American Civil Liberties Union
|American Civil Liberties Union|
|President:||Susan N. Herman|
|Executive Director:||Anthony D. Romero|
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) consists of two separate entities: the ACLU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit that focuses on litigation and communication efforts, and the American Civil Liberties Union which focuses on legislative lobbying and does not have non-profit status.
The ACLU's stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation and community education.
"The ACLU today is the nation's largest public interest law firm, with a 50-state network of staffed, autonomous affiliate offices." "About 100 ACLU staff attorneys collaborate with about 2,000 volunteer attorneys in handling close to 6,000 cases annually."
- President: Susan N. Herman
- Executive Director: Anthony D. Romero
- Deputy Executive Director: Dorothy Ehrlich
- Director of Washington Legislative Office: Laura Murphy
- Director of Affiliate Support and Advocacy: Geri Rozanski
- Legal Director: Steven Shapiro
- Communications Director: Emily Tynes
- Chief Development Officer: Mark Wier
- General Counsel: Terence Dougherty
Some of the highlights of the organization's history included on its website were:
- 1920 - Palmer Raids: In its first year, the ACLU championed the targets of Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer including politically radical immigrants. We also supported the right of trade unionists to hold meetings and organize, and secured the release of hundreds of activists imprisoned for their antiwar activities.
- 1925 - The Scopes Case: When biology teacher John T. Scopes was charged with violating a Tennessee ban on the teaching of evolution, the ACLU was there and secured celebrated attorney Clarence Darrow for his defense.
- 1942 - Fighting the Internment of Japanese Americans: The ACLU stood almost alone in denouncing the federal government's internment of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps.
- 1954 - Brown v. Board of Education: The ACLU, having joined the NAACP in the legal battle for equal education, celebrated a major victory when the Supreme Court declared that racially segregated schools were in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- 1969 - Protecting Free Speech: In Tinker v. Des Moines, the ACLU won a major Supreme Court victory on behalf of public school students suspended for wearing black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War, a major First Amendment victory.
- 1973 - Reproductive Rights: After decades of struggle, the Supreme Court held — in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton — that the constitutional right to privacy encompasses a woman's right to decide whether she will terminate or continue a pregnancy. But the fight still continues and the ACLU struggles to protect women's right to reproductive choice.
- 1978 - Taking a Stand for Free Speech in Skokie: The ACLU took a controversial stand for free speech by defending a Nazi group that wanted to march through the Chicago suburb of Skokie — where many Holocaust survivors lived. The notoriety of the case cost the ACLU dearly as members left in droves, but to many it was our finest hour and has come to represent our unwavering commitment to principle.
- 1981 - Creationism in Arkansas: Fifty-six years after the Scopes trial, the ACLU challenged an Arkansas statute requiring that the biblical story of creation be taught as a "scientific alternative" to the theory of evolution. A federal court found the statute, which fundamentalists saw as a model for other states, unconstitutional. That fight continues today as we take on the "intelligent design" movement with cases like our 2005 victory in Dover, Pennsylvania.
- 1997 - Internet Free Speech: In ACLU v. Reno, the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Communications Decency act, which censored the Internet by broadly banning "indecent" speech. Since then, Congress has passed numerous versions of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), a federal law that would criminalize constitutionally protected speech on the Internet. Each time the law has been challenged by the ACLU and declared unconstitutional.
- 2001 to Present - Keeping America Safe and Free: Since 9/11 terrorist attacks, the ACLU has been working vigorously to oppose policies that sacrifice our fundamental freedoms in the name of national security. From working to fix the Patriot Act to challenging NSA warrantless spying, our advocates are working to restore fundamental freedoms lost as a result of the Bush administration policies that expanded the government's power to invade privacy, imprison people without due process and punish dissent.
- 2003 - Equal Treatment for Lesbians and Gay Men: In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court accepted the ACLU's argument that the court had been wrong when it ruled in Bowers v. Hardwick that the right to privacy did not cover lesbian and gay relationships. It struck down a Texas law that made same-sex intimacy a crime, expanding the privacy rights of all Americans and promoting the right of lesbians and gay men to equality.
- 2003 to 2009 - Exposing Torture: After a five-year legal battle, the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit compelled the release of critical documents detailing the extent of the Bush torture program, including long-secret legal memos justifying waterboarding and other abuses and an Inspector General's report highlighting CIA abuses. The ACLU is leading the demand for full accountability for those who authorized or condoned torture.
- 2005 - Keeping Religion Out of the Science Classroom: In Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the ACLU represented a group of parents who challenged a public school district requirement for teachers to present so-called "intelligent design" as an alternative to evolution in high school biology classes. In a decision that garnered nationwide attention, a district judge ruled that "intelligent design" is not science and teaching it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
- 2009 - Protecting the Right to Privacy: In Safford Unified School District v. Redding the court ruled that school officials violated the constitutional rights of a 13-year-old Arizona girl when they strip searched her based on a classmate's uncorroborated accusation.
Rights of primary concern
- First Amendment rights
- Equal protection under the law
- Right to due process
- Right to privacy
According to OpenSecrets.org, American Civil Liberties Union spent $16,740 in the 2012 election cycle.
In the 2012 election cycle, the ACLU supported the following candidates:
|Top 5 largest American Civil Liberties Union expenditures in 2012|
|Kelda Helen Roys||WI||House||$500||$0||$500|
- Opposed California Proposition 14, Top Two Primaries Act (June 2010)
- Supported California Proposition 19, the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2010)
Role in ballot initiatives
The ACLU plays a role in ballot initiative campaigns in two primary ways:
- In some states, local chapters of the ACLU endorse or oppose specific ballot initiatives. Examples include California Proposition 21 (2000).
- The ACLU donated $61,562.50 to help fund Washington Initiative 1000 (2008).
- In some states, at times, the ACLU lends support to litigation efforts in support of initiative rights. Examples include ACLU v. Lomax.
This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "American + Civil + Liberties + Union"
- All stories may not be relevant to this organization due to the nature of the search engine.
- American Civil Liberties Union,"About Us," accessed February 28, 2011
- American Civil Liberties Union,"History," accessed February 21, 2011
- ACLU, "ACLU History," accessed December 16, 2013
- American Civil Liberites Union,"About Us," accessed February 21, 2011
- Open Secrets, "American Civil Liberties Union," accessed December 16, 2013
- Open Secrets, "American Civil Liberties Union," accessed December 16, 2013