Blog of Rights

Joel
Engardio

Walling off the Witnesses

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 3:57pm

(Originally posted on the Washington Posts's On Faith blog.)

When it comes to Jehovah's Witnesses sharing Watchtower magazines and Bible messages door-to-door, I'm impressed by what people will do to save themselves from the annoyance. A…

Liberate the Breast Cancer Genes

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 8:26am

The ACLU has taken on a patent case for the first time in its nearly 90-year history. The government's been allowing private companies to patent human genes. The ACLU thinks that violates the First Amendment and patent law. This is heady, complicated…

Supreme Court Briefing 2009–10 Term

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:57pm

ACLU lawyers met with the press who cover the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. recently to provide an overview of important cases during the 2009-10 term of the high court.

Watch ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro discuss United…

Justice Denied: Voices from Guantánamo

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 10:31am

Most Americans have only seen Guantánamo detainees as one-dimensional caricatures. But a new ACLU video features original footage in which the men talk about their lives — before, after and during their detention by the U.S.

USA Today: Beyond 'Gay Marriage'

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 10:15am

Today's USA Today includes a personal essay by the ACLU's Joel Engardio. Marriage equality is in the courts, the legislature, and the media more than ever before, but "Beyond 'gay marriage'" reminds us:

At its heart, though, it’s often just…

Prop. 8 Ruling a Blow to All Minorities

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 4:24pm

(Originally posted on the Washington Posts’s On Faith blog.)

Religious supporters of Proposition 8, the voter initiative that banned same-sex marriages in California, might feel good now that the state's Supreme Court has ruled that the measure can stand. But will those religious groups that are celebrating Prop. 8 today regret it later when they consider the precedent that's been set?

Prop. 8 has made it a lot easier in California for a simple majority of voters to strip away the rights of an unpopular minority. What happens when it's your time to be the unpopular minority?

History is unkind and too often repeats itself. Members of the Mormon Church, who were major supporters of Prop. 8, have ancestors who experienced some of the worst religious discrimination ever faced in the United States. In the mid-19th century they were driven by mobs from Illinois to Missouri and across the Wild West to Utah. It was wrong then to persecute Mormons for what they believed, just as it would be wrong now to try to force Mormons to accept members or marriages in their church they deem unworthy. There is freedom of religion in America for good reason. But that and other freedoms have been watered down in California, thanks to Prop. 8. The court now has less power to fulfill the purpose for which it was created: keep the tyranny of the majority from trampling the rights of the minority. Anyone can be a minority if enough people don't like the way you live, worship or think.

Internet Filters: Voluntary OK, Not Government Mandate

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 3:18pm

People are talking about internet content filtering, especially since the ACLU won its case against the Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which tried to censor all speech about sex from the internet. But don’t be confused between voluntary use…

Obama's Child Soldiers

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 5:42pm

Six days after the inauguration of President Obama, the U.S. is scheduled to begin the first trial of a child soldier accused of war crimes since World War II. This video shows why President Obama must take swift action to end the unconstitutional…

Video Blog From Gitmo

By Joel Engardio, ACLU at 2:22pm

The footage might be shaky, but the experience is equally raw. See ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero as he films himself in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Anthony was at Gitmo for the military commission hearings of five detainees charged with 9/11-related…

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