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"Save the ACLU" Campaign:

A group of former American Civil Liberties Union officials, employees, and longtime supporters are caling for the ouster of the ACLU's current leadership and a renewed focuson the organization's founding principles. As the New York Times reports

The new group is made up of donors, former board and staff members, and the lawyer who won what was perhaps the A.C.L.U.'s most famous legal battle, its defense of the right of Nazis to march through a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago.

According to the missoin statement posted on the group's website, SavetheACLU.org:

We believe strongly in the ACLU and believe the ACLU is especially important now during a time of grave and systemic attacks on civil liberties by the national government. But an ACLU compromised by its repeated failures to practice what it preaches will be unable to resist these attacks for long. Our credibility and effectiveness depend upon our consistency of principle.

We come together now, reluctantly but resolutely, not to injure the ACLU but to restore its integrity, and its consistency of principle and remedy its failure to apply to itself core civil liberties principles that it insists everyone else observe. The failure to practice what we preach-- until publicly embarrassed-- has already done grievous injury to the ACLU and ultimately threatens its historic mission.

We applaud the ACLU's recent fundraising successes , but they cannot compensate for or justify persistent breaches of principle or the abandonment of honesty when those breaches are revealed. The ACLU now stands exposed, and widely ridiculed, for repeatedly acting in contempt of its own core principles, and for chilling and even attempting to prohibit dissent within its own ranks.

Over the past three years, these breaches of principle include the ACLU's approval of grant agreements that restrict speech and associational rights; efforts by management to impose gag rules on staff and to subject staff to email surveillance; a proposal to bar ACLU board members from publicly criticizing the ACLU; and informal campaigns to purge the ACLU of its internal critics.

All of these breaches, as well as others, violate the ACLU's historic commitment to free speech. We take little comfort from the fact that some were reversed after bad publicity and donor complaints.

According to Ira Glasser, one of those listed on the protest site

We're not starting a new organization . . . "We're a protest group, trying to get the board to exercise its fiduciary and governing responsibility in a way that it has not. We're loyal to the existing organization and above all to the principles it is intended to advance.

Learning about the ACLU's efforts to protect free speech, including their work in Skokie, inspired me as a child. As an adult, however, I've often felt that the organization had lost its way. Maybe this protest will serve as a useful corrective.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. "Voices for the ACLU" Campaign:
  2. "Save the ACLU" Campaign:
Sasha Volokh (mail) (www):
Is there any overlap between what libertarians find problematic about the modern-day ACLU and the reform agenda of this group?
9.26.2006 10:06am
Joshua (www):
Well, I didn't find any mention of the problem of growing Islamist influence on the ACLU on the group's Web site. So far, not so good.
9.26.2006 10:31am
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
I have to think that in the long run, the organization is going to have to either reform, or is going to lose much of its credability.

I am one of many who at one point in my life belonged, until they took positions on the wrong side of what I thought was their core mission. I know of many others.

This came before I read Bernstein's book, which points out how far they really have strayed.
9.26.2006 11:34am
SP:
At this point the ACLU seems more concerned with the right of non-citizen prisoners of war than with the rights of, you know, "Americans." So yes I'd say it has lost its way.
9.26.2006 12:22pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
The new group is made up of donors, former board and staff members, and the lawyer who won what was perhaps the A.C.L.U.'s most famous legal battle, its defense of the right of Nazis to march through a predominantly Jewish suburb of Chicago.

Funny how on their website where they flash images of various protests and demonstrations as examples of past triumphs of the ACLU, they don't show the one of Nazis marching through the suburbs of Chicago. ;)
9.26.2006 12:25pm
freedom:
Would be nice to see them defending the liberties in amendment #2.
9.26.2006 12:32pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
Nice to know that ACLU members agree with my criticism of the group. In principle, I agree with them. In reality, they have become a disgusting organization.
9.26.2006 12:36pm
Jon Black (mail):
Dear freedom,

What is this second amendment of which you speak.

Sincerely,

American Civil Liberties Union
9.26.2006 12:43pm
Neo (mail):
Does this mean the ACLU will change their stand on allowing "double jeparody" for state criminal vs federal civil rights prosecutions of the same criminal act.
9.26.2006 12:48pm
Al Maviva (mail) (www):
At this point the ACLU seems more concerned with the right of non-citizen prisoners of war than with the rights of, you know, "Americans." So yes I'd say it has lost its way.

