the face of liberty
Annual Report 1992-1993
American Civil Liberties Union
This report covers the activities of the ACLU and its tax-deductible arm,
the ACLU Foundation, in 1992 and 1993. Discussion of lobbying refers to
work undertaken by the ACLU; discussion of litigation and public education
refers to the work of the ACLU Foundation. The initials ACLU are used to
refer to both entities.
American Civil Liberties Union 132 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036 (212) 944-9800
Copyright 1993 American Civil Liberties Union
All rights reserved ISBN 0-914031-22-8
Letter from the Executive Director
I travel across the country every year, visiting ACLU affiliates, making
speeches about civil liberties, debating issues and hearing what citizens
have to say. In my travels during the past year, I've been struck by the
soul-searching that we are undergoing as a nation. Again and again, in
campus rhetoric and courtroom reasoning, I've heard these unstated
questions: Who are we as Americans? What values do we stand for?
Although economic issues dominated much of national electoral politics in
1992, what also captured the interest of voters was the undercurrent of
debate over "traditional values." Many political commentators, looking
back at how that debate coursed through the Democratic and Republican
conventions, discerned the politics of hate on display as much as the
politics of hope.
Hate and hope are not the province or legacy of any one political party,
but both are traditional in the history of our United States. Hate has
preyed upon the bodies and spirits of millions of Americans from the
beginning. Institutional racism, religious tyranny and political
repression were widespread in the Republic's earliest years and have
recurred, in different forms and to different degrees, throughout our
history. At the same time, hope is the force that for centuries has
fueled the struggle against racial and other forms of bigotry. And hope
is what moved our nation's founders to establish a tradition of religious
and political freedom, including at least the concept of equality, that
could be passed on to future generations.
Thomas Jefferson, in calling for "eternal vigilance," foresaw the battle
over libertarian and despotic values raging today, and knew that such
battles would preoccupy every generation. The fervent assailants rising
up among us to promote their exclusionary views of society may be new, but
their targets -- liberty, equality, human dignity -- haven't changed.
In these soul-searching times, the American Civil Liberties Union hews to
the original vision of our nation's founders. Ours is the voice of those
traditional values reflected in the Bill of Rights:
Freedom -- our national touchstone, embodied in the First Amendment
Equality -- a self-evident truth, derived from the natural rights of
Diversity -- our rich heritage, not to be merely tolerated but celebrated
Autonomy -- our personal sovereignty, not to be breached even by democratic
Fairness -- the right to due process and equal treatment from the law
Liberty and Justice for All
Sparring with the tradition of democratic idealism are nativism,
xenophobia and bigotry, traditions that were also forged in the crucible
out of which the Republic was born. As we look ahead to the year 2000,
organized efforts to ensure that no right is taken for granted and that
every right is enjoyed by all, equally, are no less important this year
than yesteryear. The question before us now, as always, is simply: Will
human rights and human dignity triumph?
The American Civil Liberties Union remains vigilant, persistent and
effective in its commitment to the struggle for human rights and human
dignity. The recent highlights of that struggle described in these pages
were made possible by your support.
Letter from the President
Quite often, the American Civil Liberties Union is the subject of debate
and controversy, and this year was no exception. Lately, disagreements
about the fundamental nature of the ACLU's mandate and its proper role
have occupied the spotlight. Some say that the ACLU should focus on
protecting "traditional" civil liberties, principally free speech. Others
argue that, instead, we should emphasize the protection of civil rights:
the equality rights of groups that have traditionally suffered
These disagreements reflect a basic misunderstanding about the ACLU's
unique historic role. First, the ACLU was not founded to defend free
speech alone. Free speech is an essential vehicle for promoting all other
rights, including equality; thus, it occupies a special place in our work.
From the outset, however, our signature mission has been to defend all the
fundamental rights of all the people. Consistent with that broad goal,
the ACLU has always vigorously advocated the rights of racial minorities,
women and other historically oppressed groups.
Second, demands that the ACLU defend only civil liberties or only civil
rights, in addition to ignoring our history, also reflect the misguided
notion that liberty and equality rights are inevitably locked in
competition, and that, therefore, we can defend one set of rights only at
the expense of the other. In fact, the opposite is true: Civil rights and
civil liberties (equality and liberty), rather than being inherently
competitive, are bound in a mutually reinforcing relationship. They are
two sides of the same coin. Thus, we cannot defend liberty unless we
defend equality with equal vigor, and vice versa.
That inextricable tie between liberty and equality is vividly illustrated
by the Pentagon's "new" policy on lesbians and gay men, who now may not be
drummed out of the service because of their sexual orientation alone, but
who may still be drummed out for revealing that orientation. This policy,
the target of a joint ACLU and Lambda lawsuit, violates both free speech
and equality rights.
The liberty/equality connection also underlies the ACLU's opposition to
overly restrictive hate speech codes on college campuses. Such codes
inhibit free speech, while targeting only the symptom of a deep-seated
problem. Moreover, they do not meaningfully promote equality of
opportunity and may well undermine it -- in part, because designing and
enforcing hate speech codes divert resources from measures that address
discriminatory attitudes and conduct effectively.
To my mind, there is no way to draw a meaningful distinction between
liberty and equality. How can individual liberty be secure if some
individuals are denied their rights because they belong to certain
societal groups? How, on the other hand, can equality for all groups be
secure if that equality does not include the exercise of individual
Of course, many times we must weigh certain liberties and/or rights
against each other, and sometimes even we at the ACLU disagree about how
to strike the balance. For example, free speech rights occasionally
collide with the right to privacy or due process, or with the principle of
church/state separation. Reconciling divergent claims can be difficult,
but our unique mandate requires us to seek answers that accord maximum
respect to all the constitutional rights at issue in any situation.
In the end, the ACLU is engaged in a single struggle to realize the ideal
proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence: a society in which all are
free and equal under the law. Perhaps our new Supreme Court Justice, Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, said it best years ago. Explaining why she chose the ACLU
as the place for carrying out her pioneering women's rights work, she
said: "I wanted to be part of a general human rights agenda. Civil
liberties are an essential part of the overall human rights concern -- the
equality of all people and the ability to be free."
