2009 Supreme Court Term Preview

This morning in Washington, D.C., we are hosting our annual Supreme Court breakfast, in which attorneys discuss cases that the ACLU will or may be arguing in the upcoming term. This year's breakfast will have three speakers: ACLU Legal Director Steve Shapiro; Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project; and Peter Eliasberg, Managing Attorney at the ACLU of Southern California.

Steve kicks off the breakfast with an overview of the upcoming term and the civil liberties issues at stake.

Jameel discusses Department of Defense v. ACLU, our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit over photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners at detention facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. The question before the court is whether the government can rely on an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to withhold the photographs on the basis of a general assertion that their release could provoke a violent response. The government has asked the Supreme Court to review an appellate court decision that found in our favor, requiring the Defense Department to release these photographs. We should hear whether the Supreme Court will hear the case by September 29.

Finally, Peter discusses Salazar v. Buono, a case that will address whether the government has adequately remedied the Establishment Clause violation created by the presence of a Latin cross in the Mojave Desert National Preserve by transferring one acre of land surrounding the cross to the Veterans of Foreign Wars while also designating the cross as a national memorial. The lower courts agreed with the ACLU that the government's actions compounded the Establishment Clause problem rather than resolving it. Peter will argue the case before the court on October 7. Learn more about this case by reading Peter's statement.

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Since John Roberts lied like a rug during his confirmation hearing when he claimed that he wasn't a pro-corporate right-wing ideologue, Austin vs. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce will probably be overturned. This will overwhelm the political system with corporate cash, which will effectively silence independent, less well-funded voices. Too, the prospect for campaign finance reform will end for good, as using corporate profits to influence elections will be inextricably, and inexplicably, linked to 'free speech.'
One should never underestimate unfettered corporate power coupled with an industry-friendly government. We should eliminate corporate personhood for good, and not confuse free speech for sentient beings with corporate spending intended to sway voters to their own benefit.


I support most everything the ACLU does, that's why I'm a member, but I can't support the ACLU's position on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The ACLU's brief argues against McCain-Feingold on First Amendment grounds, which implicitly accepts the position that corporations are people and entitled to all Constitutional rights given to actual living persons.

This is not a First Amendment issue, but is instead an issue on corporate personhood, and I think the ACLU should make an argument against corporate personhood or, at the least, withdraw their brief against McCain-Feingold.


And, I personally believe that, after you are done trashing another cross in our country.......that we Christians are going to take the huge ball and chain to the Islam radical school about to be erected and open for business this fall. You people are sooooooo busy trying to be "politically correct" you have lost your sense of morals and common sense. Since the percentages of Christians vs NON-Christians is way out of line anyway, we Christians are about to take this country back. And the illegals.....haven't we paid enough for them yet? Now we got the towelheads telling us which prayer day we can honor? Last laugh is on you jerks anyhow. You like books? Read the end of the Bible........YOU LOSE!


Wow Jay, what a loving Christian example you must be. Reminder: Christ was the ultimate pacifist activist. Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr couldn't hold a candle to the epitome of tolerance and brotherly love. Towel heads? Take this country back?! Figure out who the real enemies are then get back to us... Cryder and Simpkin have it right. Corporate Personhood is the most pressing issue of our time. Kill that and watch the world change before our eyes.


1. Corporations are people. 2. People have an inalienable right to free speech. 3. People have a right to spend arbitrary amounts of their own money in any way that is, inter alia, construable as an exercise of their right to free speech. 4. Mass advertising, the cultivation of relationships with opinion journalists who themselves are creations of corporate power, and deliberate promulgation of misleading or false information or distorted analyses must all be accepted as expressions of free speech requiring protection (even though these are effectively available only to corporate officers and boards). ERGO Corporations can not be kept from ruining our politics and, therefore, our communities, environment, economy, health and civil institutions as it suits them. But of the four premises, only number two makes any sense and seems to have anything to do with what the framers might have believed.


The ACLU is trying their best to take Christ out of everything and that we are teaching lies. Why isn't the ACLU trying to do away with Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunny etc. Are you teaching YOUR children of these things? Are they real?????Ah....NO!! so why is one lie okay to tell and not the Pure Truth that God is truly real and the others are fiction!!

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