In Open Letter to Civil Libertarians, ACLU Calls for Redoubled Effort to Counter "Unrelenting Assault" on Civil Liberties

November 4, 2004 12:00 am

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Following Election, ACLU Sees Biggest Ever Surge in Online Giving

NEW YORK – In a full-page advertisement in today’s New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union called on civil libertarians to redouble their efforts to oppose the Bush Administration’s “unrelenting assault on our civil liberties.”

Even before today’s advertisement ran, the group said that within 24 hours of the election it had experienced its largest ever surge in online donations – more than 1,200 unsolicited gifts totaling more than $65,000 (an average of $54 per person).

“Over the past four years, the ACLU and its members have shown that we can successfully defend freedom even in the most inhospitable climate,” said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. “Working with both Democrats and Republicans, we intend to build on that success, and we intend to win. The spontaneous outpouring of support we have seen is clearly a sign that the American people are ready, willing and able to fight to preserve our civil liberties.”

The advertisement describes how, during the last four years, President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft have undermined civil liberties and how the ACLU has fought back. The advertisement urges Americans to continue to fight back by contributing to the organization and by becoming part of the ACLU’s powerful action list — a grassroots network of more than 200,000 concerned Americans who sent more than a million letters to Congress last year.

Specifically, the letter said, President Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft have:

  • Undermined basic checks and balances by designating American citizens and others as “enemy combatants” without charge or access to their lawyers
  • Opposed reasonable efforts by Republicans and Democrats alike to repeal the overreaching powers of the Patriot Act
  • Imposed government-funded religion by providing taxpayer money for faith-based programs
  • Restricted the medical decisions that women can make over their reproductive lives.

In response, the ACLU has:

  • Filed constitutional challenges to portions of the Patriot Act and battled efforts to extend it in Congress
  • Defended a woman’s right to choose and challenged in court President Bush’s federal ban on abortion
  • Advocated for the full equality of lesbians and gays, including the right to marry
  • Forged alliances with Conservatives who believe that certain strategies of the Bush war on terror undermine our civil liberties.

“The Bush Administration has cynically used the American people’s genuine concern for safety to limit and erode fundamental rights most Americans don’t even know they’ve lost,” Romero said. “Even Republicans like Bob Barr agree with the ACLU that this administration has gone too far, too fast in eroding our freedoms in the name of national security.”

The ACLU has established a special website,, that allows users to donate, take action, and send “tell a friend” messages about the ACLU’s defense of civil liberties.

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

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