Defending the Rule of Law

Our Work

In the 21st Century, democracies have tended to die not at the barrel of a gun but by the gradual erosion of democratic norms and guardrails.

Why Is This Important

Would-be authoritarians often abuse their power, using it to eliminate checks on their power, quash dissent, target already marginalized communities, and deepen political divisions.

The Constitution and the laws we have built around it provide tools to constrain authoritarian behavior. But many of the norms and guardrails that help define our democracy are not written into law and are not self-enforcing. Together these restraints must be exercised (and strengthened) to prevent government officials from abusing their power and to ensure the law applies equally to everyone, from the most powerful to the least.

What Outcomes Do We Seek

  1. Uphold the principle that nobody is above the law.
  2. Ensure accountability for those who have attacked or undermined our democracy—regardless of their political standing.
  3. Ensure meaningful checks and balances on executive power.
  4. Stop abuses of power that target marginalized groups and their ability to participate in democracy.
  5. Protect the ability of the public and the press to voice dissenting views.
  6. Protect independent, non-politicized law enforcement and civil servant workforces.

What Impact Have We Had

Secured a nationwide injunction blocking border wall construction without congressional approval and helped enact power of the purse legislation to ensure future presidents cannot circumvent Congress.

Helped prevent a sitting president from politicizing the Department of Justice to interfere in an election, in part through a multi-year campaign organizing thousands of Department of Justice alumni.

Reforming National Emergencies

Protect Democracy has led in the effort to reform the national emergency system to build stronger checks on the use of national emergencies.

  • Defending the Rule of Law
  • Shaping the Democracy of Tomorrow
  • Legislation & Policy
  • Issue

Protecting Our Democracy Act

A comprehensive overview of the provisions of the Protecting Our Democracy Act (PODA) and the support for those provisions

  • Defending the Rule of Law
  • Legislation & Policy
  • Legislation

The National Security Powers Act

An overview of the reforms in the National Security Powers Act and National Security Reforms and Accountability Act

  • Defending the Rule of Law
  • Legislation & Policy
  • Legislation

Department of Justice Independence

Protect Democracy engages in litigation and advocacy to preserve the rule of law and prevent an authoritarian-minded executive from using government law enforcement powers as a political weapon.

  • Defending the Rule of Law
  • Legislation & Policy
  • Litigation
  • Issue

Douša v. DHS

Protect Democracy and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP filed a lawsuit on behalf of Reverend Kaji Douša, challenging a previously secret Department of Homeland Security (DHS) surveillance operation.

  • Defending the Rule of Law
  • Litigation
  • Case Documents