The ACLU Commitment
Our Mission Since its founding in 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union
has been the country's leading champion of individual rights. Our mission
is to realize the promise of the Bill of Rights for all people in the
United States. These basic rights are the defining principles of our
democracy and reflect the oldest and noblest values of American society.
The mission of the ACLU is one that can never be fully accomplished. In
every generation, no matter who occupies the Oval Office, who runs the
legislatures or who presides in the nation's courts, civil liberties --
especially the rights of minorities, whether racial, religious, political
or sexual -- are always vulnerable to attack by those who would dictate
others' behavior and values according to their own beliefs. Our struggle,
then, requires constant action and vigilance to preserve individual rights
and keep our democracy strong.
HOW WE WORK
Our devotion to our mission means that we must work and commit resources
on many levels:
AFFILIATES & CHAPTERS
The ACLU has representatives in all 50 states, with staffed affiliate
offices in most major cities and more than 300 chapters in smaller towns
and cities. Wherever liberty is threatened, the ACLU is there -- ready to
take action in legislatures and courts, ready to meet with local press and
attorneys, and ready to work closely with community groups.
Our nationwide network gives the ACLU's activities an immediacy and a
grassroots power unmatched in the field of human rights by any other
national organization in the U.S. That power is particularly crucial as
the battle lines are drawn locally between forces of intolerance on one
side and those of us who seek to preserve civil liberties on the other.
Our affiliate structure enables us to meet challenges to liberty and
freedom in your community.
NATIONAL LEGAL PROGRAM & SPECIAL PROJECTS
Litigation has always formed the centerpiece of the ACLU's operations.
Every year, the legal victories we achieve set important precedents that
strengthen and expand civil liberties for all. ACLU lawyers are involved
in some 6,000 cases nationwide, and we participate in more cases before
the United States Supreme Court than any group other than the U.S.
Department of Justice.
Our National Legal Department addresses enduring civil liberties issues,
such as free speech and the separation of church and state, while also
tackling a range of contemporary problems that affect individual freedom --
for example, the intersection of race and poverty.
The ACLU has more than a dozen national projects, each dedicated to a
particular area of need or set of issues: children's rights, lesbian and
gay rights, reproductive freedom, immigrants' rights, voting rights, AIDS,
capital punishment, women's rights, arts censorship, workplace rights,
education reform, national security, privacy and technology, and
NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM
The ACLU's Washington Office is an authoritative lobbying force on civil
liberties issues. We conduct extensive research, develop model
legislation and provide advice that spurs initiatives' movement through
Congress. Our expertise in this area is widely acknowledged and highly
respected. Indeed, ACLU representatives are frequently called to testify
before House and Senate committees on civil liberties issues. We also
work to forge broad coalitions with other organizations, maximizing our
influence and reach.
Although the change in the Presidency has greatly altered the political
climate of our nation's capital, it has not altered the fact that powerful
opposition to our civil liberties agenda remains in several areas. For
example, it may well be that a majority in Congress supports restrictions
on First Amendment rights in the name of campaign finance reform or
combatting hate crime. A majority may also oppose protections for
minorities, such as laws forbidding discrimination against lesbians and
gay men or permitting Medicaid funding of abortion for poor women. Thus,
the strategy of our Washington Office stands: to make the most of all new
opportunities to expand civil liberties; to repair the damage done to
individual rights during prior administrations, both from within and
outside government, and to educate and mobilize the populace in defense of
constitutional rights when they come under threat from government
PUBLIC EDUCATION & MEDIA
Public education has taken on critical importance in our media-driven
society, as the fate of many issues is determined by public opinion. The
ACLU's Public Education Department, using the most sophisticated
techniques available, has been highly effective in getting our message out
to the largest possible audience on key national and local issues.
The Public Education Department played an important nonpartisan role in
the 1992 Presidential election campaign, providing a civil liberties
platform to both party conventions. After the election, we presented the
Clinton Administration with a 175-page blueprint entitled Restoring Civil
Liberties, which detailed our recommendations for executive and
legislative action on a wide range of issues. Using satellite technology,
we publicized and distributed the "blueprint for action" nationwide.
Topical briefing papers, information sheets, reports and other
publications that provide up-to-the-minute data on particular civil
liberties are regular features of our public education program. These
materials are available to everyone -- members of Congress, the press, high
school students doing research projects... and you.
VOLUNTEERS & PRIVATE SUPPORT
The protection of civil liberties will always depend on the willingness of
ordinary people to fight for their rights. The ACLU simply could not
fulfill its mission without the commitment and support of a dedicated
public. The ACLU, a membership organization, derives all of its financial
resources from donations and contributions by individuals and private
foundations, and from reimbursement of legal costs awarded by courts when
we win lawsuits -- which are brought at no charge to our clients. Our
legal program relies heavily on the work of volunteers, pro bono attorneys
and interns. And our 275,000 proud "card-carrying" members give us
credibility and clout in public debate. Thanks to this broad support and
commitment, the ACLU is the best investment in democracy today ... and in
years to come.
First Amendment Rights
The First Amendment is the heart and soul of the Bill of Rights; in a very
real sense, it is what defines democracy and distinguishes the United
States from less open societies. But erosion of its guarantees of free
expression and religious liberty is a constant threat that must be met
with constant vigilance.
The framers of our Constitution knew that only when government and
religion are separate does every individual have the right to practice the
religion of his or her choice -- or no religion at all. That is why they
included in the First Amendment both an Establishment Clause that requires
strict separation of church and state, and a Free Exercise clause that
guarantees the right to express religious beliefs. However, the
separation principle has come under attack as the evangelical right
intensifies its campaign to enlist government's assistance in promoting
religion. In the face of this assault, the ACLU remains a leader of the
struggle to preserve both the separation of church and state and the right
to free exercise of religion.
