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American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Self Description

August 2007: "The American system of government is founded on two counterbalancing principles: that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights.

Majority power is limited by the Constitution's Bill of Rights, which consists of the original ten amendments ratified in 1791, plus the three post-Civil War amendments (the 13th, 14th and 15th) and the 19th Amendment (women's suffrage), adopted in 1920.

The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees:

  • Your First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.
  • Your right to equal protection under the law - equal treatment regardless of race, sex, religion or national origin.
  • Your right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of your liberty or property is at stake.
  • Your right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into your personal and private affairs.

We work also to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including Native Americans and other people of color; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; women; mental-health patients; prisoners; people with disabilities; and the poor.

If the rights of society's most vulnerable members are denied, everybody's rights are imperiled.

The ACLU was founded by Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver and others in 1920. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan and have grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. We handle nearly 6,000 court cases annually from our offices in almost every state.

The ACLU has maintained the position that civil liberties must be respected, even in times of national emergency. The ACLU is supported by annual dues and contributions from its members, plus grants from private foundations and individuals. We do not receive any government funding."

May 2003: "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. In 1920,...the ACLU was founded...the nonprofit, nonpartisan ACLU has grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of nearly 300,000 members and supporters, with offices in almost every state. The ACLU is supported by annual dues and contributions from its members, plus grants from private foundations and individuals. We do not receive any government funding."

Third-Party Descriptions

July 2016: "More recently, a study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-Americans and Native Americans in Minneapolis were eight times more likely than whites to be charged with a low-level infraction, such as trespassing or loitering."

November 2014: "In Washington state, the American Civil Liberties Union and others sued the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington in 2011 for their treatment of indigent misdemeanor defendants. Like many municipalities, the cities contract with private lawyers. The federal judge handling the case said evidence showed individual lawyer caseloads in those towns ran as high as 1,000 annually—more than twice the maximum recommended by the American Bar Association and others."

January 2014: 'But Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, was more skeptical, noting that Mr. Obama had warned of hurdles with moving the data into private hands. “The bulk collection and retention of data in government warehouses, government facilities, seems to still be an open question,” he said.'

January 2014: '“The type of problem that is addressed by voter ID laws is virtually nonexistent, which does raise the question of why they are passing these laws,” Witold Walczak, legal director of the A.C.L.U. of Pennsylvania, said after Friday’s ruling. “And the answer is that it is a voter suppression tool.”'

December 2013: "Similar legal challenges to the N.S.A. program, including by the American Civil Liberties Union and the advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, are at earlier stages in the courts. Last month, the Supreme Court declined to hear an unusual challenge to the program by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had sought to bypass lower courts."

September 2013: 'Last April the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and Briggs’ lawyer sued the borough of Norristown on behalf of Briggs, arguing that its disorderly behavior ordinance—and hundreds of similar laws around the country—unconstitutionally punish protected First Amendment speech, fall most heavily of victims of domestic violence, and recast those victims as a public nuisance. Last week a federal judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the "complex and novel" question of whether towns can evict tenants who call 911 too often can go to trial. The Briggs suit is being watched by civil rights advocates around the country.'

September 2013: 'Fast forward to this week, and a federal judge overturned the decision, appearing to agree with the ACLU’s and Facebook’s reasoning. You can see the 81-page legal document here, but basically, what it comes down to is that pressing the like button to show that you like something on Facebook is no different than if you had actually typed the words “I like this.” You know, basic speech.'

September 2013: "The government turned over the federal records to House as part of a legal settlement agreement after a two-year court battle with the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sued the government on House's behalf. The ACLU said the records suggest that federal investigators are using border crossings to investigate U.S. citizens in ways that would otherwise violate the Fourth Amendment."

September 2013: "That proposal met a backlash from an unlikely coalition that included political opposites like Senator John Ashcroft, the Missouri Republican, and Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, as well as the televangelist Pat Robertson, Silicon Valley executives and the American Civil Liberties Union. All argued that the Clipper would kill not only the Fourth Amendment, but also America’s global technology edge."

October 2007: 'Mike German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the documents show "that there is more to this story about the government's relationship with the telecoms than what the administration has admitted to."'

May 2013: 'About 6,900 more public defenders would be needed to complete the current caseload. It's no wonder that many well-meaning defense lawyers are sucked into a "meet 'em and plead 'em" routine (PD parlance for meeting clients just a few minutes or hours before their hearings and then encouraging them to admit guilt just to get rid of the case). It's a large reason why 90 to 95 percent of their clients plead guilty, says Tanya Greene, an ACLU attorney and capital public defender. "You've got so many cases, limited resources, and there's no relief," she says. "You go to work, you get more cases. You have to triage."'