And that's a silly argument. Because when members of a foreign or stateless terrorist group captured on a foreign battlefield don't have constitutional rights, then none of us have constitutional rights. If private Joe Snuffy can just lock up a terrorist a freedom fighter a well-armed dissident without Miranda warnings, then Officer Clancy can do the same to you. Personally, I'm hoping for this wasteful war on terror to end so the ACLU can get back to its core missions of stomping out the fragmentary relics of judeo-christianity in the public square, and pushing gay marriage. Those are the core missions, right? They need a new slogan too. I'd suggest:

ACLU - Embarassing Non-Leftists Who Favor Civil Liberties Since 1973
9.26.2006 12:50pm
ray_g:
Sasha - The reform agenda listed in the post strikes me as mostly issues internal to the ACLU. This libertarian's concerns are about policies such as support of speech code, affirmative action, 2nd amendment issues, and general left wing bias. I don't see any significant changes there.
9.26.2006 12:55pm
Howard257 (mail):
I worked under Ira Glasser as a clerical asst at the NYCLU in 1971-72, an experience I attribute to making me the right-wing reactionary I am today. While Ira was a great guy and always impressed me as dedicated to genuine First Amendment principles, the same cannot be said of many of the rest of the staff there at the time.

I remember back then that the NYCLU board had before it, and wisely declined to take, a case from an Orthodox Jewish woman who didn't like her segregated seating behind a curtain at services. Who knows how the NYCLU/ACLU would deal with such a situation today.
9.26.2006 1:25pm
ech:
A friend of mine (who used to be active in the ACLU until the national organization started dictating what the local organizations could do) once said:

The ACLU is a conservative organization run by liberals.


Hence, they only defend those rights of interest to wealthy, liberal donors in NYC.
9.26.2006 1:28pm
Dan P (mail) (www):
The ACLU lost my support once I realized that they take the "collective right" approach to the second amendment. Overall they do a great job, but t boggles my mind how they just not only don't care, but oppose the right to keep and bear arms.
9.26.2006 1:31pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Does this mean the ACLU will change their stand on allowing "double jeparody" for state criminal vs federal civil rights prosecutions of the same criminal act.


Sort of like their support for governmental discrimination on the basis of race and gender in the name of "affirmative action."
9.26.2006 1:44pm
Poopstain (mail):
Is it true, as one frequently sees declared on right-wing blogs, that the [one of the?] ACLU's founders unabashedly admitted that the real goal of the organization was to facilitate the ultimate replacement of democracy with socialism/communism (quotes are supplied on these blogs but of course lack context)? If that is in fact the case (and I think that one could write a coherent paper proposing that a close analysis of the ACLU's history would support that theory) then of course the ACLU is simply cleaving to its true mission. None so blind as those who will not see. Of course, the quotes may very well be wrong or taken out of context or given a significance not warranted by the actual influence of the alleged speaker. Apropos of this topic—can anyone off the top of their head come up with any examples OTHER than Skokie where the ACLU advocated anything other than an extreme-hard-left position? I'm sure there must be the occasional example, though I can't recall any. If so, what has the trend been in that respect over the last ten years or so?? The commies long ago perfected the art—so whole-heartedly adapted by Islamofascists and their apologists in recent years—of indulging in the occasional act of "misdirection"—e.g., pushing forward the token "moderate muslim" to very conditionally condemin the latest murderous attack before he goes back to his Mosque and declares all Jews are the descendants of apes and pigs. Anyone else get the sense that perhaps the ACLU really is, and always has been, nothing but a nihlist, blame America for everything and oh by the way where is my Che T-shirt mole? If the means to that end happens to involve pretending to give a heck about "free speech" (like the Berkeley students who routinely confiscate and burn all copies of conservative literature)—perhaps that is just the cost of "doing business."
9.26.2006 1:51pm
Poopstain (mail):
Oh, and yes, the "burn" part of that last post was a regretable rhetorical florish. :-)
9.26.2006 1:53pm
plunge (mail):
These issues all sound like internal struggles, and most of them involve trying to get the ACLU to be far far more lax about their organizational employment practices than the vast majority of non-profits. We saw a similar fight over the push to limit board member's ability to publically criticize the ACLU. While that fight was certainly important to the ACLU's reputation as supporting free speech, it shouldn't be forgotten that what a private organization does is not a matter of government speech, a heck of a lot of non-profits operate with such a gag rule, and the ACLU is an exception.