Working with our Rhode Island affiliate, the ACLU won a landmark victory
in Lee v. Weisman. In that 1992 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that
even nondenominational prayers violate the First Amendment when they are
included in government-sponsored events such as public school graduation
The ACLU has been fighting unconstitutional endorsement or promotion of
religion in public life on several fronts. For example, when school
boards across the country received letters claiming that bans on
school-organized prayer in public schools constitute censorship, our
Church-State Task Force helped the national office formulate, and mail to
schools, an informational flyer that explained the First Amendment's
prohibition on officially sponsored prayer.
When religious freedom was severely eroded by a 1990 Supreme Court
decision that made it easier for the government to restrict unusual or
unpopular religious practices, the ACLU turned to Congress to right this
egregious wrong. Our Washington Office heads a large and diverse
coalition working for passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,
which would restore protection of minority religious rights. The bill
unanimously passed in the House of Representatives and is headed for
favorable action in the Senate.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Throughout our nation's history, the government has sought at times to
silence or discourage expression that it found offensive or threatening.
The ACLU's Arts Censorship Project, established in 1991 to protect freedom
of artistic expression, has already begun to make a real difference in the
struggle against censorship.
A tidal wave of censorship has swept the nation in recent years. The
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) became a lightning rod for would-be
censors, who claim that the government should be able to control the art
it supports. The ACLU challenged the NEA's politically motivated denial
of grants to four artists, as well as the requirement that grant
recipients meet "general standards of decency." In a major ACLU victory
in 1992, a federal court struck down the decency standard. We then won a
settlement of the artists' individual claims that awarded them the grants
they had been wrongly denied, plus damages.
The ACLU represents artists whose works were banned from public
exhibitions because they were deemed "offensive." Our clients have
included artists whose show on prostitution was removed from the
University of Michigan Law School because of complaints about one feminist
work, and a teenager whose sculpture, "Pro-Choice," was banned from a 4-H
competition at a Minnesota county fair.
The ACLU challenged new FCC regulations that pressure cable television
operators to censor "indecent" programming on leased and public-access
channels. We fought record album labeling, and we represented two
Nebraska record store owners charged with selling albums whose lyrics were
deemed "harmful" to teenagers. We are also fighting censorship of student
publications, artistic productions and books in schools and libraries.
The ACLU is committed to educating the public about the importance of
First Amendment rights. For example, we present "Arts Censors of the Year
Awards" annually to publicize particularly egregious censorship attempts.
And the Director of our Arts Censorship Project produced a book, Sex, Sin,
and Blasphemy, that explores the causes and consequences of censorship in
The ACLU was instrumental in blocking passage of more than 50 federal
bills that would have restricted free speech rights, including the
Pornography Victims Compensation Act -- which would have made publishers
and movie theaters liable for injuries inflicted by assailants who were
allegedly "inspired" by sexually oriented works. In addition, the ACLU
has been active in protecting commercial advertisers' freedom of speech
against overly restrictive legislation.
The ACLU has long worked to end the dangerous and counterproductive
secrecy that surrounds much federal government activity. The end of the
Cold War presented a singular opportunity to remove restrictions on our
liberties that past administrations had insisted were necessary in
combatting communism. Seizing this opportunity, the ACLU's National
Security Project initiated a "Campaign to End the Cold War at Home."
Using research, litigation, national conferences and in-depth reports, the
campaign has sought to raise public consciousness about the need for
fundamental change in the nation's approach to government secrecy and
national security, and to foster changes in the law.
We have made significant progress toward this goal: ACLU advocacy spurred
the passage of legislation that removes some limitations on the rights to
travel to "enemy" countries, to receive foreign visitors and to exchange
information and ideas freely across national borders. Efforts are ongoing
to promote new legislative standards for FBI investigations, to stop the
unnecessary classification of documents in the name of national security,
and to end secret war-making by restoring the war power to Congress.
To stop unlawful rights abuses that are perpetrated in the name of
"national security," the ACLU has filed several challenges to the
government's surveillance of political activists. And we won a settlement
on behalf of a U.S. citizen of Iranian descent who was detained,
interrogated and subjected to a body search by Pan American Airlines
agents during the Persian Gulf War -- solely because his appearance and
nationality fit the airline's stereotypical profile of a "terrorist."
Equality and Fairness
Equal opportunity and equal rights are pillars of American democracy. But
the discrimination that pervades American society robs millions of their
right to be treated equally and fairly.
Full participation in the democratic process by all citizens is essential
to the functioning of any democratic society. But almost 30 years after
the Voting Rights Act became law, discriminatory voting and districting
schemes continue to deprive racial minorities of the right to choose their
representatives and attain political office.
The nationwide redistricting necessitated by the 1990 census presented a
unique opportunity to enhance voting rights. A tireless advocate in this
field, the ACLU's Voting Rights Project has been working to ensure that
newly created districts comply with the Voting Rights Act so that minority
voters are fully represented.
These labors bore fruit in 1992 when, in many Southern states, African
Americans were elected to Congress for the first time in over a century Ä
with their numbers in the House nearly doubling. Black representation in
state legislatures increased as well. Expanded ACLU efforts on behalf of
Native Americans, who have lagged far behind other minorities in obtaining
equal voting rights, have also been successful.
The ACLU has led a national effort to extend the protections of the Voting
Rights Act beyond legislative elections to judicial elections. Increasing
the number of minority judges would be an important step toward ending the
racial bias that pervades our criminal justice system. A landmark
settlement won by the ACLU in its challenge to Georgia's judicial election
system will nearly triple the number of black trial judges in that state.
We have also sought increased minority representation on school boards.
In Georgia, we assisted passage of a law that requires school board
elections in place of the old grand jury appointment system, a system that
virtually guaranteed white dominance. In Virginia, we figured in the
passage of a law allowing school board elections for the first time. On
Election Day in 1992, 40 counties instituted such elections, and more are
expected to follow suit.
