This story is over 5 years old.


Prominent conservative lawyers love Trump’s appointments but worry about that whole Constitution thing

“There’s a perception out there that conservative lawyers have essentially sold their souls for judges and regulatory reform. We just want to be a voice speaking out”

Prominent conservative lawyers in the Federalist Society may like President Trump 's judicial appointments — in which they've had a big hand — but some of them are also calling him out for undermining constitutional principles.

“We believe in the rule of law, the power of truth, the independence of the criminal justice system, the imperative of individual rights and the necessity of civil discourse,” the new sub-group of 14 Federalist lawyers, led by Kellyanne Conway’s husband, George Conway III, said in a statement released Wednesday, the day before the group's annual meeting. “We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power.”

Conway launched the smaller dissent group, called Checks and Balances, this week to speak out against the president. Conway, though his wife is a public face of the Trump administration, has argued that Trump has violated the Constitution by appointing Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, among his many public criticisms of the president.

“There’s a perception out there that conservative lawyers have essentially sold their souls for judges and regulatory reform,” Conway told the New York Times. “We just want to be a voice speaking out, and to encourage others to speak out.”

The Federalist Society, a major organization for conservative and libertarian lawyers, is set to hold its annual convention Thursday. According to the New York Times, Federalist Society members apparently love Trump appointments — especially those to the Supreme Court, including Brett Kavanaugh, who has been accused of sexual assault by numerous women — though it doesn’t take any official position on nominees or appointments. Observers assert Trump has basically outsourced his judicial appointments to the group, which has been called a “conservative pipeline to the Supreme Court.”

Checks and Balances also includes Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania and secretary of homeland security in the George W. Bush administration, as well as Peter Keisler, who was an acting attorney general in the Bush administration.