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Kellyanne Conway's husband forms conservative lawyer group to speak out against Trump administration

George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, has formed an anti-Trump group for conservative lawyers. The 14-member group is called Checks and Balances. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, has formed a group of conservative lawyers who will speak out against the Trump administration.

The 14-member group, dubbed Checks and Balances, has described itself as "attorneys who would traditionally be considered conservative or libertarian."

“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,” according to the group's mission statement. “We believe these principles apply regardless of the party or persons in power.”

The announcement of the group's formation came just a day before the start of the 2018 Federalist Society convention in Washington, D.C.  The Federalist Society, a conservative lawyer group, has approved of the president's judicial nominations and his moves on deregulation, but it's been hesitant to condemn President Donald Trump's remarks about the mainstream media and other issues.

George Conway is a longtime member and contributor to the Federalist Society.

What's the group's purpose?

George Conway, who's been a public critic of Trump, told the New York Times that the group hopes to encourage others to speak out.

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

Jonathan H. Adler, a prominent law professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, said Checks and Balances' goal isn't to criticize the Federalist's Society but rather to encourage debate.

“This is not a separate organization,” he said. “This is not a rump group. This is not a disavowal.”

Adler added that the group's timing wasn't on accident.

“This convention has become the most important meeting place for conservative and libertarian lawyers with an interest in politics,” he said. “You go fishing where the fish are.”

Member Peter Keisler, a former acting attorney general who served in the George W. Bush administration, said it's important for people from different political affiliations to discuss policy.

“It’s important that people from across the political spectrum speak out about the country’s commitment to the rule of law and the core values underlying it — that the criminal justice system should be nonpartisan and independent, that a free press and public criticism should be encouraged and not attacked,” Keisler told the Times.

Other notable members include former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, University of South Carolina law professor Orin S. Kerr, and lawyer Lori S. Meyer, who's married to Federalist Society President Eugene B. Meyer.

What else?

Kellyanne Conway told Fox News on Sunday that her husband's actions regarding the Trump administration do not affect her.

"Well, it doesn't affect me or my job," she said. "I've never been doing better, personally or professionally."

Last week, the Times published George Conway's op-ed that argued that Matthew Whitaker's appointment as acting attorney general was "unconstitutional."

“It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid," Conway wrote, along with lawyer Neal Katya.

Whitaker, Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, was appointed by Trump to take over for the attorney general after he resigned.

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