The ACLU watched proudly as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a founder of the
ACLU's Women's Rights Project, became the second woman ever appointed to
the U.S. Supreme Court. However, even as some of their number assume more
influential and highly visible positions, women continue to experience
discrimination in all aspects of life.
The ACLU, with our South Carolina affiliate, sued the Citadel, one of the
country's two remaining all-male public military academies, on behalf of
three female Navy veterans who had been denied admission solely because
they are women. In mid-summer 1993, we won a similar suit on behalf of a
high school senior whose acceptance into the cadet program was revoked
when Citadel officials learned she was female.
The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a similar case against the
Virginia Military Institute (VMI). An appeals court found VMI's male-only
admissions policy unconstitutional, but, in an opinion riddled with sexual
stereotypes, did not require the admission of women. Instead, the school
was allowed the choice of either privatizing or setting up a "parallel"
female institution. These options, which establish a dangerous precedent,
demonstrate how much remains to be done in the fight for women's equality.
The ACLU won an important victory in a lawsuit challenging the refusal of
several drug abuse treatment programs in New York City to admit pregnant
women -- a nationwide problem. In the first decision of its kind, an
appeals court declared that such programs cannot discriminate against
pregnant women, unless they can prove -- which they have thus far failed to
do -- the medical necessity of this blanket exclusion.
The ACLU continues to fight sex discrimination in employment, representing
three women pilots who have challenged Delta Airlines' hiring policies.
And we are still opposing policies that keep women of childbearing age out
of hazardous jobs; we believe that employers are obligated to make these
high-salaried positions safe for all workers.
Equal educational opportunity is a core American value. All children
deserve the chance to fulfill their potential, to learn and achieve to the
best of their abilities -- regardless of race or economic status. But the
tragic failure of our public schools is leaving millions of children --
mostly poor and minority children -- educationally deprived and, thus,
trapped in lives of poverty and hopelessness. Providing these children
with equal educational opportunity is key to ending the racial
discrimination and poverty that divide our country.
The ACLU is using an innovative approach -- touted by The New York Times as
"the cutting edge of education reform litigation" -- to compel public
schools to fulfill their obligation to our nation's children. Our
education reform program goes beyond other programs that merely seek equal
distribution of fiscal resources among all public schools in a state. We
are using state constitutional guarantees of adequate public education to
compel states to provide, at a minimum, adequate schooling to all children
in a state -- black and white, rich and poor.
We took a giant step forward in this massive reform effort in 1993 when an
Alabama judge declared the state's entire public school system
unconstitutional because it deprives children of their right -- guaranteed
under the Alabama constitution -- to an adequate and equitable education.
Abysmal conditions exist in Alabama schools, especially those attended by
poor and African American children. Schools lack books, certified
teachers, libraries, nurses, playgrounds and counselors. Many school
buildings are dilapidated, without even proper plumbing or potable water.
And the curriculum fails to offer the most basic elements necessary to
prepare students for employment or college.
In the first such decision ever, the state court judge agreed with the
ACLU that, by law, Alabama's school system must undergo total reform.
That process is now underway. Aided by our local affiliates, we have
undertaken similar litigation in Connecticut and Louisiana, and are
supporting lawsuits in New York, California and Massachusetts.
Diversity and Tolerance
The diversity of our people is one of this nation's greatest strengths and
proudest traditions. Yet differences are too often attacked rather than
celebrated. The ACLU is committed to realizing the dream of a nation in
which it is easy to be free and safe to be different.
LESBIAN & GAY RIGHTS
The struggle of lesbians and gay men for equality is at the center of
American life. Never have gay people been more visible and enjoyed
greater legal protections, while also facing stiffer opposition than ever
before from a well-organized and well-funded religious right that is
vehemently challenging their progress.
The ACLU 's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project is the leading advocate for
lesbian and gay rights in the United States. Our priorities include:
combatting the religious right's state-by-state anti-gay ballot initiative
campaign; leading the legal challenge to the continuing military ban; and
generally establishing legal precedents to secure constitutional
protections for lesbians and gay men.
In 1992, when Colorado voters passed Amendment Two, which repealed the
state's gay rights law and prohibited passage of such laws in the future,
the ACLU responded. With the ACLU of Colorado, Lambda Legal Defense Fund
and local lawyers, we won a state court challenge to the initiative. We
won other legal victories against anti-gay rights measures in Oregon and
elsewhere. Mindful that the religious right is spreading its crusade, we
collaborated with our affiliates on an in-depth analysis of how and why
Amendment Two passed in Colorado and produced a briefing book to guide
activists in future campaigns.
The ACLU has been a leader in the fight against the military's anti-gay
policy for nearly a quarter of a century. We have litigated many of the
major lawsuits brought against the military, and have figured prominently
in Washington-based legislative efforts. As a founding member, we played
a key role in the 1993 Campaign for Military Service to have the ban
lifted through the political process. As the political debate wanes, this
issue is shifting back to the courts. Accordingly, the ACLU is involved
in several legal challenges to the old military regulations, and, with the
Lambda Legal Defense Fund, we have filed suit against President Clinton's
recently adopted military policy.
As well as responding to these crises, the ACLU continues to litigate a
number of precedent-setting lesbian/gay rights cases nationwide. We won a
challenge to the Maryland State Police Department's refusal to hire a
lesbian, and we have challenged: the Georgia Attorney General's dismissal
of a lesbian attorney who formed a religious union with her lover; the
beating of two gay men by federal agents in New York (the first anti-gay
violence case brought against the federal government); the denial of a
permit for a lesbian and gay pride parade in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and
the state of Alabama's refusal to permit the formation of lesbian and gay
student groups on college campuses there.
The United States is a nation of immigrants, a beacon to the world's
persecuted and oppressed. But many of those who seek refuge here are
wrongly turned away or face discrimination and other civil liberties
abuses after they arrive. The ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project is
devoted to securing fair and just treatment of all immigrants and
The plight of Haitian refugees, whom U.S. authorities have forcibly
returned to Haiti or detained indefinitely, is a dramatic recent example
of civil liberties abuses. The ACLU assailed that policy in testimony
before Congress. Subsequently, we won a critical legal victory, in
coalition with several organizations: A federal judge ordered the "HIV
prison camp" maintained by the U.S. at Guantanamo closed. As a result,
250 refugees who had been detained at Guantanamo for almost two years,
solely because of their HIV status, were allowed to enter our country.
