ACLU (29)

St. Louis Police Are Now Under Federal Investigation for Violating Protesters' Civil Rights

The St. Louis police department's record of police brutality has led to increasing scrutiny and widespread calls for reform. This week, the FBI and the Justice Department opened investigations into the conduct of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officers for unconstitutional actions during ...

The Drag Show Must Go On!

The aldermen of Portland, Tennessee, ran into the First Amendment when they tried to ban drag shows from their town. On Monday night, the attempt by the town of Portland, Tennessee, to ban drag shows came to an end. For months, the town's aldermen have been searching for a way to regulate drag shows ...

Let Them Buy Cake

The fact that a business's products may be expressive does not give it the right to discriminate. This piece originally appeared at The New York Review of Books.  When David Mullins and Charlie Craig walked into Masterpiece Cakeshop, a bakery in Denver, Colorado, five years ago, they had no ...

How a Racially Polarized New York School District Is Violating Voting Rights Law

In East Ramapo, a white voting bloc has taken control of the school board and shut out public school supporters. Even if your school district isn't as deeply troubled as the East Ramapo Central School District in the Lower Hudson Valley, it might very well be suffering from the same Voting Rights ...

A Privacy Case Before the Supreme Court Is About Press Freedom, Too

If the government can access cellphone location records without a warrant, journalism suffers. So does democracy. For today's journalists, cellphones are mobile newsrooms that go where a reporter goes. They're used to contact sources, record interviews, write notes and articles, take photos and ...

Police Assault on Black Students in Kentucky Sparks Calls for Reform

Police in schools criminalize students and don't make anyone safer. They've got to go. Families in Louisville, Kentucky, are rightly calling for an end to police in schools following the recent assault on two Black students perpetrated by law enforcement at a local high school that was caught on ...

The Justice Department Continues to Roll Back Civil Rights Protections

In a speech on Friday, the attorney general signaled that he will rescind more civil rights guidance from the Obama era. On Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions strongly hinted that he isn't done trying to roll back the civil rights gains made during the Obama administration. In a speech before ...

Remembrance Brings Trans History to Life

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, take time to reflect on the rich history of trans resistance. Every year, the transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary communities come together on November 20 to remember and honor lives lost to anti-trans violence. Each year, the number of deaths ...

What the Founders Would Say About Cellphone Surveillance

Government cell phone tracking clearly jeopardizes the security of the people against unreasonable searches and seizures. On Nov. 29, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in an important case called Carpenter v. United States. Although the question in the case may feel very modern — whether ...

Too Old and Too Sick to Execute? No Such Thing in Ohio.

Ohio's bungled execution of an elderly man shows that the death penalty is broken and barbaric. The famous appellate judge Richard Posner once wrote, A civilized society locks up until age makes them harmless, but it does not keep them in prison until they die.' The state of Ohio apparently hasn't ...

Federal Prison Illegally Bans Christian Head Scarves for Visitors Like Me

Yes, some Christian women cover their heads for religious reasons. No, you can't discriminate against them for it. See that woman in the photo to the right?That's me, Audra Ragland, wearing one of my many head coverings. As a Christian, I've come to believe that Scripture requires me to cover my ...

ACLU Poll Finds Americans Reject Trump's Tough-on-Crime Approach

A majority of Americans support criminal justice reform that reduces the prison population. In a rejection of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions' tough-on-crime approach, a new ACLU poll finds that a large majority of Americans believe the criminal justice system is unjust and needs ...

Racist Sheriffs Are Reapplying to Be Part of Trump's Deportation Force

Law enforcement entities with troubling civil rights records are under consideration for the 287 program. The federal program that delegates immigration enforcement duties to local police is about to expand to as many as 24 additional jurisdictions across the country. The program, known as 287, ...

Georgia Is Fighting to Keep Its Laws Secret — Unless You Pay

Georgia sued a non-profit for publishing the state's law online. But knowing the law is a right, not a privilege. For more than three decades, the state of Georgia has charged anyone who wants to see its official state law hundreds of dollars for that privilege. Now the state is suing the non-profit ...

North Carolina Is Trying to Destroy the State's Only Farmworkers Union. We're Suing.

North Carolina passed a law making it all but impossible for the state's only farmworkers union to operate effectively. Dolores Huerta, the legendary civil rights icon and farmworker activist, had it right: Organized labor is a necessary part of democracy.' Day in and day out, unions struggle to ...