April 2013: "Roughly a third of U.S. states today jail people for not paying off their debts, from court-related fines and fees to credit card and car loans, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Such practices contravene a 1983 United States Supreme Court ruling that they violate the Constitutions's Equal Protection Clause."

February 2013: 'Although not an official legal memo, the white paper was represented by administration  officials as a policy document that closely mirrors the arguments of classified memos on targeted killings by the Justice Department’s  Office of Legal Counsel, which provides authoritative legal advice to the president and all executive branch agencies. The administration has refused to turn over to Congress or release those memos publicly -- or even publicly confirm their existence. A source with access to the white paper, which is not classified, provided a copy to NBC News.   “This is a chilling document,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, which is suing to obtain administration memos about the targeted killing of Americans.  “Basically, it argues that the government has the right to carry out the extrajudicial killing of an American citizen. … It recognizes some limits on the authority it sets out, but the limits are elastic and vaguely defined, and it’s easy to see how they could be manipulated.”'

December 2012: "It remains to be seen whether Connecticut authorities bring charges against any social media users in relation to the Newtown case. But Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union believes they have an uphill battle."

May 2012: "For many (most, I would venture), that closes it. But it’s not that simple for some sex offenders and civil right organizations. According to the AP, there’s a wave of challenges to state laws banning sex offenders’ use of social media, and the American Civil Liberties Union is stepping in to spearhead many of them."

May 2012: 'The ACLU praises the bill for its wider scope. By focusing on computer access (as opposed to simply access to one social network like Facebook), the bill is “flexible” and is able to “evolve to cover any new service.”'

March 2012: "But civil liberties advocates say the wider use of cell tracking raises legal and constitutional questions, particularly when the police act without judicial orders. While many departments require warrants to use phone tracking in nonemergencies, others claim broad discretion to get the records on their own, according to 5,500 pages of internal records obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union from 205 police departments nationwide."

March 2012: '"Students do not shed their First Amendment rights at the school house gate," Charles Samuelson, executive director for the ACLU in Minnesota, said in a statement. "The Supreme Court ruled on that in the 1970s, yet schools like Minnewaska seem to have no regard for the standard."'

February 2012: 'Still, the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups are calling for new protections against what the A.C.L.U. has said could be “routine aerial surveillance of American life.”'

November 2011: 'If this kind of thing is to proliferate (both in D.C. and across the country), it is argued that it needs to see the light of day. Basically, society should have time to debate its merits and discuss their concerns. "The police should not be able to run out and buy a new technology and put it in place before anybody realizes what's going on," says Jay Stanley of the ACLU's Privacy and Technology Program.'

October 2011: "U.S. officials have said they did not know the younger al-Awlaki was with al-Banna. But the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information aboutthe justification for the targeted killing of his father, and said it is deeply troubled by the fact that Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and another U.S. citizen, al Qaeda member Samir Khan, have also been killed by drone strikes in Yemen in the last month."

September 2011: "The Mississippi Supreme Court late Thursday allowed Measure 26, also known as the Personhood Amendment, to appear on the state ballot November 8. The decision was a rejection of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU and abortion-rights groups."

June 2011: '“With the approval of the Bush administration’s most senior officials, the C.I.A. operated an interrogation program that subjected prisoners to unimaginable cruelty and violated both international and domestic law,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union. “The narrow investigation that Attorney General Holder announced today is not proportionate to the scale and scope of the wrongdoing.”'

June 2011: "The F.B.I. recently briefed several privacy advocates about the coming changes. Among them, Michael German, a former F.B.I. agent who is now a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, argued that it was unwise to further ease restrictions on agents’ power to use potentially intrusive techniques, especially if they lacked a firm reason to suspect someone of wrongdoing."

May 2011: '“California is an extreme case by any measure,” said David C. Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, which submitted a brief urging the justices to uphold the lower court’s order. “This case involves ongoing, undisputed and lethal constitutional violations. We’re not going to see a lot of copycat litigation.”'

January 2010: "The documents, obtained over recent months by The Times and the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act, concern most of the 107 deaths in detention counted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since October 2003, after the agency was created within the Department of Homeland Security."

January 2011: "Mr. Merrill is now free to speak about the request, but part of the gag order remains in place, and he is still barred from discussing what information he had been asked to provide. As a result, he said, before he gives a talk he consults a six-page guide prepared by his lawyers at the American Civil Liberties Union to be sure that he complies with the order to avoid risking a punishment of five years in prison."

