American Civil Liberties Union

May 13, 2011 | Posted by: What- | Full story: www.aclu.org

So long as we have enough people in this country willing to fight for their rights, we'll be called a democracy. -- ACLU Founder Roger Baldwin

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

These rights include:

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 - protection against unlawful discrimination. 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. The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of our population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.

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

The U.S. Supreme Court had yet to uphold a single free speech claim when Roger Baldwin, Crystal Eastman, Albert DeSilver and others formed the ACLU in 1920. Activists languished in jail for distributing anti-war literature. State sanctioned violence against African Americans was routine. Women won the right to vote only in August of that year. Constitutional rights for lesbians and gays, bisexual and transgender people in those days were unthinkable.

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“www.acluarkansas .org”

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ACLU History:

In the years following World War I, America was gripped by the fear that the Communist Revolution that had taken place in Russia would spread to the United States. As is often the case when fear outweighs rational debate, civil liberties paid the price. In November 1919 and January 1920, in what notoriously became known as the “Palmer Raids,” Attorney General Mitchell Palmer began rounding up and deporting so-called radicals. Thousands of people were arrested without warrants and without regard to constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure. Those arrested were brutally treated and held in horrible conditions.

In the face of these egregious civil liberties abuses, a small group of people decided to take a stand, and thus was born the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU has evolved in the years since from this small group of idealists into the nation’s premier defender of the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. With more than 500,000 members, nearly 200 staff attorneys, thousands of volunteer attorneys and offices throughout the nation, the ACLU of today continues to fight government abuse and to vigorously defend individual freedoms including speech and religion, a woman’s right to choose, the right to due process, citizens’ rights to privacy and much more. The ACLU stands up for these rights even when the cause is unpopular, and sometimes when nobody else will. While not always in agreement with us on every issue, Americans have come to count on the ACLU for its unyielding dedication to principle. The ACLU has become so ingrained in American society that it is hard to imagine an America without it.

One of the ACLU’s earliest battles was the Scopes Trial of 1925. When the state of Tennessee passed a law banning the teaching of evolution, the ACLU recruited biology teacher John T. Scopes to challenge the law by teaching the banned subject in his class. When Scopes was eventually prosecuted, the ACLU partnered with celebrated attorney Clarence Darrow to defend him. Although Scopes was found guilty (the verdict was later overturned because of a sentencing error), the trial made national headlines and helped persuade the public on the importance of academic freedom.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered all people of Japanese descent, most of whom were American citizens, be sent to “war relocation camps.” Eventually more than more than 110,000 Japanese Americans were sent to these internment camps. The ACLU, led by its California affiliates, stood alone in speaking out about this atrocity.

(continued on the next post)

“www.acluarkansas .org”

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(continued from the previous post)

In 1954, the ACLU joined forces with the NAACP to challenge racial segregation in public schools. The resulting Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education that ended the era of “separate but equal” was a major victory for racial justice.

The ACLU was also involved in the 1973 the Supreme Court victories in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, which held that the right to privacy encompasses a woman's right to decide whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy. In 2003, the ACLU helped persuade the Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas to expand upon the privacy rights established in Roe when it struck down a Texas law making sexual intimacy between same-sex couples a crime.

One of the most noted moments in the ACLU’s history occurred in 1978 when the ACLU defended a Nazi group that wanted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie, Illinois where many Holocaust survivors lived. The ACLU persuaded a federal court to strike down three ordinances that placed significant restrictions on the Nazis’ First Amendment right to march and express their views. The decision to take the case was a demonstration of the ACLU’s commitment to the principle that constitutional rights must apply to even the most unpopular groups if they’re going to be preserved for everyone. Many now consider this one of the ACLU’s finest hours.

That commitment to principle in difficult situations continues today. Since the tragic terrorist attacks of 9/11, the ACLU has been working vigorously to oppose policies that sacrifice our fundamental freedoms in the name of national security. From opposing the Patriot Act to challenging warrantless spying to challenging the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without charge or trial, the ACLU is committed to restoring fundamental freedoms lost as a result of policies that expand the government's power to invade privacy, imprison people without due process and punish dissent.

The ACLU also remains a champion of segments of the population who have traditionally been denied their rights, with much of our work today focused on equality for people of color, women, gay and transgender people, prisoners, immigrants and people with disabilities.

