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"I'll Take the ACLU for $600, Alex"

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April 23, 2012

The ACLU loves Double Jeopardy. Really.

A quick explanation is in order. We’re not talking about the prohibition in the Fifth Amendment against double jeopardy—being tried again for the same crime after being acquitted. Trust us, we’re down with that. Have been. Always will be.

The version we’re more enamored with can be seen five nights a week on the second round of Jeopardy, the venerable game show that featured the ACLU as a category on Friday.

Get your buzzers ready. Here are the clues:

$200: In 1920 the ACLU was born out of an earlier group focused on the civil liberties of conscientious objectors to this.
$400: In 1942 the ACLU denounced the internment of more than 100,000 Americans of this ancestry.
$600: The ACLU helped win a 1933 ruling overturning a ban on the sale of this James Joyce novel.
$800: In 1952 the ACLU filed a brief supporting the NAACP in this Supreme Court case decided 2 years later.
$1,000: In Kitzmiller v. Dover, The ACLU fought the required teaching of this 2-word alternative to natural selection.

The answers, er, questions are below.

As it happened, the ACLU had more than a category connection to Friday’s show. One of the contestants, Amy Drittler (pictured with Alex Trebek, above), was the former program coordinator at the ACLU of Tennessee. Amy didn’t win, but the fact that she even made it on was something of an achievement for a program notorious for a brutal selection process that includes multiple quizzes and an audition.

Amy’s appearance was somewhat bittersweet. Her husband Ben, an ACLU of Tennessee board member (he had also been a one-time client and cooperating attorney), died suddenly last September when he was just 38. They used to always watch the show together and he encouraged her to try out. “When I actually got the call that I had been selected (it was) the two-month anniversary of his death,” she told the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Another recent ACLU connection to Jeopardy is Emily Garber, an attorney at the ACLU of Oregon, who was on the April 5 program. Though she finished third, she told the Briefly Legal PDX blog that being able to get up close and personal with Alex Trebek — however briefly — was enough. “I’ve been a fan of Jeopardy for as long as I can remember.”

Now that you’ve had a chance to ponder the clues, here are the correct responses:

$200: What is World War I?
$400: What is Japanese?
$600: What is Ulysses?
$800: What is Brown vs. Board of Education?
$1,000: What is intelligent design?

As Amy and Emily will tell you, it really is a lot easier when you’re shouting out the answers — in a question form, of course— in your living room.

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