December 2010: 'But not everyone is convinced. "It opens a door for all kinds of abuses," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now leads the American Civil Liberties Union's campaign on national security and privacy matters. "How do we know there are enough controls?"'

October 2010: "Lots of airline passengers are in for a surprise, said Chris Ott, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, which assailed the new pat-downs when they started at Logan."

May 2010: 'Still, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said Congress had no authority to “chip away” at the Miranda ruling because it was based in the Constitution. He predicted that any effort to carve a broader exception would be vigorously contested.'

April 2010: "The move was hailed as a significant first step by groups often critical of U.S. security practices, including American Muslim organizations, the American Civil Liberties Union, airline and travel industries. Some of these groups had warned that the 14-country rule would lead to racial profiling and delays in the busy summer travel season."

February 2010: "Freiwald, the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Center for Democracy and Technology filed briefs saying that the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment provides Americans with at least some privacy protections that shield their whereabouts from police not armed with search warrants. The civil liberties groups also said that current law gives judges the flexibility to require search warrants based on probable cause."

October 2009: "A lawsuit (.pdf), filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two Californians who were arrested and released, seeks to overturn a voter-approved law that became effective this year. Proposition 69 requires detainees to provide a saliva or sometimes a blood sample upon felony arrest. The sample is stored in state and FBI databases, even if the arrested person is never charged or convicted of a crime."

September 2009: "But the American Civil Liberties Union and many Muslim groups have asked Congress to add constitutional protections to the Patriot Act that would limit some of the FBI's ability to begin wiretaps and collect information."

September 2009: "Even middle schoolers are protected from unreasonable search and seizure when it comes to the contents of their cell phones, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The organization has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Mississippi middle-school honor student, alleging that a 2008 cell phone search and the sixth-grader's subsequent expulsion were not only unnecessary, but also unconstitutional."

August 2009: "Since 9/11, pandemic planning has taken a more authoritarian tone that harks back to the pre-vaccine days of forced quarantines during outbreaks, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report released in January 2008."

August 2009: "Most states prohibit corporal punishment in public schools, but 20 do not. The two watchdog groups that collaborated on the report, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, are urging federal and state lawmakers to extend the ban nationwide and enact an immediate moratorium on physical punishment of students with disabilities."

June 2009: "The May 2004 report, prepared by the CIA's inspector general, is the most definitive official account to date of the agency's interrogation system. A heavily redacted version, consisting of a dozen or so paragraphs separated by heavy black boxes and lists of missing pages, was released in May 2008 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union."

July 2009: "The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday accused the Obama administration of using statements elicited through torture to justify the confinement of a detainee it represents at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

May 2009: "It is up to a judge, in cases of extreme violence, to decide whether to order its use before trial, as a condition of bail or as a sentence. That has led to complaints by the American Civil Liberties Union and others of too much leeway for judges."

June 2009: "Mary Catherine Roper, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, says the coalition's role as a self-appointed, self-policed gatekeeper for blanket surveillance of an entire city is unique.",0,3641451.story

June 2009: '“The answer here is to provide countervailing messages,” Michael Macleod-Ball, chief legislative and policy counsel for the A.C.L.U. in Washington, said Monday. “Discourage smoking, rather than restricting this form of speech that has not been shown to have a sufficiently close nexus with youth smoking.”'

March 2009: '“Prosecutors should not be using a nuclear-weapon-type charge like child pornography against kids who have no criminal intent and are merely doing stupid things,” said Witold J. Walczak, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which represents the families.'

June 2009: 'The Obama administration objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons...The forced disclosure of such material to the American Civil Liberties Union "could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security..." Panetta argued.'

May 2009: "The American Civil Liberties Union may not often see eye to eye with the American Center for Democracy, a research group with neoconservative credentials. But the two organizations are united on at least one thing: their distaste for British libel laws, which they say are being exploited to suppress free speech in Britain and beyond."

May 2009: 'Mr. Obama may not have convinced everyone; Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, complained that the president was indeed flip-flopping, by changing “both the direction and the tenor of how he ran for office.” But one man’s presidential flip-flop is another’s thoughtful decision, and Mr. Obama’s recalibration may have helped him with Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.'

January 2009: "Chris Anders, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said it would be a simple matter to start such an inquiry because the Justice Department’s special prosecutor, John H. Durham, is already investigating whether the C.I.A. acted illegally when it destroyed videotapes of its harsh interrogations. Mr. Anders said Mr. Durham’s mandate could be expanded to look into whether the interrogations depicted on the tapes were illegal."

