In the 1920s, the ACLU defended Mary Ware Dennett, a birth control pioneer whose sex education pamphlet was deemed obscene and whose work helped lead the way for the organization that would become Planned Parenthood. 90 years later, we are proud to work alongside our friends at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England to ensure that every Maine woman can make the best decisions for herself and her family about her reproductive health. 


Did you know? In the 2014-15 school year alone, there were 311 reported attempts to remove or restrict certain books in school curricula and libraries across the United States. From Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian to Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, more than 11,000 books have been challenged over the last 30 years. 


In a victory for free speech that will have nationwide implications, a federal appeals court ruled that the City of Portland’s ban on being in medians is unconstitutional. The ruling came Friday in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Maine and the law firm Goodwin Procter LLP on behalf of three Portland residents. The lawsuit challenged an ordinance enacted by Portland that prohibited being in any median for any reason other than crossing the street.


At the center of Gov. LePage's law enforcement-heavy plan to combat Maine's growing drug addiction problem: a shadowy government agency known as a "fusion center." Never heard of it? That's no surprise.

As this weekend's Press Herald story on fusion centers points out:

I heard a lot of talk about "wasting the taxpayer's dollars" this session, mostly in the context of "welfare fraud" and the need to reserve benefits for "our people," i.e. U.S. citizens. No one repeated this refrain more than the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), an agency whose enabling statute includes the following guiding principles:


Nobody would call the sections of the Maine Constitution that lay out the process by which a bill becomes a law "inspirational." It isn't as uplifting as the recognition that "All people are born equally free and independent," nor as dignifying as the guarantee that "No person. . .shall be denied the equal protection of the laws." But most of our Constitution (and most Constitutions) is concerned with procedure.


In case you missed it, Maine's highest court heard arguments in the Gov. LePage veto debacle on Friday. We filed a brief with the court, arguing, as we have all along, that the governor's window to veto the bills was closed.


Wondering how your place of employment affects your contraceptive coverage? It’s been a year since the Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case and, just last Friday, the Obama administration finalized rules that will allow women working for particular religious non-profits and corporations to still receive coverage for their contraceptives. With these new rules in place, employees in need of contraceptives will still have access to insurance plans that cover contraceptives, even if their employers have religious objections.


The October 2014 Supreme Court term has officially ended, and what a way to end. There is a term in bridge for when a player runs the table, whether they have the best cards or not; it is called a "finesse." That is what it was like watching the decisions come down in the last days of the term: a total finesse game, with civil liberties coming out the winner.



As we blogged about last week, the U.S. Senate has spent several years hemming and hawing over whether to protect LGBT students from discrimination at school. It's been an embarassing parade of inaction, with the original legislation, known as the Student Non-Discrimination Act, not even being given a chance for an up-or-down vote. Finally, yesterday, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota brought up the effort as an amendment to a separate bill as a way of forcing senators to vote on the issue.


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