Free Speech

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

Cleveland State’s policing of social media suppresses free speech

CLEVELAND -- Cleveland State University is our alma mater, and we are proud of that, because it was an institution where we were absolutely free to explore our thoughts and attitudes as we grew as students. Part of that growth was ...

CLEVELAND — Cleveland State University is our alma mater, and we are proud of that, because it was an institution where we were absolutely free to explore our thoughts and attitudes as we grew as students.

Part of that growth was being allowed to affiliate with progressive groups that we agreed with. An equal part was having to confront groups with opposing views. Some of those views were deeply offensive; even oppressive.

The freedom to engage with that in a safe, open forum allowed us to grow into advocates.

Now the university has announced that it will designate some groups or individuals on campus as being unfit to speak there. Cleveland State has launched an “internal investigation” into anti-Semitic tweets that some former and current students made on personal accounts in recent years. CSU officials have pledged to actively monitor students’ personal social media in the future, sending the message that beliefs that run counter to the university’s will not be tolerated. This decision crosses a serious line.

Some of these tweets had hateful and oppressive things to say. They disparaged Jews on the basis of their ethnicity. They insulted black individuals because of their race and LGBT individuals because of their gender or sexual orientation.

But allowing the university to make itself the arbiter of what is “good” or “bad” speech leaves the campus community’s First Amendment rights up to the whims of individuals in power. If history is any indication, once government officials have that power, they will always overreach. What’s more, if we silence hateful attitudes — and instead allow the school to censor them — we lose the opportunity to learn how to engage with and defeat those attitudes.

CSU’s investigation into student tweets was triggered by canarymission.org, an anonymous website that scours digital media for anti-Semitic comments. Recently, the site published a report on the Cleveland area, revealing tweets from local residents that purportedly used slurs against various groups. Some tweets contained no slurs, but only political statements critical of Israel and supportive of Palestinians. Regardless of the message, the university should not be silencing them.

CSU President Ronald Berkman is understandably concerned about what students say, but he cannot punish opinions students offer on private accounts.

As part of the internal investigation, school officials have called several current students into meetings to address the issue.

This is how free speech is chilled, and differing opinions are silenced. It also sets a dangerous precedent that any student who posts something on their personal social media account that university officials deem offensive could be in line for punishment.

In his letter to the campus, President Berkman pledged to proactively monitor students’ social media accounts for speech that he deems offensive.

What about students who oppose abortion and post photos of fetuses? Or students who oppose police brutality and post curse words when referring to law enforcement? Or students who post graphic photos of Syrian people killed in the civil war?

CSU is opening a Pandora’s Box of potential censorship. School officials should not position themselves as the arbiters of political speech, deciding what may be posted and what may not.

CSU says it will hold a campuswide event in the fall to promote civility and an inclusive atmosphere. That is an idea we can support. The best answer to speech we find challenging is more speech. It provides the opportunity for community members to discuss the underlying issues that led to the speech; for those who were impacted to discuss how it affected them; and for people to collectively determine ways to address hard issues in the future.

The university has a role in serving as a marketplace of ideas and providing space for people to process complex issues. Policing free speech undermines that role. A public university’s power to run surveillance and conformity operations on student speech is constitutionally limited. Students may have their own values, even when offensive and even when counter to those of the institution.

CSU administrators should allow this to be a teachable moment that affirms students’ First Amendment right to express their political beliefs on social media, no matter what those beliefs are.

Christine Link is executive director and Elizabeth Bonham is staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. Both attended Cleveland State University.

This op-ed was featured on Cleveland.com’s opinion page on May 15, 2017

 


Posted to Free Speech, General Civil Liberties

Defending Controversial Speech

The ACLU of Ohio defends everyone’s right to Constitutionally-protected free speech, regardless of the content. Sometimes this means defending unpopular organizations and opinions. We know that if we want speech to be protected for anyone, it ...

The ACLU of Ohio defends everyone’s right to Constitutionally-protected free speech, regardless of the content. Sometimes this means defending unpopular organizations and opinions. We know that if we want speech to be protected for anyone, it must be protected for everyone, including anti-abortion activists that protest outside clinics. Censorship never stops with a single group or idea. By silencing abortion opponents, we increase the likelihood of the government silencing the women that teach us why abortion access deserves the most rigorous defense.

 


Posted to Free Speech, General Civil Liberties

The 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland

In June 2016, Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention. Cleveland delayed approving the event permits for rallies and marches organized by Citizens for Trump and Organize Ohio. On June 14, 2016, the ACLU of Ohio successfully sued the city of ...

In June 2016, Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention. Cleveland delayed approving the event permits for rallies and marches organized by Citizens for Trump and Organize Ohio. On June 14, 2016, the ACLU of Ohio successfully sued the city of Cleveland for restrictions on public assembly. This agreement decreased the size of the Event Zone (an area designated for special restrictions on public assembly and items people may carry) and the official parade route was altered to increase the visibility of demonstrators. Additionally, the ACLU of Ohio monitored the credentialing process and flight restrictions that would restrict access to the convention.

 


Posted to Free Speech, General Civil Liberties

Protecting Students’ Right to Speech

Students have a right to free speech, just like everyone else. In some cases, students have been suspended because of social media posts or because they conducted voter registration drives at a football game. Teachers, parents and administrators ...

Students have a right to free speech, just like everyone else. In some cases, students have been suspended because of social media posts or because they conducted voter registration drives at a football game. Teachers, parents and administrators should encourage student civic engagement rather than stifle it.

 


Posted to Free Speech, Student Rights, General Civil Liberties

Immigration Policy in the Trump Era

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his ...

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his first days in office, President Donald Trump acted on his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by implementing anti-immigrant executive orders.

By January 27th, 2017, three executive orders were signed by the president concerning immigration. The “Muslim Ban” restricted immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry for 120 days, and suspended Syrian refugee entry indefinitely. After numerous court cases, including one filed by the ACLU, federal courts stepped in to stop the “Muslim Ban” from being implemented.

