The Westboro Baptist Church deeply tests my support of free speech. It seems particularly ugly to target funerals with hateful speech. This powerful first-hand account from Chris Hampton of the ACLU's LGBT Rights Project reminded me that we must protect the constitutional principle of free speech for all people, no matter how painful or difficult:
A friend of mine chuckled this week when I said I was visiting our Senators' offices this week. "An exercise in futility," he said. He had cause to say, "I told you so," when the Senators joined the filibuster of the National Defense Authorization Act this week. Folks on Facebook, Twitter and blogs expressed outrage and disappointment that our hopes for repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the DREAM Act were yet again deferred.
This year is the ACLU's 90th anniversary. To kick off our anniversary festivities, ACLU leaders gathered at Ellis Island last night to celebrate how far freedom has come in the last 90 years and to commit ourselves to leading freedom forward over the next 90 years. It was a privilege for me to join some of the finest legal minds in the country and our most loyal supporters for an evening of reflection and resolve.
Torture and other Bush-era policies have fallen off many people's radar screens. It would be easier if we could forget about the human rights abuses sanctioned by our government. Yet, not only has the government failed to hold those responsible for torture available, but the government has, in many cases, rewarded them. Such is the case with "Albert," once disciplined for acts of torture committed while he was a CIA operative, and now employed by the CIA as a contractor to train CIA operat
Labor Day, an American tradition since 1894, celebrates the worker by giving all of us a day of rest. Not all workers are treated equally under the law however. Pay discrimination is still a persistent problem in the United States. The statistics nationally are that women make on average 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Not just women, but everyone in a woman worker's household, suffers from these lost wages. Let's celebrate Labor Day by dedicating ourselves to fair pay for all workers.
Kudos to reporter Mal Leary of Capitol News Service for uncovering a query from a finance company to the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection asking advice about placing GPS devices in financed vehicles. The good news is that Maine state legislators from both sides of the aisle -- Democrat Elizabeth Schneider and Republican Chris Rector -- agree with the ACLU of MAINE that this practice violates our fundamental right to privacy.
Yesterday I toured the Maine Correctional Center, meeting with center administrators, medical staff and prisoners for a total three and a half hours. Superintendent Scott Burnheimer and his staff were really great in taking the time to explain all aspects of the program, and they led us on a tour that included all areas of the prison. This is part of an ACLU of MAINE effort to visit all Maine’s state prison facilities and some of the jails over the next couple of months to increase our understanding of conditions on
On Friday, I went to the Maine State Prison to meet with the prisoners who are members of the NAACP Prison Chapter. The NAACP Prison Chapter is a well-organized, well-run group with over fifty members who asked me thoughtful questions over an hour and a half of questioning about prisoners' rights, the law, and possibilities of reform. Prisoners spoke of being maced and then not given showers for days. They spoke of being prescribed medication by a prison doctor but then denied the medication.
We are celebrating at the ACLU of MAINE offices today! A federal judge just ruled that Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative banning same-sex couples from marriage, violates the United States Constitution. You can read the decision here: