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This Week in Civil Liberties (04/19/2013)

Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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April 19, 2013

In which state does middle school student Jordan Anderson continue to face discrimination for standing up to religious indoctrination in his public school?

Fill in the blank: the ACLU argued in front of the Supreme Court this week that ____ should not be patentable.

Why is a 10-year-old rightfully scared of cops policing his elementary school?

Which federal court decided this week that states may not routinely compel drivers to submit to a blood test in drunk-driving cases without consent and without a warrant?

Security flaws in what smartphone operating system expose customers’ private data to significant cybersecurity-related risks?

Paying the Price for Defending Religious Freedom in South Carolina

“What’s the harm?” That is the question we are often asked when the ACLU steps in to stop public school officials from including official prayer in school events and proselytizing students. It was a question posed by many community members in the Chesterfield County School District when we filed a lawsuit on behalf of middle school student Jordan Anderson after the district invited Christian and a youth minister to evangelize students during a school-day assembly and continued to subject to students to a variety of other religious practices.

Challenging Human Gene Patents Before the Supreme Court

This week, we went to the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments in our challenge to human gene patents.

The Court will decide this central question: are our genes – the basic elements of human biology and the blueprint for our cells, organs, and bodies – patentable? Or does patenting genes extend private property rights over products and laws of nature, in violation of the law?

Rogue Cop Assaults Elementary School Student

When Officer David Bailey grabbed a 10-year-old student by the back of his head and slammed it into the school cafeteria table, it is safe to say that student was not free to leave. On that afternoon, Bailey decided that his routine beat on the streets of Southeast D.C. extended into the hallways of Moten Elementary School.

VICTORY! Supreme Court Finds Drunk-Driving Laws Can Be Strictly Enforced without Abandoning Constitutional Rights

The ACLU welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Missouri v. McNeely. Writing for the majority, Justice Sonia Sotomayor upheld the 4th Amendment’s privacy protections by rejecting the proposition that states may routinely compel drivers to submit to a blood test in drunk-driving cases without consent and without a warrant.

ACLU Files FTC Complaint Over Android Smartphone Security

This week, we filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asking the agency to investigate the major wireless carriers for failing to warn their customers about unpatched security flaws in the software running on their phones. These companies—AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile—have sold millions of smartphones to consumers running versions of Google’s Android operating system. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these phones never receive critical software security updates, exposing consumers and their private data to significant cybersecurity-related risks.

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