ACLU: We’re only interested in protecting some civil rights

Enter the American Civil Liberties Union. There was a time when the ACLU was an organization that took on government overreach in an attempt to protect the civil liberties of ordinary Americans in spite of how unpopular it was to do so. Those days seem to be behind us.

From HotAir:

The organization that once went to court to ensure that the American Nazi Party could parade through Skokie, Illinois in an exercise of free speech no longer wants to support the exercise of religion guaranteed in the same First Amendment. The ACLU’s deputy legal director published the organization’s backpedaling from the Religious Freedom Restoration Act the day before the Obergefell decision that will make it even more critical. If it’s not being used to help Muslims in prison and Native Americans in unemployment insurance, writes Louise Melling, just skip it:

The ACLU supported the RFRA’s passage at the time because it didn’t believe the Constitution, as newly interpreted by the Supreme Court, would protect people such as Iknoor Singh, whose religious expression does not harm anyone else. But we can no longer support the law in its current form. For more than 15 years, we have been concerned about how the RFRA could be used to discriminate against others. As the events of the past couple of years amply illustrate, our fears were well-founded. While the RFRA may serve as a shield to protect Singh, it is now often used as a sword to discriminate against women, gay and transgender people and others. Efforts of this nature will likely only increase should the Supreme Court rule — as is expected — that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry.

…Yes, religious freedom needs protection. But religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others.

Read the Rest

Anyone with half a brain and an ounce of objectivity could see this sort of thing coming a mile away. The current climate seems to be less about equality and more about pushing an ideology. After all, true equality would be the state treating everyone equally by getting out of the marriage business altogether while also protecting the rights of everyone – including those who choose not to condone certain marriages or participate in certain weddings. But we’re not doing either of those things. In fact, we’re doing the opposite. We’re increasing government’s hand in marriage while also coercing conscientious objectors to do something that violates their beliefs.

At the end of the excerpted piece, the ACLU says that “religious liberty doesn’t mean the right to discriminate or to impose one’s views on others.”

This statement could not be more contradictory.

First of all, liberty (religious or otherwise) does most certainly include the right of an individual to choose with whom they would like to engage in various activities. The ACLU may not like it, but it’s the truth. Coercing someone to enter into a contract or work against their will is quite the opposite of liberty, by definition.

But they follow this up with the statement that people shouldn’t be able to impose their views on others. This is interesting seeing as how this is exactly what they’re defending by telling Christian bakers that they must bake a cake. And therein lies the contradiction. They are defending gay people who impose their views on bakers (or photographers, etc). The ACLU isn’t standing up for rights or liberty here. They have simply chosen an ideology and are sticking with it.

If religious freedom does not include the freedom for individuals to peacefully decline involvement in private commercial activities they find objectionable, it’s a meaningless concept.

I personally find the argument that a Sikh believer should be able to keep his beard in the Army more difficult to justify (from a civil libertarian perspecive) than the notion that Christian businesses should be free of the burden of covering medical expenses that violate their creeds. Serving in the Army, after all, is not a right—the Army is a government agency. Paying employee’s medical expenses, on the other hand, is a voluntary, private exchange that doesn’t (or at least, shouldn’t) involve the state in any way.

To be clear, I side with the people of faith in both instances. But so should the ACLU, which risks becoming just another lefty advocacy organization—rather than a true defender of civil liberties—as it continues to stray from the path of impartiality.

When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a black transgender woman, walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being “known for prostitution,” that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution. It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.

In April of this year, Monica was convicted of violating this overbroad and vague law. Today she appeals that conviction, and the ACLU, along with other advocacy and civil rights organizations, filed a brief in support of her appeal.

We #StandWithMonica because transgender women of color should be able to walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being arrested, or worse, for simply being themselves.

When Walking Down the Street is a Crime. Chase Strangio, ACLU

I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn’t see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he’d just lost a tooth. It was only hours later when they finally let us drive to the hospital that we found out Bou Bou was in the intensive burn unit and that he’d been placed into a medically induced coma.