Unfortunately, in the same case the Supreme Court ruled that our
government may continue to return refugees forcibly to Haiti, despite the
refugees' legitimate fear of persecution, and need not allow them to
present their asylum claims.
Every year, thousands of other refugees are denied asylum in the U.S.
because of discrimination by the Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS). The ACLU continued monitoring implementation of its landmark
settlement giving 250,000 Central American refugees, to whom the INS
unfairly and prejudicially denied asylum, a second, fairer chance to
present their asylum claims. We sued the INS for not following its own
regulations on granting work authorization to bona fide asylum applicants
in New York. And our work to expose unlawful and inhumane conditions at
INS detention centers culminated in Justice Detained, an ACLU report on
the findings of a two-year study, conducted with our New York affiliate,
of conditions in New York's largest detention facility.
Hostility against immigrants has been rising, partly fueled by federal
immigration policy -- especially the employer sanctions provisions of the
Immigration Control and Reform Act. In this climate, New Jersey and
California legislators have introduced bills restricting the rights of
immigrants to drive, send their children to public school, and receive
health care and welfare benefits. The ACLU, through litigation, policy
advocacy, self-help training and public education, is challenging such
discrimination, as well as the misperceptions and stereotypes that
underlie biased laws and policies.
HATE SPEECH, HATE CRIMES
Verbal abuse and other expressions of bias against people of color,
lesbians and gay men, and other minorities have plagued our nation's
campuses in recent years. Colleges around the country have responded by
adopting policies that prohibit "hate speech."
Such policies almost always violate free speech principles and fail to
address the underlying problem. The ACLU has been working with
universities to urge that, instead of silencing speech, they develop
educational programs, discussion forums and tolerant campus environments
that can help end the hatred.
State and local governments have responded to bigotry by enacting hate
crime laws. Working with our Minnesota affiliate, the ACLU opposed one
such law in St. Paul because it directly targeted a broad range of
protected speech; that law was struck down by the Supreme Court. We do
support measures that punish discriminatory conduct. Accordingly, we
filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Supreme Court supporting a
Wisconsin law that allows greater penalties to be imposed on criminals who
choose their victims on the basis of race, religion or other bias. The
Court unanimously upheld that law in the spring of 1993.
Privacy and Autonomy
In a free society, every individual must enjoy the right to privacy: to
live as he or she chooses without fear of censure. That right has come
under increasing attack, however, as some groups and institutions have
sought to constrain the lives of others to fit their own views and values.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH & PRIVACY
In a society that cherishes personal liberty, every woman must be
guaranteed the fundamental right to make choices about childbearing free
from government interference. The ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project is
at the forefront of the effort to win and preserve reproductive freedom
for all women in the U.S. -- including the poor, young and minority women
whose rights are most often compromised or denied.
In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, decided in
1992, the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a highly
restrictive Pennsylvania abortion law. Although the Court, by a razor
thin margin, reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, it upheld most of the Pennsylvania
law, thereby giving states broad new power to restrict access to abortion
and, in effect, inviting them to do so.
State legislatures quickly seized this opportunity. By early 1993, some
100 bills had been introduced in 40 states proposing burdensome waiting,
parental notification and consent provisions, and biased counseling and
reporting requirements -- all aimed at eroding women's reproductive rights.
Working closely with our affiliates and their coalition partners, the ACLU
offered legal analysis, strategic advice and public education support in
the legislative battles to defeat these bills. By the end of the 1993
legislative sessions, new restrictive abortion laws of one kind or another
had passed in five states, while bills in the remaining states had been --
at least for the time being -- defeated.
In the judicial arena, as federal laws and courts failed to protect
reproductive rights, the ACLU turned increasingly to state courts and
constitutions, which in many cases provide greater and more explicit
protection for choice than the federal Constitution now does.
Pursuing this strategy, the ACLU and its affiliates gained important
ground on several priority issues, including the restoration of public
funding for abortion. In an historic victory for low-income women, the
New York state intermediate appeals court ruled that the state's publicly
funded health care program may not exclude coverage for abortion from its
otherwise comprehensive provision of pregnancy-related medical care
The ACLU also used its state-based constitutional strategy to avert new or
revived restrictions, virtually all of which effectively deny poor women
and teenagers the ability to exercise their reproductive rights, and which
are often health-threatening. For example, in Tennessee the ACLU secured
the first post-Casey injunction in the nation: A three-day waiting period
and residency requirement were struck down as unconstitutional under state
law. In South Dakota, we are challenging in federal court a new law that
forces women to delay their abortions and to receive state-mandated
information, as well as requiring minors to notify a parent without any
alternative recourse. Similar lawsuits are underway in other states.
An important component of the ACLU's campaign to protect every woman's
full range of reproductive choices is promoting comprehensive and accurate
sex education for teenagers and defending the rights of low-income
mothers. In New York and Massachusetts, we are opposing efforts to block
public school districts' condom availability programs. And in New Jersey,
we lobbied against a "welfare reform" bill, since enacted, that excludes
from eligibility any child whose mother was receiving state benefits when
the child was conceived. We are now challenging that discriminatory law
The election of a new President marked a turning point at the federal
level. In a series of early executive orders, President Clinton
instructed the appropriate federal agencies to lift onerous regulations --
such as the gag rule prohibiting abortion counseling in federally funded
clinics -- imposed by his predecessor. After these initial actions,
however, progress stalled. It remains to be seen whether the
Administration's health care reform package will ensure equal access to
reproductive health care, including abortion services.
