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Anthony Romero: A Civil-Rights Leader for a New Era
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Anthony Romero: A Civil-Rights Leader for a New Era

As head of the nation's oldest and most prominent civil-liberties organization, Anthony Romero has the distinction of being one of the leading thorns in Donald Trump's side. Since the election, the 52-year-old -attorney has overseen legal fights against virtually every facet of the administration's agenda, filing more than 100 lawsuits on issues ranging from the Muslim ban to the rollback of voting rights to eroding the DREAM Act, undercutting LGBTQ rights and fighting for criminal-justice reform. "When civil liberties and civil rights are most imperiled," Romero says, "it's important to go on offense, not just defense." This year, the ACLU's membership has almost quadrupled to roughly 1.6 million; many of these new members are younger people energized to work at the grassroots level. "We are at a place in time when people don't just want to write a check, they want to be put to work to make a difference," says Romero. But first they must get through the Trump presidency. The ACLU has 350 lawyers who bring cases all across the country. "The Trump administration has 19,000 at their disposal," he says, with 11,000 of them working for Jeff Sessions' Justice Department. "Never underestimate the power of the federal government," Romero says. "We need to be smart and strategic, we need to play the long game, and we need to make sure that we hold off the worst over the next four years." JR

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