Miller’s organization will join a fairly crowded ecosystem of conservative legal entities, including Judicial Watch, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Immigration Reform Law Institute. Unlike corporations, which typically deal with specific issues like freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or immigration, America First Legal will focus largely on administrative law and executive overreach. This focus is in large part based on the experiences Miller and other Trump veterans faced during the last administration.
Former President Donald Trump was no stranger to legal challenges during his tenure. Nationwide injunctions and judgments by appellate courts thwarted or hampered his efforts to erect a border wall with military funds, restrict immigrant visas, impose sanctions on TikTok, and suspend diversity training for government employees, as well as numerous other policy initiatives and executive actions that have been held up by the courts.
Two people familiar with the group said they envisioned this becoming a conservative version of the group American Civil Liberties Union, which filed 400 legal suits against the Trump administration during the four-year term of the former president.
Miller put America First Legal together under the guidance of former Senator Jim DeMint’s Conservative Partnership Institute and Clinton impeachment attorney Ken Starr, who also served on Trump’s first impeachment team. Gene Hamilton, a former Justice Department attorney, was also involved and is expected to oversee the group’s legal work as Miller himself is not a trained attorney, while former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, currently a senior partner at CPI, will serve on his board.
Three people familiar with the planning said Miller had a formal introduction in mind over the next few weeks and recently reached out to a number of people for possible funding, including Todd Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. A person close to Ricketts said he made no commitment to avoid a potential conflict as he currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Republican National Committee.
Miller declined to comment on this story.
Some Trump allies warned that Miller’s reputation and the existence of numerous other groups with similar missions could hamper the success of the new organization. Miller became notorious during the Trump years for conflicting with other government officials over the restrictive immigration policy he proposed to Trump – including the former president’s Muslim travel ban – and his efforts to expedite rule changes or circumvent normal bureaucratic processes. Miller was also a chief architect and defender of the Trump administration’s forced family separation on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“I think this is an important endeavor, but the question is whether Stephen Miller, as the face of the fight against federal overreach, will turn out to be a wise strategy,” a former White House official told Trump, adding, that Miller may encounter difficulties in fundraising. since many donors do not want the potential danger of supporting something related to them. ”
One of the people directly involved in the group rejected the idea that Miller would take a publicly available role. Despite occasional television appearances, this person said Miller intended to be primarily behind the scenes – relying on his connections within the Conservative movement and existing relationships with GOP attorneys general to make AFL an important one during the Biden era and beyond To make an actor.
Less than 100 days into his first term in office, Biden is already facing a string of Republican-led lawsuits led by attorneys-general. In January, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sued the new administration to prevent Biden from imposing a 100-day moratorium on the deportation of some undocumented immigrants. He claimed the executive order violated the constitution and an existing agreement between Texas and the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this month, Paxton filed another lawsuit alongside Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen over Biden’s order to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. And on Wednesday, a 14-state coalition sued the Biden government for attempting to suspend new oil and gas leases on public properties.
The numerous activities have raised questions about the need for a group like America First Legal among some Trump allies when senior law enforcement officers in red states appear to be already organizing legal challenges for Biden.
“If you look back on the Obama administration, the Republican AGs have been extremely well organized and I have no reason to believe that they are not on the same path based on who currently holds office and who early litigation they have already filed, ”said a prominent leader in conservative legal circles.
However, others said Miller was filling a much-needed void after Biden aggressively instituted executive orders to dismantle Trump-era politics or bypass potential legislative hurdles.
“I think that some of the directives the Biden administration has put in place are likely ripe for some legal challenge as they were abolished or changed fairly abruptly,” said former DHS acting secretary Chad Wolf.
“What we saw during the Trump administration were numerous lawsuits for not going through the formal process. If this has been the case in the past four years, you can use this as a guide to what to expect now.” added Wolf.
Miller isn’t the only former Trump official to use his experience in the executive branch to add a new entity to the conservative political landscape. Two other senior White House political advisers, former domestic affairs adviser Brooke Rollins and director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, are putting together their own outfit that will focus on promoting Trump’s political legacy while the former administrative director and budget director Russ Vought the Center for American Restoration, a new think tank addressing cultural issues that Trump put at the helm of the GOP during his tenure.