On The Media

Guantanamo Diary

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bob speaks with Larry Siems, the editor of Guantanamo Diary, a memoir by a Guantanamo Bay inmate imprisoned for more than 12 years without charge.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Torture, Drones, Surveillance... And Civil Liberties

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Director of the ACLU's National Security Project looks at the new Senate Report on torture in interrogation, as well as President Obama’s war legacy.

Comments [17]


Final Barrier for Transgender Community in New Jersey: Birth Certificates

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

The transgender community in New Jersey is asking the state to catch up to the federal government and allow amendments to birth certificates.


The Leonard Lopate Show

When did the Police Turn into the Military?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Footage from the protests in Ferguson, Mo. have portrayed the St. Louis suburb as a modern-day war zone, with police officers in armored vehicles and military grade weapons. Kara Dansky, a senior counsel at the ACLU, explains how and why federal programs have created incentives for police departments to use paramilitary tactics and artillery.

Comments [19]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Government Surveillance and You

Monday, November 25, 2013

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union and director of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, connects the dots on government surveillance: where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the NSA’s phone records collection program, and Jaffer is arguing against the Justice Department attorneys.

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Newark Stop and Frisk Policy Aims for Transparency

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Newark Police officers are now be required to record the age, gender, race and the circumstances surrounding each stop conducted in the city.


New Jersey News

Lawsuit: Taxpayer Dollars for Religious Schools

Monday, June 24, 2013


The New Jersey American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit today challenging the state’s decision to award more than $11 million in taxpayer funds to two religious schools.



Update: NJ Police Complaint System Broken

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


A New Jersey Public Radio investigation has found that the citizen complaint process at local police departments is riddled with problems, including retaliation and a lack of oversight from the state.

Comments [21]

Transportation Nation

Maryland Expanding Audio Recording On Buses Over Privacy Objections

Friday, October 19, 2012

Half the MTA Maryland fleet of buses will be equipped with audio recording equipment by the end of the year. (MTA photo)

(Elliott Francis and Marti Johnson - Washington, D.C., WAMU) The Maryland Transit Administration is recording conversations between bus drivers and passengers, which is prompting critics to peg the audio recordings as violations of privacy.

The MTA began recording audio on 10 buses in Baltimore this week, with plans to expand to half the fleet by next summer. The agency runs local buses in the Baltimore-Washington area with commuter routes serving outlying communities. The buses are already equipped with video cameras that sport microphones — they just have to be switched on.

The state attorney general's office says the addition of audio doesn't violate Maryland's wiretapping law, but attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union say bus riders shouldn't have to sacrifice their privacy rights.

The audio recordings are an attempt to increase commuter safety, says MTA information officer Terry Owens.

"We were convinced that this additional tool would help us better safeguard our system, so we have this system in place on ten of our buses, testing the technology to make sure it's effective," he says.

There are signs on the buses letting riders know they're being recorded. But the American Civil Liberties Union staff attorney David Rocah says recording the conversations violates riders privacy rights.

"I don't think public transit riders should have to give their legitimate expectation of privacy and their ability to have a private conversation as a condition of riding a bus," Rocah says.

MTA says the state attorney general's office says that there is no legal expectation of privacy on public buses, but some state legislators are ready to take up the issue in the next general Assembly, the ACLU says. State Sen. Brian Frosh says the General Assembly will most likely set standards for oversight and accountability.

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The Truth

Do You Have a Minute for Equality?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

A canvasser gets the donation she needs, but it will cost her... Performed by Chet Siegel and Tom Ligon, with Matt J. Weir, Quentin Loder, and Melanie Hoopes. From an outline by Chet Siegel. Produced & Directed by Jonathan Mitchell, with sound...


It's A Free Country ®

As Republicans Block DISCLOSE Act, Romney's Position Unclear

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

After Senate Republicans won a vote along party lines to kill the DISCLOSE Act, campaign finance reformers may have to wait until after the election to see any meaningful legislation come before Congress.

Comments [1]

On The Media

The Government vs. the Freedom of Information Act

Friday, October 28, 2011

Currently, the government can avoid Freedom of Information Act requests in certain narrow circumstances by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of documents.  But new rules proposed by the Department of Justice would allow the government to lie to requesters, saying that documents don't exist even when they do. Brooke talks to Michael German, Policy Council for the American Civil Liberties Union, about this proposed rule change.

Smog - "Held"

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Civil Liberties After 9/11

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Nadine Strossen, former head of the ACLU, joins us to talk about how civil liberties have changed since 9/11, from domestic surveillance, body scanners, and indefinite detention to an expansive national security establishment that remains largely hidden from view.

Comments [12]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Underreported: Crackdown on Protests in Puerto Rico

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Since last summer, there has been a sometimes violent standoff between students at the University of Puerto Rico and the government over an announced budget cut and an increase in tuition fees, but that may just be part of a wider pattern of First Amendment violations. Jennifer Turner, a Human Rights Researcher at the ACLU and Rosie Perez, who just returned from a fact-finding mission in Puerto Rico, describe how authorities have dealt with students, striking workers, journalists, and civilians in recent months.

Comments [2]


Pro-Muslim Groups and Critics Mount a 'Propaganda War' (VIDEO)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

A few weeks ago, Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch and one of the most outspoken critics of Islamic groups, said the debate among Muslim organizations, their allies and their opponents was to a large degree "a propaganda war in the information battle space."

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Transportation Nation

BREAKING: ACLU Gearing Up To Sue D.C. Metro Over Bag Searches

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Gallery/Chinatown DC Metro Station (photo by Jill Robidoux)

(Washington D.C. - David Schultz, WAMU) The DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has been unhappy with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's bag searches since WMATA began the searches in December. Now they're seeking people who've had their bags searched -- and so would have legal standing in court to challenge the program's constitutionality.

Johnny Barnes, the director of the local ACLU, announced the potential lawsuit this morning. "The WMATA board is on collision course with the ACLU and its partners," he said.  "In 2008, Metro considered bag searches but decided against them. In December 2010, they decided to do them. In between nothing happened...Suspicionless searches don’t meet constitutional muster, but if you show a special need they do. So what’s the special need?"

Late last year, Metro began searching the bags of its train riders in an effort to combat terrorism. It stationed police officers at unannounced train stations, where they would subject the bags of randomly selected passengers to mechanical - and sometimes physical - searches.

Similar programs in Boston and New York City have been upheld in court. But Barnes says Metro's bag search program is different because it was not implemented in response to a specific threat.

In the weeks before the program went into effect in D.C., two people were arrested for plotting separate terror attacks against Metro. But Metro's top executives have said publicly that there was no specific threat that prompted them to implement the bag searches.

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Advocates Applaud Obama's Decision to Drop Defense of Anti-Gay Marriage Law

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Gay rights advocates and civil libertarians are applauding the announcement by the Obama administration Wednesday that they will no longer defend the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, the law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Comments [1]

The Takeaway

Federal Court Rules CIA Prisoners Cannot Sue Over Extraordinary Rendition

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Fransisco dismissed a lawsuit brought by former prisoners of the C.I.A. who claim that they were tortured in overseas prisons. The divided 6-5 decision is the latest episode of the ongoing legal drama over extraordinary rendition, a C.I.A. program that allegedly transfers prisoners to foreign countries in order to torture them.

The decision is a legal victory for the Obama administration, which has argued that such lawsuits are dangerous as they might expose state secrets. The argument of state secrecy was also used to obstruct lawsuits during the Bush administration.