Weeks later, the president signed a revised executive order, dubbed by the media “Muslim Ban 2.0.” The revisions removed Iraq from the list of banned countries as well as language about preferential treatment to non-Muslims, and exempted all visa and green-card holders. It also replaced the complete ban of Syrian refugees with a 120-day freeze. What stayed the same? The discriminatory and unconstitutional core of the executive order. As of March 16, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland stopped the Trump administration from refusing to grant visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries on the grounds of religious discrimination. In Hawaii, the judge went further to also stop the freeze of Syrian refugee entry.

The ACLU will remain vigilant as we fight against unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation, policy, and executive orders. Learn More

 


Posted to Immigrant Rights, Religious Liberty, National Security, Police Practices, Free Speech, Privacy, General Civil Liberties

ACLU of Ohio Files Amicus Brief in Free Speech Case

An attorney has a civil case that’s about to go to trial. He contacts a friend of his, the editor of a local publication, to encourage coverage of the case. The attorney shares public court records and information about the ...

An attorney has a civil case that’s about to go to trial. He contacts a friend of his, the editor of a local publication, to encourage coverage of the case. The attorney shares public court records and information about the court schedule. The case is newsworthy, and on the eve of trial the editor’s publication runs a story that outlines the claims of the attorney’s clients.

And for this … the attorney deserves to be sanctioned for frivolous conduct?

Read ACLU of Ohio Board Member Jonathan Peters’ article in the Columbia Journalism Review.

Read the ACLU of Ohio’s amicus brief.

ACLU Ohio Lawsuit Leads to New Mass Arrest Rules in Cleveland

A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of four protestors has led to new “mass arrest” rules in Cleveland, requiring police to “put a time-stamped ...

A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of four protestors has led to new “mass arrest” rules in Cleveland, requiring police to “put a time-stamped sticker on anyone arrested, then take them to a processing center.”

The ACLU lawsuit was filed against the City of Cleveland over delays in processing those arrested on May 23, 2015, in the wake of the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo. The lawsuit challenged the “ground rules employed by the police for public demonstrations and defined new ones to guide protesters and police during demonstrations being planned for the weeks and months ahead.” The suit said police took many of the more than 70 arrested demonstrators to a hangar at Burke Lakefront Airport for a couple hours, and then to jail for more than a day (for many up to 36 hours). The suit charged the city deliberately delayed bringing the arrested protesters before a judge to keep them from returning to the streets and exercising their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly.

A federal judge ordered the city in July to create the new mass arrest procedure, which was signed on August 6 by Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.

ACLU Ohio Takes RTA to Task on Pepper Spraying

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio recently concluded its investigation of a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police officer pepper spraying people who were ...

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio recently concluded its investigation of a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police officer pepper spraying people who were attending the Movement for Black Lives Convening at Cleveland State University. The incident occurred July 26.

The ACLU found the RTA “does not train its officers to control crowds like the one that swarmed a police car at the end of a Black Lives Matter gathering.” The RTA rejected the findings completely.

The incident happened when an RTA officer took a 14-year-old, ostensibly drunk to the point he couldn’t take care of himself, off a bus near 24th Street. According to an RTA statement, the officer, per procedure, was attempting to transport the youth to a police facility where he would be released to a parent or guardian. The officer resorted to indiscriminately pepper spraying a large group of people, including other officers on the scene in addition to conference attendees who tried to block a police car from transporting the teenager.

“The ACLU stands by its concerns the Greater Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority does not have any policies to provide guidance for controlling unruly gatherings nor provides adequate training to its officers,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link in a statement on the investigation’s results. “In response to our public records request on this incident, the RTA stated that it had no policies and written procedures in place to guide officers in crowd control.”

The Right to Photograph or Videotape Police

Since 9/11, a disturbing pattern of innocent people being harassed for photographing or videotaping police has emerged across the nation. In recent years, the ACLU and photographers groups have challenged restrictions against documenting police actions, and courts have agreed — ...

Since 9/11, a disturbing pattern of innocent people being harassed for photographing or videotaping police has emerged across the nation. In recent years, the ACLU and photographers groups have challenged restrictions against documenting police actions, and courts have agreed — what happens in public can be recorded by the public.

Unfortunately, some law enforcement still attempt to restrict the rights of photographers under the guise of “security” and a mistaken belief that photography is somehow connected to terrorism. In addition, many police fear improved technology that can often launch a small video to Internet infamy through viral marketing and social networking. The ACLU created a landing page for those interested in knowing their rights to photograph and videotape police. Read more about it here.

SLAPP Suits – Chilling Free Speech through the Courts

Update 05.12.14: The ACLU of Ohio works to protect speech on a variety of fronts. While this often means defending an individual against the government, the ACLU has also become involved in SLAPP suits, or strategic litigation against public participation. In ...

Update 05.12.14:

The ACLU of Ohio works to protect speech on a variety of fronts. While this often means defending an individual against the government, the ACLU has also become involved in SLAPP suits, or strategic litigation against public participation. In these cases, corporations or individuals sue a member of the public, often alleging they were defamed, in order to intimidate the defendant into keeping quiet.

In one case, Eric Deters v. James Jay Schifrin, Cincinnati-area attorney Eric Deters is suing the publisher of The Whistleblower, an electronic newsletter that reports on Cincinnati area politics. Deters has filed similar lawsuits against several public officials who questioned his legal knowledge. In October 2011, the ACLU announced that Deters and Schifrin agreed to a settlement. Both parties withdrew their lawsuits, and Schifrin agreed to include the details of the incident, as well as a response from Deters, in a special edition of the Whistleblower.

The ACLU also took up another case, Habeeb v. Smith, where two police officers sued a former state representative for her negative comments after they shot and killed a teenager.

Most recently, the ACLU successfully defeated a classic SLAPP suit in Robert E. Murray, et al. v. The Huffington Post.com, Inc. In September 2013, Mike Stark, a journalist and Huffington Post contributor, wrote an article titled “Meet the Extremist Coal Baron Bankrolling Ken Cuccinelli’s Campaign,” which was published by the Huffington Post. The article was highly critical of Murray Energy Corporation, and its owner, Robert E. Murray.  In response to this article, Mr. Murray initiated a SLAPP suit alleging defamation, false light and invasion of privacy against the Huffington Post and Mr. Stark. On November 27, 2013, we filed a motion to dismiss, and on May 12, 2014, our motion was upheld and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Check out our legal docket for more information about these and other free speech cases.