An Arkansas Town Agrees to Criminal Justice Reform to Ensure That the Poor Are Not Jailed

The city of Sherwood agrees to stop jailing people for debts they are too poor to pay. For years, the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, home to about 30,000 people, had a practice of jailing people who could not afford to pay court costs incurred from bounced checks. Thousands of Arkansans were locked ...

At Guantánamo, a Death Penalty Case Without a Death Penalty Lawyer

The broken military commissions have devolved, with new and unprecedented attacks on defense counsel. The Guantánamo military commissions, the scheme created by the government to try 9/11 and other detainees, have devolved into an unacceptable and alarming assault on defense lawyers attempting to ...

Transgender Prisoners Face Sexual Assault and Discrimination at Pittsburgh Jail

Jules Williams was raped repeatedly for four days after guards put her in protective' custody. Prison is a traumatic experience. For transgender women, it's magnitudes worse. Jules Williams, a transgender woman, suffered sexual and physical assault and harassment multiple times while detained at the ...

The Trump White House's Actions Recall the Most Divisive Eras of the American Past

But last week's elections show people are waking up to the administration's threats to liberty and equality. One of the most striking, and dispiriting, aspects of the actions and pronouncements coming from the White House over the last year is the way that they seem to echo the most divisive and ...

Veteran's Day Reflections From a Civil Libertarian Former Soldier

If you want to honor a veteran or service member, work to defend the rights of everyone in this nation. In the past few weeks, I've spent considerable time, far more than usual in fact, reflecting on what Veteran's Day means to me both now and at different times in the past decade. Before joining ...

Our Fight to Defeat the Transgender Military Ban Enters a New Phase

The stakes could not be higher. On the morning of July 26, 2017, President Trump made an announcement on Twitter. With his series of tweets, Trump not only compromised the livelihoods, well-being, and lives of transgender service members — he sent a dangerous and dehumanizing message to all ...

Year One: It's Up to Us

In the end, the most important guardian of liberty is an engaged citizenry. This piece originally appeared in the New York Review of Books. One year after his highly improbable election, President Donald Trump woke up this morning to news that in elections across the country, candidates standing for ...

The 2017 Elections Show Criminal Justice Reform Can Be a Winning Issue

Smearing candidates as 'soft on crime' didn't work this election cycle. On Election Day 2017, candidates in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Virginia, and New York won on platforms that proactively embraced criminal justice reform or rejected fear-mongering attempts by opponents to label them as ...

U.S. Gave Its Torturers a Pass, So International Court Steps In

For the first time, U.S. officials could face the specter of indictment by the international court. After a decade of collecting evidence, the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court announced last week that she will take steps toward a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes ...

Transgender Soldiers Are Equal to the Task. We Have Earned the Right to Serve Our Country.

It was liberating to serve my country as my authentic self. Now, we step back to uncertainty. This article is an expression of my personal opinion as a private citizen, and in no way reflects that of the United States Navy, the government, or affiliated agencies and organizations. My name is Brock ...

How Activism Can Lead the Way in the Trump Era

Our constitutional system depends as much on the work of activists as it does on lawyers. The courts can't do it alone. In his first year in office, Donald Trump has proved to be simultaneously the most dangerous and the most frustrated president in living memory.  The danger is clear: He seems ...

Private Prison Giant CoreCivic's Wants to Corner the Mass Incarceration 'Market' in the States

The private prison company has a strategy for embedding itself more deeply into state criminal justice systems. CoreCivic, Inc., the private prison company, will release its quarterly earnings report tomorrow, Nov. 8, to investors, which will mark an extraordinary one-year turnaround for an industry ...

The Next Governors of Virginia and New Jersey Should Address These Urgent Civil Rights Issues

The next governors of New Jersey and Virginia can set an example by resisting the Trump administration's reactionary agenda. This piece originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  If all eyes aren't on New Jersey and Virginia today, they should be. As the one-year anniversary of the ...

New Documentary Tells the Real Story of Serpico, the NYPD's 'Godfather of Whistleblowers'

The director of Frank Serpico' talks about whistleblowing, abuse of power, and the need for stories that inspire. In the 1970s, whistleblower Frank Serpico exposed rampant bribery in the New York Police Department. Serpico, a cop himself, ended up getting shot in the face when fellow officers ...