Category Archives: ACLU

Tortured Logic-New Video from ACLU

After watching this..please sign up at the ACLU website to send this to AG Holder.

ACLU report: Identifying School-to-Prison Pipeline in State

Pandagon has an excellent post up about racism and racial stereotyping within the Michigan school systems. Full disclosure: The author works for the ACLU in Michigan. You can read the ACLU report entitled “Reclaiming Michigan’s Throwaway Kids: Students Trapped in the School-to-Prison Pipeline,here. The report addresses the disciplinary practices which are highly suspect and disproportionate with regard to African-American students in the state. A few highlights of the Pandagon article:

One of the things the report discusses is the vastly disproportionate numbers of punishments that black students receive – in Ann Arbor, for instance, black students make up 18% of students but 58% of suspensions, with numbers like these are repeated in districts across the state. I’ve had this discussion with people before, and the explanations for this usually attempt to pin it on parental involvement, or culture, somehow believing that the apogee of black culture is mouthing off to a teacher, because that makes sense.

I have a basic rule in life: if a group of people seem to be acting illogically given what are seemingly clear reasons not to, then there’s likely something else at work. We could accept that black kids and black families are just drastically more likely to train themselves to do disruptive things that will be cracked down on in schools, but that makes virtually no sense whatsoever. I think there are a couple of things at work, the first being that assumption by many teachers that black students and black males in particular are more aggressive and therefore more likely to transgress initially. The second is that, from the perspective of black students, being more likely to be treated in a capricious and heavy-handed manner by authority figures makes you less likely to respect those authority figures.

In my mind, it’s logical to have less respect for authority figures when you are constantly being treated ‘capriciously’ by the asshole in charge because of the color of your skin or because of your sex. This paragraph in the Pandagon article really hit it for me:

Any more, many schools don’t do detention, they just suspend or expel. Combined with zero tolerance policies, often for subjective transgressions, being a grade school or high school student is perilous – whether you behave well or behave poorly, your continued presence in school is often subjected to the whims of teachers or administrators in dealing with you.

With all the budget cuts, they don’t have the teachers to hold detention after school anymore. It’s also a lot easier and cheaper, to expel or suspend a child. From the ACLU report:

Through its research the ACLU found that disproportionate discipline towards African American students was apparent in the majority of the school districts examined in the study. For instance, in the Ann Arbor School District during the 2006/07 school year, black students accounted for 18 percent of a secondary school student population, but they received 58 percent of suspensions. This trend is reflected in school districts statewide.

“In school district after school district, from one end of the state to another, we found that black kids are consistently suspended in numbers that are considerably disproportionate to their representation in the various student populations,” said Mark P. Fancher, ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project staff attorney and principal author of the report. “More alarming still are studies we examined that show that the behavior of black kids and white kids is essentially the same, and black kids are still kicked out of school proportionately more often. This is true regardless of socio-economic factors and geography.”

Racial stereotyping is alive and well isn’t it? Damn it..damn it all.

States Secrets Privilege can’t be used for rendition case.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has told Eric Holder NO on using the states secret privilege argument in the rendition case against a Boeing subsidiary.

Bet that just ruined his day! From the Jurist writeup linked above:

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Tuesday that the state secrets privilege does not bar a lawsuit against a company that allegedly provided logistical support for CIA rendition flights. Plaintiffs Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza, Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, and Bisher al-Rawi allege that Jeppesen Dataplan, a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing, knowingly supported direct flights to secret CIA prisons, facilitating the torture and mistreatment of US detainees. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened in 2007 before the defendant filed an answer, arguing that the lawsuit posed a risk to national security. In overturning the lower court’s dismissal of the case, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the state secret privilege must be based on actual evidence in the case, not on what evidence might be involved in the case:

Concluding that the subject matter of this lawsuit is not a state secret because it is not predicated on the existence of a secret agreement between plaintiffs and the Executive, and recognizing that our limited inquiry under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) precludes prospective consideration of hypothetical evidence, we reverse and remand.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the suit on plaintiffs’ behalf, welcomed [press release] Tuesday’s ruling, saying, “[t]his historic decision marks the beginning, not the end, of this litigation.

ACLU is batting a thousand lately..and I do love it! 😉

ACLU representing RNC protesters

From the fine folks at the Real News Network. From their website:

Chuck Samuelson of the ACLU says much of the police repression during the RNC was based on law coming out of the Patriot Act.

The right to assembly, just another of our civil rights being circumvented by the assholes in the Bush Administration.

ACLU files lawsuit against new FISA law.

They didn’t waste anytime did they? Bless those wonderful people at the ACLU. Friday, they filed suit (pdf file) in federal court in the southern district of New York, their press release can be read here. From Jurist:

The ACLU claims that the law violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing unjustified and unregulated surveillance, and violates the First Amendment by limiting the freedom of speech and the press. The complaint also alleges that the Act violates the “case or controversy” requirement and separation of powers. The ACLU asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to permanently enjoin such surveillance. The ACLU also filed a separate motion requesting that it be given leave to participate in all cases concerning the Act. The separate motion also requests that publications of all related motions and decisions be made available to the public. The New York Sun has more.

I am so proud of the ACLU and their tireless and sometimes thankless work on behalf of Americans, our freedoms and our Constitution. It is heartwarming and it gives one hope that all is not lost.

Of course, being the curmudgeon I am..I bet the court will toss the case..but allow me a small amount of smugness at this point in time ok? 😉 May this lawsuit give Bush and Mukasey major heartburn and hopefully it will embarrass all those phony fucking Democrats that voted for the bill in Congress.