ACLU Opposes Ohio Law Criminalizing “False” Political Speech

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. The ACLU has filed a legal brief in this case on ...

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus.

The ACLU has filed a legal brief in this case on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, an anti-abortion group that planned to run a 2010 ad against Congressman Steve Driehaus, accusing him of supporting taxpayer funded abortion.

Driehaus responded by filing a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission, arguing that SBA List violated Ohio’s law against making false political statements. SBA List then filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the state law as an unconstitutional restriction on its right to free speech.

After losing his 2010 reelection bid, Driehaus withdrew his complaint. This prompted the lower courts to dismiss the SBA List lawsuit, claiming the group could not longer challenge a law that was no longer being used against it.

SBA List appealed to SCOTUS, arguing that it should still be allowed to challenge the law because it was used to suppress free speech before an election and could be used against other groups in the future.

The ACLU agrees.

This is the question before the high court: Should SBA List be permitted to move forward with its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s law against false political speech?

At the ACLU, we believe people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, regardless of their political persuasion. The government is not the arbiter of truth.

We do not share SBA List’s views on reproductive freedom, but we will continue to defend its right to express those views without interference from the government.

Defending Toni Morrison

At a meeting on September 10, 2013, Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar labeled Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye “pornographic” and ...

At a meeting on September 10, 2013, Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar labeled Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eyepornographic” and called for its removal from state teaching guidelines for high school students. Board member Mark Smith went a step further, calling the novel part of “an underlying socialist-communist agenda.”

The ACLU had a few things to say about that. Wilmington College Professor Laura Struve, Ph.D also penned a blog post for Plunderbund, explaining what’s wrong with banning The Bluest Eye.

Hundreds of people from all over the world followed suit, sending letters to Terhar and Smith, asking them to stop promoting the censorship of important works of literature like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.

Our voices were heard! On September 26, The Ohio Department of Education announced that The Bluest Eye will not be erased from the Common Core text list.

Preparing for Protests

Our nation was founded on political dissent and the right to protest remains one of our most fundamental constitutional rights. Protest groups are beginning to emerge around the state, many affiliated in some way with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that ...

Our nation was founded on political dissent and the right to protest remains one of our most fundamental constitutional rights.

Protest groups are beginning to emerge around the state, many affiliated in some way with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that has captured national headlines. On October 5, 2011, the ACLU of Ohio released an advisory, giving these protesters basic information about their rights, the limitations of those rights, and what to do if those rights are violated. The ACLU of Ohio has also published know-your-rights cards for protesters, in both single and four-up format.

In November 2011, two protesters were arrested while attempting to enter the Toledo City Council chambers with protest signs, despite the fact that city council had no official policy banning signs. The ACLU of Ohio held a press conference, calling on Toledo City Council to adopt an official policy and to show respect for the first amendment. Instead, Toledo City Council voted to ban all signs from city council meetings, a move the ACLU called “disrespectful” to Toledo residents.

Later that same month, The ACLU of Ohio contacted the City of Toledo a second time, following up on complaints from the Occupy Toledo movement about unclear city permit policies and calling on city leadership to set clear, constitutional rules for public demonstrations.

In December 2011, Montgomery County made news with its passage of new rules limiting free speech at Dayton’s Courthouse Square. The ACLU of Ohio spoke out against the rules and is monitoring the situation, as these new restrictions appear to target the Occupy Dayton movement specifically.

Flash Mobs, Social Media, and the First Amendment

“Flash mobs” are groups of people, organized via social media, who suddenly assemble in a set location. Some of these gatherings have resulted in violence or destruction of property, and as a result, a number of Ohio communities are proposing ...

“Flash mobs” are groups of people, organized via social media, who suddenly assemble in a set location. Some of these gatherings have resulted in violence or destruction of property, and as a result, a number of Ohio communities are proposing prohibitions for social media use that may result in criminal activity.

These proposals are overbroad, potentially criminalizing protected speech, and are unnecessary, as the criminal acts that cities seek to punish are already crimes.

In July, 2011 ACLU of Ohio expressed concern over one such proposal, passed by Cleveland City Council after a large group of “unruly teenagers” caused a disturbance at a Cleveland Heights street fair. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson promptly struck down the legislation, his first-ever veto.

In December, Cleveland City Council again passed legislation targeting social media. The ACLU called the legislation a waste of time and resources and once again called on Mayor Jackson to use his veto power. However, the Mayor took no action and the allowed the ordinances to become law. The ACLU of Ohio continues to monitor the results of this unwise legislation, as well as a curfew in Cleveland Heights that was passed as an emergency measure to prevent flash mobs, but has yet to be relaxed.

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

Immigration Policy in the Trump Era

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his ...

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his first days in office, President Donald Trump acted on his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by implementing anti-immigrant executive orders.

By January 27th, 2017, three executive orders were signed by the president concerning immigration. The “Muslim Ban” restricted immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry for 120 days, and suspended Syrian refugee entry indefinitely. After numerous court cases, including one filed by the ACLU, federal courts stepped in to stop the “Muslim Ban” from being implemented.

Weeks later, the president signed a revised executive order, dubbed by the media “Muslim Ban 2.0.” The revisions removed Iraq from the list of banned countries as well as language about preferential treatment to non-Muslims, and exempted all visa and green-card holders. It also replaced the complete ban of Syrian refugees with a 120-day freeze. What stayed the same? The discriminatory and unconstitutional core of the executive order. As of March 16, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland stopped the Trump administration from refusing to grant visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries on the grounds of religious discrimination. In Hawaii, the judge went further to also stop the freeze of Syrian refugee entry.

The ACLU will remain vigilant as we fight against unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation, policy, and executive orders. Learn More

 


Posted to Immigrant Rights, Religious Liberty, National Security, Police Practices, Free Speech, Privacy, General Civil Liberties

The Right to Photograph or Videotape Police

Since 9/11, a disturbing pattern of innocent people being harassed for photographing or videotaping police has emerged across the nation. In recent years, the ACLU and photographers groups have challenged restrictions against documenting police actions, and courts have agreed — ...