Nydia, a transgender woman, was granted asylum in the United States after repeated physical and sexual attacks in Mexico. Her protected status didn’t stop Border Patrol from twice deporting her to Mexico without a hearing despite verifiable evidence that she had asylum. Back in Mexico, Nydia was repeatedly attacked and raped, and then she kidnapped by a gang that trafficked her into the sex trade. She later successfully fled back to safety in the United States and applied for and was granted lawful permanent residence. “I didn’t know the immigration agents could have helped me,” Nydia said, recalling her previous attempts to enter the United States. “They had known all the reasons I was trying to come back to the U.S., and even knowing them, they sent me back.”

Read more at the ACLU report American Exile: Rapid Deportations that Bypass the Courtroom 

Do you stand for gender equality in the film and television industry?

SIGN THE ACLU PETITION TODAY

From the ACLU website:

“Gender disparities in film and television directing are striking, and despite a number of reports and headlines about the issue in recent years, not much has changed. Over the last year, the ACLU has heard directly from more than 50 women in the directing industry. Their stories mirror the dismal numbers reported, but more importantly give ​voice to the discrimination they endure.

We believe that the failure to hire women directors and give them a fair opportunity to succeed in the field is a civil rights issue. This is why the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the ACLU of Southern California have a campaign demanding that our government launch an investigation into the systemic failure to hire women directors at all levels of the film and TV industry ​in violation of state and federal civil rights laws. Learn more.

Join us in asking our government to investigate this issue and stand with women directors. Sign our petition below today.”

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Grumblings that Hollywood is a man’s world have percolated for decades and are borne out in studies that show how few women are hired to direct top-grossing films: only 4 percent over the last dozen years. Now this apparent truism is being challenged as a violation of civil rights.

On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.

Sign the petition: lakotalaw.org/action

Today marks a huge legal victory for the Native American children of South Dakota. A summary judgement was issued in the case of Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick in favor of the plaintiffs!

Federal Court Judge Viken has ordered that South Dakota offficials have violated due process as stated by the 14th Amendment and the Indian Child Welfare Act, “The court finds that Judge Davis, States Attorney Vargo, Secretary Valenti and Ms. Van Hunnick developed and implemented policies and procedures for the removal of Indian children from their parents’ custody in violation of the mandates of the Indian Child Welfare Act and in violation of he Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

ACLU Press Release: https://www.aclu.org/…/federal-court-rules-indian-families-…

45-page summary judgement for Oglala Sioux Tribe vs. Van Hunnick: https://www.aclu.org/…/oglala-sioux-tribe-v-van-hunnik-summ…

Please sign our petition to show your support for the return of the Indian children in South Dakota: lakotalaw.org/action

ACLU Requests Official Investigation Into Hollywood’s Sexist Hiring Practices

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union officially requested that state and federal agencies launch an investigation into Hollywood’s sexist hiring practices.

The ACLU requests a federal investigation into Hollywood’s gender bias

Earlier today, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women’s Rights Project reached out to state and national agencies to request an investigation into what they deemed the “systemic failure” to hire women directors in the film and television industry. The two groups sent a fifteen-page letter to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that included extensive statistical and anecdotal evidence on the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors. The complete letter has been published on The New York Times’ movie blog.

The civil rights organizations are asking for an in-depth probe into the “dramatic disparities” in the hiring of women directors for episodic television and feature films. They cite the fact that women made up only 7 percent of the directors of the top 250 grossing films (down from 9 percent in 1998) of 2014, and only 1.9 percent of directors for the top 100 grossing films in 2013 and 2014. Overall, women directors helmed only 4.1 percent of the 1300 top-grossing films from 2002-2014. Television remains almost as impermeable—a DGA analysis cited inThe New York Times of about 220 shows (comprising 3500 episodes) from 2013-2014 found that only 14 percent of directors were women.

More at avclub.com

Fired for Being Trans

By Patricia Dawson

The day I got my driver’s license with the gender marked “F” and my new legal name was one of the best days of my life. I was assigned male at birth, and my parents named me Steven. But I’d known for many years that I am a woman, and now I had the identification to prove it.

