In the weeks after the Nov. 8 election, when Donald Trump secured a surprise victory to become president of the United States, the American Civil Liberties Union received so much money in online donations — more than $15 million — that an official with the 100-year-old organization called the flood “unprecedented in our history.”
That was before Trump had even sworn the oath of office. Eleven days ago he did just that, then spent his first week as president signing executive orders and making good on some of his campaign promises, spurring massive protests across the country and the world — about women’s rights, the environment and what Trump calls his “extreme vetting” of travelers to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
Amid the swift and intense backlash, the ACLU seems once again to be benefiting directly.This weekend alone, the civil liberties group received more than $24 million in online donations from 356,306 people, a spokesman told The Washington Post early Monday morning, a total that supersedes its annual online donations by six times.
In an interview with CNN, the ACLU had a one-word reaction: “Wow.” Before the donations had soared to $24 million, Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director, told Yahoo News he was blown away by the influx.“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Romero told Yahoo News. “People are fired up and want to be engaged. What we’ve seen is an unprecedented public reaction to the challenges of the Trump administration.”
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York put a temporary ban on an executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Saturday that was put in place to prevent Syrian refugees and travelers from Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. According to the Huffington Post, Donnelly declared that the ban “violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, immigrants’ rights groups and refugee relief organizations had filed the action in federal court Saturday morning on behalf of two Iraqi nationals who were detained at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, asking for a declaration that the order is unconstitutional and requesting an injunction to prevent its implementation against other travelers who may be equally harmed.
“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioners and others similarly situated violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York wrote in her order.
The legal action named Trump in his official capacity as president, as well as the Department of Homeland Security and other high-ranking officials. Although temporary and subject to appeal, it represents the first major constitutional setback faced by the new administration.
ACLU lawyer Lee Gelernt says that the ruling will protect people from other countries who have permission to be in the U.S. “This ruling preserves the status quo and ensures that people who have been granted permission to be in this country are not illegally removed off U.S. soil,” he told the Huffington Post.
In his continued effort to curb gun violence and strengthen gun laws, President Obama is set to announce an executive action on gun sales at the top of the new year, CNN reports.
While the president and his administration have not yet fleshed out the action, changes include expanding the “background check requirement to additional sellers,” the report notes. Those close to the proposal, however, warn “unforeseen circumstances could delay an announcement.”
Gun control advocates and White House officials say the focus remains on the so-called “gun show loophole,” which allows certain sellers of guns — at gun shows and elsewhere — to avoid conducting background checks before making sales.
Months after the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre that claimed 26 victims, the then-Democratic majority Senate rejected a similar proposal.
Congress would still need to act in order to make background checks fully universal. But advocates and administration lawyers have struck upon a provision in the law that could allow for Obama to expand the background check requirement to additional sellers.
Aside from the background check provision, people familiar with Obama’s plans say his new gun control announcement will include new funding for government agencies to better enforce existing gun laws.
The White House did not comment on an accurate timeline for the executive order, but White House spokesman Eric Schultz said the president was “expressing urgency” to effectively push forth steps to curb gun violence on his own following the number of mass shootings Obama has had to address in just the last year alone.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a concerted election-year push to draw attention to women’s wages, President Barack Obama signed directives Tuesday that would make it easier for workers of federal contractors to get information about workplace compensation. He seasoned his move with a sharp rebuke of Republicans whom he accused of “gumming up the works” on workplace fairness.
Obama made a clear partisan appeal to women as he issued an executive order that prohibits federal contractors from retaliating against workers who discuss their pay. He also directed the Labor Department to write rules requiring federal contractors to provide aggregate compensation data by race and gender.
“This is about Republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playing field for working families,” Obama said at a White House signing ceremony, surrounded by women advocates and accompanied by Lilly Ledbetter, a woman whose namesake legislation on pay equity was the first bill Obama signed into law in 2009.
Obama’s executive order and directive to the Labor Department dovetailed with the start of Senate debate on broader legislation that would make it easier for workers to sue companies for paying women less because of their gender. That legislation is expected to fail, as it has in the past, due to Republican opposition.
White the president’s actions affect only federal contractors, those directives can have a wide and direct impact. Federal contracting covers nearly one-quarter of the U.S. workforce and includes companies ranging from Boeing to small parts suppliers and service providers. Such actions also can be largely symbolic, designed to spur action in the broader economy.