Blog of Rights

Solution to Campus Diversity Problem Isn't Segregation Everywhere Else

Solution to Campus Diversity Problem Isn't Segregation Everywhere Else

By Dennis Parker, Director, ACLU Racial Justice Program & Courtney Bowie, Racial Justice Program at 6:04pm
Yesterday, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion in the university admissions case, Fisher v. University of Texas. In it, the Court left intact the important principle that universities have a compelling interest in a diverse student body, and that race can be one factor among many that universities may consider in a carefully crafted admissions program. Like decisions before it, the Court recognized that educational benefits flow from a diverse student body. However, the case was sent back to the lower court with instructions that the lower court more closely examine the means that the University of Texas used to achieve a diverse student body in order to assure that it complies with clearly-established criteria for the Constitutional use of race in admissions. Significantly, the Court did not strike down the University's plan. It is our belief that Texas's program will survive the lower court's review.
In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

In the Battle of Racial Bias vs. Racial Justice in North Carolina, Governor Insists on Bias

By Cassandra Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 1:32pm

For just over three years, it looked like North Carolina was going to pull out in front of states that still have the death penalty...

Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

Why Childhood Obesity is a Civil Rights Issue

By Jason Stern, Racial Justice Program, ACLU at 4:04pm

Last week, a New York State appeals court panel appeared to take all the fizzle out of New York City's ban on large sugary drinks, which had been overruled by a lower court judge in March. While the future of the ban remains unclear, one thing is certain:…

The War on Marijuana Has a Latino Data Problem

The War on Marijuana Has a Latino Data Problem

By Lynda Garcia, Soros Fellow, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 11:49am

We know that the War on Marijuana unnecessarily drags hundreds of thousands of people into the criminal justice system every year for having marijuana. And, because of a new ACLU report, we know that it is Blacks who are disproportionately arrested–…

SPOT Off

SPOT Off

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 3:58pm

Lost in all the news about the NSA program this week was the release of a devastating report by the DHS Inspector General on the TSA’s SPOT program (first reported by the New York Times on Sunday). The new report underscores what a waste of money that program has been. After hiring 2,800 full-time staff and spending an estimated $878 million since FY 2007, the program remains deeply misguided not only in its very concept, but also in how it has been implemented.

SPOT (which stands for Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) is the program that places “Behavior Detection Officers” (BDOs) near airport security lines, where by intrusively chatting with fliers, they will supposedly be able to detect “something amiss” that might suggest a passenger is planning a terrorist attack.

The program has always been ludicrous. In testimony at a 2011 congressional hearing on SPOT, psychologist Dr. Maria Hartwig summarized the decades of empirical research on the detection of deception, which is basically

End the Numbers Game: Police Should Not Be Rewarded for Making Marijuana Arrests

End the Numbers Game: Police Should Not Be Rewarded for Making Marijuana Arrests

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project & Vanita Gupta, Center for Justice at 1:40pm

Every 37 seconds, another person is needlessly ensnared in the criminal justice system just for having marijuana...

14-Year-Old Arrested for Playing with Puppy While Black. Seriously.

14-Year-Old Arrested for Playing with Puppy While Black. Seriously.

By Rebecca McCray, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:09pm

Last week down in Florida, 14-year-old Tremaine McMillian was playing in the water with a friend at the beach when a Miami-Dade police officer approached him to ask what he was doing, misinterpreting their play for a fight. Tremaine walked away from…

The War on Marijuana is a Failure

The War on Marijuana is a Failure

By The Gregory Brothers at 11:07am

On April 19th, a date suspiciously (and auspiciously) close to April 20th, The New York Times published our Op-Doc "The War on Drugs is a Failure."

NEW REPORT: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests

NEW REPORT: Billions of Dollars Wasted on Racially Biased Marijuana Arrests

By Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 10:27am

Marijuana has become the drug of choice for police departments nationwide. According to The War on Marijuana in Black and White, released today, police made over 8 million marijuana arrests between 2001 and 2010, and marijuana arrests now account for…

"Joe's Law" Gets the Boot: A Lawyer for the Plaintiffs Explains

"Joe's Law" Gets the Boot: A Lawyer for the Plaintiffs Explains

By Andre Segura, Immigrants' Rights Project at 10:13am

Plaintiffs have established that the MCSO had sufficient intent to discriminate against Latino occupants of motor vehicles. Further, the Court concludes that the MCSO had and continues to have a facially discriminatory policy of considering…