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The Constitutional Crisis in the United States

--- Humanity Rising Day 260 - Tuesday June 1, 2021     (GoTo Bottom)
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Democracy and the Constitutional framework of the United States is under assault by Donald Trump and the Republican Party over which Trump has consolidated control. To understand the gravity of this attack on America’s constitutional democracy, we will dialogue with famed Constitutional lawyer Daniel Sheehan, president and co-founder of the Romero Institute and former president and co-founder of the Christic Institute. Carrying degrees from Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Danny has helped lead multiple lawsuits of historic importance, including three Supreme Court cases. Prior to forming the Christic Institute, he litigated a number of high-profile social justice cases, including:

  • Defending First Amendment rights in the “Pentagon Papers Case” (New York Times Co. v. United States)
  • Defending reproductive freedom (Eisenstadt v. Baird)
  • Defending First Amendment rights of press protection (In re Pappas: Branzburg v. Hayes)
  • The Watergate burglary case (United States v. George Gordon Liddy, et al.)
  • Defending the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs interpretation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, in hiring and promotion practices (Morton v. Mancari)
  • Serving as amicus curiae in the eight-month long Wounded Knee Trials against American Indian Movement leaders

As General Counsel to the United States Jesuit Order's National Office of Social Ministry in Washington, D.C., Danny partnered with Father William Davis, met leaders of the country's religious and progressive movements, and developed a reputation as a fierce advocate for the rights of political and peace activists. In 1977, Danny was contacted by Sara Nelson, the National Organization of Women’s (NOW) National Labor Secretary, and partnering with her and a coalition of activists, won a record-setting $10.5 million judgment on behalf of nuclear worker and whistleblower Karen Silkwood. The case effectively ended construction of all new nuclear power plants in the United States.

Following the success of the Silkwood case, Danny, Sara, and Father Davis formed the Christic Institute. They prevailed in several celebrated cases opposing the structural sources of injustice in the United States and around the world, including:

  • Representing victims of the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster (PIRC v. Three Mile Island)
  • Defending Catholic workers who provided sanctuary to Salvadoran refugees in the American Sanctuary Movement (U.S. v. Stacey Lynn Merkt, et al.)
  • Seeking damages from the KKK and American Nazi Party members for the murder of civil rights demonstrators in the Greensboro Massacre (Waller v. Butkovich)
  • Bringing charges against 29 people involved in the civil case associated with the Iran-Contra Affair (Avirgan v. Hull, et al)

Danny formed the Romero Institute in 1992 with Sara. A law and policy center based in Santa Cruz, CA, the Institute exposes and implements solutions to serious threats to the environment, structural injustice, and human and constitutional rights violations.



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