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  • The voting rights panel from the ACLU’s 90th Anniversary exhibit. The latest manufactured non-troversy comes to us from Iowa, where some state legislators are up in arms about an exhibit marking the 90th anniversary of the ACLU, which was displayed in the State Historical Building. They’ve even gone so far as to introduce legislation that would prohibit the Iowa Department o...
  • Today, an appeals court in New Jersey handed down a major win for the ACLU and its clients — a group of women prisoners who stood up against cruel and discriminatory prison conditions. The court’s decision was also a rebuke to government officials who say whatever they can to escape liability, and to judges who won’t hold officials accountable. What’s more, the court also set out legal rules that, in its own words, help “afford access to the judicial process t...
  • Inmate Unfairly Disciplined For Maintaining His Beard In Compliance With His Faith FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org LOS ANGELES – The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the ACLU filed a lawsuit today on behalf of Sukhjinder Basra, a Sikh inmate who is being penalized for refusing to trim his beard on religious grounds. Keeping unshorn hair is one of the central tenets of the Sikh faith. Basra is...
  • This week in New York, there has been media coverage of an anti-abortion billboard several stories high outside of the Holland Tunnel declaring “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American Is in the Womb.” It features the picture of a beautiful black girl in a pink sundress with a bow in her hair. The Dallas-based anti-abortion organization behind the billboard is trying to make the point that black women have abortions at higher rates than women of other ethni...
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 519-7829 or 549-2666; media@aclu.org RICHMOND – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Virginia filed a friend-of-the-court brief today opposing faith-based Liberty University’s argument that the health care reform act passed last year would violate its rights by requiring it to purchase insurance that could cover abortion. The ACLU argued that religious beliefs should not dictate access to health care services ...
  • Today, the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Liberty University v. Geithner, one of the first lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act (the new health care reform law) to reach an appeals court. We oppose Liberty University’s arguments because they represent yet one more attempt to take away vital reproductive health services for women. Among its arguments as to why the Affordable Care Act should be struck down, Libe...
  • ACLU Calls For Aggressive Military And Government Oversight FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@dcaclu.org WASHINGTON – According to a Rolling Stone article, a general in the United States Army ordered a “psychological operations” (psyops) unit to manipulate members of Congress visiting Afghanistan in an attempt to influence their decisions regarding support and funding of the war there. Follow-up reports indicate that General David Petr...
  • ACLU Urges Swift Action In The House Of Delegates FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland state Senate today approved a bill that would legalize marriage for same-sex couples. SB 116 – the Civil Marriage Protection Act – now heads to the House of Delegates for consideration. If it passes there, it will be sent to the desk of Governor Martin O’Malley, who has indicated that he will sign it. Previously, ...
  • There’s lots to celebrate about the Justice Department’s statement that it will no longer defend the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) in court. That statement makes a few things clear: The Obama administration agrees with what we’ve been saying for years – that when the government treats gay people differently than straight people, it’s got to have a very good reason for the discrimination (this is what courts call applying “heightened scru...
  • Chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” tens of thousands of demonstrators have filled the streets of Madison, Wisconsin, to insist that the right of unions to organize and collectively bargain be protected. These demonstrations have now spread to Indiana and Ohio as well as other states where activists are effectively using the First Amendment as a powerful tool to ensure that the right to freely associate — to form a union and to bargain collectively ...
  • The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department today launched an internal investigation after Esther Lim, a jail monitor for the ACLU of Southern California, submitted a sworn statement in federal court yesterday recounting the details of a brutal beating she witnessed of an inmate in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility by a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy. Twin Towers is one of the several facilities that make up the Los Angeles County jail system. Detained for ...
  • One of the major surveillance battles the ACLU fought in the years after 9/11 was over a Bush administration proposal known as the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-screening System II, or CAPPS II. Under this scheme as initially proposed, the government would have tapped into commercial data sources to perform background checks on the 100 million Americans who fly each year, and build a profile of those individuals in order to determine their "risk" to airline safety. Af...
  • On Thursday, Steven Watt from the ACLU's Human Rights Program will participate in a roundtable discussion on diplomatic assurances against torture at Columbia Law School in New York City. Join us! The discussion is open to the public: When: Thursday, February 10, 4:20 - 6:20 pm Where: Columbia Law School, 435 W 116th Street, Jerome Greene Hall Room 103 Diplomatic assurances are promises between countries that persons transferred from one county to another will...
  • Attack Underscores Need For Systemic Reform And Decrease In Jail’s Population FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2582 or 2666; media@aclu.org LOS ANGELES – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Southern California (ACLU/SC) today condemned a recent brutal beating by two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies of a detainee at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, part of the county jail system. The violent attack January 24 on James P...
  • FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or�media@dcaclu.org � WASHINGTON – The Constitution Subcommittee of the House Committee on the Judiciary today heard testimony on a dangerous bill that would restrict abortion coverage for women who depend on the federal government for their health care and extend several unjust prohibitions into the private sector. The bill, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), was introduced by Rep. Chris Smit...