Since 9/11, a disturbing pattern of innocent people being harassed for photographing or videotaping police has emerged across the nation. In recent years, the ACLU and photographers groups have challenged restrictions against documenting police actions, and courts have agreed — what happens in public can be recorded by the public.

Unfortunately, some law enforcement still attempt to restrict the rights of photographers under the guise of “security” and a mistaken belief that photography is somehow connected to terrorism. In addition, many police fear improved technology that can often launch a small video to Internet infamy through viral marketing and social networking. The ACLU created a landing page for those interested in knowing their rights to photograph and videotape police. Read more about it here.

ACLU Opposes Ohio Law Criminalizing “False” Political Speech

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus. The ACLU has filed a legal brief in this case on ...

On April 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case of Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus.

The ACLU has filed a legal brief in this case on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, an anti-abortion group that planned to run a 2010 ad against Congressman Steve Driehaus, accusing him of supporting taxpayer funded abortion.

Driehaus responded by filing a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission, arguing that SBA List violated Ohio’s law against making false political statements. SBA List then filed a federal lawsuit, challenging the state law as an unconstitutional restriction on its right to free speech.

After losing his 2010 reelection bid, Driehaus withdrew his complaint. This prompted the lower courts to dismiss the SBA List lawsuit, claiming the group could not longer challenge a law that was no longer being used against it.

SBA List appealed to SCOTUS, arguing that it should still be allowed to challenge the law because it was used to suppress free speech before an election and could be used against other groups in the future.

The ACLU agrees.

This is the question before the high court: Should SBA List be permitted to move forward with its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Ohio’s law against false political speech?

At the ACLU, we believe people have an absolute right to criticize their public officials, regardless of their political persuasion. The government is not the arbiter of truth.

We do not share SBA List’s views on reproductive freedom, but we will continue to defend its right to express those views without interference from the government.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Westboro Baptist Church’s Right to Protest

On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that a family could not sue for damages against the Westboro Baptist Church for protesting near the funeral of a loved one. The case originated out of Maryland, where a ...

On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that a family could not sue for damages against the Westboro Baptist Church for protesting near the funeral of a loved one. The case originated out of Maryland, where a lower court awarded the family $5 million for emotional distress caused by the church’s protest. While the decision acknowledged the family’s grief, the court recognized that we cannot abandon core First Amendment principles designed to protect even the most unpopular speech on matters of public concern.

More information about the case is available here. Learn more about why the ACLU defends the speech of unpopular groups here.

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

Immigration Policy in the Trump Era

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his ...

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his first days in office, President Donald Trump acted on his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by implementing anti-immigrant executive orders.

By January 27th, 2017, three executive orders were signed by the president concerning immigration. The “Muslim Ban” restricted immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry for 120 days, and suspended Syrian refugee entry indefinitely. After numerous court cases, including one filed by the ACLU, federal courts stepped in to stop the “Muslim Ban” from being implemented.

Weeks later, the president signed a revised executive order, dubbed by the media “Muslim Ban 2.0.” The revisions removed Iraq from the list of banned countries as well as language about preferential treatment to non-Muslims, and exempted all visa and green-card holders. It also replaced the complete ban of Syrian refugees with a 120-day freeze. What stayed the same? The discriminatory and unconstitutional core of the executive order. As of March 16, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland stopped the Trump administration from refusing to grant visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries on the grounds of religious discrimination. In Hawaii, the judge went further to also stop the freeze of Syrian refugee entry.

The ACLU will remain vigilant as we fight against unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation, policy, and executive orders. Learn More

 


Posted to Immigrant Rights, Religious Liberty, National Security, Police Practices, Free Speech, Privacy, General Civil Liberties

The Senate Judiciary Committee should leave no stone unturned during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

Download our “Know Your Rights” Publications

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio ...

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio has produced these “Know Your Rights” publications on such topics as free speech, voting rights and police practices among other civil liberties issues.

Our list of downloadable publications is available at www.acluohio.org/KYR

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

Immigration Policy in the Trump Era

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his ...

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his first days in office, President Donald Trump acted on his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by implementing anti-immigrant executive orders.

By January 27th, 2017, three executive orders were signed by the president concerning immigration. The “Muslim Ban” restricted immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry for 120 days, and suspended Syrian refugee entry indefinitely. After numerous court cases, including one filed by the ACLU, federal courts stepped in to stop the “Muslim Ban” from being implemented.

Weeks later, the president signed a revised executive order, dubbed by the media “Muslim Ban 2.0.” The revisions removed Iraq from the list of banned countries as well as language about preferential treatment to non-Muslims, and exempted all visa and green-card holders. It also replaced the complete ban of Syrian refugees with a 120-day freeze. What stayed the same? The discriminatory and unconstitutional core of the executive order. As of March 16, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland stopped the Trump administration from refusing to grant visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries on the grounds of religious discrimination. In Hawaii, the judge went further to also stop the freeze of Syrian refugee entry.

The ACLU will remain vigilant as we fight against unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation, policy, and executive orders. Learn More

 


Posted to Immigrant Rights, Religious Liberty, National Security, Police Practices, Free Speech, Privacy, General Civil Liberties

The Senate Judiciary Committee should leave no stone unturned during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

Know the maps, rules, and your rights at the 2016 RNC

Video » Gearing Up for the 2016 RNC

Read our RNC Guide for Media and Activists

Know your rights » Filming and photographing police

Citizens for Trump, et al. v. City of Cleveland: Documents

1. Complaint filed by ACLU of Ohio Foundation – 6/14/2016

Exhibits and Declarations

Exhibit A – Cleveland, Ohio Code of Ordinances – Parade Permits and Fee – July 2015

