Blog of Rights

This Week in Civil Liberties

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 6:01pm

Today, thousands of middle and high school students protested bullying, harassment and discrimination against their LGBT classmates on the Day of Silence. Earlier this week, Congress did its part on behalf of LGBT Americans by reintroducing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Thursday.

Tuesday of this week marked Equal Pay Day, which, if you're a woman, is the day into 2011 that you have to work, on average, to make the same as a man did in just 2010 alone. Depressing! Congress marked this day by reintroducing the Paycheck Fairness Act (PFA), which would address wage discrimination and eliminate loopholes that undermine the effectiveness of the 1963 Equal Pay Act. PFA was so close to passing last year. It's about time this one passed...

Stranger Danger: TSA Frisks Another Little Kid
I think most people would agree that little kids shouldn't be subjected to pat-downs at the airport, like little Mikey Hicks was last year. Well, it's happened again.

A Mother Fights Back Against The Daddy State — And Wins
Should a mother have to tell the state her personal medical history just to get a birth certificate for her newborn? Absolutely not.

The End of the Line for Troy Davis?
It's been a long, winding road through the state and federal criminal justice system for Troy Davis, who is probably innocent of the crime he's been convicted of. He's been through the Supreme Court, and has still landed back on death row. Act now: Make a final appeal to the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board.

"Don't Filter Me" Finds Schools Unconstitutional Filtering in Four More States
This week, we sent letters to schools in four more states demanding they stop viewpoint-based censorship of web content geared toward LGBT communities. These schools' web filters are blocking LGBT websites while still allowing access to anti-gay websites. (That's called viewpoint discrimination, and it's illegal, boys and girls!) Is it happening in your state? Check out our map!

Putting an END(A) to Workplace Discrimination
Congress reintroduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on Thursday. ENDA would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in most American workplaces; this bill has been reintroduced in almost every Congress since 1994 (the 109th Congress dropped the ball, apparently). It's about time Congress finally passed ENDA; tell them so today.

What's the Hurry? Records Reveal Foreclosure Court Judges Speed Through Foreclosure Cases
There's a new Rocket Docket in town. Documents released through an ACLU public records request reveal that judges in a court system specially created to deal with foreclosures in that state are rushing through the cases — as many as 200 per day — and prioritizing speed over accuracy. Which isn't right: these courts are supposed to be the last line of defense for homeowners trying to hold onto their homes. We care because when rocket dockets speed through cases, Americans' due process rights are vulnerable to being trampled upon. The ACLU last week filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the “mass foreclosure docket” in Lee County, FL, where a months-long ACLU investigation found due process problems to be particularly egregious.

This is your week in civil liberties. Let us know if this is useful or if you'd like to see changes. Share your thoughts: ideas@aclu.org

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