  • Here we go again. Three sections of the Patriot Act — the so-called 'library provision' that allows a secret court to issue orders for anything deemed relevant to an investigation; the roving wiretap provision that allows the government to get a wiretap order that doesn't specify the person or place to be tapped; and the 'lone wolf' provision, which permits intelligence wiretapping of people not connected to a terrorist group — are scheduled to expire on February 28...
  • With all their convenience, smartphones can also collect and share vast amounts of data that can paint a detailed picture about someone’s life: your current location, where you have been, who you know, what you search for online, and more. Without strong privacy protections, smartphones and other mobile devices can pose a real threat to your privacy. The ACLU is working with companies and other organizations to reform our nation’s outdated electronic privacy law...
  • ACLU And Lambda Legal Argue That Doctors, Not Legislators, Should Determine Medical Treatment FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 519-2666; media@aclu.org CHICAGO– The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments today in a case defending the right of transgender people to receive medical care while they are incarcerated. Under Wisconsin law, prison doctors are prohibited from prescribing hormone treatment to transgender inmates. The l...
  • We hope you liked last week's round-up. Let us know! Is this weekly review of issues helpful or would you do it differently? Share your thoughts: ideas@aclu.org Free Speech: You Have the Right! Snapping a picture of a public building from public property is every photographer’s right. Recently, though, pointing a camera at federal buildings seems to magnetically attract suspicion from federal security officers. The New York Civil Liberties Union has encountered ...
  • Last Sunday we celebrated a new holiday declared by the state of California: “Fred T. Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.” It was an opportunity to remember the simple courage, in the face of grave injustice, displayed by a quiet man who defied the World War II Executive Order in 1942 sending 120,000 Japanese-Americans to concentration camps. January 31 would have been Fred’s 92nd birthday. Fred’s decision to suffer the public condemnation...
  • Workers Lured To U.S. After Hurricane Katrina And Subjected To Abusive Conditions Seek Class Certification FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org NEW ORLEANS – Lawyers for Indian guestworkers who are suing Signal International, LLC along with its co-conspirators and other entities for human trafficking and racketeering, filed for class certification today to include hundreds of additional Indian guestworkers in the lawsuit. If class st...
  • Law Will Extend A Step Toward Rights And Fairness To All Couples FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: 549-2666; media@aclu.org CHICAGO - Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law the Illinois Religious Freedom and Protection and Civil Union Act today, making civil unions available for same-sex couples in Illinois. The law, drafted by lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, marks an important step toward fairness for thousands of gay an...
  • Live Closing Day Performance Features Leading Writers, Actors And Former Interrogators FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org PARK CITY, UT – Robert Redford and Ellen Barkin today joined director Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Fair Game) and an all-star cast at Sundance Film Festival to perform “Reckoning With Torture: Memos and Testimonies From the 'War on Terror.'" The event, presented by the American Civil Li...
  • Ongoing ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Discriminatory Policy FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org NEW YORK– The Department of Defense (DOD) today issued a memo stating that it will not offer any type of compensation, including full separation pay, for any service members discharged under the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Under DOD policy, anyone discharged for being gay has been only entitled to half of the sum paid...
  • This is the start of something new. Not just a New Year, but here at ACLU.org we have some new and exciting programs launching, and more coming up in the near future. Starting this week, we’ll showcase the hot issues from the last seven days. This is your chance to take another look. This Week on the Blog of Rights Last Saturday marked the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. The ACLU's Jennifer Dalven reflected on the current challen...
  • Last Tuesday, something happened in Ohio that should shock the conscience of every American. After a seven-day jury trial, Kelley Williams-Bolar was found guilty of two third-degree felonies — with a sentence of five years in prison each. Williams-Bolar must have done something pretty heinous, right? In fact, Williams-Bolar (a 40-year-old African-American single mother and teaching assistant for kids with special needs), was found guilty of two counts of tampering...
  • Dukes v. Wal-Mart is a gender discrimination lawsuit currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, which is the largest civil rights class action suit in U.S. history, seeks compensation for women employed by Wal-Mart who claim that they were paid less than men employed in similar roles and that they were given less opportunity to advance. The women argue that, company-wide, Wal-Mart had no system in place to ensure that employees in similar jobs receiv...
  • In a story first reported in The Hill on Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chairman of the conservative 175-member House Republican Study Committee (RSC), said that the RSC planned to push for a vote in the current Congress to ban gay and lesbian couples from being able to marry in the District of Columbia, rolling back the clock on equality, liberty, and democratic decisionmaking in our nation's capital. Currently, gay and lesbian couples can marry in just five st...
  • Snapping a picture of a federal building from public property is every photographer’s right. Unfortunately, in recent years, pointing a camera at federal building seems to magnetically attract suspicion from federal security officers. The New York Civil Liberties Union has encountered several cases of people who were unjustly harassed, detained and arrested by federal agents while photographing or videotaping federal buildings from public plazas and sidewalks. ...
  • Over the weekend, the Internet was buzzing with the revelation that the government had obtained a court order requiring Twitter to provide information about some of its subscribers who are associated with WikiLeaks. The court order was made public only after Twitter successfully took action to unseal it and notified its clients whose records were at stake. As the New York Times' Noam Cohen points out, this isn't noteworthy because the request was unusual — in fact...