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According to Michigan Public Radio, quoting Michael J. Steinberg, the legal director of ACLU Michigan, the rights organization has been flooded with financial donations and calls from attorneys to volunteer their time since the presidential election.

LAWYERS RISING UP: Donations Surge, ACLU Summit Packed at U-M

Be More Like the NRA, Says National Legal Director

February 5, 2017       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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The NRA is giving inspiration to the ACLU?

NRA, of course, is the National Rifle Association, and ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union.

NRA has about five million members, ACLU just passed the million mark. So, should ALCU activate membership and raise money like NRA?

Yes, that was the message by David Cole, ACLU national legal director, to a packed house of attorneys Saturday at Hutchins Hall on the University of Michigan campus.

According to Michigan Public Radio, quoting Michael J. Steinberg, the legal director of ACLU Michigan, the rights organization has been flooded with financial donations and calls from attorneys to volunteer their time since the presidential election.

Cole was a featured speaker at the all-day summit, along with Michigan Supreme Court Justice Bridget McCormack.

Cole said he's been encouraged by public protest since the presidential election, referencing the women's marches across the country the day following inauguration, and recent protests and volunteer efforts at the nation's airports following the executive order on immigration.

"If you want to change the law or if you want to enforce liberties you can't just file a brief in the Supreme Court and make a clever argument," Cole said, "You need to engage the citizenry in a variety of forums outside the courts."

Just like the NRA was the implication.

Steinberg says he's been contacted by attorneys who have said they 'never imagined" they would want to volunteer for the ACLU, but nonetheless called to offer support. According to Cole, the ACLU recently surpassed 1 million members for the first time.

Continuing his theme of the importance of social activism, Cole highlighted the National Rifle Association as an organization with a strong membership that has successfully and powerfully lobbied to preserve the civil liberties endowed by the Second Amendment.

"The secret to their strength is their people. (The NRA) has five million members. We've just hit the million mark," Cole said. "And they defend one right; we defend the whole bill of rights except (the second amendment) because that one's covered."

And covered well, by the NRA, he indicated.

He says the members of the NRA are more engaged than members of any other social organization including the ACLU, and that a more engaged citizenry would be more successful at protecting liberties.

The summit also offered participating attorneys training sessions on immigration law, transgender rights, resisting water shut-offs in Detroit, and other issues.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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