The ACLU defends the civil rights and freedoms granted by the Bill of Rights. Broadly defined, these include over a dozen issue areas, such as the First Amendment right to free speech, assembly and religious liberty, the Fourth Amendment right to privacy and to be free from unreasonable searches, and the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the law. We advocate for members of many disenfranchised communities, including people of color, LGBTQ persons, women, immigrants, low income people, homeless, prisoners, students and the elderly.
The death penalty in America is a broken process from start to finish. Death sentences are predicted not by the heinousness of the crime but by the poor quality of the defense lawyers, the race of the accused or the victim, and the county and state in which the crime occurred.
The Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP) focuses its work on the “front end” of the criminal justice system—from policing to sentencing— seeking to end excessively harsh criminal justice policies that result in mass incarceration, over-criminalization, and racial injustice, and stand in the way o
The ACLU strives for an America free of discrimination against people with disabilities, where people with disabilities are valued, integrated members of society who have full access to education, homes, health care, jobs, and families.
“Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom.”
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo in Palko v. Connecticut
When the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one vulnerable group, everyone’s rights are at risk.
The ACLU has a long history of defending the LGBTQ community. We brought our first LGBTQ rights case in 1936 and founded the LGBTQ Project in 1986. Today, the ACLU brings more LGBTQ cases and advocacy initiatives than any other national organization does.
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