So again, a lot of innuendo here, but not really much going on as implied.

I think the ACLU has basically been on point with their stances, even today. They've clearly gone overboard in some cases, but not excessively so, and it's nice to have at least someone forcing people to argue instead of simply rolling right over the rights of others willy nilly.

Most of the criticisms of the ACLU I've seen from the right only highlight how extreme and wacky the right has become rather than the ACLU itself. I mean, is there any blog out there with such a high volume of poorly informed legal opinion and just pure driven nonsense as STOPtheACLU?
9.26.2006 1:54pm
Poopstain (mail):
I don't see it that way, Plunge. From what I've seen, the ACLU has been a noble defender of the right to free speech--as long as it is one of two types of speech: (1) a type the ACLU approves of, or; (2) a type the ACLU really doesn't care much about because it doesn't really go to their core-mission of anti-Americanism. If your on the left side, of couse, this would never occur to you or would have your tacit (and perhaps even subconcious) approval.
9.26.2006 2:00pm
Poopstain (mail):
Never been to the "stop the ACLU" website so I've no basis for comment. Two things immediately spring to mind, though: (1) there aren't any poorly-reasoned left-wing websites?, and; (2) as a graduate of an "elite" east-coast law school who practiced in San Francisco for many years, I've been too often exposed to the "not knee-jerk-hard-left equals of-course-she's-an-idiot" mindset to take such pronouncements at face value.....
9.26.2006 2:12pm
John (mail):
None of the reforms this group proposes is among the reforms the ACLU actually needs. This is a dopey undertaking.
9.26.2006 2:15pm
ACLUHasStrangeStrangeLinks (mail) (www):
The founder of the ACLU was previously discussed at this site.

The ACLU goes beyond simply trying to defend the constitutional rights of illegal aliens and takes their side against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests. See their threats to sue cities that pass immigration ordinances, and see their response to the 2005 MMP patrols in Arizona.

Click my link to read about a new coalition that several ACLU chapters are involved in. At least three other members of that coalition have links to the Mexican government.
9.26.2006 2:16pm
Poopstain (mail):
Very interesting link to an article formerly appearing on this site, Mr. Strangelinks. To the esteemed author of the original post to which you link, I say this---why can't you just come out and say the obvious--that Baldwin probably "recanted mighty late" because it was becoming increasingly apparent that to continue to openly espouse what was still most likely his heart's most feverent desire would, in view of changing conditions, likely undercut realization of his ultimate goal? This is, in my mind, one of the key advantages we have today over those who were opposed to the looming Nazi/Communist menace in the '30's. They were at least REAONSABLE even if they were evil. Muslims, god bless them, just can't help constantly letting their true beliefs show notwithstanding that they hinder the speedy establishment of the Caliphate more difficult because they absolutely, utterly, and completely REJECT logic and reason as well as humanity. God bless 'em (and I say that as an atheist) -- the Muslims try, but you can't turn an ignoramus into a master strategist overnight after spending twenty years straining every nerve to turn him into an idiot. On the other hand, we face the fairly unique disadvantage of having almost 50% of our uber-rich population actively pining for their own subjection. I know their have been disaffected cliques who have played major roles in the fall of virtually every great civilization--but as far as I am aware this is the first civilization whose elites are actively praying that their own society is destroyed.......
9.26.2006 2:24pm
Master Shake:
I fondly recall a time when there were intelligent commenters on this sight.
9.26.2006 2:35pm
Poopstain (mail):
Like you, Master Intelligent? I love the M.O. of you and Plunge (or are you the same person?) No facts, only ad hominem aspersions and the inevitable "of course its not left so they must be stupid roll-eyes-now posts. Your one sentence "I'm better than you and that is all I'll add" post has certainly raised the level of the debate. Shouldn't you go back to reading the New York Times, Aristotle?
9.26.2006 2:39pm
plunge (mail):
"From what I've seen, the ACLU has been a noble defender of the right to free speech--as long as it is one of two types of speech: (1) a type the ACLU approves of, or; (2) a type the ACLU really doesn't care much about because it doesn't really go to their core-mission of anti-Americanism."

