Tag Archives: ACLU

As Corporate Power Threatens Americans’ Right to Water, Groups Offer UN Body List of Issues to Raise With US

“Civil and political rights must encompass the human right to water, which is increasingly under threat by corporations that seek to use and abuse our water supplies for profit.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-14-2019

“The more we learn about various issues affecting the human right to water in the U.S., including millions of residents having their water shut off because they can’t pay their bills, the more there is to be deeply concerned about,” said Maude Barlow, board chair of Food & Water Watch. (Photo: Detroit Water Brigade)

When it comes to ensuring the human right to clean water, the United States has a long way to go.

That’s the thrust of a new letter (pdf) to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as the body gets ready to review how the U.S. is faring in its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a treaty seen as part of the “International Bill of Human Rights.” Continue reading

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Anti-BDS Laws Challenged as Unconstitutional After Speech Pathologist Loses Job at Texas School for Refusing to Sign Pro-Israel Pledge


The case has cast a spotlight on all states with “laws that subordinate Americans’ free-speech rights to Israel’s ‘right’ to continue the occupation without criticism or consequence.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-17-2018


“It’s baffling that they can throw this down our throats, you know, and decide to protect another country’s economy versus protect our constitutional rights,” speech pathologist Bahia Amawi said of American officials who pass anti-BDS measures, in a video published Monday by The Intercept. (Photo: YouTube/The Intercept)

Texas officials are facing an onslaught of criticism after a speech pathologist lost her job at an elementary school for refusing to sign a pro-Israel pledge mandated by state law—a case that has cast a spotlight on efforts to neutralize the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which opposes Israel’s oppression and slaughter of Palestinians.

According to a database maintained by a U.S.-based pro-Israel group, through executive orders and state-level legislation, elected officials in 26 states have imposed restrictions on people who wish to back BDS—a movement that was inspired by the 1980s initiative that helped force an end to racial apartheid in South Africa. Continue reading

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As Trump DOJ Argues ‘No Journalist Has First Amendment Right to Enter White House,’ News Orgs Rally Behind CNN Lawsuit

“It is imperative that independent journalists have access to the President and his activities, and that journalists are not barred for arbitrary reasons,” over a dozen news organizations state

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-14-2018

President Donald Trump gets into an exchange with Jim Acosta of CNN after giving remarks a day after the midterm elections on November 7, 2018 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. Screenshot: CNN

The ACLU fired off a reminder Wednesday that the “White House belongs to the people, not the president” after the Trump administration asserted in a legal filing that the president has “broad discretion” to bar reporters from press briefings.

“No journalist has a First Amendment right to enter the White House,” Justice Department lawyers argued in a 28-page filing in response to CNN’s lawsuit against the administration for revoking the “hard pass” of the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, last week. Continue reading

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‘Instilling Fear in the 11th Hour’: Experts Warn Trump DOJ Poll Monitors Being Sent to Intimidate Voters, Not Protect Them

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have his eyes set on voter suppression but is instead exploiting this moment to push a false narrative about voter fraud.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-5-2018

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr

In a move civil rights groups denounced as a blatant attempt by the Trump administration to intimidate minorities, spread hysteria about non-existent voter fraud, and suppress turnout, the Justice Department announced on Monday that it is dispatching personnel to “monitor” 35 voting locations in 19 states during Tuesday’s midterms just as President Donald Trump warned in a tweet that any “illegal voting” will be punished with “maximum criminal penalties.”

“We condemn the Justice Department’s announcement regarding the deployment of federal observers,” Kristen Clarke, president and CEO of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement. “In stark contrast to how these observers have been deployed in the past, Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have his eyes set on voter suppression and last-minute intimidation but is instead exploiting this moment to push a false narrative about voter fraud.” Continue reading

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‘Incredible’ Win for More Than 300,000 Migrants as Federal Judge Blocks Trump From Ending Temporary Protected Status

The court, as ACLU SoCal noted, found “sufficient evidence that racism is a motivating factor behind Trump’s decision to terminate TPS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-4-2018

The Trump administration’s attacks on the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program have spurred organized protests across the country. (Photo: LIUNA/Twitter)

A federal judge on Wednesday delivered an “incredible” win for immigrant rights advocates and beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), blocking the Trump administration from ending protections for more than 300,000 people from El SalvadorHaitiNicaragua, and Sudan who live in the United States.