Exhibit B – Application for Parade Permit – Organize Ohio

Exhibit C – Application for Parade Permit – Citizens for Trump

Exhibit D – City of Cleveland Press Releases and Permit Information – May 2016

Exhibit E – Ground Floor Video – Proposal for Citizens for Trump

Exhibit F – Map: Official Event Zone

Exhibit G – Parade Route – RNC Cleveland 2016

Exhibit H – Organize Ohio – Letter and Permit Reapplication

Exhibit I – Parade Permit Reapplication – Citizens for Trump

Exhibit J – Agreed Judgment Entry – Key, et al. v. City of Cleveland

Declaration of Lawrence Bresler

Declaration of Brian Davis

Declaration of Tim Selaty

2. Plaintiff’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction – 6/14/2016

Memorandum of Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order – 6/14/2016

3. Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion to Expedite – 6/14/2016

4. [Proposed] Order Granting Preliminary Injunction – 6/14/2016

5. Defendant’s Memorandum in Opposition to Proposed Briefing Schedule – 6/14/2016

6. Plaintiffs’ Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule – 6/15/2016

7. Defendants’ Motion to Compel Joinder of Defendants Committee on Arrangements and Host Committee – 6/16/2016

8. Order Denying Motion to Modify Briefing Schedule – 6/17/2016

9. Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Compel Joinder of Committee on Arrangements and Host Committee – 6/20/2016

10. Defendants’ Motion to Intervene and Expedite – 6/20/2016

11. Corporate Disclosure Statement – Committee on Arrangements – 6/20/2016

12. Defendants’ Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss and in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order – 6/20/2016 (large pdf)

13. Plaintiffs’ Opposition to the Committee on Arrangements’ Motion to Intervene – 6/21/2016

14. Defendants’ Notice of Compliance – 6/21/2016

15. Order Denying Defendants’ Motion to Compel Joinder and Committee on Arrangements’ Motion to Intervene – 6/21/2016

16. Plaintiffs’ Reply to in Support of Their Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and TRO and in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss – 6/22/2016

17. Order of Referral to Judge Dan Aaron Polster for Mediation – 6/23/2016 

18. Transcript of Proceedings Before The Honorable James S. Gwin, Unites States District Judge – 6/23/2016 (Judge’s decision begins on page 60)

19. Minutes of Proceedings – 6/23/2016

20. Minutes and Order – Judge Polster Mediation – 6/24/2016

21. Order Dismissing Case – 6/24/2016

22. Notice of Filing of Settlement Agreement – 7/15/2016

23. Settlement Agreement – Approved – Case Closed – 7/18/2016 

 

Revised Regulations and Maps

Please note that some web browsers may not render the maps with sufficient clarity. If you encounter this problem, you may want to instead open the file with a pdf reader such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Cleveland Board of Control – Resolution re Event Zone for 2016 Republican National Convention – June 29, 2016

City of Cleveland – Official Master Map for 2016 Republican National Convention – June 29, 2016

Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies Announce Security and Traffic Restrictions for the 2016 Republican National Convention – Cleveland, OH July 17-21, 2016

Secret Service Security Zone and Vehicle Restrictions from July 18-21, 2016

Secret Service Security Zone and Vehicle Restrictions for Welcoming Event on July 17, 2016

Event Zone Map for 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland – After Lawsuit – June, 2016

Event Zone and Parade Route for 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland – After Lawsuit – June, 2016

Event Zone Map for 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland – Before vs. After Lawsuit – June, 2016

Parade Route for 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, with Arenas – Before vs. After Lawsuit – June, 2016

Gearing Up for the RNC 2016

Political conventions often result in massive violations of civil liberties. Past conventions have seen arrests of protesters and innocent bystanders, suppression of political speech, racial profiling, police misconduct, mass surveillance, and interference with travel and ...

Political conventions often result in massive violations of civil liberties. Past conventions have seen arrests of protesters and innocent bystanders, suppression of political speech, racial profiling, police misconduct, mass surveillance, and interference with travel and association.

On June 7, 2016, we gathered to discuss what to expect before, during, and after the RNC. Panelists reviewed how the RNC will affect policing and protesting in Cleveland, as well as ways people can get involved.

ACLU Ohio Lawsuit Leads to New Mass Arrest Rules in Cleveland

A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of four protestors has led to new “mass arrest” rules in Cleveland, requiring police to “put a time-stamped ...

A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Ohio on behalf of four protestors has led to new “mass arrest” rules in Cleveland, requiring police to “put a time-stamped sticker on anyone arrested, then take them to a processing center.”

The ACLU lawsuit was filed against the City of Cleveland over delays in processing those arrested on May 23, 2015, in the wake of the acquittal of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo. The lawsuit challenged the “ground rules employed by the police for public demonstrations and defined new ones to guide protesters and police during demonstrations being planned for the weeks and months ahead.” The suit said police took many of the more than 70 arrested demonstrators to a hangar at Burke Lakefront Airport for a couple hours, and then to jail for more than a day (for many up to 36 hours). The suit charged the city deliberately delayed bringing the arrested protesters before a judge to keep them from returning to the streets and exercising their First Amendment rights of speech and assembly.

A federal judge ordered the city in July to create the new mass arrest procedure, which was signed on August 6 by Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.

ACLU Ohio Takes RTA to Task on Pepper Spraying

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio recently concluded its investigation of a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police officer pepper spraying people who were ...

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio recently concluded its investigation of a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police officer pepper spraying people who were attending the Movement for Black Lives Convening at Cleveland State University. The incident occurred July 26.

The ACLU found the RTA “does not train its officers to control crowds like the one that swarmed a police car at the end of a Black Lives Matter gathering.” The RTA rejected the findings completely.

The incident happened when an RTA officer took a 14-year-old, ostensibly drunk to the point he couldn’t take care of himself, off a bus near 24th Street. According to an RTA statement, the officer, per procedure, was attempting to transport the youth to a police facility where he would be released to a parent or guardian. The officer resorted to indiscriminately pepper spraying a large group of people, including other officers on the scene in addition to conference attendees who tried to block a police car from transporting the teenager.

“The ACLU stands by its concerns the Greater Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority does not have any policies to provide guidance for controlling unruly gatherings nor provides adequate training to its officers,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link in a statement on the investigation’s results. “In response to our public records request on this incident, the RTA stated that it had no policies and written procedures in place to guide officers in crowd control.”