December 2008: 'Outside the courtroom, the defendants' civilian attorneys, who were organized by the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, said they had considered walking out on the proceeding if the judge accepted guilty pleas. "This show trial is nothing more than an effort to blackmail" Obama and limit his options, said Tom Durkin, a civilian attorney for Binalshibh.'

November 2008: "The ACLU hopes to turn that reasonableness argument against the government’s newfound legal powers to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and emails using facilities inside the United States."

November 2008: "This summer, however, the American Civil Liberties Union and Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department, seeking documents related to the FBI's cell-phone tracking practices. Since August, they've received a stream of documents—the most recent batch on November 6—that were posted on the Internet last week. In a post on the progressive blog Daily Kos, ACLU spokesperson Rachel Myers drew attention to language in several of those documents implying that triggerfish have broader application than previously believed."

November 2008: "Also, two advocacy groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights First, have prepared detailed reports for the new administration calling for criminal investigations into accusations of abuse of detainees."

September 2008: "The State Department is denying passports to people born in southern Texas near the border with Mexico if they were delivered by midwives, citing a history of birth certificate forgeries there for Mexican-born children dating to the 1960s, according to U.S. officials. In a lawsuit, the American Civil Liberties Union alleges that the government is systematically discriminating against U.S.-born citizens on the basis of ethnicity and national origin."

August 2008: "Michael German, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union and a former F.B.I. agent, said the plan appeared to open the door still further to the use of data-mining profiles in tracking terrorism."

August 2008: '"What it illustrates is how the technologies for surveillance have developed at the speed of light, but the law that controls how those technologies can be used is still back in the Stone Age," said Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program. "We've got to develop some rules of the road here to protect our privacy."'

July 2008: "The Justice Department has been defending COPA since its passage in 1998, when the ACLU and others filed suit against the censorship law and won an immediate injunction. Since then, the court battle has made its way twice to the Supreme Court, though the government has never won any clear battles in the dispute."

July 2008: 'If companies do not respond to "no-match" letters, ICE could use that failure as evidence of illegal hiring. But the plan remains stalled by a federal lawsuit filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO and the American Civil Liberties Union, which allege that it will disrupt businesses and discriminate against legal U.S. workers.'

July 2008: "But what about mandatory fingerprinting? Lending trade groups have not complained, but a politically diverse coalition of advocacy organizations -- including the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Conservative Union -- wants the Senate to strip the fingerprinting requirement on financial-privacy grounds."

June 2008: "At the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., nine midshipmen recently asked the American Civil Liberties Union to petition the school to abolish daily prayer at weekday lunch, where attendance is mandatory. The midshipmen and the A.C.L.U. assert that the practice is unconstitutional, based in large part on a 2004 appellate court ruling against a similar prayer at the Virginia Military Institute. The civil liberties group has threatened legal action if the policy is not changed."

April 2008: "The Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union said it was concerned that the basic rights of the children and mothers connected to a Texas polygamist ranch were violated during a recent raid and custody hearing."

May 2008: "The American Civil Liberties Union, through a lawsuit, also unearthed numerous internal e-mail messages from the bureau about agents’ complaints of rough interrogation tactics at Guantánamo Bay, which proved central in the Justice Department’s review."

May 2008: 'John Holdridge, director of the A.C.L.U. Capital Punishment Project, which provided representation for Mr. Jones, said the successful appeals showed that the problem with the death penalty was not the method of execution — the issue ruled on by the Supreme Court last month — but instead “poor people getting lousy lawyers.”'

August 2007: "The federal government yesterday announced the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against conditions at a government detention center for illegal immigrant children and families in Taylor, Tex."

April 2008: 'The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union reminded the court of the "scourge of racial bias" that accompanied the execution of rapists during the middle part of the 20th century; nearly 90 percent of those executed were black.'

April 2008: "The A.C.L.U. has accused the affiliate of mismanagement and not spending enough money on efforts to defend civil liberties. But affiliate leaders contend their group is being punished for raising questions about the direction and leadership of the national organization."

March 2008: 'But Michael German, a former FBI agent who is national security policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that "it's becoming more and more obvious that outside oversight is essential since the Bureau's learning curve is sadly unimpressive."'

February 2008: 'Tech-savvy teenagers are increasingly paying a heavy price – including criminal arrest – for parodying their teachers on the Internet...."What I'm not seeing is school officials approaching this in an adult manner," says Vic Walczak, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania. "They're approaching it in an authoritarian fashion...."'

