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Thursday, June 21, 2018

ACLU abandons its historic commitment to Free Speech

A leaked internal document reveals that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has abandoned its historic commitment to Freedom of Speech

The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2018, p. A17

"The American Civil Liberties Union has explicitly endorsed the view that free speech can harm ‘marginalized' groups by undermining their civil rights. 'Speech that denigrates such groups can inflict serious harms and is intended to and often will impede progress toward equality,' the ACLU declares in new guidelines governing case selection and Conflicts Between Competing Values or Priorities.

...The speech-case guidelines reflect a demotion of free speech in the ACLU’s hierarchy of values. Their vague references to the 'serious harm' to ‘marginalized' people occasioned by speech can easily include the presumed psychological effects of racist or otherwise hateful speech, which is constitutionally protected but contrary to ACLU values. Faced with perceived conflicts between freedom of speech and 'progress toward equality,' the ACLU is likely to choose equality. If the Supreme Court adopted the ACLU’s balancing test, it would greatly expand government power to restrict speech...

"The ACLU leadership had apparently hoped to keep its new guidelines secret, even from ACLU members. They’re contained in an internal document deceptively marked, in all caps, “confidential attorney client work product.” I’m told it was distributed to select ACLU officials and board members, who were instructed not to share it...

 Wendy Kaminer