That year also included many of the hardest days. My parents, who belong to a conservative church, disowned me. My next-door neighbor hosed me in the face with a chemical poison. And I was fired from the job that I loved – all because I am transgender.

I’m an electrician, and I was working at H & H Electric, a contractor in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The day after I got my new driver’s license, I told my boss that I am a transgender woman. He looked shocked. He told me that I was one of his best people and that he would hate to lose me. I was stunned that his first reaction was that he might have to fire me.

He didn’t fire me right away, but he didn’t let me come to work as a woman, either. He told me I couldn’t discuss my transition with anyone at work or use my legal name, Patricia.

Even though I didn’t say anything, people at work noticed that I was transitioning. My hair was growing out, and I’d started hormone therapy. Some of my co-workers were kind to me, but others were cruel. Twice, co-workers tried to sabotage my work. One of those instances could have caused an explosion that could hurt or even kill someone. Fortunately, I discovered it in time, and no one was hurt.

The more time passed, the more it became obvious that I am a woman. Eventually I felt brave enough to wear makeup and a blouse to work. I was on top of the world. I had a great job, and I was finally being myself. That week, my boss pulled me aside and said, “I’m sorry, Steve, you do great work, but you are too much of a distraction and I am going to have to let you go.”

I am not a distraction. I am a woman, and I shouldn’t be fired for being who I am. That’s why the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on my behalf arguing that firing me because I am transgender is illegal sex discrimination.

Even though federal law prohibits employers from hiring or firing people because of their gender, here in Arkansas and in 31 other states, there are no laws that explicitly tell employers that discrimination against transgender people is illegal. I’m here to make sure that transgender workers are judged on their job perf

A.C.L.U., Citing Bias Against Women, Wants Inquiry Into Hollywood’s Hiring Practices

Excerpt from a New York Times article by Cara Buckley that mentions SPSTWD. Our voices are being heard

“On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union will ask state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s major studios, networks and talent agencies, and possibly bring charges against them, for what the organization described as rampant and intentional gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

A federal judge on Monday issued an injunction barring police from enforcing what became known as “the five-second rule,” in which protesters in Ferguson, Missouri could only stay still for that brief amount of time. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry ruled that the statute was unconstitutional because it violated protesters’ freedom of speech rights, as well as due process.

“[T]he policy fails to provide sufficient notice of what is illegal and because it was enforced arbitrarily,” wrote Perry in response to a case brought by the ACLU.

In the aftermath of unarmed, black teen Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a white Ferguson police officer, local police commonly relied on the rule as a crowd control tactic and even insisted that reporters had to be in the media staging area or keep walking. It led to one of the defining images from nights of upheaval in Ferguson: Bands of protesters marching along city streets, helping those who were elderly stay moving.

Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, noted that such rules tend to increase tension when applied “haphazardly.” He add that “Judge Perry’s injunction is a huge win for peaceful protesters and those who believe in the rule of law.”

The police-enforced rule also prevented people from gathering on sidewalks, which also violated freedom of speech, according to Perry’s ruling.

“Citizens who wish to gather in the wake of Michael Brown’s tragic death have a constitutional right to do so, but they do not have the right to endanger lives of police officers or other citizens,” Perry wrote, adding that the ruling still allows officers to enforce refusal-to-disperse laws, one of the most commonly used charges used to arrest protesters in Ferguson. “The police must be able to perform their jobs, and nothing in this order restricts their ability to do that.”

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The ACLU wants state and federal agencies to investigate the hiring practices of Hollywood’s biggest studios, and the inquiry may end in charges. Let’s hope it does. Hollywood is a cesspool of misogyny and racism. Bring on the lawsuits. While you’d be hard-pressed to think of an industry that doesn’t get a free pass when it comes to civil rights and gender discrimination, the point still stands. The investigation the ACLU is requesting is an incredibly important and long overdue step. Not because lawsuits are so great or anything like that, but because it’s clear, and has long been clear, that Hollywood can’t self-correct on this one. Discrimination persist despite women’s talents, their capacity to make bank for studios and their resolve to keep their heads up in an industry that’s stacked against them.

For decades, sexism has run rampant in Tinseltown. Only radical measures can change it