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This Week in Civil Liberties (9/23/2011)

From a disturbing potential change in detention laws to banned books week.
Rekha Arulanantham,
Litigation Fellow,
ACLU National Prison Project
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September 23, 2011

In memory of Troy Davis, what can you do to keep fighting for the innocent on death row?

What did Ceara Sturgis’ principal try to force her to wear for her yearbook picture?

What organizations are allowed to discriminate when hiring for government-funded jobs?

Who told the Senate not to let history repeat itself regarding indefinite detainment?

Need some book titles for your reading list?

On Wednesday night, Georgia strapped down an innocent human being and forced lethal poison into his veins until he died. In your name; in my name, unashamed and unhesitating. Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia despite a worldwide movement over one million strong that drew attention to the glaring doubts of his guilt. With no physical evidence and a host of witness recantations, it’s clear Georgia has executed an innocent man.
TAKE ACTION: Join the fight to protect the innocent and end the death penalty.

Wear That Dress or Else!
That’s basically what a high school principal told Ceara Sturgis at the start of her senior year — you’ve got to wear a “drape,” or scoop-necked covering that looks like the top of a dress, in the yearbook photo. Ceara isn’t comfortable in such revealing clothing, and had spent her entire high school career wearing more masculine attire. The photographer took Ceara’s picture in a tuxedo instead of the drape, as she requested, but the principal jettisoned that photo and printed the yearbook without either her photo or her name appearing in the senior portrait section. That prompted us to file a lawsuit on Ceara’s behalf, which will now be allowed to proceed after a federal judge rejected a request by Ceara’s old school district to have the case thrown out.

Now Hiring (Some Exclusions May Apply)
Jobs, jobs, jobs. Right now, the White House is wholly focused on getting people back to work. That should be great news for the American people. Why is it then that the administration has a damaging policy that actually limits certain jobs to only certain people? By allowing religious organizations that receive taxpayer money to hire (or fire) for government-funded positions based on religion, the Obama administration is limiting the job pool for all Americans

Will the Senate Forget the Lessons from Japanese-American Internment?
The U.S. Senate is considering the unthinkable: changing detention laws to imprison people – including Americans – indefinitely and without charge. Before they proceed, they should review our own history by listening to the last people systematically targeted and detained by the U.S. government: Japanese-Americans
TAKE ACTION: Urge the Senate to Oppose Indefinite Military Detention

What’s That You’re Reading? Next Week is Banned Books Week!
Monday marks the start of Banned Books Week, an annual event that celebrates the First Amendment and the freedom to read. Of course, we at the ACLU heart Banned Books Week. ACLU affiliates across the country, from Connecticut to Texas, are celebrating the freedom to read with an array of events, from readings to panel discussions to parties.

You can also join the celebration right here on the Blog of Rights, with our Banned Books Week blog series, which kicks off Monday.

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