Back in 1920, the individual freedoms enumerated in the Constitution had never been fully tested in the courts, making them largely meaningless for ordinary people. Since then, principles of individual freedom, protection against arbitrary government action, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and press, due process of law, equal protection and privacy have become codified in our laws and their protections widely enforced. The advancement of civil liberties over the past century represents one of the most significant developments in American history, and the ACLU has been integral to this process.

But the work of defending freedom never ends, and in our vibrant and passionate society, difficult struggles over individual rights and liberties aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. The ACLU is committed to fight for freedom and the protection of constitutional rights for generations to come.

Since: Feb 11

Richardson, TX

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Where does the ACLU stand on gun rights?

“www.acluarkansas .org”

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Forever Two Wheels wrote:
Where does the ACLU stand on gun rights?
The Second Amendment:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller (2008). While the decision is a significant and historic reinterpretation of the right to keep and bear arms, the decision leaves many important questions unanswered that will have to be resolved in future litigation, including what regulations are permissible, and which weapons are embraced by the Second Amendment right that the Court has now recognized.

In a dissenting opinion in D.C. v. Heller (2008), Justice John Paul Stevens stated that the court's judgment was "a strained and unpersuasive reading" which overturned longstanding precedent, and that the court had "bestowed a dramatic upheaval in the law." Stevens also stated that the amendment was notable for the "omission of any statement of purpose related to the right to use firearms for hunting or personal self-defense."

The Stevens dissent seems to rest on four main points of disagreement: that the Founders would have made the individual right aspect of the Second Amendment express if that was what was intended; that the "militia" preamble and exact phrase "to keep and bear arms" demands the conclusion that the Second Amendment touches on state militia service only; that many lower courts' later "collective-right" reading of the Miller decision constitutes stare decisis, which may only be overturned at great peril; and that the Court has not considered gun-control laws (e.g., the National Firearms Act) unconstitutional. The dissent concludes, "The Court would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons...I could not possibly conclude that the Framers made such a choice."

Justice Stevens' dissent was joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer.

“www.acluarkansas .org”

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Free America__ wrote:
what lives... why are you hiding? Be bold. be brave. the piggie is gone thanks to me.
I indeed live :-) and good job!
guest

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ACLU MEMBER wrote:
The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right.
And the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes it as an individual right.

No surprise that the Anti-american Communist Lover's Union disagrees with the law of the land.
baffling

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May 13, 2011
 

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guest wrote:
<quoted text>
And the U.S. Supreme Court recognizes it as an individual right.
No surprise that the Anti-american Communist Lover's Union disagrees with the law of the land.
The ACLU agrees with the 4 disenting judges and what was the "law of the land" until 2008, which was a decision that one of the four disenting judges called ignorant.

It is no surprise that you literally edit facts out of a post before responding to it, present your rhetoric and end with a personal attack.

I know, you think that allowing interracial (black and white) marriages is "Communist" -- you readily disagree with a UNANIMOUS U.S. Supreme Court decision and maintain that interracial marriage bans are Constitutional, yet you whine when someone has a legetimate disagreement with a precident overturning split decision.

You really are no fan of consistency, are you my misguided/ing friend :-)?

“www.peta.org”

Since: Mar 09

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Free America__ wrote:
<quoted text>
so it's okay to kill the pig as long as I don't eat it... explaing please...
You ate a pig but didn't kill it? Please explain...
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baffling wrote:
The ACLU agrees with the 4 disenting judges and what was the "law of the land" until 2008
Those 4 dissenters are activist judges appointed to the Court by far left wackos who hate the Constitution and want to circumvent it by unjust Supreme Court rulings. No surprise that the ACLU is in agreement with them since they pursue those same goals.

And the law of the land has always been that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. I guess you never read the 2nd Amendment.

Since: Oct 09

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It is time for the ACLU to be dismantled. They don't provide anything positive for America any more
baffling

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guest wrote:
<quoted text>
Those 4 dissenters are activist judges appointed to the Court by far left wackos who hate the Constitution and want to circumvent it by unjust Supreme Court rulings. No surprise that the ACLU is in agreement with them since they pursue those same goals.
And the law of the land has always been that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. I guess you never read the 2nd Amendment.
Really? Lets take a look at those a look at those dissenters:

John Paul Stevens -- appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford.

David Souter -- appointed by Republican President George H.W. Bush.

Appointed by far left wackos who hate the Constitution, huh?

Also, until 2008 the right to bear arms was a collective (and not an individual) right...much as you would like to claim otherwise -- and have you ever read the 2nd Amendment?

