The Bill of Rights protects us against suspicionless searches and seizures. It guarantees due process to individuals who are accused of crimes and humane treatment to those who are incarcerated. The ACLU works to ensure that our criminal justice system indeed is just.
Our nation’s misguided and costly "War on Drugs" has undermined civil liberties in many ways — eroding protections against unlawful searches and seizures, imposing overly harsh sentences on individuals, disproportionately impacting communities of color. The ACLU of Washington Drug Policy Project works for policies that treat drug use as a public health concern, not a criminal justice matter, through public education, legislative advocacy, and litigation.
The right to express yourself regardless of the popularity your views is basic to a democratic society. Throughout its history, the ACLU has met challenges from officials who cite reasons old and new to restrict this right. We recognize that if one person can be silenced, all of us are at risk.
In the name of national security, the government has created a comprehensive, unchecked information-sharing network that lacks accountability. Law enforcement agencies can now monitor, collect, and share individuals’ phone calls, e-mails, and records without evidence of criminal activity.
The Constitution guarantees basic rights and freedoms to all people in America, not just U.S. citizens. Advocating fair treatment for non-citizens has been an important part of the ACLU’s work since its founding in 1920, when it opposed the summary arrest and deportation of Eastern European immigrants during the Palmer Raids.
Everyone in America deserves equal treatment under the law regardless of sexual orientation, including the right to marry the partner of your choice. The ACLU works for equal rights and legal protections against discrimination and harassment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
America’s founders had come through the experience of war when they wrote the Bill of Rights. The protections for individual freedom and system of checks and balances they provided must not be sacrificed in the name of national security. The ACLU works to conserve our nation’s traditional values, to maintain an America that is both safe and free.
The right to privacy entails being free from unwarranted government intrusions into our personal affairs. It means that individuals, not the government, should determine how and when others get access to their personal information. The ACLU litigates and advocates for laws and policies to curtail proliferating threats to personal privacy in the Information Age.
Our society must not discriminate against individuals based on their ethnicity or the color of their skin. America has come a long way in reducing racial bias and inequality, yet much remains to be done. The ACLU works with communities of color to remedy the effects of past and continuing discrimination and to have America live up to its values.
All Americans have the right to practice the religion of their choice or no religion at all, free from interference by or endorsement of the government. The ACLU works to safeguard individuals’ rights to worship as they choose and to maintain the separation of religion and government as an essential bulwark of religious freedom.
The Constitution protects the right of individuals to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent, including the right to choose abortion, free from government interference. The ACLU seeks to maintain this fundamental right and opposes efforts to erode it with government-imposed restrictions.
The advance of technology presents both opportunities for and challenges to liberty. As new technologies are implemented, their impacts on civil liberties must be given consideration. The ACLU supports uses of technology that enhance privacy and freedom while opposing those that undermine liberty and move us closer to a surveillance society.
Voting for officials and issues is an essential part of a democratic society. The franchise must never be conditioned on a person’s gender, ethnicity, or wealth. The ACLU works to ensure that no citizen is unfairly denied his or her right to vote.
Liberty doesn’t have a gender, and the ACLU is committed to keeping it that way. We work to ensure that women can enjoy the benefits of full equality and participation in work, education, and every sphere of society.
For liberty to be preserved, it must be nurtured in the hearts and minds of young people. The ACLU educates young people about the many important rights they have and supports those who exercise their rights. In doing so, we help to prepare the next generation of guardians of liberty.