Washington Markup

Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

Congress Gets to Work on Overincarceration

By Alex Berger, Legislative Assistant, ACLU at 3:39pm
Last month, Congressmen Sensenbrenner and other members of the House Judiciary Committee announced a task force to address the ever increasing scope and breathe of the federal criminal system. This news drew cheers from activists, policy wonks and lobbyists all across the nation and the political spectrum, including many at the ACLU. Now, after the task force's first public hearing last Friday, the initial optimism has turned towards a renewed effort to push the task force to address the true culprits of over-criminalization and over-incarceration.
Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

Misdirection: The House Intelligence Committee’s Misleading Patriot Act Talking Points

By Michelle Richardson, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:46pm

This week the House Intelligence Committee circulated nine talking points to its members explaining why the dragnet collection of innocent Americans’ call records is both legal and effective at stopping terrorism. After reviewing the document, the ACLU has gone point-by-point, making notes that either refute or raise serious doubts about almost every assertion in the one-pager. Just click on the document below and hover on the red dots to see our comments.

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

The Good, Bad, and Ugly for Religious Liberty and LGBT Rights in Defense Bill

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Dena Sher, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:15pm

A sure sign of early summer in Washington, besides the sticky, humid air, is the House and Senate Armed Services Committees kicking off the annual process to pass the defense authorization bill – known as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).…

Is the Spying Comey Approved More Important Than the Spying He Opposed?

Is the Spying Comey Approved More Important Than the Spying He Opposed?

By Michael German, Senior Policy Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:05pm

What's worse than waterboarding and letting the government wiretap Americans without warrants? It's not a riddle; it is a question we need James Comey to answer, particularly if President Obama nominates him to lead the FBI for the next 10 years.

You…

James Comey: Two Thumbs-Up on Waterboarding?

James Comey: Two Thumbs-Up on Waterboarding?

By Chris Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:00pm

Waterboarding and other torture tactics may once again take center stage in yet another nomination fight. But this time, the stakes involve a ten-year appointment to head the FBI.

Before President Obama nominates—and certainly before the…

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

VICTORY! Social Security Administration Drops Surgery Requirement for Gender Change

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU & Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 10:05am

Late last week, after nearly a decade of advocacy led by our coalition partners at the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Social Security Administration (SSA) updated its policy for changing gender designation in Social Security records.…

Immigration Reform on the Senate Floor – A Procedural Maze and Lots of Border Talk

Immigration Reform on the Senate Floor – A Procedural Maze and Lots of Border Talk

By Michael Macleod-Ball, Chief of Staff, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:57pm

The full U. S. Senate took up the potentially historic bill to overhaul the country's immigration system last week.

At the top of the week, things looked rosy. S. 744 flew through initial procedural hurdles to allowing the chamber to take up…

The PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 Must be Reformed

The PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 Must be Reformed

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:16pm

The following remarks were given by Laura Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office, at Sen. Rand Paul's press conference yesterday announcing his intention to sue the government to stop NSA surveillance of Americans' communications.…

ACLU and the Equal Pay Act of 1963: Celebrating 50 Years of Advocacy

ACLU and the Equal Pay Act of 1963: Celebrating 50 Years of Advocacy

By Tyler Ray, ACLU Washington Legislative Office & Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 12:38pm

This June 10th, the ACLU will join organizations and individuals across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a landmark law that required equal pay for equal work for women for the first time. If…

Immigration Reform: Where Things Stand Now and What's Next

Immigration Reform: Where Things Stand Now and What's Next

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:04pm

The immigration reform bill that has emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee is good – not ideal, not awful, but good. It is a game changer for those who currently have no hope of realizing the Constitution's promise of equal protection. But…