In Congress, the ACLU played a pivotal role in the appropriations process,
lobbying to remove all restrictions on abortion for women who depend on
federal programs for their medical care. We called for federal
legislation prohibiting violence at women's health clinics, in the
interest of public health and safety. And we participated in a major
effort to overturn the Hyde Amendment, which since 1976 has banned the use
of Medicaid funds for abortion. Congress's failure to restore such
funding is a sobering reminder that the struggle for reproductive rights --
especially for low-income and minority women -- is far from over. The ACLU
did not endorse the Freedom of Choice Act because, although it would
overturn some state restrictions, it would allow others that target poor
women and teens -- such as public funding bans and parental consent laws.
New privacy problems have accompanied the technological revolution. The
government, private companies, employers and others can easily obtain
detailed information about people's private lives without their knowledge
or consent. One concern, made more urgent by imminent changes in our
health care system, is the protection of people's right to keep their
medical records private. Responding to these incursions, the ACLU's
Privacy and Technology Project has organized industry, consumer and public
sector representatives to advocate for legislation that would clearly
establish this right. We are also seeking reform of the Fair Credit
Reporting Act to improve protection for the privacy of credit records, and
enactment of legislation regulating "caller ID" to protect the privacy of
individuals' phone numbers and other personal information.
PRIVACY AT WORK & AT HOME
The ACLU's National Task Force on Civil Liberties in the Workplace is
combatting "lifestyle discrimination" by employers who seek to control
their employees' private lives by banning such activities as smoking or
drinking off the job. We were instrumental in the passage of
anti-lifestyle discrimination laws in two states, raising to 28 the number
of states with such laws. We also made significant headway toward the
passage of comprehensive federal legislation outlawing employers' covert
electronic surveillance of their employees.
The ACLU commissioned a survey on how Americans feel about the right to
privacy, the results of which are contained in a 250-page report that will
provide the basis for the development of programmatic work in this area.
Due Process and Human Rights
Equality before the law and equal access to justice are hallmarks of our
democratic system. Too often, however, discrimination that is deeply
entrenched in our legal institutions denies poor people and minorities
their right to a fair trial and equal justice. The ACLU is committed to
making the Constitution's promise of equal justice a reality for all.
ACCESS TO JUSTICE
Habeas corpus, the precious doctrine at the heart of our justice system
that gives all criminal defendants the right to judicial review, has been
eroded in recent years. Among other restrictions, the Supreme Court
drastically curtailed a defendant's right to federal review of a state
court's death sentence. Now not even a claim of innocence, based on new
evidence, can compel review of a death sentence. In 1992, the ACLU filed
friend-of-the-court briefs in three habeas cases. In two of these, the
Court further eroded habeas rights. In the other, the Court agreed with
the ACLU that a defendant whose "Miranda" rights were violated at the time
of arrest is entitled to relief in habeas corpus proceedings.
Mandatory minimum sentencing, which has caused a sharp rise in prison
populations, has proved to be racially discriminatory and starkly unjust
in numerous other ways. The ACLU's Washington Office will continue to
work for passage of the Sentencing Uniformity Act of 1993, which would
repeal mandatory minimum provisions from the federal criminal code.
Prisoners are largely ignored by many organizations and individuals who
advocate for the rights of other groups. Committed to defending the
fundamental human rights of all, the ACLU's National Prison Project marked
its 20th anniversary in 1992 as the nation's foremost advocate for Eighth
Amendment rights. The ACLU continued its efforts to improve prison
conditions, reduce reliance on incarceration and strengthen prisoners'
After appointing the ACLU as counsel, the Supreme Court delivered a major
victory to our client, a Louisiana inmate who had been severely beaten by
prison guards with whom he had argued. The Court found that "prison
officials maliciously and sadistically use[d] force to cause harm,"
violating the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual
The ACLU is challenging egregious conditions of confinement that exist in
many states. One lawsuit in progress involves overcrowding and unsafe
conditions in 14 Pennsylvania state prisons. In Arizona, we won a
decision that declared state policies restricting prisoners' access to the
Some of the worst conditions the ACLU has seen are in women's facilities.
Moreover, women have special needs that have long been ignored, including
gynecological and pre-natal care, and maintaining ties with their
children. Thus, we have expanded our support of women prisoners and are
currently litigating in seven states.
The ACLU, working with the Delaware affiliate, has challenged conditions
in that state's two youth facilities, where living units are overcrowded
and unsanitary, children are physically and verbally abused, and
educational and medical programs are inadequate. In Hawaii, the threat of
an ACLU suit prompted the state to reduce its juvenile offender population
by 60 per cent.
As AIDS and tuberculosis spread through our nation's prisons, the ACLU is
currently the only organization dealing directly with this problem. We
are working to reduce overcrowding and other conditions that foster or
exacerbate these diseases, to protect the rights of ill prisoners and,
through workshops and publications, to educate prisoners and prison
officials on these and related health issues.
The ACLU believes that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment and has no place in
modern society. While civil liberties are too often sacrificed in the
"war on crime," the ACLU's Capital Punishment Project remains a
conscientious opponent of the death penalty, working to stop its extension
to the federal level, and to bring about total abolition of capital
punishment. Prominent in the ranks of the abolition movement, the ACLU is
represented on the executive board of the National Coalition to Abolish
the Death Penalty and advises the Board of the Death Penalty Information
In 1992, the ACLU helped block passage of a federal crime bill that would
have authorized capital punishment for more than 50 offenses, including
crimes not involving murder. We also led an effort that brought about the
overwhelming defeat of a local initiative that would have expanded the
death penalty's use in Washington, D.C. We are again battling anti-crime
legislation that is virtually the same as its predecessor. And we are
continuing to work for passage of a federal Racial Justice Act, which
would allow convicted criminals to challenge a death sentence by showing a
racially discriminatory pattern of sentencing.
The ACLU initiated a long-term public education and media campaign to
drive home just how discriminatory capital punishment is. The centerpiece
of this effort is "Double Justice," a documentary video co-produced by the
ACLU with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. "Double
Justice" compellingly demonstrates that race -- particularly the race of
the victim -- is the primary factor in determining whether a death sentence
is imposed in this country.