San Francisco-based U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen concluded in his 43-page ruling (pdf) that the TPS holders from those four countries and their children—including many who were born in the United States—would “suffer irreparable harm and great hardship” absent the court’s temporary injunction. Continue reading

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Corporate Tech Giants Invited, But Consumer Advocacy Groups Shut Out of Senate Hearing on Data Privacy

“The absence of consumer representatives all but ensures a narrow discussion, focused on policy alternatives favored by business groups.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-19-2018

More than two dozen consumer groups are urging the Senate Commerce Committee to reconsider its witness list—which only includes industry representatives—for an upcoming hearing on data privacy policy. (Photo: Blogtrepreneur/flickr/cc)

While representatives for Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are all slated to testify at a Sept. 26 Senate hearing about safeguarding consumer data privacy, the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups weren’t invited—and they’re not happy about it.

In a letter (pdf) to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on Wednesday, 28 groups expressed their “surprise and concern that not a single consumer representative was invited to testify” and called on committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to reconsider the witness list. Continue reading

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Reinforcing US Status as ‘Bully and Hegemon,’ Bolton to Threaten ICC Over Probes into America’s War Crimes

Human rights advocates decried the Trump administration’s attack on the International Criminal Court as “another low point” in its effort to skirt accountability for war crimes

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-10-2018

Afghans have been waiting decades for justice for war crimes, including some allegedly committed by U.S. forces. The ⁦ICC⁩ is the only hope they have for justice at the moment,” wrote Heather Barr, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. Photo: Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

Reinforcing the worldwide perception of the U.S. as “a bully and a hegemon” that will not tolerate attempts by the global community to hold it accountable for its deadly actions overseas, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton is set to deliver a speech on Monday that will reportedly threaten International Criminal Court (ICC) officials with sanctions if they dare to move ahead with probes into U.S. or Israeli war crimes.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton will say at an event hosted by the right-wing Federalist Society, according to a speech draft viewed by Reuters. “If the court comes after us, Israel, or other allies, we will not sit quietly.” Continue reading

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Lawyers Turn to Activism as Civil Liberties Come Under Attack

A new generation of social justice attorneys has risen to defend against the hard-line policies of the Trump administration, from immigration and abortion access to voting and gender rights.

By . Published 8-6-2018 by YES! Magazine

To train a new generation of lawyers to fight for the rights of immigrants after the 2016 elections, Claire Thomas started an asylum clinic at the New York City law school where she taught.

In Seattle, Michelle Mentzer retired five years early as an administrative law judge so she could volunteer as an attorney with the ACLU.

And in Texas, Anna Castro traded her full-time job for contract work so she could prepare to attend law school to better serve her community. Continue reading

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‘Deeply Flawed’ Report Admits Immigrant Youth Put in Solitary and Restrained With Bags Over Their Heads, But Claims ‘No Abuse’ Found

The treatment teens were subjected to in a Virginia facility “are unacceptable and un-American, whether or not they meet the state’s legal threshold for abuse or neglect,” says ACLU

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2018

Virginia state investigators confirmed that immigrant children who were held at Shenendoah Valley Detention Center were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their heads—but said their treatment did not meet the definition of abuse. (Photo: Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center)

Completing a month-long probe into allegations of abuse at a detention facility in Staunton, Virginia, state investigators confirmed that immigrant children were strapped to chairs with bags placed over their head, as several had alleged—but claimed that this treatment did not meet the definition of abuse.


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In ‘Victory for Women,’ Appeals Court Upholds Ban on Pence’s Indiana Law Requiring Ultrasounds Before Abortions

“This is another repudiation of the unnecessary and unconstitutional attempts by Indiana politicians to interfere with women’s reproductive rights.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2018

Reproductive rights advocates in Indiana protested then-Gov. Mike Pence’s anti-choice legislation in April of 2016. (Photo: @MaureenHayden/Twitter)

Reproductive rights groups celebrated “a victory for women” after a federal appeals court upheld a ban on a provision in an Indiana law—signed by former governor and current Vice President Mike Pence—that forced any woman considering an abortion to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before the procedure.


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