Why Has ACLU Been Silent? Oh.

Complaints from Rush Limbaugh tthat the ACLU is ignoring the intrusions into America's civil liberties by the TSA are completely unfounded.

Radley Balko notes that the complaints from everyone from Rush Limbaugh to bloggers you’ve never heard of that the ACLU is ignoring the intrusions into America’s civil liberties by the TSA have one wee problem: They’re completely unfounded.

By all indications, not only has the ACLU not been silent on this issue, they’ve been way out in front of just about everyone else.

Well, sure, they’ve paid lip service.  But what have they done, for example, about the new scanners and pat down procedures that has so many of us up in arms?

I’d imagine they haven’t yet filed suit because the new procedures are, well, new. Generally speaking, you need to find someone whose civil rights were violated before you can file a civil rights lawsuit. And this, as the ACLU notes, is one purpose of collecting the stories.

More than a thousand of them so far, apparently.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. john personna says:

    “Well, sure, they’ve paid lip service. But what have they done, for example, about the new scanners and pat down procedures that has so many of us up in arms?”

    Your link shows quite a few things they’ve done in investigation. FOIA requests, etc.

    If you don’t like their timeline, file suit yourself, but setting the bar that their suit is the only thing that proves their interest is pretty bizarre.

  2. Jeff says:

    didn’t the ACLU file suit against the Arizona law without a single person claiming a civil rights violation ?

  3. James Joyner says:

    @john: The question was rhetorical, for the sake of setting of Radley’s answer.

  4. john personna says:

    Sorry, I tried to make that determination but had not enough text 😉

  5. Davebo says:


    Re: your question.

    “The individual plaintiffs include a 70-year-old U.S. citizen of Spanish and Chinese descent who says he’s been stopped twice by Arizona police asking for “papers”; a Latino citizen studying at Arizona State University whose New Mexico driver’s license would not be accepted as proof of citizenship under the law; and a Jamaican immigrant who fears police will not believe the photocopy of a judge’s order that he be allowed to stay in the country, the only paperwork he has that gives him legal status here.”