Abuse of police power, especially in minority communities, is a persistent
problem in the United States. The ACLU is committed to increasing police
accountability, and to improving relations between the police and those
On the first anniversary of the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles
police officers, we issued a manual to help community residents advocate
for civilian review of police misconduct cases and work cooperatively with
their police forces. In New York City, a long-term campaign led by our
New York affiliate resulted in the formation of a new Civilian Complaint
Review Board to replace the previous board, which had been controlled by
In Nevada, the ACLU affiliate sued the Las Vegas police in a shocking case
of brutality that ended in an innocent man's death at the hands of three
officers. The police settled the suit, filed on behalf of the victim's
infant son, for $625,000 Ä one of the largest settlements ever won in an
ACLU case of this kind, and a tacit admission of guilt by the department.
Liberty And Justice For All
Every person in our society is entitled to protection against
discrimination and civil liberties abuses. The reality is, however, that
those who are most vulnerable or voiceless are often denied the liberties
and fair treatment that others enjoy. The ACLU is working to create a
nation where the promise of the Bill of Rights is kept for all.
Children, who represent our hopes for tomorrow, are among our most
vulnerable citizens. This is an urgent issue indeed, for many government
child welfare agencies are further destroying, rather than improving, the
lives of thousands of our society's youngest victims: neglected and abused
children. Federal and state laws require that these agencies either
provide services to help families overcome child abuse and neglect, or
permanently relocate children to new, stable homes -- which are
indispensable to a child's healthy development. Instead, far too many
children are having their rights violated by being shuttled from one
foster home to another, abused in foster homes and lost track of in the
chaos of mismanaged government bureaucracies.
The ACLU's Children's Rights Project is the nation's premier litigator for
the rights of children in government custody and leads the effort to
reform child welfare practices. As we pursue this goal, the ACLU is
making legal strides around the country that translate into extensive
systemic reform. In 1992, we won an unprecedented victory: A federal
judge found that the District of Columbia had violated the constitutional
rights of the children in its care by failing to provide them with
necessary services. One plaintiff in the case, a boy who had lived in at
least 11 different foster homes, had climbed into a garbage can at age
eight and asked to be "thrown away." Today, that child is doing well in a
specialized foster home and may soon be adopted due to an aggressive
recruitment effort. As a result of the ruling, the ACLU was able to
negotiate sweeping reforms that are now being implemented, putting
Washington, D.C. well on its way to becoming a model for child welfare
Other efforts of the ACLU and our affiliates have paid off as well. In
Missouri, we won a far-reaching decision requiring child welfare officials
in Kansas City to remedy the many problems that are endangering the
welfare of children in foster care. The hiring of additional case workers
is one of the numerous steps being taken. In Connecticut, we won a range
of substantial reforms that include a $20 million increase in the social
service budget. And in Kansas, we achieved a settlement that will
dramatically improve the lives of nearly 10,000 foster children: The state
must implement a reform program affecting every facet of its foster care
system, ensuring that children receive the services and care that they
The ACLU continued to make important progress in two protracted lawsuits
brought against New York City's child welfare agency. One suit is aimed
at compelling the city to protect children from abuse and provide them
with legally mandated "preventive" services that are designed to keep
troubled families together whenever possible. The other suit seeks to
eliminate racial discrimination and other abuses from New York's child
RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH AIDS
People with HIV disease, including AIDS, experience discrimination in
employment, housing, health care, insurance and virtually all areas of
life. Moreover, discrimination against people with HIV disease is
exacerbated by homophobia, poverty and racism.
The ACLU is a leading advocate for the rights of people with HIV/AIDS. We
helped draft the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and were a key
advocate for its passage. This landmark legislation, which outlaws
discrimination against all people with disabilities, including HIV/AIDS,
is a powerful new tool for protecting and advancing the rights of people
with HIV. How broadly the ADA will be interpreted, however, and how
effective it will be, depend on the outcome of early test cases.
To launch that test, the ACLU's AIDS Project, together with local
affiliates, has filed a number of carefully chosen cases in several
states. Most of these target the pervasive problem of discrimination in
health care and health insurance. For example, we challenged the
exclusion of HIV-infected people from the South Carolina Insurance Risk
Pool, a state program for people who can afford to pay for health
insurance but cannot get it because of pre-existing health conditions. We
also sued an Ohio hospital for refusing to provide emergency care to a man
with AIDS. In addition, the ACLU produces several widely used
publications and holds intensive training sessions aimed at teaching
people with HIV disease and their advocates, as well as employers,
landlords and others, about the protections provided by the ADA.
The ACLU won a landmark court victory when Centers for Disease Control
(CDC) regulations that had severely limited AIDS education efforts for the
last six years were declared unconstitutional. The regulations had
forbidden the use of federal funds for materials deemed "offensive" to the
"majority." And seeking to reverse the most irrational AIDS-related ruling
yet, the ACLU asked a Texas appeals court to overturn the attempted murder
conviction and life sentence of an HIV-infected man who spit on a prison
The ACLU also published a book-length study on emerging civil rights
issues related to AIDS, focusing particular attention on the growing
populations of women, adolescents and parents infected with HIV. In
addition, we are the only national organization with an AIDS education
program for prison populations.
Traditionally, the American private workplace has been a zone in which the
Bill of Rights does not exist. Changing that circumstance is a key
element in the ACLU's program. Eighty million people work in the private
sector of the American economy, and only about a quarter of them are
protected by union contracts. The rest are employed "at-will," which
means they can be fired at any time for virtually any reason, or for no
reason at all.
The ACLU's National Task Force on Civil Liberties in the Workplace is
advocating legislation that would abolish the archaic employment-at-will
doctrine and permit the firing of employees only for just cause. This
effort, assisted by ACLU affiliates, has focused on five states where such
bills are under consideration.
The ACLU recently punctuated its commitment to protecting and expanding
workers' rights by awarding our 1993 Medal of Liberty to Dolores Huerta,
who, together with the late Cesar Chavez, was a pioneer in the struggle
for the rights of migrant farmworkers and other workers.
