Washington Markup

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.”  Shortly thereafter, the committee issued a statement denouncing the report and lauding fusion centers as playing a “significant role in many recent terrorism cases.”
Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

Government’s “Anti-leak” Measures Attack Privacy and the Press

By Sandra Fulton, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:16pm

Although the conflict between government classification rules and practices and the First Amendment rights necessary to promote a free and open society is nothing new, recent developments may indicate an alarming shift away from basic First Amendment…

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

“Stolen Valor” Bill Honorable Sentiment, But Bad Idea

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:29pm

“Lying was his habit.”

That’s the first line from Justice Kennedy’s plurality opinion in United States v. Alvarez, last month’s Supreme Court decision striking down the “Stolen Valor Act,” which made…

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

Selective Leaks Worst of All Worlds for Free Speech

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:21pm

As the election summer heats up, Republicans in Congress are making hay with what they claim are selective leaks by the Obama administration, designed to bolster the president’s national security cred. At a Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday,…

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

Hoodies and Congressional Expression

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:04pm

It was hard to miss on TV or online yesterday the spectacle of Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush of Chicago being ejected from the House floor for wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

After taking off his jacket and raising the hood over his head…

Senate Finally Frees the Press (Kind Of)

Senate Finally Frees the Press (Kind Of)

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:58pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday took up a federal reporter shield law for the second time this year, after getting caught up back in July over the definition of a journalist. This time around, however, the committee passed it, marking the…

Thoughts on the Latest Political Disclosure Proposal

Thoughts on the Latest Political Disclosure Proposal

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:41pm

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) unveiled a new bill this week requiring all groups that spend money independently of campaigns, candidates, or parties to influence a federal election or nomination to disclose their donors.…

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

Stolen Valor Vote in House Today

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:22pm

The second coming of the “Stolen Valor” Act (the Supreme Court struck down the first iteration on First Amendment grounds last term) is on the House’s “suspension” calendar today, meaning it will pass with a two-thirds…

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

Constitution Doesn’t Need Purple Heart After Narrower Stolen Valor Bill Approved

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 6:46pm

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a revamped version of the so-called Stolen Valor Act. The revamp responded to a Supreme Court decision that declared an earlier version of the legislation—which made it a crime to falsely claim to have a…

Ready to Occupy? What You Need to Know about H.R. 347, the "Criminalizing Protest" Law

Ready to Occupy? What You Need to Know about H.R. 347, the "Criminalizing Protest" Law

By Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:35am

Occupy, NATO and the party conventions are all coming up this year. Know your rights under the newly signed protest law.