ACLU Investigation Uncovers Lack of Policies, Training for RTA Officers in Crowd Control

...
Top of police car – red lights

CLEVELAND—After reviewing records obtained from the Greater Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority concerning an RTA police officer’s use of pepper spray against a crowd at the Movement for Black Lives Convening on July 26, the ACLU has discovered the RTA does not have crowd-control policies in place and does not provide its officers with appropriate training.

“It’s unacceptable that the RTA provides no policies, guidance, nor training to its officers on how to control unruly crowds,” said Drew S. Dennis, staff attorney for the ACLU of Ohio. “Without these sorts of policies and trainings in place, officers are not prepared to properly deal with volatile situations, like what occurred during the Movement for Black Lives Convening.”

At the time, a group of individuals involved with the Movement for Black Lives Convening did not follow orders to move from around a police car holding a young African-American boy being detained.  In response, RTA police officer Sgt. Robert Schwab used pepper spray to propel a mist of noxious fumes indiscriminately into the crowd.

“We cannot stress enough how important it is for our law enforcement to lawfully and effectively deal with large crowds,” Dennis said. “Sgt. Schwab’s response to the crowd and use of pepper spray was inappropriate, reckless, and, ultimately, counterproductive.”

Videos depicting the event show that the crowd swelled after Sgt. Schwab discharged his pepper spray.  Additionally, Sgt. Schwab’s careless use of pepper spray into the crowd affected other police officers.  Records received from the Cleveland State University Police Department show that the pepper spray struck at least one officer in the eyes and another inhaled it.

“This should be a wake-up call to RTA that it must develop protocols on how its officers should control situations involving large crowds,” said Dennis. “As the RNC draws near, undoubtedly law enforcement across the city and the county will be faced with large group protests. It’s vital that law enforcement be given the tools to effectively and constitutionally handle these situations.”

###

Want to Speak Your Mind in Cleveland? New Ordinance Makes It Easier!

Protesting in Cleveland?

Here's What You Need to Know...

Here’s What You Need to Know

Protesters at Cleveland GOP Debate - August 6, 2015

Anyone in Cleveland, as well as elsewhere in Ohio and the country, has the First Amendment right to protest and peaceably assemble. Although the city of Cleveland recently passed a new parade ordinance, you may or may not need to obtain one, depending on where you want to demonstrate; park, public property, or on a sidewalk, or in the street. Keep the following in mind:

    • You don’t need a permit if you’re protesting on public property, such as a park or a public square. You can even protest on a sidewalk, but you and other demonstrators may not block the sidewalk or impede car traffic in any way.

Check out The Rights of Protesters.

    • It’s only necessary to obtain a permit from the city of Cleveland if you need to walk in the street, hold a procession taking up a lot of sidewalk space, or will be crossing intersections in groups that might slow traffic.
    • If an impromptu demonstration is planned as a result of unfolding events, and it meets the above criteria for needing a permit, organizers should notify the Cleveland Division of Police eight hours in advance by calling Field Operations at (216) 623-5011. If you’re unable to reach someone, try calling the general CPD phone number, which is (216) 623-5000.
Protesters at Cleveland GOP Debate - August 6, 2015
  • It’s easy to get a permit if you need one. Download and complete the application. Send the form to the Cleveland Department of Public Works, Office of Events & Marketing at: 500 Lakeside Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114; or by email. Instructions are included on the application. Call (216) 664-2484 for more information.
  • Contact the ACLU with questions. Let us know if you’re having difficulty with this process.

Protester Alert: Groups Do Not Need Parade Permits to Protest in Cleveland, Says ACLU

In response to planned demonstrations for the ...
Megaphone

In response to planned demonstrations for the Republican Presidential Primary Debate in Cleveland, the ACLU of Ohio has released the following protester advisory.

Executive Director Christine Link said, “Anyone in Cleveland and elsewhere in the country has the First Amendment right to protest and peaceably assemble. Despite media reports to the contrary, you do not need a parade permit from the city to peacefully protest, unless you plan to block traffic or cross an intersection as a group.”

Even though protesters are clearly protected by the constitution, the definition of “peaceful protest” may differ from person to person. It is important to differentiate between protesting with protected speech and using civil disobedience. With civil disobedience you are choosing to break the law, and perhaps be arrested to make a point. You need to be prepared for what happens when you are arrested.

More information about your protesting rights available at acluohio.org/protest.

ACLU Releases Protester Advisory

CLEVELAND—With demonstrations occurring in Cleveland, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has released a protester alert. This advisory gives basic information about the rights of protesters, the limitations of those rights, and what to do if these rights are ...

CLEVELAND—With demonstrations occurring in Cleveland, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has released a protester alert. This advisory gives basic information about the rights of protesters, the limitations of those rights, and what to do if these rights are violated.

“We have an important and constitutionally protected right to peacefully protest in this country,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “This advisory will help protesters anticipate and, if possible, avoid confrontations with law enforcement.”

The ACLU protester advisory also makes clear the difference between protected speech and civil disobedience, in which protesters choose to break the law, and face potential arrest in order to make a point.

“The ability to protest about important civic matters is core to our First Amendment rights, and must not be impeded by law enforcement or other government officials,” said Link. “At the same time, protestors should be educated on their rights and what they can and cannot legally do.”

Recently, several groups in the city, many affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, have organized protests of the trial verdict of Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo and the investigation of the death of Tamir Rice.

For more information, visit www.acluohio.org/protest.

Protesters: Know Your Rights!

Although the right to peacefully protest is constitutionally protected, the definition of “peaceful protest” may differ from person to person. Here are some valuable tips on what to do if you are confronted by a police officer or another public ...

Although the right to peacefully protest is constitutionally protected, the definition of “peaceful protest” may differ from person to person. Here are some valuable tips on what to do if you are confronted by a police officer or another public official during a protest.

Bookmark this page! You can also download a wallet size card for printing. If you have an encounter with the police, you can protect yourself and your rights. If you believe that your rights have been violated, please contact an attorney.


