Civil rights lawyers vs. Trump
David Lane joins others in creating a coalition after the recent election.
High-profile civil rights attorney David Lane says he and a group of about 100 other Colorado lawyers have created a coalition to rapidly respond to civil rights violations — everything from free speech to religious rights — that could arise with the new president.
The group formed after a meeting last week and in preparation for what it fears will be an “onslaught” of civil rights cases.
“It was in direct response to Donald Trump being elected president because every time he opens his mouth he attacks civil rights,” Lane, who is serving as point person for the group, said Monday.
Creating the coalition comes on the heels of similar action by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which has seen a surge in volunteers and laid out how it plans to deal with any civil rights abuses linked to Trump or his administration.
Since Trump’s election win, there have been reports of vandalism and harassment of people of color, the gay community, Muslims and even some women. It has caught the attention of local, state and federal law enforcement in Colorado and compelled them to make statements in efforts to calm and reassure the public.
Trump’s cabinet nominations have also sparked fears of potential civil rights violations, specifically his pick of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., for attorney general as the nation’s top law enforcement officer and Steve Bannon as a top adviser.
A spokesman for the Colorado Republican party declined to comment.
The coalition so far is made up of attorneys from the Denver metro area, but Lane says he ex-
pects its reach to become statewide. The group, which is calling itself the Lawyers Civil Rights Coalition, is working to build a website and set up a board of directors.
In a news release announcing the coalition’s formation, the groups said “Trump has openly called for the evisceration of the Bill of Rights. This coalition is designed to allow civil rights lawyers all over Colorado to share information quickly with one another so that patterns of abuse can be rapidly identified and re- sponded to with immediate court action.”
“It’s information sharing,” Lane said. “That’s the biggest advantage here.”
Lane said by banding together, the coalition’s attorneys can help each other recognize broad patterns of civil rights abuses in the state. If violations are occurring on a broad scale, the coalition’s members can join forces, for instance, in a federal suit.
“If we are all aware if (an abuse) is happening, then we see a pattern and can take immediate action,” Lane said. “An individual law firm or an individual lawyer might not have this bird’s-eye view that there is this pattern.”
About a week after Trump’s victory, the ACLU of Colorado sent out a petition to members to make Colorado a civil liberties safe zone and explain its postelection plans. About 3,000 people signed on and the organization posted the petition to the Huffington Post.
The petition says Trump has placed constitutional rights in serious danger. The ACLU of Colorado says it has also had more than 500 people sign up to be volunteer activists since the election.
“That was our call to our members as far as our response to what we expect to be doing over the next four years,” said John Krieger, a spokesman for the group.