FROM today, 28JUN13, I am not posting entire articles to this page, just links to the articles which are posted on my blog. Exceptions will be extremely large articles / series, and will be so noted. So click the links to view any of the articles after today, prior to today, the past full article added to this page on 5OKT12, are below.


HERE it is, This Week in Civil Liberties from the ACLU! 

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 5:02pm
The Supreme Court of which state granted a stay of execution to Willie Manning, who may be innocent of the crime for which he was convicted?
True or false? Eye-tracking technology could pose a risk to privacy if inappropriately used to discover drug and alcohol use, mental and psychological illnesses, sexuality and other traits and behaviors.
Documents released this week suggest that which federal agencies read private emails without obtaining a warrant first?
Which federal agency has continued to increase its surveillance of Americans in the past year, according to the Department of Justice’s annual report?
A report by which organization shows the racial gap in U.S. wealth creation grew substantially during the Great Recession?
Willie Manning Is Scheduled To Die. Shouldn't Mississippi Find Out If He's Innocent First?

This Week in Civil Liberties (10/05/2012)

By Amanda Corlett, ACLU at 6:03pm
Who seems terrified about consumers taking control over the privacy of their own online data?
Who among us is being subjected to video surveillance from the comfort and familiarity of our own neighborhoods?  (You may want to take a peek out of your own front window.)
What steamy best-selling novel has spurred the latest challenge over free speech and censorship?
Voters of which state will have one less barrier to face before exercising their right to vote on Election Day?
Which state has freed an innocent man who had been erroneously condemned to death row due to a false confession, and which has upheld a death sentence in another false confession case?
Corporate America: We Want to Track You
On Monday, Microsoft received an outraged letter from the Association of Network Advertisers in response to the company’s May announcement that the default tracking setting of its new browser, IE 10, will be “Do Not Track.”  The letter, which is signed by 36 major corporations including General Mills, American Express, General Motors, Verizon, Visa, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and many others, insists  the decision to allow users modest controls over the tracking of their online movements is wrong.
Police Cameras Outside Your Door
The ACLU of Michigan recently put out a report focused on a uniquely disturbing application of surveillance cameras: their deployment in residential neighborhoods.  Surveillance units in Lansing provide intrusive 360-degree views and include powerful zoom capabilities.  ACLU of Michigan had an independent researcher look at the impact of the cameras, and the study concluded that African Americans were twice as likely to be under camera surveillance as white residents.  This disproportionate monitoring in a society in which African Americans and other minority groups already feel profiled “only serves to heighten their sense of powerlessness and to foster mistrust of government officials.”
Fifty Shades of Censorship
Earlier this year, the Brevard Public Library in Florida removed 19 copies of the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey from circulation on the ground that it is “semi-pornographic.”  In response to such censorship, which violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, the ACLU of Florida and the National Coalition against Censorship sent a letter to the county, and local library users successfully demanded that the books be returned to the shelves.  This week, marked the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week; let’s toast our right to free speech.
No Pictures Please: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Put on Hold
On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania state judge delayed the implementation of the state’s voter ID law until after the general election.  That law had threatened to disenfranchise thousands of elderly residents, students, the homeless and communities of color this November, and the ACLU of Pennsylvania represented numerous voters who had difficulty obtaining photo ID.  This Election Day, voters can still be asked for photo ID, but those without it will be allowed to vote without restriction and receive information about the law and how to get approved ID.  Previously, voters who lacked ID would have been given a provisional ballot and would then have six days in which to produce an acceptable ID in order for their vote to be counted.
A Good Ride from Death Row
Texas Court Upholds Death Sentence of Innocent Man Although "There is Something Very Wrong" with Case Against Him
Recently, two death penalty cases built on false confessions had very different results.  In a Louisiana victory, Damon Thibodeaux walked off death row after 16 years of imprisonment for a crime he didn't commit – the 141st person to be exonerated after being sentenced to death.  In Texas, Max Soffar has been moved one step closer to execution, even though three judges from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals admitted that there was something "very wrong" with the case against him.  False confessions may be difficult for many people to comprehend, but cases are well documented, and in the Soffar case, little more than one year after the execution of Troy Davis, our system moves closer to another miscarriage of justice.
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This Week in Civil Liberties (6/29/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 1:43pm
Dr. James Watson thinks that patenting human genes is “lunacy.” What scientific discovery is he known for?
Which court ruled this week that a sentencing scheme of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole for children is unconstitutional?
Which discriminatory provision of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law did the Supreme Court uphold this week?
Why does the government continue to fight ACLU efforts to increase transparency regarding the targeted killing program?
