Blog of Rights

Finally Headed Home

Finally Headed Home

By Jennifer Turner, Human Rights Researcher, Human Rights Program, ACLU at 7:46pm
Jason Hernandez says he is still shaking from the news that he will be released from prison in five years. Yesterday, his life without parole sentence was commuted to 20 years.
Game Theory and Privacy

Game Theory and Privacy

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 11:27am

Earlier this week in “The Flawed Logic of Secret Mass Surveillance” I presented some thinking about the dynamics of mass surveillance and what that suggests about how things are likely to play out in the future with regards to the NSA’s spying.…

Birth Control Goes to the Supreme Court

Birth Control Goes to the Supreme Court

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 1:23pm

Today the U.S. Supreme Court accepted for review two cases challenging the federal contraception rule, which requires the inclusion of contraception coverage in health plans. One of the cases was brought by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts supply chain…

The $338,000 Internet Comment

The $338,000 Internet Comment

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 12:00am

We’ve written before about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1998 — a federal law that protects the robust diversity of free speech we’ve come to know and love (and hate) on the Internet. Last night, the ACLU and the ACLU of Kentucky…

We Know That Stop-and-Frisk is All Kinds of Horrible: So Why Is it Expanding Nationwide?

We Know That Stop-and-Frisk is All Kinds of Horrible: So Why Is it Expanding Nationwide?

By Robert Hunter, Legal Assistant, ACLU, Racial Justice Program at 3:51pm

I was going to the store for my mother. And then when I came out the building I see my uncle and he's coming from the way I'm going and we walk back to the store...

Why Is Kyle Thompson Under House-Arrest?

Why Is Kyle Thompson Under House-Arrest?

By Diana Scholl, Communications Strategist, ACLU at 3:07pm

Kyle Thompson likes playing football, playing video games, and hanging out with his friends. The Michigan student has also been under house arrest since last March and barred from school for six months. Why? His teacher wanted to see a note he had…

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

Citizens of Johnson County v. Two Bare Breasts

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:48am

A set of bronze boobs has sent a group of citizens in Kansas into a tizzy. Offended by a statue depicting a woman's breasts, they are now stepping up their fight against a statue in the Overland Park Arboretum, just south of Kansas City.

"Accept…

What Makes Presidents Turn Into Hard Core Defenders of the Security State? Seven Possible Explanations

What Makes Presidents Turn Into Hard Core Defenders of the Security State? Seven Possible Explanations

By Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:45am

I recently wrote about how it can be useful to think of our national security state in institutional rather than personal or political terms—as a gigantic organism that displays certain consistent behaviors. And I speculated about how this organism can be both less intelligent and less moral than the individuals who make it up.

At the same time, it is undoubtedly true that some individuals within the national security state—the leadership—have great direct power to alter its character and direction. So why don’t they? Those individuals come from a wide variety of political and life backgrounds. But despite that fact, the overall behavior of the security establishment seems to be relatively consistent.

This is true up to the presidential level. In interviews about his whistleblowing decision, Edward Snowden has talked about his disillusionment with President Obama when it comes to reining in the national security state. This is a disillusionment that we share. Before he took office Obama seemed sympathetic to the criticism of the Bush Administration over the excesses of the national security state. So what happened?

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

50 Years after the Dream: Why Are We Filling our Jails with Kids of Color?

By Mishi Faruqee, Juvenile Justice Policy Strategist, ACLU at 2:22pm

This week, fifty years after the March on Washington, President Obama stood on the National Mall and listed out some of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. High up on the list: not letting our criminal justice system become "simply…

A Unanimous Decision for Equality

A Unanimous Decision for Equality

By Louise Melling, Director, Center of Liberty; Deputy Legal Director, ACLU at 4:41pm

When a business opens its doors to the public it must comply with anti-discrimination laws, even if doing so offends a business owner's religious beliefs. That's the bottom line in today's unanimous decision by the New Mexico Supreme Court holding…