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Ensuring Repercussions for Abuses of Power

Overview

Starting in 2017, Protect Democracy has filed more than 100 legal actions that produced a swath of victories, including nationwide injunctions of anti-democratic Trump administration policies, expansions of voting rights protections in federal case law, and new stronger legal doctrines against presidential abuses of power.

Many of these actions are ongoing, seeking meaningful repercussions for abuses of presidential power. Find more information about our legal actions in the accompanying tabs.

El Paso County vs. Trump

Protect Democracy represented El Paso County, Texas, and the Border Network for Human Rights in a lawsuit against President Trump over his declaration of a national emergency to fund a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The lawsuit successfully secured a nationwide injunction to block the declaration from taking effect, and the amended complaint explains why the President’s declaration is not supported by the law, violates numerous provisions of the Constitution and U.S. Code, and has inflicted injuries on the plaintiffs.

Read more here.

FOIA on Trump’s NSA Interference

On April 21 and May 22, 2017, Protect Democracy sent FOIA requests to the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) seeking documents related to Russian interference with the 2016 election, as well as communication with the White House and Congress about the investigation into Russian interference.

Read more here.

Preventing and Deterring Unlawful Pardons

The presidential pardon power is limited by the Constitution, the system of checks and balances it establishes, and the individual rights it protects—as well as by federal law. If the pardon power were absolute, it would permit the president to place himself above the law and undermine the rest of the Constitution. Congress has a critical role to play in preventing improper pardons.

Read more here.

Ensuring Accountability in Court for the Jan. 6th Insurrection

On January 6, 2021, at the behest of then-President Donald Trump who rallied supporters to Washington D.C. for a “wild time,” a violent mob staged one of the most significant insurrections against the United States since the Civil War. Driven by Trump’s insistent lie that the election had been stolen from him, the crowd laid siege to Congress in an effort to disrupt the solemn constitutional process of transferring presidential power. In service of their attempt to overthrow the government, they battled and brutalized law enforcement personnel protecting Congress. On behalf of three U.S. Capitol police officers, we are suing Trump for his central role in the insurrection and the resulting attack on law enforcement deployed to defend the peaceful transition of power.

Read more here.

Ensuring a Complete Investigation into the January 6 Insurrection

Protect Democracy believes a thorough and transparent effort by the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol is absolutely necessary to determine what led to the attack, who bears responsibility, and how to prevent its recurrence. January 6 was the culmination of various troubling factors undermining our democracy and requires a comprehensive fact-finding and truth-telling exercise to prevent its recurrence.

Read more here.

Overturning Illegal Non-Disclosure Agreements Used by Trump Campaign to Bar Free Speech

The Trump campaign has routinely threatened and attempted to enforce its illegal NDAs to prevent former campaign workers from engaging in speech related to matters of public concern, including their views on the former President’s time in office. On behalf of former 2016 Trump campaign official Jessica Denson, we successfully sued to overturn an illegal NDA that prevented the American people from obtaining vital information about candidates for office.

Read more here.

Challenging Secret DHS Surveillance of Journalists, Lawyers, Faith Leaders, and Others

The Department of Homeland Security conducted surveillance on Americans’ whose political opinions the department didn’t like, including those who spoke out about Trump Administration immigration policies. On behalf of Reverend Kaji Douša, we sued DHS and its Customs and Border Protect (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agencies, to stop their unlawful retaliation against her for providing pastoral services to migrants and refugees – a central calling of her Christian faith.

Read more here.

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