Blog of Rights

Whose Religious Freedom?

Whose Religious Freedom?

By Louise Melling, Director, Center of Liberty; Deputy Legal Director, ACLU at 5:32pm
The freedom of religion and belief is one of our most cherished liberties. The First Amendment protects our right to believe whatever we choose. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) would like you to think this right is in peril. As defenders of the Constitution, we beg to differ, and think that some of the recent controversies actually show that the First Amendment is doing its job, and confirm that religious freedom in America is alive and well.
ACLU Lens: New York Times Highlights Data Showing Harsh Discipline for Minority Students and Students with Disabilities

ACLU Lens: New York Times Highlights Data Showing Harsh Discipline for Minority Students and Students with Disabilities

By Sandhya Bathija, Washington Legislative Office at 12:21pm

Today, the Department of Education will release crucial civil rights data exposing discipline practices in our country's public schools and certain juvenile justice facilities.

In a story published this morning, The New York Times provided…

New Regulation Proposes Government-Funding of Religion

By Elayne Weiss, Washington Legislative Office at 5:27pm

Did you know your federal tax dollars could soon be used to help construct, acquire or rebuild houses of worship overseas? The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the government agency primarily responsible for distributing foreign…

New Map Illustrates Widespread Anti-Mosque Activity

By Heather L. Weaver, ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 4:43pm

Ten years ago today, President Bill Clinton signed into law the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal civil rights statute that gives houses of worship heightened protection in zoning disputes. The ACLU actively…

A Case of Abuse of Power in Texas

By Frank Knaack, ACLU of Texas at 2:39pm

Today, the ACLU of Texas released its report (PDF) analyzing the new curriculum standards proposed by the Texas State Board of Education. The report finds the board's ability to insert members' own ideological and religious beliefs into the public…

Keeping the Courthouse Doors Open to Protect Reproductive Health Care and Religious Liberty

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:48pm

(Originally posted at ACSblog.)

Last week, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that an ACLU challenge to the government's use of taxpayer dollars to impose religious doctrine on victims of human trafficking may go forward.…

Federal Prisons Take Elmer Fudd Approach to Book Ban

By Jeremy Gunn, Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief at 11:23am
The new motto for the Federal Bureau of Prisons policy on banning religious books was taken directly from the Elmer Fudd Hunting Manual: "Ready! Fire! Aim!" Acting in secret and without prior public notification (where have we heard that before?),…
Defending the Contraceptive Rule

Defending the Contraceptive Rule

By Richard Muniz, Reproductive Rights Fellow, ACLU of Illinois at 1:59pm

Today, the ACLU and the ACLU of Illinois filed a friend-of-the-court brief in two additional appeals challenging the Affordable Care Act's ("ACA") contraceptive coverage rule. Our brief urges the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reject requests…

It Doesn’t Matter How Many Lawsuits Are Filed, the Contraception Rule Is Constitutional

It Doesn’t Matter How Many Lawsuits Are Filed, the Contraception Rule Is Constitutional

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 4:20pm

Sheer repetition of an incorrect argument does not make that argument correct.  This holds true for the lawsuits challenging the federal contraception rule, which ensures that millions of women will have access to contraception without a co-pay.  Those who are trying to eliminate the rule in the courts have now filed almost 45 lawsuits.  They can file 100 lawsuits, but it won’t change the legal analysis.  As we’ve said before, the contraception rule is constitutional.  For the last five decades, courts have held that rules designed to eradicate discrimination – like the contraception rule – cannot be trumped by a business owner’s religious beliefs.

First Circuit Court Should Defend Victims Of Human Trafficking

First Circuit Court Should Defend Victims Of Human Trafficking

By Carol Rose, Executive Director, ACLU of Massachusetts at 4:30pm

Today's utterance by Chief Judge Sandra Lynch, of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, gives me hope that the court will do justice for the victims of human trafficking who will be impacted by how the First Circuit rules in a case argued before it this morning.