The death penalty in America is a broken process from start to finish. Death sentences are predicted not by the heinousness of the crime but by the poor quality of the defense lawyers, the race of the accused or the victim, and the county and state in which the crime occurred.
The rights guaranteed to criminal suspects, defendants, offenders and prisoners are not mere technicalities. They are fundamental political rights that protect all Americans from governmental abuse of power.
The ACLU strives for an America free of discrimination against people with disabilities, where people with disabilities are valued, integrated members of society who have full access to education, homes, health care, jobs, and families.
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect everyone’s right to due process of law.
A cornerstone of our society, equal protection of the law is guaranteed by the Fifth and 14th Amendments and reinforced by hundreds of local, state and federal civil rights laws. The ACLU fights to ensure that no one is subjected to unconstitutional discrimination.
The First Amendment protects our freedom to speak, assemble, and associate with others. These rights are essential to our democratic system of governance.
The District of Columbia is home to many employees of the federal and D.C. governments, as well as the agencies that employ them. These agencies are bound by the Constitution even when acting as an employer.
Upholding the rights of the politically disenfranchised is vital; when the government has the power to deny legal rights and due process to one group of people, it puts all of our rights in danger.
The ACLU works to ensure equal treatment and equal dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. For example, we are working to safeguard marriage equality, ensure fair treatment of LGBT families, and end discrimination in the workplace.
Illegal government spying, indefinite detention without charge or trial and government-sponsored torture programs after 9/11 transcended the bounds of law and our most treasured values in the name of national security.
Police officers have the vital and difficult job of protecting public safety – a job they must perform without trampling individuals’ civil liberties and civil rights.
In this age of ever-expanding surveillance, governmental database aggregation, and data mining, our right to privacy is under assault. The ACLU works to protect our personal privacy in a range of settings.
Despite enormous progress, the promise of fair and equal treatment for people of color remains elusive. The ACLU is committed to combating racism and racial discrimination.
The right to practice religion, or no religion at all, is among the most fundamental of the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. It is sometimes wrongly imagined that the ACLU does not vigorously protect rights of freedom to exercise religion, particularly of Christians.
Personal privacy and reproductive rights are among our most important constitutional liberties. The ACLU seeks to uphold the rights of individuals to decide freely, without governmental hindrance or coercion, whether or not to bear a child.
District citizens bear the burdens of American citizenship without its full benefits. Congress dictates how D.C. tax dollars are spent, but we lack voting rights in either house of Congress. The ACLU supports full representation and statehood for the District of Columbia.
Women have made great strides in the fight for equality, but gender bias continues to create huge barriers for many, especially poor women, women of color, and immigrant women.
The extent to which we protect the constitutional rights of young people strongly influences how much they respect and understand those rights as adults.