This is exactly the sort of crackpot criticism I'm talking about. Anyone who believes that the ACLU has a "core mission of anti-Americanism" is just working out of a fantasyland. There are many things on which the ACLU can be legitimately criticized.

But people like STOPtheACLU and those who declare the ACLU to be out to destroy Christianity, or support terrorists are simply running roughshod over the actual facts and legal issues at stake in the fights they cite.

The idiocy of STOPtheACLU has been many many times highlighted on this very blog. They cite legal principles that don't exist, and have been so sloppy that they've asked "where is the ACLU on THIS" when the ACLU is already directly involved: they just never bothered to check. That's the sort of thing that characterizes much of the truly unhinged criticism of the ACLU.

The ACLU, like any organization, has it's faults and sins. Seeing as that it doesn't have a powerful central organization (which some are attempting to create but others, as this protest movement is representing, oppose) and relies mostly on requests for help as well as pro bono volunteer legal work, it often isn't even entirely consistent across states (though, of course, the difference in state laws is also something critics regularly overlook, pretending that all law and state constitutions are the same: and this from the same people who claim to defend states rights!)
9.26.2006 2:39pm
plunge (mail):
Seriously, if you think that I am just casting "aspersions" at anti-ACLU extremists, why not simply do a search of THIS VERY BLOG and see many many examples of the bloggers here pointing out how ridiculous anti-ACLU claims have gotten, especially from STOPtheACLU. Don't trust me, go ahead and discount what I say, but at least read the blog you are commenting on for goodness sakes.

You'll also, I'll point out, find a lot of measured and legally informed and sensible criticism of the ACLU here, btw.
9.26.2006 2:41pm
Poopstain (mail):
As I've said, never been to the site, have no investement in it, could be brilliant or utterly inane--I have no idea. I don't think your ad-hominen attacks are adding much, though. Just 'cause you say so doesn't necessarily make it so, no matter how many New Yorker issues you may read.
9.26.2006 2:43pm
jso (mail):
In today's world, the ACLU is pretty much useless except to the far left. There just isn't a need for it anymore. They certainly don't have much else to do nowadays.
9.26.2006 2:43pm
Poopstain (mail):
And thanks for making it obvious that you are, in fact, Mr. Shake. How can we ignore little people dare to even think about contraverting the received wisdom of our betters, like NPR and You, oh mighty Plunge?
9.26.2006 2:44pm
Poopstain (mail):
"Don't trust me" -- i.e., I'm either (1) too lazy to support my own unanswerable points, or; (2) "there are a bunch of posts on this site decisively supporting my post, which was based on received wisdom...right?????"
9.26.2006 2:47pm
Poopstain (mail):
By the way, M. de Plunge/Shake--did you bother to click on the link Mr. Strange provided, to an article appearing on THIS SITE which god forbid, might tend to undercut your world view? Also, did you happen to notice how I conceeded in my initial post that I might be wrong in some details or even altogether and my request for information, as opposed to your "we're the Inquisition and we're right because everyone smart knows we're right and by the way you're ugly" tenor?
9.26.2006 2:50pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Plunge is right. The various nutball accusations made against the ACLU have been repeatedly disproven on this blog. It's not him/her being lazy.
9.26.2006 2:53pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Anonymous handles are interesting... I always figured I'd post under my real name because it would keep me sane. Complete anonymity can lead one to say/do some pretty stupid stuff. I think you've reached that point when you realize you need an ALTERNATE anonymous handle because the previous one has lost too much credibility.
9.26.2006 2:58pm
Poopstain (mail):
Interesting and problematic but necessary to free speech if you are in certain professions. Can you imagine (any of you who have ever worked as attorneys) trying to interview for a law firm job or a law-school job after having posted heretical comments (i.e., those that don't cleave to the left's world view or that dispute it in such a polite and feeble manner as to amount to an affirmation?)
9.26.2006 3:02pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
I guess I wouldn't want to work at any firm that would disqualify me based on something I wrote here. It also keeps me from writing anything that would get me disqualified from working at a law firm ;)
9.26.2006 3:03pm
Poopstain (mail):
Dan--all kidding aside--do you think it would even be remotely possible to get a job at a lawfirm anywhere in non fly-over country after posting the (far from perfect and highly open to criticism on many grounds) posts I have put up today? Do you somehow suspect that "Shakes" posts might, on the other hand, end up being quoted on his C.V.? This is not a joke. I'm no prophet/genius and my posts are, in and of themselves, meaningless. But this brave new world we've entered into, in which everything left is a resume-booster while everything even remotely open to interpretation as not left is a possible career-killer is a very serious, serious, serious matter, methinks.
9.26.2006 3:07pm
Broncos:
Sorry for cross-posting, and far be it for me to question the subject material that a blogger chooses to write about, but given that this is a serious libertarian law blog, WHY IS THERE ONLY A SINGLE POST (that I can see on the page today) ON THE CURRENT BILLS?

