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The American Civil Liberties Union And Its Positive Impact On Society

1007 words - 4 pages

With the exception of the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) appears before the U.S. Supreme Court more than any other organization. The ACLU defends the freedoms of any citizen of the United States, even prisoners. Regardless of race, religion, age, or gender, the ACLU defends anyone whose rights were violated. The organization has made a lot of process since it formed in 1920. Before the ACLU became involved, no free speech defense trial had ever been won in the Supreme Court. The organization played a major role in almost every critical civil liberties case in the past century. The American Civil Liberties Union has a positive social impact on society by defending the rights of the public.

In 1915, a group of people in New York formed the American Union Against Militarism (AUAM). They wrote and distributed anti-war newsletters, magazines and pamphlets. At this time, anyone speaking against the war was called un-patriotic. Social workers, Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin, created a group within the AUAM to help with legal cases of people who had been prosecuted for speaking out against the war. President Woodrow Wilson said, “The authority to exercise censorship is absolutely necessary to the public safety” (qtd. in Grabianowski). The AUAM eventually faded because Eastman and Baldwin were involved with so called radical groups. When the AUAM split, Eastman and Baldwin formed the National Civil Liberties Bureau (NCLB). During the war years, the NCLB lost almost every case. “President Theodore Roosevelt called these pacifists ‘enemies at home’” (Grabianowski). At this time, the Supreme Court was openly against civil liberties. As a result of Baldwin refusing to comply with the draft and going to jail for a year, the NCLB faded. When Baldwin was released, he reconstructed the NCLB, which is now the ACLU. Finally, there was a group to defend those less favored by the government.

Most recently, the American Civil Liberties Union became involved in the case of Savanna Redding v. Safford Unified School District. In this case, a middle school student, Savanna Redding, 13, was strip-searched because of a suspicion of Ibuprofen in her underwear. The strip was based upon a tip from only one student. The administration did not even bother asking another student. The school did not bother to search her desk or locker. The ACLU says this violates her fourth amendment rights because the school did not have a warrant. Not only did the school violate her rights, they were also wrong. No Ibuprofen was found in her possession. The ACLU defends anyone who needs their help. Although the ACLU has a reputation of being a more liberal organization, it defends people all along the ideological spectrum. Whether the person is ultra-liberal or ultra-conservative, if the ACLU thinks their civil rights are being violated, they will help.
Although the American Civil Liberties Union helps many great causes, some of the cases they...

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