What You Need to Know

     Your Rights as a Protester

     Keep in Mind

     Limitations on Speech

     Limitations on Action

     If You Are Arrested


Your Rights as a Protester

  • You have the First Amendment right to peacefully assemble to protest.
  • You can protest in public spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, and parks so long as you aren’t blocking traffic. If anticipating a group large enough to block pedestrian or car traffic, contact your municipal government for more information.
  • You can protest without a permit in response to recent events. Check local laws for restrictions.
  • You have the right to distribute literature, chant, and engage passersby in debate in public spaces without a permit.
  • You can photograph or videotape the police.

Go back to list


Keep in Mind

  • What you say to the police is always important. What you say can be used against you, and it can give the police an excuse to arrest you.
  • You are required to provide your name, address, or date of birth to a law enforcement officer upon request. You can be arrested for refusing to identify yourself to an officer.
  • You do not have to consent to a search of yourself or your car.

Go back to list


Limitations on Speech

  • The government can limit speech by imposing “time, place, and manner” restrictions. This is most commonly done by requiring permits for meetings, rallies, and demonstrations.
  • The First Amendment does not protect speech that incites violence, is obscene, or is threatening
  • It is a federal crime to threaten to harm the president, the vice president, or a major candidate for either office.

Go back to list


Limitations on Action

  • If you endanger others through the manner in which you choose to protest, you can be arrested. A protest that blocks traffic generally requires a permit.
  • You do not have the right to block a building entrance or physically harass people.
  • Protesting on private property is not protected by the law. You can be arrested if trespassing.
  • Do not interfere with, touch or verbally antagonize the police.
  • Avoid carrying any drugs or weapons. If you happen to be arrested, you could face additional charges for their possession.

Go back to list


If You Are Arrested

    • Do not run or resist. It may result in additional charges.
    • The whole process, from arrest to release on bail, should take about 24-36 hours.
    • The police will ask you for basic biographical information and will take your fingerprints and photograph, unless you have been charged with a very minor crime.
    • You will then be interviewed by a court agency so that bail can be assessed. You do not have to answer their questions, but giving accurate information will speed the process.
    • You can hire an attorney to represent you at the arraignment and present arguments regarding bail.
    • The judicial officer will set bail according to several factors (local connections, seriousness of the crime, how many other protesters have been arrested, etc.).
    • There are three main types of crimes that you could be charged with. They are, from least to most severe, a minor misdemeanor, a misdemeanor offense, and a felony offense.

Go back to list

If you feel your rights have been violated, write down everything you can remember, including officers’ badge and patrol car numbers, which agency the officers were from, and any other details.  Get contact information for witnesses. 

Ohio residents who believe their rights have been violated are encouraged to report these concerns to:

ACLU of Ohio
Attn: Intake Department
4506 Chester Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44103

Or go to our Need Legal Help page:
www.acluohio.org/resources/need-legal-help

Go to our Protest page, where we have a number of additional resources.

Rights of Protesters

 

 

Protesting? Know Your Rights

The Rights of Protesters

Be an ACLU On the Ground Reporter! Share your pictures from demonstrations with us. ...
Protesting? Know Your Rights

Be an ACLU On the Ground Reporter! Share your pictures from demonstrations with us.

Protesters in the street

As Americans, we have the right to peacefully protest. Our nation was founded on political dissent, and joining others in peaceful assembly is vital to a thriving democracy.

Although protesters are clearly protected by the First Amendment, challenges from law enforcement to the right to protest have come in many forms, including mass arrests, illegal use of force, curfews and even corralling protesters into so-called “free-speech zones.” Increasingly, new surveillance technologies are used to collect information on an individuals’ activities by their association with or proximity to a given protest. Even without active obstruction of the right to protest, fear of police intimidation can chill public expression and result in self-censorship.

The ACLU monitors the government’s respect for this foundational right. We intervene and advocate—through police departments, the courts, the state legislature, and Know Your Rights presentations and materials—so everyone’s right to protest is respected.

Protesters! You Have Every Right To:

  • Peacefully assemble to exercise your First Amendment right to protest.
  • Generally, you can protest in “public forums” such as streets, sidewalks, and parks. (Private property owners can set rules for speech on their property.)
  • Some events require permits. For example, you may need a permit for:
    • A march that will block traffic or close streets;
    • A rally that uses amplifiers; or
    • Group demonstrations at certain parks or plazas.
  • Distribute literature, chant, and engage passersby in public spaces without a permit.
  • Photograph or videotape the police in public space.

Learn More About Your Right to Protest


Visit Our Free Speech and Police Practices Issue Pages.

Rights of Protesters

 

 

Check out our newest resource, the Ohio Civil Liberties Snapshot

Download our “Know Your Rights” Publications

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio ...

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio has produced these “Know Your Rights” publications on such topics as free speech, voting rights and police practices among other civil liberties issues.

Our list of downloadable publications is available at www.acluohio.org/KYR

Blog Post » Black Lives Matter: Marching on Washington

Protesters: Know Your Rights

Blog Post » Inspiring a New Generation of Activists

ACLU Sues Cleveland, Police Department over Officer Gag Order

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation filed suit this afternoon in federal court in Cleveland, on behalf of three African American police supervisors who were threatened with discipline for criticizing police deployment practices in the press. Lieutenants Robert Miller ...

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation filed suit this afternoon in federal court in Cleveland, on behalf of three African American police supervisors who were threatened with discipline for criticizing police deployment practices in the press.

Lieutenants Robert Miller and Robbin Riley, and Captain Donald Stewart are all members of the African American Supervisors Association (“AASA”). The group, formed in January 2003, advocates for fairness and transparency in the placement of African American supervisors within the Cleveland Police Department.

Of particular concern is a practice called deployment, where officers may be placed in high ranking positions outside of ordinary, merit based civil service channels. In April, members of the AASA raised their concerns about this system with high ranking officials in the police department. In June and July, Lts. Miller and Riley and Capt. Stewart made comments in several Cleveland newspapers critical of the existing deployment scheme. In response, Lts. Miller and Riley received written warnings, cautioning them against speaking to the press again.

The First Amendment protects the rights of public employees to criticize government policy on matters of public concern. Because the AASA is seeking a more equitable system of deployment, that provides better career opportunities for African American Supervisors, the comments of Lts. Miller and Riley and Capt. Stewart are protected expression, and cannot form the basis for discipline.

