NEW YORK – The day after Donald Trump’s election in November 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union posted a message to him on its website: “See you in court.”
As president, Trump hasn’t personally squared off against the ACLU from the witness stand, but the broader warning has been borne out. As of this week, the ACLU has filed nearly 400 lawsuits and other legal actions against the Trump administration, some meeting with setbacks but many resulting in important victories.
Among other successes for the ACLU, it prevailed in a U.S. Supreme Court case blocking the administration from placing a citizenship question on the 2020 census. It also spearheaded legal efforts that curtailed the policy of separating many migrant children from their parents.
“The assault on civil liberties and civil rights is greater under this administration than any other in modern history,” said the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero. “It’s meant we’ve been living with a three-alarm fire in every part of our house.”
Since the day Trump took office, the ACLU — according to a breakdown it provided to The Associated Press — has filed 237 lawsuits against the administration and about 160 other legal actions, including Freedom of Information Act requests, ethics complaints and administrative complaints.
Of the lawsuits, 174 have dealt with immigrant rights, targeting the family separation policy, detention and deportation practices and the administration’s repeated attempts to make it harder to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The other lawsuits address an array of issues high on the ACLU’s agenda: voting rights, LGBT rights, racial justice and others. In one long-running case, the ACLU succeeded in blocking the administration’s policy of barring young immigrant women in government custody from getting abortions.
“Donald Trump has provided a full employment program for ACLU lawyers on all of our issues,” Romero said.