January 2008: "The American Civil Liberties Union maintains a Web log, titled Unnecessary Evil, tracking news coverage of informants, especially in drug cases."

January 2008: '"DHS has kicked the can down the road to the next administration, and conceivably the next two or three administrations," said Barry Steinhardt, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. Already, 17 states have said they would either refuse to issue the new licenses or have asked Congress to repeal a 2005 law that required states to collect and store additional data on driver's license applicants, such as birth certificates, Social Security numbers and home addresses.'

January 2008: 'Caroline Fredrickson, Washington legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said Democrats opposing immunity face an uphill battle and accused Reid of mishandling the issue. "We would very much like Senator Reid to have a fight with the White House, to move forward with a bill that's stronger on civil liberties and has no immunity," she said. "If a bill doesn't pass, it's on the president's head."'

December 2007: "There is no doubt that progress has been made since then, said Deborah Jacobs, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. But, she said she was troubled by State Police data presented to the federal monitor showing that 30 percent of the drivers stopped on the turnpike in South Jersey were black or Hispanic, compared with 20 percent in the northern part of the state — even though there are far fewer black and Hispanic residents in South Jersey."

December 2007: "Claudia Flores, a staff lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union who recently represented three Indian women kept in involuntary servitude by foreign diplomats in Washington, said foreign workers unfamiliar with American culture and language, already vulnerable, are pushed beyond the pale by isolation."

November 2007: “When the starting point for a police investigation is ‘let’s look at all Muslims,’ we are going down a dangerous road,” Peter Bibring, a lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Southern California, said in an interview. “Police can and should be engaged with the communities they are policing, but that engagement can’t be a mask for intelligence gathering.”

October 2007: 'They are quickly galloping towards the million mark — a mark of real distinction because the [terrorist watchlist--Ed.] list is already cumbersome and is approaching absolutely useless,' said Tim Sparapani of the American Civil Liberties Union.

October 2007: 'We often hear of the surveillance technology du jour, but what we're seeing now in America is a collection of surveillance technologies that work together,' said Barry Steinhardt, the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty project director. 'It isn't just video surveillance or face recognition or license plate readers or RFID chips. It's that all these technologies are converging to create a surveillance society.'

October 2007: The American Civil Liberties Union has campaigned against the proposed Senate legislation [giving telecom companies immunity for turning over information to the government--Ed.], saying in a news release Friday that 'the administration is trying to cover its tracks.'

October 2007: Hope Amezquita, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, testified before the task force that the proposal to deny bail to virtually all illegal immigrants accused of committing crimes might be unconstitutional.

October 2007: 'Wearing of clothing is absolutely free expression' protected by the First Amendment, says Marjorie Esman, executive director of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

October 2007: "Former detainees of Immigration and Customs Enforcement accuse the agency in a lawsuit of forcibly injecting them with psychotropic drugs while trying to shuttle them out of the country during their deportation....class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against the government. They are seeking an end to the alleged practice and unspecified damages."

October 2007: 'Why is the president of the United States trying to get the telecommunications companies off the hook for their illegal activity?' says Caroline Frederickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union. 'He is supposed to be upholding laws, not encouraging companies to break them.'

October 2007: When the Fourth Circuit dismissed Mr. Masri’s suit, Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the action “truly unbelievable” and “reminiscent of third-world countries.”

October 2007: 'Democrats have made huge strides in making improvements over the Protect America Act,' said Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. 'Yet we think that the Constitution requires as a minimum that an individualized warrant is required whenever an American's communications are targeted. This is going to be the big sticking point.'

October 2007: "temporary ban on a central measure in the Bush administration’s campaign to crack down on employers who hire illegal immigrants....The suit was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and several San Francisco labor organizations. They were joined by the United States Chamber of Commerce and several national small business associations."

June 2005: The law at issue in Cutter applies in only two areas: land-use regulation and prisons. But the political momentum in favor of expanded religious accommodation has broader implications. For the last 15 years, there has been a periodic tug of war between Congress and the courts over the definition of religious freedom. Now the battle over religious accommodation is moving to the sphere of private employment. The Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2005, introduced in the Senate this spring, has an odd constellation of supporters and opponents. Its sponsors include Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Santorum, a religious conservative, and Massachusetts liberal John Kerry. In what must be a sign of the end of days, Hillary Clinton has found common cause with Orrin Hatch in support of WRFA. On the other side, civil rights activists, including the ACLU and the National Women's Law Center, have joined with businesses in opposition.

September 2007: The American Civil Liberties Union called for a moratorium on the domestic use of military spy satellites until Congress explicitly authorizes the program and enacts safeguards against misuse.