What ACLU tool can you use to read over 100,000 pages of documents related to the Bush administration’s rendition, detention, and interrogation policies and practices?
James Watson, Discoverer of DNA: Patenting Human Genes Is “Lunacy”
Recently, Dr. James Watson filed an amicus brief opposing gene patenting in our lawsuit challenging Myriad Genetics' patents on two human genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Dr. Watson, along with Francis Crick, identified DNA’s ability to create life through its double helical structure and its information-coding sequences in 1953. His brief explains why, from the perspective of a scientist whose work laid the foundation for all genetic research, gene patenting is “lunacy.”
ACLU Lens: Supreme Court Rules Against Mandatory Life Without Parole for Children
A message for Alabama, Arkansas, and the entire United States: a sentencing scheme of mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole for juvenile homicide offenders (JLWOP) is cruel and unusual punishment. That’s what the Supreme Court said this week when it ruled in Miller v. Alabama and Jackson v. Hobbs that such sentencing schemes violate the Eight Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Supreme Court Deals Blow to 3 Provisions of Arizona’s Racial Profiling Law but Allows “Show Me Your Papers” Provision to Live Another Day
This week’s Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. United States rightly rejects three parts of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law as unconstitutional. Yet critically, the Court opens the door to racial profiling by upholding the most egregious provision, the “show me your papers” provision, Section 2(B) of the law. The Court did, however, recognize that in practice Section 2(B) may suffer from constitutional defects that make it vulnerable to legal challenge going forward. But the Court basically kicked the racial profiling can down the road. The ACLU will seize this opportunity and continue the battle against laws like SB 1070 which encourage and codify racial profiling of immigrant communities and people of color.
The Government’s Pseudo-Secrecy Snow Job on Targeted Killing
Just before a midnight deadline on Wednesday, the government filed its legal brief responding to the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking information about the legal and factual basis for the deaths of three U.S. citizens in targeted killing drone strikes last fall. Our initial reaction to the brief is here, but the government’s position is so remarkable that it warrants further comment.
ACLU Launches Torture Database in Recognition of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
For Torture Awareness Month, we are launching the Torture Database, a compilation of over 100,000 pages of documents related to the Bush administration’s rendition, detention, and interrogation policies and practices. The database is our effort to provide meaningful public access to the primary documentation of torture and abuse during the years following September 11, 2001.
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This Week in Civil Liberties (6/22/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 5:37pm
Which legislative body convened the first-ever hearing on the dangers of long-term solitary confinement?
Which standardized testing group announced a new, fairer lactation policy for nursing moms?
In which state are gay and lesbian parents banned from adopting their partners’ kids?
Which government agency found that a Texas school violated a student’s civil rights under Title IX when it failed to investigate the sexual assault she reported?
Which religious lobbying group is holding a “fortnight for freedom” because it wants to use religious liberty as a license to discriminate?
An Innocent Man’s Tortured Days on Texas’s Death Row
Anthony Graves spent years in solitary confinement on Texas’ death row before being proven innocent in 2010. This week, he testified about the experience at a Senate subcommittee hearing on solitary confinement.This was the first-ever congressional hearing on the subject.
Victory! Nursing Mothers Taking the LSAT Finally Catch a Break
Following action by the ACLU and numerous sister organizations, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the organization that administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), recently announced a new lactation policy for nursing mothers. The new policy allows nursing mothers, to request extended or additional breaks to pump during the LSAT, for up to one year following childbirth.
Why Our Family Is Fighting North Carolina's Second Parent Adoption Ban
This month, we filed a federal suit in North Carolina to ensure that kids being raised by lesbian or gay parents can have legally protected relationships with both of the parents who are raising them. North Carolina bans second-parent adoption – which is the name for that kind of protection – and the stories of two of our plaintiff families illustrate just how harmful the ban is. Here is the story of one of them.
Title IX Victory: Civil Rights Office Condemns School’s Actions in Sexual Assault Case
Last week, the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) of the U.S. Department of Education issued a decision finding that ACLU client “Faith’s” school violated Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in schools. OCR concluded that the school had discriminated against Faith by relying on the police and failing to independently investigate the assault she reported. OCR also determined that the school had retaliated against Faith by disciplining her after she reported the assault.
Religious Freedom Cannot Be a License to Discriminate
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has designated the fourteen days from June 21 to July 4 as its “fortnight for freedom,” during which time the bishops will make claims, as they have in the past, that their faith, and indeed the entire state of religious liberty in this nation, is under attack. Don’t be fooled.
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This Week in Civil Liberties (6/8/12)

Why should you care about surveillance if you have nothing to hide?

