ACLU Caricature-Trumping Fact

When 5 high school students were suspended for wearing American flags on Cinco de Mayo, the conservative commentariat predictably exploded. Many conservative pundits opined that, of course, the ACLU would never get involved in protecting the violation of these conservative students’ First Amendment rights.

Of course, as Conor Friedersdorf points out, the ACLU is acting to protect those students. But admitting that would be akin to admitting that the ACLU is not a liberal monster caricature, but instead an organization that actually means what it says about the First Amendment. So facts are off the table here.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, US Politics, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. John425 says:

    One standard deviation of 5% still makes the ACLU a “liberal monster” with a 95% accuracy rating. Put the facts back on the table please.

  2. tfr says:

    The ACLU picks and chooses which Amendments it acts on. Those which it picks do reflect a left-leaning agenda.

  3. Matt says:

    Picks and chooses which characterization of the ACLU he prefers. Those on which he fixates reflect his blinders.
    There I fixed it for you.

  4. tfr says:

    Ok… there are 10 amendments in the bill of rights. Go ahead and prove to us that the ACLU has protected all 10.

  5. Amendment 1: Freedom of Press, Speech, Religion, and Petition.

    I don’t think you need me to point out the press, speech, and petition cases–those are all widely known. People on the right often think that religion hasn’t been defended much by the ACLU, so I’ll go ahead an show you an example of that:

    ACLU defends the rights of individuals to display nativity scenes on public property:

    Amendment 2: Right to keep and bear arms

    ACLU and NRA work together to protect New Orleans gun owner’s rights:

    Amendment 3: The quartering soldiers amendment
    I can only find one major case involving the third amendment in the last 100 years. I suppose since the ACLU was not involved in the one single case involving the third amendment, this does prove your theorem correct. Although I was not aware that the ACLU had a presence in every case in the nation. If you can find a conservative action group that had a presence in this case, I’ll accept that you are right.

    Amendment IV: Search and seizure.
    And Here:
    And a whole load of others.

    Amendment V: Kent v. Dulles

    VI: Escobedo v. Illinois

    VII: Wright v. Universal Maritime Service Corp

    VIII: Hudson v. McMillian

    IX: Griswold v. Connecticut (albeit this was an amicus brief)

    X: The medical marijuana cases in recent memory ring quite a bell….

    So there you go. Took me about 10 minutes. So this proves to you the ACLU isn’t a leftie pinko boogeyman, right?

  6. tfr says:

    I wouldn’t have even searched for 10 minutes…. this is right from ACLU’s website:

    The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment as a collective right. Therefore, we disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v. Heller.

    What is one to make of an organization which denies the interpretations of the Supreme Court and substitutes its own?

    The Keith Patton case you referenced is interesting, and encouraging, but for the sake of full disclosure: