Blog of Rights

Court-Sanctioned Extortion by Private Probation Companies: Modern Debtors' Prisons

Court-Sanctioned Extortion by Private Probation Companies: Modern Debtors' Prisons

By Nusrat Choudhury, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 10:46am
Yesterday, Human Rights Watch released Profiting from Probation, a report that confirms the ACLU's worst fears about the privatization of probation services: for-profit companies are increasingly working with county and city courts around the country to extort poor people for money, including by illegally jailing them simply because they are too poor to pay court-imposed fines and fees. While poor people suffer and taxpayers foot the bill for hidden costs, private companies make big money—to the tune of an estimated $40 million in revenue in Georgia alone, according to the report.
What If the Interracial Family in the Cheerios Ad Consisted of Two Dads?

What If the Interracial Family in the Cheerios Ad Consisted of Two Dads?

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm

I don't know about you, but I love the Cheerios ad featuring the adorable daughter of an interracial couple. It's both sweet and charming, but what I really appreciate is its depiction of a family that is rarely visible on TV even though it is certainly…

An Important Victory for Indian Tribes

An Important Victory for Indian Tribes

By Peter Beauchamp, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 1:20pm

This week, the ACLU won an important battle on the road toward protecting the rights of American Indian children and their parents and tribes. Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken of South Dakota's federal District Court ruled that a lawsuit filed by the ACLU…

6 To-Dos for Obama's Sixth Year as POTUS

6 To-Dos for Obama's Sixth Year as POTUS

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 12:54pm

Last night's State of the Union address covered many issues important to Americans, including economic inequality, winding down foreign wars, climate change, pay equity, closing Guantanamo, voting rights, and much more.

But from a civil liberties…

Southwest Border Tour Excludes Border Communities

Southwest Border Tour Excludes Border Communities

By Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Staff Attorney, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties & James Lyall, Border Litigation Staff Attorney, ACLU of Arizona at 4:54pm

Newly confirmed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson wrapped up a two-day visit to the southwest border region last week, starting in McAllen, Texas, and ending in Tucson, Ariz. The stated purpose of the trip was to "tour border operations, receive…

An Unequal Playing Field: A Response To Richard Sherman's Post Super Bowl Playoff Game "Outburst"

An Unequal Playing Field: A Response To Richard Sherman's Post Super Bowl Playoff Game "Outburst"

By Nirali Beri, Legal Assistant, ACLU, Racial Justice Project at 10:14am

After two hard fought games over the weekend, it was determined that the Denver Broncos would be facing the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII next month. Both teams have overcome significant obstacles this season to reach the championship…

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Honoring Dr. King by Working for Economic Justice

The Fierce Urgency of Now: Honoring Dr. King by Working for Economic Justice

By Rachel Goodman, Staff Attorney, ACLU Racial Justice Program at 11:55am

This week, as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, you’ll hear a lot, as we usually do, about the heroic work he did to move America past the era of state-enforced racial segregation.  Mainly, we remember Dr. King as a prophet of…

How Will the Trillions in Federal Spending Affect Immigration?

How Will the Trillions in Federal Spending Affect Immigration?

By Georgeanne M. Usova, Washington Legislative Office at 4:14pm

Congress took an important step this week by passing an omnibus appropriations bill— one giant package to replace 12 spending bills that Congress passes in a normal year to keep the government running for the rest of FY 2014 and avoid another government…

Is Race Discrimination in School Discipline a Real Problem?

Is Race Discrimination in School Discipline a Real Problem?

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:04pm

The Department of Justice and Department of Education announced today what we have known to be true for a long time: yes, race discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.

At an event with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney…

Florida Cannot Drug Test People Simply Because They’re Poor

Florida Cannot Drug Test People Simply Because They’re Poor

By Jason Williamson at 3:30pm

Remember that amazing Daily Show segment a couple years ago in which a correspondent asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to pee into a cup? Governor Scott was dead set on forcing some of the state's poorest, most vulnerable citizens to submit to humiliating…