True or False? Several states including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawai’i, Illinois, Louisiana, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Washington and West Virginia have taken steps to reduce overincarceration.

Which law that discriminates against same-sex couples was ruled unconstitutional by yet another federal judge?

Which ACLU affiliate unveiled this week a smart phone app that will allow users to record and report encounters with local law enforcement?

What group was disproportionately affected by Wisconsin’s voter ID law in this week’s recall election?
Plenty to Hide
The ACLU’s Jay Stanley gives six responses to the question, “Why should I care about surveillance if I have nothing to hide?”
States Take Sizeable Steps in 2012 to End Overincarceration
As states begin to realize that they can reduce their prison populations safely, the pace of reform has begun to pick up a bit this year. State legislative sessions are coming to a close, which makes it a good time to review the actions lawmakers have taken to reduce their unsustainable prison populations in 2012. Here are the some of the legislative reform highlights.
Another DOMA Win!
This week, another federal judge ruled that the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the federal constitution. The ruling came in an ACLU case brought by Edie Windsor after the death of her spouse and partner of 44 years, Thea Spyer. Edie’s is the fifth case in which courts have struck down DOMA, and the fourth ruling to come just in 2012 – a veritable avalanche of judicial wisdom on our side, and a sure sign of an idea whose time has come.
Stop and Frisk Watch: Keep Tabs on the NYPD with Your Smart Phone
The New York Civil Liberties Union is giving smart phones a social conscience. This week, NYCLU unveiled Stop and Frisk Watch – a new smart phone app that will empower New Yorkers to hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful, abusive street stops and other misconduct.
Wisconsin’s Recall Election: State Law Makes Voting an Uphill Battle for Young Voters
On June 5, Wisconsin held a recall election – a rarity in U.S. history – in which Gov. Scott Walker was challenged by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Unfortunately, the state’s new voting law may have diminished turnout of many residents, particularly young voters.


This Week in Civil Liberties (05/25/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 3:12pm
Which court has agreed to hear our case challenging the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes NSA warrantless wiretapping?
The ACLU sent letters to school districts in which states regarding single-sex education programs thatpromote harmful sex stereotypes?
Members of the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence met in secret this week, according to press reports, to approve legislation to extend what sweeping surveillance law?
Which government agency failed to follow a transparency law regarding law enforcement use of powerful surveillance tools?
What surveillance tools can be used for traffic enforcement?
Supreme Court Will Hear ACLU Case Challenging Warrantless Wiretapping Law
The Supreme Court has agreed this week to consider whether plaintiffs represented by the ACLU have the right to challenge the constitutionality of a controversial law that authorizes the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls.
Teach Kids Not Stereotypes
This week, we are sending demand letters to school districts in Florida, Maine, Virginia, West Virginia, Mississippi, and Alabama insisting that they take steps to end single-sex programs that rely on and promote archaic and harmful sex stereotypes, and we’re launching a new campaign called Teach Kids, Not Stereotypes to drive the point home.
FISA Amendments Act is Back
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) rewrote our surveillance laws, which had generally required a warrant or court order for surveillance of people in the US. Under the FAA, the government can get a year-long programmatic court order for general bulk collection of Americans’ international communications without specifying who will be tapped.
The good news is that Congress had the foresight to subject this sweeping surveillance authority to a sunset provision, and it is scheduled to expire in its entirety at the end of the year. More concerning though is that, according to press reports, this week the Select Senate Committee on Intelligence secretly approved legislation to extend that law. No public hearings; no public oversight; no thorough debate about how this law has been used and how it has affected Americans.
ACLU Sues As DOJ Ignores Surveillance Transparency Law
This week the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to force the government to release statistics about its use of powerful electronic surveillance tools that law enforcement can use against any American simply by stating to a judge that it’s relevant to an investigation. The Department of Justice is required to disclose these statistics to Congress each year, yet routinely fails to do so. This week’s suit is an effort to compel the DOJ to follow the law (here are our complaint and our FOIA request).
Extreme Traffic Enforcement
For better or worse, speed limits are one area where our laws are out of synch with behavioral norms. Although almost everyone supports enforcement against genuinely dangerous behavior on the roads, many people who would almost never break other laws routinely violate speed limits. Technologies such as automatic license plate reading (ALPR) and drones mean that it is, or is about to be, technologically possible to engage in 100 percent enforcement of certain laws. Jay Stanley discusses the repercussions of such technology on American driving behavior.

