Freedom of Expression

You Can’t Hide Families Behind The Desk: How Utah School Officials Are Violating The First Amendment In Library Book Case

You Can’t Hide Families Behind The Desk: How Utah School Officials Are Violating The First Amendment In Library Book Case

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 1:09pm
The ACLU LGBT Project and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit earlier today challenging a decision by Davis School District in Davis County, Utah, to remove a children’s picture book about a family with two moms from all elementary school libraries in the district.  The book, called In Our Mothers’ House, was written by Patricia Polacco, an acclaimed author of award-winning children’s literature.  The School Library Journal gave In Our Mothers’ House a rave review and recommends the book for children in grades 1 to 4.  The school district decided to remove the book from the library shelves and hide it behind the librarians’ desks in response to complaints from some parents that the book “normalizes a lifestyle that we don’t agree with.”  The school district has claimed that having a book about a family with same-sex parents on the library shelves would also violate Utah’s sex-education laws because it would amount to “advocacy of homosexuality.”
International Organization Finds U.S. Violating the Rights of Protestors

International Organization Finds U.S. Violating the Rights of Protestors

By Allison Frankel, Criminal Law Reform Project, ACLU at 2:55pm

The right to peacefully assemble, enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and international human rights law, is an intrinsic element of the democratic fabric of the United States. Yet according to a report released Friday by the Organization for Security…

ACLU Backs Strong Speech Stance After “Muslims” Video Backlash

ACLU Backs Strong Speech Stance After “Muslims” Video Backlash

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:08pm

UPDATE: The State Department's response to the ACLU is posted here.

The ACLU sent a letter yesterday to the State Department thanking Secretary Clinton for the department’s unwavering defense of basic free speech principles in the backlash…

Not a Real Family? Book About Two Moms Banned in Utah School District

Not a Real Family? Book About Two Moms Banned in Utah School District

In Our Mothers’ House, by Patricia Polacco, is a children’s book about three adopted children and their two mothers.  In response to complaints from a subset of parents that the book “normalizes a lifestyle we don’t agree with,” Davis School District in Utah has instructed its elementary school librarians to remove all copies of the book from the library shelves and place the book behind a counter where students must have written parental permission to read it.

In Court Today: The Constitution Also Lives in Airports

In Court Today: The Constitution Also Lives in Airports

By Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Staff Attorney, ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties at 10:24am

The ACLU is appearing today before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals to argue on behalf of our client, Nick George. 

In August 2009, Nick went to the Philadelphia International Airport to catch a flight to California and begin his senior…

A Long Legacy of Defending the Right to Read

A Long Legacy of Defending the Right to Read

By Doug Bonney, Chief Counsel & Legal Director, ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri at 2:05pm

Seventeen years ago this week, cooperating lawyers recruited by the ACLU of Kansas & Western Missouri were doing battle for the First Amendment in a major trial over the Olathe, Kansas School District’s removal of Nancy Garden’s award-winning young adult novel Annie on My Mind from all of the District’s school libraries.

Fifty Shades of Censorship

Fifty Shades of Censorship

By Maria Kayanan, Associate Legal Director, ACLU of Florida at 4:35pm

This year marks the 30th anniversary of “Banned Books Week,” the American Library Association’s rousing celebration of free speech, and its condemnation of government shackling of library bookshelves across the nation. Free speech is a core mission of the ACLU: books are speech. They enrich us; they teach us; they entertain us; they confound us; and they challenge us. And sometimes, they make us uncomfortable. But there is no room on library shelves for censorship.

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

A "Foreign Policy Exception" to the First Amendment?

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:07pm

At a time when the anger abroad over the Innocence of Muslims video shows no signs of abating, President Obama gave an impassioned speech Tuesday at the United Nations that was a full-throated, unqualified defense of the American tradition of free…

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

FTC Proposes Changes to Privacy Law That Collide With Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:59am

Back in the waning years of the Clinton administration, Congress quietly enacted an important internet privacy bill (the passage of which was overshadowed by other, more salacious developments). The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”)…

Statistics image