December 3, 2002
EVER USE this brand of shorthand? In deciding what you think of an issue, you look to see who's for it and who's against it - at least to get started. If retiring Congressmen Bob Barr and Dick Armey - or their colleague Henry Hyde - were against something, liberals would be for it. Yet the war on civil liberties - er, terrorism - has removed that simple short cut. Since Sept. 11 , Attorney General John Ashcroft has moved to put increasing numbers Americans under surveillance without benefit of court orders, harnessing new technologies to track the buying and reading habits, as well as the travel itineraries, of ordinary citizens.
September 27, 1988
Quick, what do the following people have in common: astronomer Carl Sagan, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C., and former American Bar Association president Chesterfield Smith? Time's up. They're not only American Civil Liberties Union sympathizers. They're on its national advisory council! That's ACLU, in case you don't recognize it written out. George Bush is banking that voters will take his shorthand description of that organization as a bunch of left-wingers, maybe even Commies, since they're "card-carrying" types.
August 18, 1988 |
When Vice Pesident George Bush, before the Republican platform committee, called Gov. Michael S. Dukakis "a card-carrying member of the American Civil Liberties Union," he injected into the campaign a pale whiff of the witch- hunting McCarthyite '50s. How desperate Bush must be to become so shrill and so ill-advised! The accusation might be hot stuff at Yale's Skull and Bones but it's too esoteric to set Peoria ablaze, where few have ever heard of the ACLU. Does Bush think it's subversive to care enough about the First Amendment to join an organization devoted to its preservation?
June 8, 1990 |
Downingtown public school officials seem hellbent on bedeviling the principle of separation of church and state, lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union contend. In a federal suit filed yesterday against the Downingtown schools, ACLU lawyers said permitting Christian clergy to pray at school events is unconstitutional and could make non-Christians "feel like second class citizens. " ACLU legal director Stefan Presser, in a hearing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia, initially sought to block a minister from praying or preaching at tonight's commencement exercises for Downingtown Area High School in Chester County.
May 27, 2011 |
DENVER - A civil-liberties group plans to provide free representation to a 35-year-old Colorado man who faces criminal prosecution and a jail sentence for giving the finger to a Colorado State Patrol trooper. The American Civil Liberties Union says the gesture may be rude, but it is protected free speech. The ACLU says Shane Boor was driving to work in April when he saw a state trooper pull over a car. As Boor passed by, he extended his middle finger in the trooper's direction.
May 17, 1995 |
I tremble at the thought of what America would be like without the existence of the American Civil Liberties Union. Since 1920 when it was founded, the ACLU has been one of the foremost agencies in the battle to keep the flame of freedom alive. As citizens of the freest nation in history, we owe a measure of our liberty to this organization that has existed in controversy all the years it has fought to expand the rights of individual Americans. Despite the fact that the Bill of Rights was adopted almost 130 years before the founding of the ACLU, the rights of Americans were routinely denied both by government officials and political demagogues.
May 27, 1999 |
Imagine a work world where bosses search their employees' desks at will. Now, imagine being a kid and dealing with things like that regularly in school. Children's rights can be dramatically different. Schools can have some control over their students' clothing, behavior, writings, e-mail, locker content and under some circumstances, can even monitor their blood for drugs. The shootings in Littleton, Colo., in April intensified many of these regulations and even spurred new ones.
August 2, 1989 |
An official of the American Civil Liberties Union said yesterday it appeared that the district attorney's office was handling prosecution of the Sean Daily and Stephen Crespo murder cases differently because one victim was white and the other Puerto Rican. In a letter to District Attorney Ronald D. Castille, Stefan Presser, legal director of the Philadelphia chapter of the ACLU, called on Castille to "re- examine both the charges and bail of the defendants in the Daily case. " In a letter of response, Castille denied any partiality and said, "The charges and the bail in these two cases accurately reflect individual culpability and nothing more.
May 17, 2000 |
The American Civil Liberties Union's name is becoming a paradox, as the organization's commitment to a robust defense of civil liberties against the government continues to diminish. Take the issue currently before the U.S. Supreme Court of whether the Boy Scouts of America have a First Amendment freedom-of-association right to exclude homosexuals. Instead of defending the Boy Scouts' right of association, the ACLU has filed a brief arguing that the government can and should compel the Boy Scouts to accept gays as Scout leaders and members.
October 2, 1988 |
This is about the American Civil Liberties Union and the interesting role it is playing in the presidential campaign. This is not a commentary on the virtues of the ACLU, virtues that some say are enormous; nor is it an audit of the ACLU's warts - warts that others contend are considerable. This is about the political image of the ACLU and how that image is perceived by the voters as the presidential campaign winds down to an ultimate moment of truth in November. There's an old wives' tale that suggests that in politics, perception is fact.