The Fight: the battle of lawyers, activists against the government Trump

The Fight: le combat d’avocats militants contre le gouvernement Trump

Families of migrants are separated, legal battle around the right to abortion, transgender people excluded from the army: since the election of Donald Trump to the United States, defenders of civil rights are on all fronts, as shown in a new documentary.

“The Fight”, which will be released on 31 July, when the campaign for the re-election of president Trump is in full swing, follows the scenes of five lawyers grappling with the most controversial decisions of the billionaire conservative elected at the end of 2016.

The feature-length film, for which shooting has extended over a period of three years, is a modern version and a legal fight of David against Goliath, with a side the organization of the defence of civil rights ACLU and the other the full weight of the federal government.

“It represents what? Two and a half floors of a building in New York, no?” lance in the film the head of voting rights for ACLU’s Dale Ho, in reference to the premises of the organization where the bulk of the filming took place.

But as shown in “The Fight”, the ACLU does boxing not in the featherweight division, and won a number of significant wins, such as the one ripped off by Dale Ho of the supreme Court to oppose the addition of a question on nationality in the census questionnaire.

With this uppercut to the president Trump, Mr. Ho argued that this was to deter immigrants, legal or not, to take part in the census, very important in the United States for the granting of certain public resources.

This, however, is not sufficient for the lawyer followed by the documentary.

“We spent most of the last three years playing in defence,” said Dale Ho during a virtual press conference in early July.

“I’m trying to prevent, to stop, to mitigate such atrocities to the human and civil rights that are being committed by this government and others,” he continued.

Internal Tensions

The film was directed by Elyse Steinberg, Joshua Kriegman and Eli Despres, trio, already at the origin of a documentary nominated for an Oscar in 2016 and dedicated to the applicant deposed to the town hall in New York, Anthony Weiner.

As “Weiner”, “The Fight” has attracted the criticism during his presentation at the festival – virtual – Sundance in January, and aims to show the human part of her protagonists, the lawyers, the elite are pushing to charge a mobile phone.

The ACLU has launched more than a hundred of proceedings against the government of Trump but the film is only interested in four of them, particularly symbolic.

Among these trials, the case of an immigrant of 17 years in a united states detention facility, a victim of rape, who are denied a voluntary interruption of pregnancy. Or even the young children separated from their parents by the border police after entering illegally on american soil from Mexico.

“The Fight” also illustrates the internal tensions within the ACLU, such as those elicited by his choice to defend the right to protest of the activists of the extreme right advocating the superiority of the white race in Charlottesville (south-east) in 2017, a gathering that had resulted in the murder of a counter-protester.

And all the battles fought by the ACLU are not victorious, far from it.

Lee Gelernt, the fight will continue well beyond the election in November 2020, regardless of the outcome.

“I think that there are probably a false impression, which is that if (the democrat Joe) Biden wins the election, many of these issues will go away,” he says. “And this is simply untrue. No democratic president will do everything that we believe is necessary”, he insists.

The government Trump, however, remains the main super-villain of “The Fight”. “If I’m not a civil rights attorney in this moment, I never will be”, lance and Dale Ho.

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