Blog of Rights

This Week in Civil Liberties (8/12/2011)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 5:30pm

What military base, after initially pulling its support, is allowing an atheist concert on base?
How can states save some of your taxpayer dollars?
Which civil servant publicly indicated indifference towards separation between church and state? (Here’s a hint: His job has everything to do with church and state!)
How many senators have rethought their 1996 decisions to support DOMA?
In what state did a federal appeals court strike down a law that prohibited transgender prisoners from receiving medically necessary treatments?

Rock Beyond Belief
On September 25, 2010, an evangelical Christian concert was held on the military base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. After receiving complaints about the "Rock the Fort" concert, military officials claimed that they would support similar events sponsored by nonevangelical groups. But when one such event, "Rock Beyond Belief," was proposed by Sgt. Justin Griffith, an atheist, military brass refused to provide the same level of support. That's when we got involved.

A Way Toward Balancing Government Budgets While Promoting Justice: Break Our Addiction to Incarceration
As detailed by a new ACLU report released this week, several states have enacted cost-effective laws cutting their unnecessary overreliance and massive spending on prisons while continuing to protect the safety of our communities.

Since When Is the First Amendment an Afterthought?
The Denver Post reported that Joshua DuBois, the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, made an alarming statement at a recent event in Denver. According to DuBois, "If your focus is first and foremost serving people in need, then there's not a tremendous amount of time left to debate the finer points of the church-state relationship." We couldn't disagree more.

The Congressional Evolution on DOMA
There is an intriguing story behind the recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) headlines, one that mirrors trends in public opinion surveys but involves a group you might not expect — members of Congress who voted for the law in 1996, but now favor its repeal.

Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Law Prohibiting Medical Treatment for Transgender Prisoners
Last Friday, a federal appeals court struck down a Wisconsin law that prohibited prison doctors from prescribing medically necessary treatments for transgender prisoners.

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

Learn more about your rights: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Statistics image