National Organization for Marriage Appeal for Intervention Dismissed!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismisses the National Organization for Marriage’s ("NOM") appeal for intervention in Geiger vs. Kitzhaber and Rummell vs. Kitzhaber

August 27, 2014 - On May 19, Judge Michael McShane struck down Oregon’s laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage. NOM had sought to intervene in that case, which Judge McShane denied. NOM then tried to appeal that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today’s decision dismissing NOM’s appeal confirms that NOM has no standing to participate in the case.

“In the past year there have been more than 30 court rulings overturning state bans on marriage between same-sex couples,” said David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon. “The legal consensus is clear that these bans are unconstitutional. Marriage is a fundamental freedom, and freedom means freedom for everyone.”

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There Is No 5-Second Rule for the First Amendment, Ferguson

By Lee Rowland, Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy & Technology Project

This piece originally ran at POLITICO.

Tear gas, rubber bullets, and assault weapons; free speech zones, gags, and press pens: This is the arsenal of the police state. Some of these tactics are physical. The other ones - all the more pernicious for their quiet coercion - impose a veil of silence over the actions of law enforcement. And each of these weapons has been unleashed on the people of Ferguson, Missouri, since the killing of Michael Brown.

In the first few nights of protest, Ferguson and St. Louis County police responded with a truly inconceivable show of force. Officers suited up in DHS-funded military hand-me-downs, outfitted with goggles, machine guns, sniper rifles, riot gear and gas masks. Distressing warzone-like images flickered into the public consciousness: photos of armed police cohorts pointing loaded automatic weapons at citizens with their hands in the air, women and children's faces streaming with tear gas and milk and white officers targeting black protesters like it's Selma circa 1964.

The message was clear: The public is the enemy.

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Happy Birthday VRA!

By Justin M. Loveland, Outreach Intern


Forty-nine years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law to prohibit racial discrimination in voting. This long-overdue Act finally outlawed the worst of the Jim Crow laws, including debilitating poll taxes, literacy tests that were vaguely worded or required obscure political knowledge, or the racist Grandfather Clause that gave voting rights to those whose ancestors voted before the Civil War – white men. While the VRA symbolized a leap toward equality, last summer the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to voting rights nationwide by striking down a coverage formula used in a key part of the Act.


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Marijuana Legalization Initiative: A Common Sense Path Forward for Oregon

By Executive Director David Fidanque

On Tuesday, two retired prosecutors argued that Oregon voters should reject the initiative designed to reform our failed approach to marijuana.

While the prosecutors acknowledge it is just a matter of time before marijuana use by adults 21 and older will be legalized, regulated and taxed in Oregon, they demand that it be done only on their terms.

Let’s step back for a minute. In the last decade, Oregon police have arrested or cited more than 95,000 people for marijuana offenses, according to the Oregon State Police. That’s like arresting or citing every single person who lives in Hillsboro. Last year, a person was arrested or cited for a marijuana offense every 41 minutes in Oregon.

It’s more than a waste of money; it’s a distraction. Police ought to focus on keeping our roads safe and stopping violent criminals, not clogging our courts and jails with people who buy pot. And people who buy marijuana ought to be taxed for it. Right now marijuana sales are feeding black market cartels that fuel violent crime.

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Court Rules No Fly List Process Is Unconstitutional and Must Be Reformed

Court Orders Government to Give Plaintiffs in ACLU Lawsuit a Chance to Clear Their Names

June 24, 2014 – In a landmark ruling, a federal judge struck down as unconstitutional the government’s procedures for people on the No Fly List to challenge their inclusion. The decision came in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit brought on behalf of 13 Americans who found themselves on the list without any notice, reasons, or meaningful way to get off it. 

The judge ordered the government to create a new process that remedies these shortcomings, calling the current process “wholly ineffective” and a violation of the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process. The ruling also granted a key request in the lawsuit, ordering the government to tell the ACLU’s clients why they are on the No Fly List and give them the opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the list before the judge. 

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Scappoose School District Withdraws Policy and Settles ACLU Lawsuit

June 17, 2014 – The ACLU of Oregon announced today that it has settled a lawsuit against the Scappoose School District on behalf of a high school student and her mother over a policy that had prohibited any communications about the school’s dance team by team members or their families.

Under the terms of the settlement, the district agreed that its social media policy had violated the free speech rights of students and their parents. In response to the ACLU’s lawsuit, the school district withdrew the policy in January and worked with the ACLU to finalize an appropriate settlement that included a written apology sent in a recent newsletter to the school community.

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