Blog of Rights

Do We Really Still Need Free Speech Week?

Do We Really Still Need Free Speech Week?

By Tony Rothert, Legal Director, ACLU of Missouri at 1:43pm
You bet. More than two centuries since the Bill of Rights was drafted, we continue to see a fundamental lack of understanding on government's part of just what freedom of speech means. Nowhere was that more apparent recently than in a Missouri suburb reeling from a terrible tragedy.
Free Speech for Some Means Free Speech for None

Free Speech for Some Means Free Speech for None

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:44pm

In honor of Free Speech Week, let's take a moment to acknowledge the obvious. Free speech is incredibly, almost unbelievably important, especially in a democracy.

It can also be unpleasant, uncomfortable and even downright offensive. Which…

On Leak Prosecutions, Obama Takes it to 11. (Or Should We Say 526?)

On Leak Prosecutions, Obama Takes it to 11. (Or Should We Say 526?)

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:58pm

James Risen is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He's also currently under subpoena, possibly facing jail time, because of his reporting.

Specifically, he's being investigated because of an article on a CIA ploy to hinder Iran's quest for…

How Many People Must Be Maimed or Killed Before We End the Militarization of Our Police Forces?

How Many People Must Be Maimed or Killed Before We End the Militarization of Our Police Forces?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 4:59pm

Yesterday, a grand jury in Habersham County, Georgia, decided not to bring charges against the police officers who threw a flashbang grenade into the crib of Bounkham Phonesavanh, known affectionately as "Baby Bou Bou." The explosion left a hole in…

Oklahoma's Response to Botched Execution: Hide the Next One from the Public

Oklahoma's Response to Botched Execution: Hide the Next One from the Public

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:45am

It's a dark day for Oklahoma. That metaphor is particularly apt this week, as the Sooner State just redoubled its commitment to keeping capital punishment in the shadows by hiding its lethal injection process from public view and oversight.

Five…

Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

Smokey Says, Get a Permit, Shutterbug

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:39pm

Well, sort of.

First Amendment advocates have expressed escalating concern in recent days over a U.S. Forest Service rule requiring permits for photographers in national forests. In particular what is at issue is a new proposed Forest Service…

For One Young Black Man in Newark, 'The Talk' was about Police

For One Young Black Man in Newark, 'The Talk' was about Police

By Michael Hobbs at 3:37pm

This piece was originally published on NJ.com.

When I was 14, my grandfather sat me down for "the talk" – not the birds and the bees, but "the billy clubs and the bullets."

I brushed him off. I thought that in my majority-black hometown…

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

Do Cops Really Need Tanks to Keep Us Safe?

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 3:11pm

This piece was originally published on The Crime Report.

The militarized law enforcement response to peaceful protests over the killing of an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Mo. last month, has prompted several federal officials to question…

Sharing this picture in Arizona could get you thrown in jail [photos of baby]

Arizona’s Naked Photo Law Makes Free Speech a Felony

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:24pm

Which of the following could land you a felony conviction in Arizona?

Showing images of naked prisoners tortured at Abu Ghraib; Linking to the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of “Napalm Girl,” showing an unclothed Vietnamese…
This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

This Is What Happens When the Secretary of Defense is in Charge of Your Medical Care

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 10:08am

When Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison on August 21, 2013, she was immediately worried that she would be denied desperately needed medical care for gender dysphoria.

So far, her worst fears of suffering without treatment have…