Blog of Rights

Anthony D.

Anthony D. Romero is the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. He took the helm just four days before the September 11, 2001 attacks. Shortly afterward, the ACLU launched its national Safe and Free campaign to protect basic freedoms during a time of crisis. Romero has led the ACLU in its fight to restore civil liberties, including pushing for accountability for torture committed under the Bush administration and fighting the practice of indefinite detention. Romero is the ACLU's sixth executive director, and the first Latino and openly gay man to serve in that capacity. (Photo by Richard Corman)


Troubling signs from Obama's Administration

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 1:37pm

On his first day in office, President Obama moved our nation miles ahead on the road to restoring its fundamental values by signing executive orders to close Guantanamo, halt the military commissions and end torture.

The ACLU, like millions of people the world over, cheered. The orders were an important first step toward restoring an America we can be proud of again. But we're not there yet, and there are some troubling signs that can't be ignored.

Upon close reading, the executive orders contained worrisome ambiguities. While they halted the military commissions, they left open the possibility of their revival in some form. They also banned torture but left open the future possibility for the CIA to use interrogation techniques not found in the Army Field Manual, the basis for legal interrogations by the military.

Knowing that our freshly minted president put together these orders with lightning speed, we took cautious note, but remained hopeful that once clarification came, so would reassurance.

This was not the first cause for concern. There had been others, like the retention of Defense Secretary Robert Gates. We couldn't help but wonder whether the "new Gates" had experienced a Road to Damascus conversion and was capable of adopting the new president's ideals. Our worries intensified when John Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Adviser after being shot down for CIA Director because of his problematic civil liberties record. But while we took cautious note of these appointments, we decided to leave speculation aside.

Turkey Day Talking Points on Prop 8

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 3:11pm

This Thanksgiving we are reflecting on what family means to us. For those of us at the ACLU and many people across the country, that will bring to mind what happened to families in California as a result of Prop 8.

So — in what is becoming an ACLU tradition — I’m writing to share some pointers for talking turkey this Thanksgiving about issues that really matter.

Here’s my biggest piece of advice for when Prop 8 and gay marriage come up over the Thanksgiving dinner table: Don’t shy away from the conversation. Do what I’m hoping thousands of ACLU supporters will do over the holidays. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to about same sex marriage and explain that it’s just not right to deny someone their freedom because of who they are or who they love.

Obama: Close Gitmo On Day One. You Can Do It. We've Got Your Back.

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 12:21pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

It's already a time-worn cliché when we say that the election of Barack Obama is historic. I still like saying it. Let me share some of my personal reflections on why this election seems historic…

On January 20, With the Stroke of a Pen, President Obama Can Undo Some of the Damage of the Past Eight Years

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 3:26pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

President-elect Barack Obama will become chief executive of a nation that has been greatly weakened — in particular, our freedoms, our values, and our international reputation have been significantly…

Protecting Your Right To Vote

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 1:42pm

(Originally posted on HuffingtonPost.)

We are on the eve of one of the most important presidential elections in history and turnout is expected to reach record highs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are far too many…

ACLU Fights for Justice At Guantánamo Military Commissions

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 4:40pm

On Thursday, I will be at Guantánamo Bay watching five men appear before a military commission as they hear the charges read against them. The charges are dire: the men are accused of participating in one of the worst and most tragic crimes…

Engage the Issues, or Democracy Loses

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 4:09pm
This afternoon, I attended the confirmation hearings on Judge John Roberts, President Bush’s nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court.  Also in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room were the leaders of most of the nation’s civil rights…

Good Timing, But Time Is Still Short

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 5:13pm
Our new Patriot Act case, opposing the government's demands for information from a Connecticut institution with library and Internet records, is among the best-timed and most Orwellian that I have seen during my four years as head of the ACLU. Best-timed…

August 24, 2004

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 1:05am
Today I witnessed history in the making. I was one of 49 people inside the military commission courtroom allowed to observe the first military commission in the 60 years since World War II. America's system of justice was on the world stage. We…

August 23, 2004

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 12:30am
Today's activities at Gitmo were full of tension. We boarded the bus at 7:40 A.M., with the 50-plus members of the media, to travel to the other side of the base by boat. However, before we could do so, the representatives from Amnesty and Human Rights…
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