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)


Congress Has Failed, but the ACLU Will Keep Fighting

Congress Has Failed, but the ACLU Will Keep Fighting

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 7:39pm

Congress' failure to repeal the shameful "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy is a devastating loss to the gay and lesbian service members who put their lives on the line for this country every day — and for Americans everywhere who believe in fairness and equality.

Rest assured that the ACLU will not give up on this fight. We are 100 percent committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and will do everything we can to bring about its demise.

Watch this video of my colleague James Esseks, head of the ACLU's LGBT Project, as he speaks about the ACLU's commitment to fighting DADT:

Closing Guantánamo: A Deadline Missed

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 1:09pm

Today an important deadline was missed. One of the most shameful chapters of American history was to have been brought to a close with the shuttering of the prison at Guantánamo Bay. President Obama's executive order to close the prison within…

Close it Right: Guantánamo Must Be Shut Down Quickly And Properly

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 6:05pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

On January 22, 2009, his second full day in office, President Obama issued an executive order mandating that the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay be closed within a year. Well, the clock’s…

Law & Order Tackles Accountability for Torture. Will We Have It in Real Life?

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 12:53pm

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

"Jack, you want to prosecute a member of the Bush administration for assaulting suspected terrorists?"

"The word is 'torturing.' And yes — it's about time somebody did."


The Best of Days, The Worst of Days

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 11:19am

(Originally posted on Huffington Post.)

It was a day of personal schizophrenia for me.

I woke up on the west coast with news of President Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor as the next associate justice of the U.S. Supreme court.…

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…

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…

Happy Fourth of July from the ACLU!

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

On this day 232 years ago, our founders brought forth a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all people are created equal. With their minds set on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they proceeded to lay the…

Statistics image