Tag Archives: ACLU

90+ Groups Warn ‘Kids Online Safety Act’ Could Have ‘Damaging’ Effects

“Congress needs to pass real laws that rein in the abuses of Big Tech and protect everyone’s privacy and human rights rather than using kids as pawns to advance poorly drafted legislation in order to score political points,” said one critic.

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 11-28-2022 by Common Dreams

Photo: Julia M Cameron/Pexels

Nearly 100 LGBTQ+ and human rights groups warned in a Monday letter to Congress that while “privacy, online safety, and digital well-being of children should be protected,” proposed legislation intended to do so would instead negatively impact all internet users.

Specifically, the letter says that the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) “would undermine those goals for all people, but especially children, by effectively forcing providers to use invasive filtering and monitoring tools; jeopardizing private, secure communications; incentivizing increased data collection on children and adults; and undermining the delivery of critical services to minors by public agencies like schools.” Continue reading

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Citing Orwell, Judge Blocks ‘Positively Dystopian’ Censorship Law Backed by DeSantis

The federal judge lambasted Florida officials’ argument that “professors enjoy ‘academic freedom’ so long as they express only those viewpoints of which the state approves.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 11-17-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

In an order that begins by quoting the famous opening line of George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, a federal judge on Thursday blocked key provisions of a Florida censorship law that aimed to restrict how state university professors teach race, gender, and U.S. history.

“‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,’ and the powers in charge of Florida’s public university system have declared the state has unfettered authority to muzzle its professors in the name of ‘freedom,'” Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, an Obama appointee, wrote in his scathing decision, which temporarily halts enforcement of parts of the law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis—a possible 2024 presidential candidate. Continue reading

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The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

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

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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Right-Wing Justices Appear Ready to Eviscerate Affirmative Action in College Admissions

“Killing affirmative action will have a devastating impact on Black, Hispanic, and Native students,” wrote one journalist, “and such a ruling would be totally unjustified by the text or history of the Constitution.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 10-31-2022 by Common Dreams

Protesters gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as affirmative action cases involving Harvard and University of North Carolina admissions are heard by the court in Washington, D.C. on October 31, 2022. Photo: Maya Wiley/Twitter

During the course of roughly five hours of oral argument on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court’s far-right supermajority seemed open to rolling back decades of precedent allowing public and private colleges and universities to make race-conscious admissions decisions.

Referring to Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina—cases he contends were “manufactured to abolish affirmative action in higher education”—Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern argued that “all six conservative justices are poised to declare that colleges’ consideration of race violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which applies equal protection standards to private institutions.” Continue reading

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Federal Judge Allows ‘Untenable’ Plan to Send Juvenile Inmates to Angola Prison

“The move defies all common sense and best practices, and it will cause irrevocable damage to our youth and families,” said one children’s advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 9-24-2022 by Common Dreams

The entrance of the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola and nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the South” and “The Farm” Photo: msppmoore /Wikimedia Commons/CC

Critics of mass incarceration are condemning a ruling handed down late Friday by a federal judge in Louisiana, who admitted the state’s plan to send teenage inmates at a juvenile detention center to the notorious state penitentiary at Angola was “disturbing” even as she decided the plan could move forward.

Chief U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick ruled that the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) can send two dozen children under the age of 18 from Bridge City Center for Youth, located outside New Orleans, to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, denying a motion brought by several law firms and the ACLU to halt the plan. Continue reading

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Ohio Court Filings Detail Dozens of Patients Put Under ‘Extreme Duress’ by Abortion Ban

“In the days after S.B. 23 took effect, we had to cancel over 600 appointments,” said the director of one healthcare clinic. “Many patients broke down in tears in our office… some threatened to hurt themselves because they were so distraught.”

By Julia Conley  Published 9-22-2022 by Common Dreams

Three doctors at an abortion rights protest at the Ohio Statehouse on May 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Konik

Sworn affidavits filed in an Ohio court illustrate the emotional and physical turmoil caused by the state’s abortion ban, which garnered national attention in July when it forced a 10-year-old pregnant survivor of rape to leave the state in order to get abortion care.

As the Ohio Capital Journal reported Thursday, abortion providers in the state have seen the effects of Senate Bill 23—which banned nearly all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and is now temporarily blocked until mid-October—on dozens on patients facing fetal abnormalities, cancer diagnoses, and pregnancies resulting from rape. Continue reading

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Bad Day for DeSantis as ‘Stop WOKE Act’ Hit With Injunction, Lawsuit

“If Florida truly believes we live in a post-racial society, then let it make its case,” a federal judge wrote in blocking part of the controversial law. “But it cannot win the argument by muzzling its opponents.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 8-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Governor Ron DeSantis speaking with attendees at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Stop WOKE Act suffered a two-punch blow Thursday as a federal judge blocked parts of the controversial law and a coalition of civil liberties groups filed a lawsuit against what they are calling “racially motivated censorship.”

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, issued a preliminary injunction against portions of the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act, also called the Individual Freedom Act, saying it violates First Amendment free speech protections and the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause. Continue reading

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Rights Advocates Decry ‘Very Frightening’ Court Ruling Upholding Anti-BDS Law

“This is not just about boycotts,” said one critic. “This is opening the door to strip away First Amendment rights of all Americans.”

By Julia Conley  Published 6-23-2022 by Common Dreams

Image: Al-Haq

A federal court ruling allowing Arkansas to penalize government contractors that support boycotts of the Israeli government was decried as “dangerous” and a threat to First Amendment rights on Wednesday, as civil liberties defenders vowed to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an Arkansas law does not violate Americans’ constitutional rights by requiring state contractors with contracts of $1,000 or more to reduce their fees by 20% if they refuse to sign a pledge saying they won’t support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS). Continue reading

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‘Endangers Us All’: Supreme Court Ruling Shields Border Agent From Excessive Force Lawsuit

The ruling leaves thousands of Border Patrol agents “absolutely immunized from liability,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “no matter how egregious the misconduct or resultant injury.”

By Julia Conley   Published 6-9-2022 by Common Dreams

ERO Cross Check 2017. Photo: ICE/flickr/public domain

A ruling by the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday “will have far-reaching consequences” for people who accuse federal agents of violating their constitutional rights, the ACLU warned after the court ruled against a man who wanted to sue a U.S. Border Patrol agent who entered his property without a warrant and used excessive force.

The court ruled 6-3 in Egbert v. Boule that Congress must decide whether the plaintiff can sue the government over the alleged violation of his rights—a decision which Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissenting opinion threatens to block nearly all civil suits against federal agents. Continue reading

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Two Years After George Floyd Murder, Biden to Issue Executive Order on Police Reform

“The entire culture and mentality needs to change to bring these words to life, and to save lives,” said one civil liberties advocate.

By Julia Conley  Published 5-24-2022 by Common Dreams

George Floyd Protest in Washington, DC – May 30 2020 Photo: Geoff Livingston/flickr/CC

Exactly two years after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, President Joe Biden on Wednesday is expected to unveil an executive order aimed at reforming federal policing standards and pushing state and local law enforcement agencies to improve their policies as well.

Civil rights groups on Tuesday expressed cautious optimism regarding the upcoming order, which has reportedly changed since a draft document was leaked earlier this year and garnered criticism from police groups. Continue reading

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