“Good government depends on transparency,” said B. Jessie Hill, a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University who is handling the case as a volunteer for the ACLU. “Democracy functions best when the government is open to informed, intelligent criticism. These high ranking police officers are doing a public service by exposing flaws in the system.”

The suit seeks a court order declaring the AASA and its members are within their rights to criticize deployment practices in the press, and prohibiting the city and the department from retaliating against them.

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

Immigration Policy in the Trump Era

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his ...

Since 9/11, Muslims have been subjected to unlawful state surveillance, profiling, and deportation for imagined threats to the United States. This treatment has permanent consequences for individuals and their families and is a stain on our collective conscience. In his first days in office, President Donald Trump acted on his campaign promise of “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” by implementing anti-immigrant executive orders.

By January 27th, 2017, three executive orders were signed by the president concerning immigration. The “Muslim Ban” restricted immigration from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 90 days, suspended all refugee entry for 120 days, and suspended Syrian refugee entry indefinitely. After numerous court cases, including one filed by the ACLU, federal courts stepped in to stop the “Muslim Ban” from being implemented.

Weeks later, the president signed a revised executive order, dubbed by the media “Muslim Ban 2.0.” The revisions removed Iraq from the list of banned countries as well as language about preferential treatment to non-Muslims, and exempted all visa and green-card holders. It also replaced the complete ban of Syrian refugees with a 120-day freeze. What stayed the same? The discriminatory and unconstitutional core of the executive order. As of March 16, federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland stopped the Trump administration from refusing to grant visas from six predominantly-Muslim countries on the grounds of religious discrimination. In Hawaii, the judge went further to also stop the freeze of Syrian refugee entry.

The ACLU will remain vigilant as we fight against unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation, policy, and executive orders. Learn More

 


Posted to Immigrant Rights, Religious Liberty, National Security, Police Practices, Free Speech, Privacy, General Civil Liberties

The Senate Judiciary Committee should leave no stone unturned during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

Blog Post » Inspiring a New Generation of Activists

Save the Date » Movies with a Mission: The Puffin Collaborative Film Festival

The ACLU of Ohio is proud to be among the sponsors of the ...

The ACLU of Ohio is proud to be among the sponsors of the Puffin Collaborative Film Festival, to be held from September 21 – 25, 2014.

Here is some additional information about each evening’s events:

Night One – Monday, September 22, 2014
Films that celebrate the stories of people with disabilities

Night Two- Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Stories about the past and future of American life

Night Three – Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Characters taking a stand to protect the environment

Night Four – Thursday, September 25, 2014
Showcasing the changing landscape of American culture with two inspiring and iconic films

 

 

Terrorism Finance Laws Undermine Ohio Muslims’ Religious Freedom, Says ACLU

CLEVELAND- U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies unfairly prevent Muslims in Ohio and around the nation from practicing their religion through charitable giving and undermine America’s diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report out ...

CLEVELAND- U.S. terrorism finance laws and policies unfairly prevent Muslims in Ohio and around the nation from practicing their religion through charitable giving and undermine America’s diplomatic efforts in Muslim countries, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report out late last night. The 164-page report, “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity,” is the first comprehensive report that documents the serious effects of Bush administration terrorism finance laws on Muslim communities, including those in Toledo and other Ohio cities.

“Without notice and through the use of secret evidence and opaque procedures, the Treasury Department has effectively closed down seven U.S.-based Muslim charities, including KindHearts,” said Jennifer Turner, a researcher with the ACLU Human Rights Program and author of the report. “While terrorism financing laws are meant to make us safer, policies that give the appearance of a war on Islam only serve to undermine America’s diplomatic efforts just as President Obama reaches out to the Muslim world. These counter-productive practices alienate American Muslims who are key allies and chill legitimate humanitarian aid in parts of the world where charities’ good works could be most effective in winning hearts and minds.”

According to the report, for which the ACLU conducted 120 interviews with Muslim community leaders and donors in several states including Ohio, federal law enforcement agents are engaging in practices that intimidate Muslim American donors, such as widespread interviews about their donations and surveillance of donations at mosques. Those interviewed say the government’s actions have a chilling effect on Muslim charitable giving, or Zakat, one of the five pillars of Islam and a religious obligation for all observant Muslims.

The Ohio-based charity KindHearts for Charitable Humanitarian Development was established in 2002—after the government shut down a number of Muslim charities—with the express purpose of providing humanitarian aid at home and abroad in full compliance with the law. In February 2006, the Treasury Department froze the funds of the charity, stating only that it was “under investigation.” In a unilateral action, the Treasury Department effectively shut KindHearts down without notice of the basis for the freeze, any hearing, any finding of wrongdoing, or any meaningful opportunity to defend itself. KindHearts has been in limbo for more than three years and has asked for independent judicial scrutiny of the government’s action.

“Post 9/11 policies have created a climate of fear that intimidates donors and prevents Muslims in Ohio from practicing their religion,” said ACLU of Ohio Executive Director Christine Link. “This legacy of the Bush administration tarnishes America’s reputation as a beacon of religious freedom.”

In his speech from Cairo on June 4, President Obama raised the issue of terrorism finance laws that have an adverse effect on Muslim giving. The ACLU report makes comprehensive recommendations to the Obama administration and Congress that are necessary to ensure terrorism financing policies are consistent with American values of due process and religious freedom.

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

The Senate Judiciary Committee should leave no stone unturned during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

Blog Post » 2016 Is Only a Year Away…

Download our “Know Your Rights” Publications

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio ...

Given how complex our nation is, it should come to no surprise how difficult it can be to know each and every one of the legal rights guaranteed to us by the U.S. Constitution. That’s why the ACLU of Ohio has produced these “Know Your Rights” publications on such topics as free speech, voting rights and police practices among other civil liberties issues.

Our list of downloadable publications is available at www.acluohio.org/KYR

The First Amendment guarantees us freedom of expression. Whether it’s the right to protest, freedom of the press, or religious liberty, the ACLU of Ohio is here to defend against government intrusion into our personal, political, and religious lives.

The Senate Judiciary Committee should leave no stone unturned during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general.

Check out our newest resource, the Ohio Civil Liberties Snapshot