American Civil Liberties Union

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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).

References in periodicals archive ?
Steinem is the recipient of the Bill of Rights award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, the National Gay Rights Advocates award, the Liberty award of the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Ceres Medal from the United Nations, as well as many honorary degrees.
Signers include Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida: Florida Education Association: American Association of University Women of Florida; American Jewish Congress, South East Region; the Anti-Defamation League, Florida Region; Florida Congress of Parents and Teachers; Florida State Conference NAACP; Gray Panthers of North-Dade; Gray Panthers of South-Dade; the League of Women Voters; the National Council of Jewish Women FL State Public Affairs and People For the American Way.
Other courts in other states could [now] be looking to the state of Alaska on how it handled the equal-protection rationale," said Michael Macleod-Ball of the American Civil Liberties Union.
People for the American Way and the American Civil Liberties Union have criticized the council, saying its materials promote religion.
CHALLENGING THE SYSTEM: Ask students to think about how and why teacher Scopes and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the law in Tennessee, rather than abide by it.
American Civil Liberties Union Legislative Counsel Charles Mitchell believes the fragmentation of PATRIOT II is troubling because "it's always easier to get people to give up a little than a lot.
The American Civil Liberties Union maintains such cameras infringe on the privacy rights of teachers as well as students, and do more harm than good.
If the ever-vigilant American Civil Liberties Union has its way, atheists visiting the Grand Canyon will be spared the supposed trauma of being reminded of God's handiwork in the park's glorious natural setting.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit on behalf of Padilla and Hamdi.
The American Civil Liberties Union, however, has waged a thirteen-year campaign against it on the ground that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state.
Programs of the Open Society Institute from 1996 to the present, the Associate Director of Human Rights Watch from 1990 to 1996, the Director of the PEN American Center's Freedom-To-Write Program from 1988 to 1990, the Executive Director of the Texas branch of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1984 to 1988, and the Associate Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union from 1979 to 1984.
On November 3 the American Civil Liberties Union asked a Jackson County circuit court judge to overtum the social services department's decision, which was based in part on a statewide antisodomy law.

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