Blog of Rights

Monica Jones at a press conference

Arrested for Walking While Trans: An Interview with Monica Jones

By Chase Strangio, Staff Attorney, ACLU at 11:19am
In Phoenix, Arizona, you can be arrested for repeatedly stopping and engaging a passerby in conversation. This may, under Phoenix law, be evidence that you are "manifesting" an intent to engage in prostitution. Of course, this could also be evidence that you are lost or canvassing for a political group or simply talking about the weather. The difference between "innocent" and "criminal" behavior often comes down to how a person looks. Transgender women of color are often profiled by police as engaging in sex work for simply being outside and going about their daily routines. Amnesty International documented this disproportionate targeting by police of transgender women as sex workers in a 2005 report. "[S]ubjective and prejudiced perceptions of transgender women as sex workers often play a significant role in officers' decisions to stop and arrest transgender women," the report concluded. One woman told Amnesty, "'No tenemos el derecho a vivir.' (We don't have the right to live.)."
Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

Death Row is Not a "Constitution-Free Zone"

By Brian Stull, ACLU Capital Punishment Project at 2:58pm

Alfredo Prieto sits alone 23 hours a day in a locked, seventy-square-feet box. The lights never go out.

According to trial records, Prieto grew up in tough circumstances in war-torn El Salvador, escaped with his family to California. He became…

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

Beyond Bradley Manning: The Government Has Made Its Point (UPDATED)

By Ben Wizner, Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 10:44am

UPDATE (8/21/13): Bradley Manning was sentenced by a military judge today to 35 years in prison. In response, the ACLU’s Ben Wizner said:

When a soldier who shared information with the press and public is punished far more harshly than…

Too Many Cops Are Told They’re Soldiers Fighting a War. How Did We Get Here?

Too Many Cops Are Told They’re Soldiers Fighting a War. How Did We Get Here?

By Radley Balko, Senior Writer, Investigative Reporter, Huffington Post at 11:30am

I want to thank the ACLU for asking me to guest blog this week to coincide the release of my new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop...

Modification of image by rachaelvoorhees via Flickr

Police Hide Use of Cell Phone Tracker From Courts Because Manufacturer Asked

By Nathan Freed Wessler, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project at 9:01am

It appears that at least one police department in Florida has failed to tell judges about its use of a cell phone tracking device because the department got the device on loan and promised the manufacturer to keep it all under wraps. But when police…

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

Disability Is No Excuse to Deprive One of Civil Liberties

By Susan Mizner, Disability Counsel, ACLU at 3:20pm

The guardianship system in this country raises serious concerns. That's why the guardianship trial of Jenny Hatch, a vibrant and active 29-year-old in a battle over who controls her life, struck such a chord. Jenny spoke for many other people with…

U.S. Actions in Snowden Case Threaten Right to Seek Asylum

U.S. Actions in Snowden Case Threaten Right to Seek Asylum

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, ACLU Human Rights Program & Chandra Bhatnagar, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Human Rights Program at 4:16pm

Revelations about the NSA's secret surveillance activities continue to make headlines both at home and abroad. In the last week alone, Brazil expressed concern about recent reports of NSA spying on millions of Brazilian citizens, the European Parliament…

Photography Businesses Don’t Have a First Amendment Right to Discriminate

Photography Businesses Don’t Have a First Amendment Right to Discriminate

By Joshua Block, LGBT Project at 10:14am

Today the Supreme Court turned away a photography business's claim that it had a First Amendment right to break New Mexico public accommodations law and discriminate against gay customers.

No court has ever held that a business has a First…

What If the Interracial Family in the Cheerios Ad Consisted of Two Dads?

What If the Interracial Family in the Cheerios Ad Consisted of Two Dads?

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

I don't know about you, but I love the Cheerios ad featuring the adorable daughter of an interracial couple. It's both sweet and charming, but what I really appreciate is its depiction of a family that is rarely visible on TV even though it is certainly…