No discussion is warranted?

Really?

Orin? Eugene? Have Balkinization, National Security Advisors, and Kenneth Anderson said all there is to say?

This silence is a little pathetic for a libertarian law blog, especially when it can take the time to rehash once again whether the ACLU has lost its way.
9.26.2006 3:26pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
Heh... I just realized this is a "Juan Non-Volokh" post. I wonder if he has any thoughts on the matter. I suppose he intended to "come out" all the while, though, so there wouldn't have been any incentive to write something over the top knowing he was an anonymous pseudonym.

Also, I guess all the Conspirators already knew who he was.
9.26.2006 3:29pm
Poopstain (mail):
I don't so much pine for "intelligent" conversation in days of yore as did a recent poster as I lament the "i'll listen to your points even if they piss me off and then I'll respond to your points even if it pisses you off" days that 'ner were seen...... ;-)
9.26.2006 3:35pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
"WHY IS THERE ONLY A SINGLE POST (that I can see on the page today) ON THE CURRENT BILLS? No discussion is warranted?"

Posting more about the Omnibus War Crimes &Torture Authorization Act of 2006 would be a bit like having multiple posts on what should be done about the fact it is raining today.
9.26.2006 4:02pm
Poopstain (mail):
????? :-)

BTW--make sure to "speak truth to power," as long as you're sure that you're in a venue where 99% of the listeners think exactly like you're sayin. And don't forget to pat yourself on the back on the way out, Plunge
9.26.2006 4:20pm
Nadine Strossen, President of the ACLU (www):
"I don't want to dwell on constitutional analysis, because our view has never been that civil liberties are necessarily coextensive with constitutional rights. Conversely, I guess the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty."
9.26.2006 4:22pm
Poopstain (mail):
BTW--I'm still waiting for evidentiary responses to my initial post (as opposed to "everyone who isn't stupid knows" type posts e.g. Mr. Plunge). Still very open to persuasion, but it will take cites to evidence, not appeals to revealed truth, M. le Plunge, to interest me......
9.26.2006 4:54pm
Gekkobear (mail):
"I fondly recall a time when there were intelligent commenters on this sight."

Whereas I fondly recall a time when a location was a site and not a sight... ah that site was a sight for sore eyes.

But I'm not disappointed that a call for the better intelligence of the past fails to properly spell the words required. In fact I almost demand it even though the irony hurts my fillings.
9.26.2006 5:09pm
Poopstain (mail):
Stopping to make sure your spelling is correct before you post--a hobgoblin of little minds that is best overlooked, except in cases of blatant hypociscy--the skewering of which is always in good taste! :-)
9.26.2006 5:15pm
jgshapiro (mail):

Can you imagine (any of you who have ever worked as attorneys) trying to interview for a law firm job or a law-school job after having posted heretical comments (i.e., those that don't cleave to the left's world view or that dispute it in such a polite and feeble manner as to amount to an affirmation?)

I think the real problem with your posts is that they are so poorly reasoned, regardless of your worldview, that they reflect poorly on you. No one would want to hire someone who reasoned that poorly, regardless of whether they agreed with you on the underlying substantive point.

