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This Week in Civil Liberties (03/21/2014)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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March 21, 2014

This week the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging which state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples?

True or false: by law, if you complained about problems with accommodations for pumping breast milk at work, your employer must respond appropriately and provide breaks and a private location to pump.

How much more likely are Black people likely to be arrested for marijuana than white people, despite equal rates of usage?

Representatives of what industry spoke to a task force at the White House to lobby for big data?

This week the ACLU testified before what privacy oversight group on the FISA Amendments Act and government surveillance?

When My Wife Died I Got a Bill for $300,000

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit this week on behalf of Midori Fujii and 12 other individuals affected by Indian’s ban on same-sex marriages. After the death of Fujii’s wife, under Indiana law Fujii was a legal stranger and was not permitted to make decisions about the funeral. She was forced to pay more than $300,000 in state inheritance tax on all of the property that her wife left to her, including their shared home. If Fujii had been in an opposite-sex marriage she would have paid no inheritance tax on the property. Fujii tells her story.

No One Tells Mamma to “Just Go Home!”

Imagine you have just returned from maternity leave, still nursing your baby, and you find that your workplace has no place available for you to pump breast milk. After trying for several hours to find a place, you ask for help from your department head, who says “You know, I think it’s best that you just go home to be with your babies.” She hands you a pen and paper, advises you to resign, and even dictates what you should write down as your letter of resignation.

This is exactly what Angela Ames, a Loss Mitigation Representative at Nationwide Insurance, alleges happened to her when she returned to work eight-weeks after having her second child.

We Shouldn’t Arrest One More Person for Having Marijuana

I had a homie who was arrested for having an ounce of weed that was just for his personal use. He had full custody of his four children and still did 8 long months. My friend hasn’t been the same since, to be quite honest, and I just can’t get over the fact that before he went into the system, he was funny, sensitive, and charismatic, and now, he’s just different.

And, he’s not alone. He’s just another casualty of the War on Drugs, which is taking directly from the frontline.

Dice Raw, Grammy Award-Nominated Singer/Songwriter

Ad Industry Feeds White House Its Fallacious “Internet Depends on Spying” Logic

Representatives of the online advertising industry headed to the White House last week to speak with the task force on “big data and privacy” that President Obama asked advisor John Podesta to head up. The executives said they would bring the White House their usual message: that advertising supports free content on the Web. After the meeting, the ad executives reported being pleased, with one telling Adweek, “It was clear they knew the importance of the digital economy.”

PCLOB to Examine Legal Underpinnings of NSA Surveillance

This week, the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer appeared before the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as its members question government officials, privacy advocates, law professors, and policy experts about the government’s surveillance programs operating under the FISA Amendments Act (“FAA”), also known as Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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