This information is based on audited financial statements, which may be
obtained by writing to the ACLU or the New York State Department of State,
Office of Charities Registration, Albany, New York, 11231.
ACLU and ACLU Foundation Statements of Support, Revenue, Expenses and
Changes in Fund Balances for Year Ending December 31, 1992.
Income Total Funds
Support and Revenue
Interest, dividends, etc. 55,899
Other income 106,114
Total Income 8,983,726
Policy formulation 504,977
Affiliate program 4,125,485
Total program services 6,882,356
Fund raising and development 1,560,899
Management and general 538,903
Total supporting services 2,099,802
Total Expenses 8,982,158
Statement of Changes in Fund Balances
Balance at beginning of year 3,274,263
Excess of support and revenue over expenses 1,568
Balance at end of year 3,275,831*
* Balance includes $1,520,489 in restricted funds whose principal is not
ACLU Operations as a percent of expenses
National Program 31%
Affiliate Program 46% Program Services Combined 77%
Fund raising 17% Supporting Services Combined 23%
Income Total Funds
Support and Revenue
Contributions and grants 8,975,383
Legal expenses awarded 1,324,559
Interest, dividends, etc. 829,494
Other income 188,870
Total Income 12,267,786
Affiliate program 163,273
Annuity payments 64,318
Total program services 9,814,133
Fund raising and development 877,996
Management and general 1,242,983
Total supporting services 2,120,979
Total Expenses 11,935,112
Statement of Changes in Fund Balances
Balance at beginning of year 11,900,584
Excess of support and revenue over expenses 272,674
Balance at end of year 12,173,258*
* Balance includes $11,850,559 in restricted funds whose principal is not
ACLUF Operations as a percent of expenses
National Program 81%
Affiliate programs 1.5% Program Services Combined 82.5%
Annuity payments .5%
Fund raising 7% Support Services Combined 17.5%
American Civil Liberties Union (as of October 11, 1993)
ACLU Executive Staff
Ira Glasser Executive Director
Laura Murphy Lee+ Director, Washington Office
Alma Montclair Director, Administration and Finance
Sandra Sedacca Director, Development
Steven Shapiro++ Legal Director
Loren Siegel Director, Public Education
Barry Steinhardt Associate Director
+ Succeeded Morton Halperin in 1993
++ Succeeded john a. powell in 1993
Projects and Regional Offices
Alvin J. Bronstein Director, National Prison Project
Dorothy Davidson Director, Mountain States Regional Office
Janlori Goldman Director, Privacy and Technology Project
Lucas Guttentag Director, Immigrants' Rights Project
Marjorie Heins Director, Arts Censorship Project
Marcia Robinson Lowry Director, Children's Rights Project
Lewis L. Maltby Director, Task Force on Civil Liberties
in the Workplace
Kate Martin Director, National Security Project
Laughlin McDonald Director, Southern Regional Office
Voting Rights Project
Isabelle Katz Pinzler Director, Women's Rights Project
Estelle H. Rogers Public Policy Director
Reproductive Freedom Project
William Rubenstein Director, Lesbian and Gay Rights
Project/AIDS and Civil
Diann Rust-Tierney Director, Capital Punishment Project
Chief Legislative Counsel,
Catherine Weiss Litigation Director
Reproductive Freedom Project
National Board Of Directors
Nadine Strossen *
Alice Bendheim *
James D. Crawford
Franklyn S. Haiman
James Hall, Jr.
Gwen Thomas *
Richard Zacks *#
John M. Swomley
Frank Askin *
Vivian O.Berger *
James E.Ferguson, II *
Judith Bendich *
Ann K. Benfield
A. Stephen Boyan, Jr.
Barbara A. Brenner
Kenneth B. Clark #
Joyce S. Fiske
Roger W. Fonseca
Mary Ellen Gale *
Margie Pitts Hames
Susan N. Herman *
Gara LaMarche *
Stephen E. Lee
Micki Levin *
Joseph P. Lynch
Elizabeth M. McGeever
E. Walter Miles
Wendy C. Nakamura
Slater E. Newman
R. Samuel Paz
Robert B. Remar *
William F. Reynard
Edmund H. Robinson
Stephen L. Silberman
Bryan A. Stevenson
Thomas B. Stoddard
Philippa Strum *
Allan H. Terl
* Executive Committee Member
# Ex Officio
National Advisory Council
Dr. Kenneth B. Clark
Hon. Birch Bayh, Jr.
Henry Steele Commager
Father Robert F. Drinan
Aileen C. Hernandez
Harry S. Ashmore
Mona H. Bailey
Hon. Mary F. Berry
Hon. John Conyers
Mary Dent Crisp
Hon. John Culver
Mrs. Henry E. I. duPont
Frances T. Farenthold
Rabbi Alvin I. Fine
W. W. Finlator
Hon. Lois Forer
Henry Lewis Gates
Thomas P. Gill
Hon. Jack Gordon
Stephen J. Gould
Dr. Benjamin Hooks
Hon. Shirley Hufstedler
Dr. Milton R. Konvitz
William M. Kunstler
Charles H. Lohah
Hon. George McGovern
Wesley H. Maurer
Maury Maverick, Jr.
John B. Oakes
Barbara Scott Preiskel
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.
Hon. Patricia Schroeder
Stanley K. Sheinbaum
J. McNeil Smith
Lloyd M. Smith
John W. Walker
Hon. Lowell Weicker
Stephen J. Wright
ACLU Foundation Officers Nadine Strossen, President; Ira Glasser,
Executive Director; James C. Calaway, Treasurer; Board of Directors:
Frank Askin, Alice Bendheim, Judith Bendich, Vivian O. Berger, James E.
Ferguson, II, Mary Ellen Gale, Susan N. Herman, Gara LaMarche, Micki
Levin, Robert B. Remar, Philippa Strum, Gwen Thomas, Richard Zacks#
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