I suppose anonymity can protect you in the short run, but the quality of your reasoning will catch up with you eventually. I doubt it is confined to anonymous posts on VC. So you may get hired, but you won't last very long. Of course, you'll probably chalk this up to another left-wing conspiracy to silence you . . .

I don't so much pine for "intelligent" conversation in days of yore as did a recent poster as I lament the "i'll listen to your points even if they piss me off and then I'll respond to your points even if it pisses you off" days that 'ner were seen...... ;-)

If there was anything to your comments other than just silly accusations and motive-hunting, I think you would see more responses. Otherwise people will conclude that you are either an idiot, a blowhard, or a troll. In the first two cases, there is no need to respond, since first, "you should never try to teach a pig to sing," and second, your posts will out you without any need to respond. In the last case, the best bet is probably to ignore you and let you go back to whatever other blog(s) you came from.
9.26.2006 5:26pm
jgshapiro (mail):
I don't much care about the ACLU in particular, but watching the protest is interesting on a broader level. I think there are two problems endemic to any organization like the ACLU that is focused on litigating constitutional issues or contesting them before legislatures.

The first is how broad to cast your net: will you just concentrate on one right, the whole bill of rights, or some subset of them? If you pick more than one right, you are bound to alienate people who agree with you on one issue but not on others, unless you assume that all people take either the "left" or the "right" position on everything.

The second is whether to take a "principled" position on an issue, even when it kills your ability to persuade the average Joe (or the average legislator or judge), or whether to take a "pragmatic" position that allows you to get results, even if it is less principled.

Seems to me that the ACLU has recently taken the broad approach to the first question and the pragmatic approach to the second. Is there a right or wrong answer to these questions? Perhaps as a fundraising issue, or as an issue that could lead to a schism in the organization, but any other choice would likely do the same.

If instead, they took a narrow approach to the Bill of Rights, only focusing on the 1st Amendment, for example, they would lose the support of those who are primarily interested in the 4th Amendment or privacy issues, to take two other examples. Similarly, if they took a principled approach to the 1st Amendment (even as applied to internal organizational matters), they could lose any ability to be effective in the real world. Sure, they would be more consistent, but at what cost?

At the end of the day, the remedy for the protesters is to form a rival organization that hews to the ideals they assert. If the choices of that organization prove to be better conceived, the organization, over time, will do better in soliciting funds and recruiting volunteers and (ultimately) in achieving results.
9.26.2006 5:47pm
notway (mail):
I've long been tempted to join, but the ACLU's defense of speech is selective. They don't do much to protect anti-abortion protesters, and they took a pass on Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, a case in which the state claimed the power to regulate the content of a private, non-state-funded parade to impose "diversity." One of the most important recent 1st Amendment cases, and the ACLU ignored it, despite some board members' urging to get involved.

I do send some money to the Rutherford Foundation, John Whitehead does some good work.
9.26.2006 5:50pm
Steve P. (mail):
The ACLU's biggest strength has always been its diversity. Of course, that's also been its greatest weakness -- it's much easier to cherry-pick examples of ACLU malfeasance when the local chapters don't have to toe any kind of 'party line'. And if it's the party line you disagree with, then these proposed changes would help obviate that. Instead of the board deciding on how the organization as a whole deals with affirmative action, worthwhile debate can occur, possibly leading to a change of values over time.

I'm leery of castigating the ACLU for not getting involved in any specific case, no matter how important. As with any private organization, you can't be disappointed if you don't take them for granted.
9.26.2006 6:15pm
Master Shake:

Stopping to make sure your spelling is correct before you post--a hobgoblin of little minds that is best overlooked, except in cases of blatant hypociscy--the skewering of which is always in good taste!
Did you mean hypocrisy?
9.26.2006 6:20pm
Owen Hutchins (mail):
Notway-
you are very much mistaken. Just recently, here in Philadelphia, the ACLUofPA filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a group of anti-gay protestors who had been arrested while protesting a Gay Pride event. The staff attorney that handled it is a friend of mine. And it was interesting to see that none of the conservative bloggers mentioned that, or in fact questioned, "where is the ACLU now?", never bothering to check.

