slander.

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