August 2007: The experience inspired Mr. Hordynski and his group to redouble their antiwar activity, but also to work to expose the Pentagon's database on US citizens. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and dozens of other peace organizations, they eventually forced the Department of Defense to release thousands of pages of files it had kept on peaceful antiwar activists. That prompted a congressional inquiry as well as allegations that the Pentagon was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and its own guidelines. In December 2005, the Defense Department undertook its own comprehensive review of the TALON database. Soon afterward, it announced it was purging 'a large amount of information' deemed to have been kept inappropriately.

August 2007: “Our policy is to object whenever public funds are spent on any brick and mortar component of religion,” said Kary Moss, director of the Michigan Civil Liberties Union. “What makes this different, though, is that the footbaths themselves can be used by anyone, don’t have any symbolic value and are not stylized in a religious way. They’re in a regular restroom, and could be just as useful to a janitor filling up buckets, or someone coming off the basketball court, as to Muslim students.”

July 2007: The proposal 'is circumventing the law by paying companies to do something the FBI couldn't do itself legally,' said Michael German, American Civil Liberties Union policy counsel on national security. 'Going around the Fourth Amendment by paying private companies to hoard our phone records is outrageous.'

June 2007: The ACLU is concerned about giving the CDC access to millions of names on passenger manifests, said Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU Technology and Liberty Program.

May 2007: The measure would gut Congress's efforts to conduct inquiries into the administration's surveillance program because a subpoenaed company or government official could invoke immunity, said Tim Sparapani, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has sued the government to force a halt to its wiretapping program.

April 2007:"There are some very tragic losses of civilian life, including losses of whole families, said Anthony D. Romero, the A.C.L.U.'s executive director, in an interview. He said the claims showed enormous confusion on all sides, both from the civilian population on how to interact with the armed services and also among the soldiers themselves."

April 2007: Where it stands: The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the constitutionality of NSL gag orders and won. The government is appealing the case. Congress is currently holding hearings on the FBI's mishandling of the NSLs.

December 2006: Federal prosecutors are trying to force the American Civil Liberties Union to turn over copies of a classified document it received from a source, using what legal experts called a new extension of the Bush administration’s efforts to protect national-security secrets.

May 2006: Caroline Fredrickson, Washington legislative director for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the administration has purposely misled Congress and the public about the scope and character of the NSA's domestic intelligence activities. She pointed to comments in January by Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, Bush's nominee for CIA director, who said the NSA program 'is not a driftnet' over U.S. communities.

December 2005: The documents, provided to The New York Times over the past week, came as part of a series of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. For more than a year, the A.C.L.U. has been seeking access to information in F.B.I. files on about 150 protest and social groups that it says may have been improperly monitored.

December 2005: The American Civil Liberties Union raised objections yesterday to a little-noticed provision of the latest version of the USA Patriot Act bill, arguing that it would give the Secret Service wider latitude to charge protesters accused of disrupting major events including political conventions and the Olympics.

March 2005: "Torture is wrong; torture was widespread," yet there has been no accountability for it from inside the administration, said Steven R. Shapiro, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit with Human Rights First in the Northern District of Illinois.

January 2005: Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which published the documents on its Web site, said they showed that the investigations of torture and abuse "have been woefully inadequate" and, in some cases, a whitewash. Army spokesman Dov Schwartz responded that "the Army has aggressively investigated all credible allegations of detainee abuse and held soldiers accountable for their actions."


