American Civil Liberties Union


Also found in: Dictionary, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.

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.

Bibliography

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

References in periodicals archive ?
The Establishment media, of course, are assisting these pro-Communist poseurs, led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).
It might have ended there, but the American Civil Liberties Union took the case, and hired a noted black lawyer, David P.
The state branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the case in July after a Superior Court judge refused to allow swearing-in oaths to be taken on a Koran.
In both cases the American Civil Liberties Union intervened, and the schools relented.
But, then, very few people ever looked at the seal, let alone got angry about it, before Yaroslavsky and fellow supervisors agreed to demands by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California to remove a cross from it.
The monument, featuring the King James version of the Decalogue, was challenged in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs.
That decision, which might be seen as pushing the envelope of judges' powers to intrude on a citizen's liberty, drew the usual small furor from reproductive rights groups, fathers' rights groups, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which does not support religious doctrine being taught in public schools, threatened a lawsuit against the board if it had voted to teach creationism, according to published reports.
In the New York case, the American Civil Liberties Union is representing the National Abortion Federation and individual physicians.
Coalition members include African American Ministers in Action, the American Jewish Committee, the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Instead, 50 Ways--subtitled "The Complete Guide to Supporting Family, Friends, Neighbors or Yourself"--offers exceedingly benign views from representatives of such organizations as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, and the American Civil Liberties Union as well as activists and writers including Judy Shepard, the Reverend Troy Perry, and The Advocate's Anne Stockwell.
This sanitized seal, crafted under the threat of a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, will likely be adopted by the county Board of Supervisors next week.

Encyclopedia browser ?
Full browser ?