America’s Conscience: The Rise of Civil Society Groups Under President Trump

16 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2019

Date Written: September 30, 2018


Civil society groups have grown under the presidency of Donald Trump, and their new strength carries both opportunity and risk. The Trump administration has fueled these groups; its harsh and discriminatory policies have diminished the government’s integrity and constrained government lawyers to defend cruelty in court. Civil society groups have filled this integrity void by repeatedly suing to halt the Trump administration’s cruelty, and they have transformed themselves from America’s critics to America’s conscience. In that role, civil society groups can more powerfully battle the Trump administration’s injustices, preserve the legal profession’s integrity, and advance the nation’s values. But they must also guard against the risk of overlooking injustices that do not involve President Trump, the urge to sharpen tactics against the administration’s lawyers, and the temptation to forget that the country will be better off when, once more, the work of civil society groups is not so urgently needed.

Keywords: Trump, ACLU, Bigotry, America's Conscience

Suggested Citation

Segal, Matthew, America’s Conscience: The Rise of Civil Society Groups Under President Trump (September 30, 2018). UCLA Law Review, Vol. 65, No. 6, 2018. Available at SSRN:

Matthew Segal (Contact Author)

ACLU of Massachusetts ( email )

211 Congress Street
Boston, MA 02110
United States

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