American Civil Liberties Union

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American Civil Liberties Union

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), nonpartisan organization devoted to the preservation and extension of the basic rights set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Founded (1920) by such prominent figures as Jane Addams, Helen Keller, Judah Magnus, and Norman Thomas, the ACLU grew out of earlier groups that had defended the rights of conscientious objectors during World War I. Its program is directed toward three major areas of civil liberties: inquiry and expression, including freedom of speech, press, assembly, and religion; equality before the law for everyone, regardless of race, nationality, sex, political opinion, or religious belief; and due process of law for all. Its most significant and successful activities have involved court tests of important civil liberties issues. Since its founding, the ACLU has participated directly or indirectly in almost every major civil liberties case contested in American courts. Among these are the so-called Scopes monkey trial in Tennessee (1925), the Sacco-Vanzetti case (1920s), the federal court test (1933) that ended the censorship of James Joyce's Ulysses, and the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954) school desegregation case. In the late 1970s the ACLU defended the right of a neo-Nazi group to march in Skokie, Ill. The ACLU has about 275,000 members in its state organizations. The national office, located in New York City, also supports lobbying and educational activity on behalf of civil liberties issues.


See J. L. Gibson and R. D. Bingham, Civil Liberties and Nazis (1985).

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References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, devising an appropriate ACLU stance toward campus speech codes caused acrimonious debate within the Massachussets affiliate for months.
The village's law mirrors a state law; the ACLU contends the state law is also unconstitutional.
"The government is systematically separating large numbers of families based on minor criminal history, highly dubious allegations of unfitness, and errors in identifying bona fide parent-child relationships," the ACLU announced in a filing to a federal district court in San Diego.
"The ACLU of Oklahoma is honored to present the 2019 Angie Debo Civil Libertarian Award to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center in recognition of their pursuit to protect women, especially indigenous women," said Sarah Adams-Cornell, ACLU of Oklahoma board vice president.
The ACLU also will present it first Changemaker Award to the NAACP Minneapolis due to the NAACP's outstanding commitment to equality, justice and the empowering of underserved communities.
On Thursday, three Democrats who were identified in the ACLU test -- Senator Edward Markey, Representative Luis Gutierrez and Representative Mark DeSaulnier -- sent a letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chief executive, expressing concern and inquiring about the tool's accuracy and use by law enforcement.
"The ACLU is committed to defending the rights and humanity of these vulnerable families.
It also required the district to work with the ACLU of Oregon to create policies and training to prevent future discrimination.
Missing from this thoughtful and informative book is an assessment of the consequences of the ACLU's conversion to value-free First Amendment legalism.
"That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours," ACLU Legal Director David Cole said in a statement.
"The ACLU could not more strongly disagree with the values that Milo Yiannopoulos espouses, but we can't allow the government to pick and choose which viewpoints are acceptable."
We were also joined by Brian Hauss, a staff attorney at the ACLU.