Difference between revisions of "ACLU"

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(Anne Coulter is not an expert on what the ACLU belives)
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==ACLU and Evolution==
==ACLU and Evolution==
"The ACLU sued a school district in Cobb County Georgia, merely for putting stickers in biology textbooks that urged students to study evolution 'with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.' <ref>Ariel Hart, "Stickers Put in Evolution Text Are the Subject of a Federal Trial," New York Times, November 9, 2004</ref>
The ACLU sued a school district in Cobb County Georgia, for attempting to teach evolution as a "theory," instead endorsing creationism.  The trial court found that this was a violation of the [[Endorsement Test]] of the [[First Amendment]]. <ref>Ariel Hart, "Stickers Put in Evolution Text Are the Subject of a Federal Trial," New York Times, November 9, 2004</ref>

Revision as of 09:07, 31 March 2007

The ACLU is the American Civil Liberties Union, which was run for its first 30 years by a American citizen named Roger Baldwin, who helped found it in 1920 in response to the Espionage Act and Sedition Act. Baldwin and the ACLU purged any open communists from its ranks in 1940.

ACLU and the Establishment Clause

A example of ACLU litigation regarding the Establishment Clause was Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School Dist., 400 F.Supp.2d 707 (M.D. Pa. 2005)[1] , also known as the Intelligent design case. The ACLU prevailed in prohibiting administrators from reading a short statement that mentions Intelligent Design to students, and forbade the school board from issuing a warning that Darwin's theory has gaps.[2]

In his opinion, Judge John E. Jones III heavily relied on Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist., which had previously invalidated "warning labels" placed on Cobb County textbooks, stating that evolution is "theory, not fact." His Honor also relied on the Establishment test, the Lemon test, and the reasonable student standard that he applied in his analysis of the Dover case.[3] The Judge used this reasoning as one step towards his conclusion, and cites Selman and other Supreme Court cases as backing up his own affirmation of the Selman holding.[4]

Judge John E. Jones has been accused of copying 90% of his ruling from the ACLU's briefs by the Discovery Institute, an institution that filed amicus curiae briefs in the case.[5] The allegation is a partial truth.[6]The judge also ordered costs for the plaintiff, in accord with civil procedure protocol, totalling over $2,000,000.[7]

ACLU chapters frequently sue to compel removal of the Ten Commandments from public property. For example, in McCreary County v. ACLU, 545 U.S. 844 (2005), the ACLU of Kentucky forced two counties to remove displays of the Ten Commandments from their courthouses. In Utah, the ACLU even announced a scavenger hunt for anyone who could find a display of the Ten Commandments monument that the ACLU could demand be removed. The ACLU typically receives substantial legal fees from the government in each of these cases.

In 1994, the ACLU of New Jersey sued Jersey City, New Jersey to challenge a menorah and a Christmas tree at city hall. A federal district judge declared the display to be unconstitutional, but the appellate court, in a 2-1 opinion written by now-Justice Samuel Alito, found a modified display to be constitutional. ACLU of New Jersey v. Schundler (1999). Then-Judge Alito wrote, "government may celebrate Christmas in some manner and form, but not in a way that endorses Christian doctrine."

Occasionally an ACLU chapter does side with a Christian student. The ACLU of Michigan defended a Christian student seeking to have a Biblical passage on the student's yearbook page.[8]

Same-sex Marriage and Gay Equality

The ACLU of New Jersey filed an amicus curiae brief in favor of same-sex marriage in Lewis v. Harris, 188 N.J. 415 (1006). The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in favor of civil unions, but by a 4-3 margin did not require same-sex marriage.

The ACLU sues schools when a student alleges encountering "anti-gay peer harassment and bullying based on his perceived sexual orientation." [9] The ACLU holds the school (and hence the taxpayers) liable for actions based on conduct by some students towards others.


The ACLU is against any laws restricting what they see as the Right to Choose. ACLU attorneys have argued several reproductive rights cases.


The ACLU has defended polygamists[Citation Needed].

ACLU and Fight against Racism

Along with the NAACP, led at the time by Thurgood Marshall, the ACLU briefed and argued many influential Supreme Court opinions that led to the eradication of legal segregation.[10] They have continued to defend racial equality since.[11] Even recently, the ACLU fought to overturn prohibitions against renting buildings to immigrants[12]

ACLU and Evolution

The ACLU sued a school district in Cobb County Georgia, for attempting to teach evolution as a "theory," instead endorsing creationism. The trial court found that this was a violation of the Endorsement Test of the First Amendment. [13]


  1. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/dover/kitzmiller_v_dover_decision.html
  2. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 400 F.Supp.2d 707.
  3. Kitzmiller, 400 F. Supp. 2d at 725 (coming to the conclusion reached in Selman by the Court's own reasoning), compare Selman v. Cobb County Sch. Dist, 2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 13005 (11th Cir. May 25, 2006) at *pincite needed*.
  4. See Kitzmiller, 400 F. Supp. 2d at 723-24.
  5. http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.php?command=view&id=3829&program=CSC%20-%20Views%20and%20News
  6. This is true with regards to Judge Jones' statements in the early parts of the opinion manifesting his agreement with the ACLU's briefs, but the legal reasoning of the case - constituting the bulk of the opinion - is all original. See generally Kitzmiller, 400 F.Supp.2d at 707.
  7. See 42 U.S.C. s 1988 (describing relief afforded victorious plaintiff of a 1983 action as including attorney fees).
  8. http://www.aclu.org/studentsrights/expression/12845prs20040511.html
  9. http://www.aclu.org/lgbt/youth/28618prs20070221.html
  10. Examples: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483
  11. http://www.aclu.org/racialjustice
  12. http://civilliberty.about.com/od/historyprofiles/ss/news082206_3.htm
  13. Ariel Hart, "Stickers Put in Evolution Text Are the Subject of a Federal Trial," New York Times, November 9, 2004

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