We now return you to your fantasy land, and as always it is hilarious that you whine about the existence of a legetimate disagreement on a precident overturning split decision while you insist (against UNANIMOUS U.S. Supreme Court Decision otherwise) that interracial marriage bans are Constitutional.

Oh please, lecture us on the Constitution again America 1st...
baffling

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There is one split decision that you like, is that much consolation when so much of what you advocate as being Constitutional goes against actual U.S. Supreme Court decision America 1st?

Tell us (as you have in the past) about how it would be Constitutional to deny all atheists/agnostics/gays/muslim s the ability to hold any public office, testify before any court, obtain a drivers license, get married, have out-of-wedlock relations, foster or adopt children, etc.?

And while you are at it, don't forget to tell us about how the Anti-Federalists won during our Founding, and how the South won during our Civil War.

Cheers my misguided/ing friend :-)
baffling

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Honest AbeL wrote:
It is time for the ACLU to be dismantled. They don't provide anything positive for America any more
What do you have against civil liberties? What do you have against the protections provided in the Constitution for people from the government? You think a police state would be positive?

Since: Oct 09

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I have nothing against civil liberties. The ACLU works for everyone except Americans any more. They are just horrible. Go rescue another leaching illegal alien. They suck
baffling wrote:
<quoted text>
What do you have against civil liberties? What do you have against the protections provided in the Constitution for people from the government? You think a police state would be positive?
baffling

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Honest AbeL wrote:
I have nothing against civil liberties. The ACLU works for everyone except Americans any more. They are just horrible. Go rescue another leaching illegal alien. They suck
<quoted text>
Well your statements aren't consistent. Civil liberties apply to everyone in America. When the Constitution reserves rights (like the ability to vote or become President) to citizens, it specifically says so. Civil liberties apply to "illegal aliens." If you don't want the Constitution followed, then just say so -- but don't pretend that that would be the American thing to do. Also, the ACLU deals with lots of different issues involving all kinds of people.
guest

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Too bad the Anti-American Communist Lovers Union is only interested in supporting Left Wing BS like gay marriage, illegal aliens, gang banging monkeys, muslims, and anything that threatens the fabric of our country.

Ok, your turn to call everyone that disagrees with you names like racist, uninformed, etc...

Since: Oct 09

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That is not exactly true natural rights apply to all. The ACLU has done nothing about the double jeopardy issues which only Americans face. They are far to busy "protecting" the rights of illegal aliens and gay kids who attempt to destroy prom night for all at their school.
baffling wrote:
<quoted text>
Well your statements aren't consistent. Civil liberties apply to everyone in America. When the Constitution reserves rights (like the ability to vote or become President) to citizens, it specifically says so. Civil liberties apply to "illegal aliens." If you don't want the Constitution followed, then just say so -- but don't pretend that that would be the American thing to do. Also, the ACLU deals with lots of different issues involving all kinds of people.
baffling

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Honest AbeL wrote:
That is not exactly true natural rights apply to all. The ACLU has done nothing about the double jeopardy issues which only Americans face. They are far to busy "protecting" the rights of illegal aliens and gay kids who attempt to destroy prom night for all at their school.
<quoted text>
That post is baffling. What isn't exactly true? Are you saying that "illegal immigrants" have more rights from the Constitution than I said? Are you saying that the right to vote and become president is a natural right that should be applied to all including "illegal immigrants?" And the ACLU deals with all kinds of issues regarding all kinds of people, though of course the "undesirables" make the news. Lets forget them fighting for the rights of Christian children to pray in school, etc.

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The right to vote is a legal right. The focus of the ACLU is certainly not the rights of Christian children
baffling wrote:
<quoted text>
That post is baffling. What isn't exactly true? Are you saying that "illegal immigrants" have more rights from the Constitution than I said? Are you saying that the right to vote and become president is a natural right that should be applied to all including "illegal immigrants?" And the ACLU deals with all kinds of issues regarding all kinds of people, though of course the "undesirables" make the news. Lets forget them fighting for the rights of Christian children to pray in school, etc.
baffling

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Honest AbeL wrote:
The right to vote is a legal right. The focus of the ACLU is certainly not the rights of Christian children
<quoted text>
The right to vote in the Constitution (like the ability to become President) is specifically reserved for citizens -- unlike civil liberty protections which apply to everyone in America. The focus of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) is the violation of Civil Liberties of people in America, not the children of people of a particular religion. When the Civil Liberties of anyone are violated (be it of Christian children or the KKK), they try to right that wrong. What is your problem with Civil Liberties being respected? What is your problem with the Constitutional prohibitions on government power towards people in America being observed?

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