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On the Agenda: February 20 - 24, 2012

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February 21, 2012

Congress is in recess this week, so the Hill is pretty quiet.

But this week, we are making an important anniversary: Friday is the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines, the landmark student speech case. The ACLU represented Mary Beth Tinker, a 13-year-old junior high school student who was suspended from school after she refused to remove the black armband she wore to protest the Vietnam War. In the 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that the First Amendment applied to public schools, and school officials could not censor student speech unless it disrupted the educational process. Because wearing a black armband was not disruptive, the Court held that the First Amendment protected the right of students to wear one.

Learn more about the Tinker case here.

Thursday, February 23

Voting Rights: This Thursday at a National Press Club event, Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, will debate the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky on U.S. state voter identification laws, which require a photo ID for voters to be able to vote. Starting at 10 a.m. ET, we will be live Tweeting from the event. Follow @ACLULive on Twitter to get the ACLU perspective on the event and voter ID laws.

Prisoners’ Rights: The ACLU will host a Congressional briefing to discuss the recently released report, Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration. The briefing is designed to educate Congressional staff on the multitude of problems with private prisons. It will be moderated by David Fathi of the ACLU’s National Prison Project, and panelists will include David Shapiro of the ACLU’s National Prison Project; Bill Mefford of the United Methodist Church; Joshua Miller of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; and Tracy Velázquez of the Justice Policy Institute. Follow @ACLULive on Twitter starting at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday to receive live updates from the ACLU’s Hill briefing on the moral and economic failures of the private prison industry.

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