Empower Wisconsin | April 14, 2020
By Adam Jarchow
One would think the most well-known civil rights group in the country — the American Civil Liberties Union — would be busily fighting the #EversEdicts. Instead, in Wisconsin, where civil rights have been trampled at lightening speed, the Badger State branch of the ACLU has been completely MIA.
It hasn’t sued on behalf of one church or parishioner, or one bar or restaurant owner, one group that wants to assemble, one group that wants to protest, or one business owner who has had her property taken without compensation. Why not? Unfortunately, this lack of action is consistent with the ACLU’s recent record of suing only on behalf of “liberal” (i.e. Democrat) causes.
There was a time that the most venerable civil rights organization in the country would take cases that made liberals and conservatives alike angry or uncomfortable, because the ACLU was truly a non-partisan group of freedom fighters. It was well known for its absolutist First Amendment position. The old saying, “I disapprove of what you say, but I would defend to the death your right to say it,” comes to mind.
There was a time the ACLU would fight as hard for the right to protest abortion providers as it would fight for the right to have an abortion. No more. Now the ACLU will only fight for the latter. That’s an unfortunate loss for all of us. Today, the ACLU is fighting free and fair elections, siding with their left-wing pals to postpone elections and kill Wisconsin’s voter integrity laws. Instead of standing up for the sacred rights for places of worship to practice their faith and assemble, the Wisconsin chapter of the ACLU is sending out press releases urging sheriff’s offices to stop cooperating with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
The dissolution of the ACLU’s principles are most on display when it comes to the First Amendment. In the 1970s the ACLU famously defended Nazis who wanted to march in Skokie, Ill (a town with a large Jewish population). But now, the ACLU’s absolutism has given way to political correctness. It has decided it will only fight for causes that align with the political views of its liberal board. So the right to boycott Israel has become its new cause of choice. This is an alarming development for liberty. But it explains perfectly why, in the face of unprecedented violations of civil liberties in Wisconsin, the ACLU is MIA.
Perhaps it’s time for an organization that is thoroughly committed to protecting the civil rights of Americans no matter what their political views.