The ACLU Leadership
ÃÂ· Ira Glasser, Executive Director
ÃÂ· Nadine Strossen, President
ÃÂ· Laura Murphy, Director of the Washington office
ÃÂ· Steven Shapiro, Legal Director
ÃÂ· Loren Siegel, Director of Public Education
ÃÂ· Barry Steinhardt, Associate Director
The mission of the ACLU is to assure that the Bill of Rights are preserved for each new generation. The Constitution authorizes the government to act. The Bill of rights limits that authority.
The American Civil Liberties Union is the nation's foremost advocate of individual rights. The ACLU is concentrated in litigating, legislating, and educating the public on many issues affecting the individual freedom in the United States. The ACLU is not a public defender like Legal Services or Public Aid. It does not handle criminal cases or civil disputes. They are neither liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. The ACLU is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 275,000 member public interest organization devoted exclusively to protecting the basic civil liberties of all Americans, and extending them to groups that have traditionally been denied to them.
For almost 70 years the ACLU has been a national institution, and is widely recognized as the country's leading advocate of individual rights.
When Roger Baldwin founded the ACLU in 1920, civil liberties were in a terrible state. Citizens were sitting in jail for holding antiwar views. U.S. Attorney General Palmer was conducting raids upon aliens suspected of holding unorthodox opinions. Racial segregation was the law of the land and violence against blacks was routine. Sex discrimination was firmly in place considering that women didn't even have the right to vote until 1920. Constitutional rights for homosexuals, the poor, prisoner, mental patients, and other special groups were literally unthinkable. The Supreme Court hadn't even upheld a single free speech claim under the First Amendment.
The ACLU is frequently asked why...