Get Involved

Tell your members of Congress: Fix FISA
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This Week in Civil Liberties (5/18/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 3:22pm
Which law could be used to restrict the right to protest at next week’s NATO summit?
Which government watch list can you get on but are entirely at the government’s mercy if you want to get off?
A lawmaker from which state would rather women die than have abortion remain legal?
In which state did a grandmother get sentenced to life without parole for a nonviolent first-time drug offense?
An amendment to which law would have repealed indefinite military detention without charge or trial in the United States?
Protesting NATO: What to Know About the Secret Service and H.R. 347
The NATO summit set for May 20-21in Chicago could be the first public test of H.R. 347, the recently passed law that expanded the ability of the Secret Service to suppress protests in or around certain restricted zones near individuals under its protection.
Ninth Circuit Presses Government Lawyer on Watch Lists: “What Would You Do?”
Earlier this month, the ACLU was in court to argue that the government placing our clients on the No Fly List without providing them an opportunity to confront and rebut the “evidence” against them is unconstitutional. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski had a simple question for the government’s attorney: what would you do if you found yourself on the No Fly List? Judging by his answer, not even the government seems to know how to get off the watch list.
Bubba and His Poor, Pitiful Women
This week, a video leaked of Mississippi Representative Lester "Bubba" Carpenter gloating that he and his anti-choice cronies had passed a bill that could effectively put an end to safe, legal abortion in the state of Mississippi, even if it means that women die.
Without a Card to Play, Texas Grandma Sentenced to Life without Parole for First-Time Drug Offense
Texans can sleep more soundly at night knowing that Elisa Castillo, a grandmother and nonviolent first-time drug offender, is serving a life without parole sentence in Fort Worth. Yes, you read that right — the latest casualty of our War on Drugs is a grandmother who never even touched the drugs that sent her to prison. Though she may not look like Public Enemy No. 1, our persistently illogical criminal justice system has determined that this harsh punishment fits her crime. The truth, though, is that her fate was sealed, in large part, because she didn't have a card to play when negotiating her sentence.
36 Hours Left! Tell Congress to Pass the Smith-Amash Amendment to the NDAA
Last night, the Smith-Amash amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act , which would have repealed the mandatory military detention requirement and banned indefinite detention, failed in the House on a 182-237 vote. The vote for the amendment was bipartisan, with 19 Republican members backing the measure.

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This Week in Civil Liberties (5/11/12)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU 
Which Internet company is in court protecting one of its user's right to free speech?
Which state voted to ban marriage for same-sex couples?
Which politician endorsed the freedom to marry for same-sex couples this week?
Which judicial body did ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero describe as a system is "set up to guarantee convictions and hand down death sentences, nothing more?"
What bill would be a good start to prohibiting employers from asking for employees' or job applicants' social networking passwords?
Twitter Stands Up For One Of Its Users
Twitter has filed a motion in state court in New York seeking to quash a court order requiring it to turn over information about one of its users and his communications on Twitter. This particular case involves Malcolm Harris, who is being prosecuted by the District Attorney's Office in Manhattan for disorderly conduct in connection with the Occupy Wall Street protest that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge last year.
North Carolinians Voted On Anti-LGBT Amendment One Tuesday
North Carolinians went to the polls this week to vote on Amendment One, a constitutional amendment that bans civil unions and domestic partnerships by making marriage between a man and a woman the only "domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized" in the state.
ACLU Lens: President Obama Endorses Freedom to Marry for Same-Sex Couples
President Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to endorse the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. While in office, Obama and his administration have taken critical strides toward LGBT equality by refusing to defend the discriminatory and unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in court and pushing Congress to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and reaffirming support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
The Shame of Guantánamo: A Close-Up View of Injustice
Last Saturday, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero watched, as a human rights observer, the arraignment of five accused conspirators in the 9/11 attacks. In this blog post, he demonstrates his disappointment with the Guantánamo military commissions in describing government censorship of the court proceedings and the inadequate resources provided to the defense.
Password Protection Act of 2012: A Good Start Against Employer Snooping
This week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and a number of co-sponsors filed the Password Protection Act of 2012 in the Senate and House to prevent employers from strong-arming employers and job applicants into sharing information from their personal social networking accounts. It's an important idea and one that we've been pushing for more than a year, but the bill itself doesn't go as far as we think it should.
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