RoleNameTypeLast Updated
Owner of (partial or full, past or present) American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Source Oct 30, 2008
Owned by (partial or full, past or present) New York Civil Liberties Union Organization Oct 6, 2004
Cooperation (past or present) Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Organization Sep 13, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Prof. Michelle Alexander Esq. Person May 23, 2011
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Nan Aron Esq. Person Nov 10, 2005
Advised by (past or present) Rep. Robert "Bob" L. Barr Jr. ,Esq. Person Aug 30, 2004
Organization Executive (past or present) Ann Beeson Esq. Person Dec 21, 2005
Advised by (past or present) Thomas S. Blanton Person Dec 2, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Alvin J. Bronstein Esq. Person Aug 16, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Chris Calabrese Person Nov 15, 2012
Supported by (past or present) Prof. Susan J. Carroll Ph.D. Person Feb 29, 2008
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Matt Coles Person Mar 17, 2004
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Katie Corrigan Person
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Catherine Crump Esq. Person Apr 19, 2012
Organization Executive (past or present) David C. Fathi Person Jun 1, 2011
Organization Executive (past or present) Caroline Fredrickson Person Oct 31, 2007
Organization Executive (past or present) Michael German Esq. Person Apr 3, 2010
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Person Nov 13, 2005
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Ira Glasser Person Jun 21, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) Kara Gotsch M.A. Person Jun 25, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Jeremy Gruber Person Dec 9, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) Lucas Guttentag Esq. Person Oct 14, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Morton H. Halperin Person
Organization Executive (past or present) Dalia Hashad Person Sep 28, 2008
Organization Executive (past or present) Marjorie Heins Esq. Person Jul 7, 2008
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) Prof. Susan N. Herman Esq. Person Jun 5, 2005
Organization Executive (past or present) John Holdridge Esq. Person May 7, 2008
Organization Executive (past or present) Jameel Jaffer Esq. Person Aug 30, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Jody Kent Person Nov 15, 2007
Director/Trustee/Overseer (past or present) William M. Kunstler Esq. Person Sep 10, 2011
Advised by (past or present) Prof. Jessica Litman esq., MFA Person Oct 13, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Joanne Mariner Esq. Person Aug 21, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) Prof. Burt Neuborne Esq. Person May 7, 2010
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Prof. Jaya Ramji-Nogales Esq. Person Jun 12, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Anthony D. Romero Person Sep 6, 2006
Organization Executive (past or present) Carol Rose Person May 12, 2006
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Diann Rust-Tierney Person
Organization Executive (past or present) Steven R. Shapiro Esq. Person Jun 19, 2007
Advised by (past or present) Prof. Joanna Shepherd Ph.D. Person Jan 8, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Harvey A. Silverglate Esq. Person Feb 17, 2006
Member (past or present) Virginia E. Sloan Esq. Person Jul 3, 2007
Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Timothy Sparapani Esq. Person Jun 19, 2009
Organization Executive (past or present) Jay Stanley Person Oct 6, 2005
Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Barry Steinhardt Person
Organization Executive (past or present) Ben Wizner Esq. Person Dec 21, 2012

Articles and Resources

366 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]

Date Resource Read it at:
Jul 16, 2016 Philando Castile, Fatally Shot in His Car, Was a Magnet for Minor Traffic Stops

QUOTE: In a 13-year span, Philando Castile was pulled over by the police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region at least 49 times, an average of about once every three months, often for minor infractions....The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police... growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.

New York Times
Nov 30, 2014 Justice Is Swift as Petty Crimes Clog Courts: Cases Adjudicated in Minutes or Less, Often Without Lawyers

QUOTE: Years of aggressive policing tactics and tough-on-crime legislation have flooded the American court system with misdemeanor cases—relatively small-time crimes such as public drunkenness, loitering or petty theft. The state courts that handle such charges often resemble assembly lines where time is in short supply, according to judges and lawyers who work in the courts. Many poor defendants, despite their right to court-appointed legal counsel, don’t get lawyers, and those who do often receive scant help in the rush to resolve cases.

Wall Street Journal, The (WSJ)
Jan 17, 2014 Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down as Judge Cites Burden on Citizens

QUOTE: ruled that the law hampered the ability of hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians to cast their ballots, with the burden falling most heavily on elderly, disabled and low-income residents, and that the state’s reason for the law — that it was needed to combat voter fraud — was not supported by the facts....In addition, Judge McGinley ruled, the state’s $5 million campaign to explain the law had been full of misinformation that has never been corrected.

New York Times
Jan 17, 2014 Obama Outlines Calibrated Curbs on Phone Spying

QUOTE: in a speech at the Justice Department that seemed more calculated to reassure audiences at home and abroad than to force radical change, Mr. Obama defended the need for the broad surveillance net assembled by the N.S.A. And he turned to Congress and the intelligence agencies themselves to work out the details of any changes.

New York Times
Dec 16, 2013 Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records

QUOTE: A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.

New York Times
Sep 26, 2013 Public Nuisance: What happens when calling 911 could cost you your home.

QUOTE: the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and Briggs’ lawyer sued the borough of Norristown on behalf of Briggs, arguing that its disorderly behavior ordinance—and hundreds of similar laws around the country—unconstitutionally punish protected First Amendment speech, fall most heavily of victims of domestic violence, and recast those victims as a public nuisance.

Sep 19, 2013 Don’t Fire Employees Over Facebook ‘Likes’

QUOTE: In the United States, Facebook likes are protected by the first amendment. Liking something on Facebook is the same as using your right to free speech to actually say, “I like this.” That means that employers should think twice before firing employees over something they “like”.

