Seventeen student groups from Cornell Law School are sending a puzzle with the text of the Constitution to President Donald Trump in an effort to remind him that every piece of the Constitution is important.
Throughout the week, law students have been signing the backs of the puzzle pieces and writing messages on them. They are attaching letters imploring President Trump to follow the Constitution during his presidency.
One letter from the Asian Pacific American Law School Association detailed concerns regarding ethnic profiling and difficulties that many immigrants face.
“Some of us have family who lived through the Japanese internment camps during World War II. Some of us have family who escaped from Vietnam to America on boats after the Vietnam War,” students wrote. “We must be cognizant of the dangers of profiling based on national origin, religion and ethnicity. We must be sympathetic to the plight of immigrants.”
Several law students felt that sending a puzzle in addition to the letters would be a unique way to get their messages across to Trump.
“[The puzzle] is a great metaphorical representation of what we are feeling, and the fact that students are signing individual pieces is a good way to show individual acknowledgement in a collective whole,” said Jenny Hu grad, president of APALSA.
Rachael Hancock grad, president of the law school’s chapter of the American Constitution Society, thought the puzzle would be a good way to “get the community involved,” stressing that the main purpose of the puzzle is to show the importance of the Constitution as a whole.
“I wanted this to kind of boost morale and let our community know that we still have power to do things and that we can be excited about something again, regardless if it’s maybe an angry kind of excitement,” Hancock said.
Some student group leaders believe that certain parts of the Constitution are particularly important to reiterate to President Trump.
“Equal protection, I would say, because he’s already expressed some violations of his belief that we are all equally protected under the law,” said Chris Plante grad, co-president of Lambda, the law school’s LGBTQ association.
Kendall Karr, co-president of Lawyering for Reproductive Justice, said that constitutional privacy rights should be particularly stressed.
“President Trump has demonstrated that reproductive rights [are] not one of his priorities, and those are protected within multiple amendments within the Constitution,” Karr said.
McCahey Townsend, the president of the Women’s Law Coalition, echoed Karr’s sentiments.
“It’s important that he respec[t] our rights to make choices about our bodies, our right to marry who we choose regardless of their gender and also our right to not be discriminated against based on gender or identity,” Townsend said.
Hancock is not holding out hope that President Trump will respond to the puzzle and letters. But if he does respond, “I would hope for some acknowledgement that … if you’re the people’s president, you answer to the people,” Hancock said.
Karr said she wants affirmation that Trump understands the Constitution.
“At this point it doesn’t seem that he is dedicated to following the law or understanding the law,” Karr said.
Despite the worries that some law students have regarding the Trump administration, several have expressed that they still have hope for constitutional government and feel that the puzzle will help to keep this hope alive.
“It’s not just President Trump who is controlling the government,” Karr said. “We have all of these branches and all of these avenues to fight back against things that are not right.”