Washington Markup

Even Amidst a Host of Congressional Priorities, Drones Makes the Cut

Even Amidst a Host of Congressional Priorities, Drones Makes the Cut

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00am
While Congress has been considering the idea of regulating domestic drone use for some time, yesterday kicked off the debate in earnest when Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on "The Future of Drones in America: Law Enforcement and Privacy." Considering everything the committee has on its plate right now—from immigration reform to gun regulations—the fact that the senators prioritized this hearing underscores how important and timely they believe the issue is, and how much impact drones have had on the American psyche.
Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Groundbreaking Senate Hearing Shines a Light on the School-to-Prison Pipeline

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Kimberly Humphrey, Washington Legislative Office at 10:23am

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights will hold a landmark hearing entitled, Ending the School-to-Prison Pipeline. It is the first time a congressional panel will look at this disturbing…

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

Senate Homeland Security Committee Misses the Mark with Statement on DHS “Fusion Center” Program

By Kara Dansky, Senior Counsel, ACLU Center for Justice at 2:35pm

Last week, the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Investigations issued a report criticizing the Department of Homeland Security for its failure to ensure proper oversight over state and local “fusion centers.” …

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

Border Patrol Must Stop Hiding the Truth About Its Uses of Force

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:24am

Border Patrol agents work in dangerous situations which can lead to tragic consequences like the shooting death and wounding of agents in Arizona this week.  There is no justification for such violence targeting law enforcement officers. …

One Year After Simmons: ACLU Sends Letter to DOJ to Help Release People Wrongly Languishing in Federal Prisons

One Year After Simmons: ACLU Sends Letter to DOJ to Help Release People Wrongly Languishing in Federal Prisons

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:53pm

Yesterday, USA Today reported on a letter the ACLU sent to top officials at the Department of Justice, urging immediate action to identify and possibly release dozens of wrongfully imprisoned federal inmates.

The ACLU’s letter is a follow-up…

Senate Hearing Explores the Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration

Senate Hearing Explores the Exorbitant Costs of Incarceration

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:51pm

Over the last 30 years, the population of the federal prison system has increased exponentially – nearly 800 percent – largely due to the overrepresentation of those convicted of drug offenses, many of whom are low-level and non-violent.…

Federal Prisons Busting at the Seams: Sentencing Commission Should Prioritize Growing Prison Population

Federal Prisons Busting at the Seams: Sentencing Commission Should Prioritize Growing Prison Population

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:54pm

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is in the process of determining the issues that it will prioritize 2013. The commission embarks on this process every year and invites the public to suggest what it thinks the commission should concentrate its efforts…

Interrupting the Violence

Interrupting the Violence

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:00pm

Across the country, states are working to reform their juvenile justice systems in order to emphasize youth rehabilitation and violence prevention.  Just this past Thursday, the Special Council on Criminal Justice Reform for Georgians – which…

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes:  Stand Up or Be Trampled

On the First Anniversary of Wal-Mart v. Dukes: Stand Up or Be Trampled

By Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:27am
Image above: Betty Dukes with Senator Al Franken. The author, Deborah Vagins, to the immediate right, joined by coalition partners.

Over a decade ago, I had the great honor to be part of a team representing Betty Dukes, an employee at Wal-Mart who…

ENDA Is Good, Could Be Even Better

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held an important hearing on workplace discrimination experienced by those who are or perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). The hearing addressed…