Not being involved in a case is not the same as opposing it.
9.26.2006 6:34pm
Jim O'Sullivn (mail) (www):
For some reason, I was on the ACLU's mailing list during Ira Glasser's tenure as its leader. I got quite a few letters from him begging for money. His basic pitch was that he needed my money in order to protect me from the "anti-abortion mobs" that protest in front of "women's health centers." Nazis? No problem! People protesting over a controversial issue of public policy? Problem! And he says the ACLU is just starting to get too political? Puh-leeze.
And getting back to its founding principles? If it did, it would be forced to concede that it has communist roots (do some research before you dismiss me as a right wing nut).
9.26.2006 8:08pm
Poopstain (mail):
Thanks Shapiro. Your brilliantly reasoned posts have opened up a whole new world of--well, brilliant reasoning to me. Maybe someday I can reason as brilliantly as you do--at which point I'll be able to post a message asking for information rather than baldly announcing my superiority over everyone else with no citations to any facts and with nothing even remotely resembling reasoning apparent in my posts, like you do. It must be great to be as wonderful as you are, huh Shapiro? Pretty comfortable little world you live in, genius?
9.26.2006 10:02pm
Poopstain (mail):
Anyone else as stunned by the high tone and inimitable logic displayed by Shapiro as I am?
9.26.2006 10:06pm
Poopstain (mail):
Notice how Shapiro gives not a single example of what he means by "poor reasoning." Note how rather than cite any facts or answer any questions, he hurls insults ("idiot" etc.) that merely assume his conclusions. In short, notice how Shapiro, like virtually every liberal you know, eschews the invitation to indulge in the actual given and take of reasoned conversation in favor of acting like a ten year old.
9.26.2006 10:12pm
Poopstain (mail):
Owen--this is the kind of information (as opposed to puerile insults) I was looking for. Do you have any idea (I realize this is the kind of thing you're not likely to have at the top of your head) what percentage of cases the ACLU takes fits into that category--or where one could go to get that information? The ACLU is involved in a huge number of cases I know---it would be interesting to do a statistical study based on ALL (or at least most) of the cases they've been involved in over the years--not just the high-profile ones.
9.26.2006 10:27pm
Public_Defender (mail):
jgshapiro's 4:47 comment looks like the best analysis of what's going on in the organization. This is healthy because it will force the ACLU to think about its choices and direction.

Many of the rest of the comments are the same old drivel you see everythime the ACLU's name is mentioned--gripes that the organization doesn't defend each reader's complete vision of the Bill of Rights.

An organization can't be everything to every one. The Institute for Justice won't defend property rights in criminal cases. The ACLJ won't defend abortion rights. And if the ACLU won't take your Second Amendment case, stop whining and call the NRA.
9.27.2006 5:46am
Poopstain (mail):
Man you have a lot of aliases!!!
9.27.2006 9:25am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Everybody: Let's stay focused on the substance and avoid personal attacks on each other, which aren't terribly helpful or useful to other readers.

Poopstain:

(1) Please change your user id. It's vulgar.

(2) You've posted 21 of the 59 comments so far, including at one point four in a row. Is it likely that all of these were helpful? Or is it nearly certain that some were repetitive, or unsubstantive? Even a genius would have a hard time populating 21 comments with really thoughtful, useful contributions.

Notway: The ACLU filed an amicus brief in Hurley -- the case in which the organizers of the St. Patrick's Day Parade wanted to exclude some pro-homosexuality floats -- supporting the right of nongovernmental organizations to exclude such speech. The Hurley brief was on behalf of neither party, because the ACLU argued, not implausibly, that the parade organizers might in fact be state actors because the city had given them preferred treatment. If this were so, and the ACLU asked that the case be remanded for findings on whether this indeed was so, then the gay rights group would itself have had a legitimate First Amendment claim to equal access to a state-actor-organized parade. But in any event, the ACLU expressed its full support for the rights of non-state-actors to speak, even when their speech involved the exclusion of pro-gay messages.
9.27.2006 1:28pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Purges and speech restrictions are tribalist in nature.

Tribalism is the enemy of civilization.
9.29.2006 2:53am