Sep 10, 2013 New details in how the feds take laptops at border

QUOTE: President Barack Obama and his predecessors have maintained that people crossing into U.S. territory aren't protected by the Fourth Amendment. That policy is intended to allow for intrusive searches that keep drugs, child pornography and other illegal imports out of the country. But it also means the government can target travelers for no reason other than political advocacy if it wants, and obtain electronic documents identifying fellow supporters.

Yahoo News
Sep 05, 2013 N.S.A. Foils Much Internet Encryption

QUOTE: The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents. The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world...

New York Times
May 06, 2013 Charts: Why You're in Deep Trouble If You Can't Afford a Lawyer:Fifty years after the groundbreaking "Gideon" ruling, public defenders are overworked, underpaid—and America's poor are paying the price

QUOTE: the Supreme Court disappointed reformers when it refused to rule on a case involving a Louisiana man serving a life sentence after waiting five years in jail while the state came up with money to pay his court-appointed lawyer....Since the 1963 Supreme Court decision, America's prison population has grown more than tenfold—from 217,000 inmates to 2.3 million—largely due to decades of the war on drugs and tough-on-crime policies. It's been nearly impossible for the public defense system to keep pace.

Mother Jones
Apr 04, 2013 As economy flails, debtors' prisons thrive (MoneyWatch)

QUOTE: Thousands of Americans are sent to jail not for committing a crime, but because they can't afford to pay for traffic tickets, medical bills and court fees. If that sounds like a debtors' prison, a legal relic which was abolished in this country in the 1830s, that's because it is. And courts and judges in states across the land are violating the Constitution by incarcerating people for being unable to pay such debts.

CBS News
Feb 04, 2013 Justice Department memo reveals legal case for drone strikes on Americans

QUOTE: A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” -- even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S. The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects abroad, including those aimed at American citizens

NBC News
Dec 18, 2012 When is social-media use a crime?

QUOTE: Despite the disturbing nature of some social-media messages about the shootings, several legal experts contacted by CNN questioned whether Connecticut authorities could successfully bring charges against whoever posted them.

CNN (Cable News Network)
May 31, 2012 Should Sex Offenders Be Allowed On Facebook? The discussion goes beyond that initial repulsive reaction

QUOTE: Many states have laws on the books that put an outright ban on registered sex offenders using social networks. Sometimes these laws extend to things like instant messaging services and the like....there’s a wave of challenges to state laws banning sex offenders’ use of social media, and the American Civil Liberties Union is stepping in to spearhead many of them.

May 11, 2012 Should Congress Move To Ban Employers From Demanding Employees’ Facebook Passwords? Is it a big enough invasion of privacy to warrant government intervention?

QUOTE: If your future employer or current boss asks you for your Facebook password, it might soon be against the law. That’s because there is new national legislation against the practice of employers demanding access to employees’ personal accounts....“People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter,” said Representative Perlmutter.

Mar 31, 2012 Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool

QUOTE: Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight, documents show. The practice has become big business for cellphone companies, too...

New York Times
Mar 10, 2012 Minnesota girl alleges school privacy invasion

QUOTE: A Minnesota middle school student, with the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union, is suing her school district...was on two occasions punished for statements she made on her Facebook account, and was also pressured to divulge her password to school officials, the complaint states.

CNN (Cable News Network)
Feb 17, 2012 Drones Set Sights on U.S. Skies

QUOTE: A new federal law, signed by the president on Tuesday, compels the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to be used for all sorts of commercial endeavors... Local police and emergency services will also be freer to send up their own drones. But while businesses, and drone manufacturers especially, are celebrating the opening of the skies to these unmanned aerial vehicles, the law raises new worries about how much detail the drones will capture about lives down below — and what will be done with that information.

New York Times
Nov 23, 2011 Police Tracking Your Every Move With License Plate Readers: Is a law enforcement aid worth sacrificing personal liberties?

QUOTE: These plate readers in D.C. take 1,800 images per minute, every one of which is stored in a database. Basically, these plate readers have made it possible for police to track everyone's movements as they move across the city. These plate readers and the subsequent database of image captures has tipped the privacy concerns of some -- notably the American Civil Liberties Union.

Oct 25, 2011 Death of U.S. teenager in drone strike stokes debate

QUOTE: 'Proportionality' is at the heart of the it acceptable in law to carry out an attack against an identified terrorist suspect where others in his immediate vicinity - whose identities are unknown - are likely to be killed or injured?...

CNN (Cable News Network)

366 Articles and Resources. Go to:  [Next 20]   [End]