"Intolerance will not be tolerated in Indiana—especially toward young people in our schools," Kit Malone, Transgender Education, ACLU of Indiana View the live Facebook video of this...
The day before President Trump took office, the ACLU took our first action against this new administration by filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents related to the new...
February 7, 2017 As long as there is an American Civil Liberties Union (and we've been around for nearly 100 years), we will take a stand for what is right. We're stronger when you stand...
FEEL LIKE YOU'RE AT RISK? The ACLU has compiled a list of resources to help you. Since the election we've received a tremendous outpouring of support, and we want you to know we are working...
View the live Facebook video of this event.
For Immediate Release:
February 23, 2017
INDIANAPOLIS—Groups that fight against discrimination and stand up for the rights and protections of all individuals, including the ACLU of Indiana, Brothers United of Indianapolis, Sisters United of Indianapolis, Freedom Indiana, and Indiana Youth Group, came together today and spoke in solidarity against the Trump administration's rescission, yesterday, of Title IX guidelines issued by President Obama in May of 2016.
"We are deeply disappointed by the Trump administration's decision to roll back guidance that simply urges schools to treat transgender students with the same respect and dignity as their classmates," said Kit Malone, Transgender Education and Advocacy Program Consultant, ACLU of Indiana. "Transgender students face discrimination in schools and experience worse educational outcomes, and poorer psychological well-being, than their peers. We should be fighting to protect our nation's children instead of turning our backs on them."
Since the election we've received a tremendous outpouring of support, and we want you to know we are working diligently to address everyone's concerns. As we gather this season around holiday tables, we can all be ready to have a civil discussion about our concerns and what actions we can take. Here are some resources to help you.
FOIA Filed As Part of Coordinated Campaign With 50 ACLU Affiliates
For Immediate Release:
February 2, 2017
WASHINGTON—The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a Freedom of Information Act request today with its local U.S. Customs and Border Protection office to expose how Trump administration officials are interpreting and executing the president's immigration ban, acting in violation of federal courts that ordered a stay on the ban's implementation. The filing today is part of a coordinated effort from 50 ACLU affiliates, which filed 18 FOIAs with CBP field offices and its headquarters spanning 55 international airports across the country.
"Hoosiers from across the state have expressed deep concern over the president's executive order. They want to know how the order is being implemented in our local airports and whether it is consistent with the Constitution and recent federal court orders," said Jane Henegar, executive director for the ACLU of Indiana.
Media reports indicate that CBP officials detained and deported individuals, even after federal courts ordered officials to stop enforcing the executive order following a court challenge from the ACLU and other organizations.
"It is imperative that the public learn if federal immigration officials are blatantly defying nationwide federal court orders that block President Trump's unconstitutional immigration ban," said Mitra Ebadolahi, Border Litigation Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. "To shed light on this critical issue of pressing public concern, 49 ACLU affiliates are using the Freedom of Information Act to expose Customs and Border Protection's abuse of power."
The day before President Trump took office, the ACLU took our first action against this new administration by filing a Freedom of Information Act request seeking documents related to the new President's potential conflicts of interest. This first legal action is part of the ACLU's 7-Point Plan of Action to fight back against the Trump administration when it seeks to violate the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero has shared the 7-Point Plan of Action in his blog.
The plan is supported by our new Constitution Defense Fund, established after the election, to provide the manpower and resources necessary to take on the most powerful government on earth.
Updated: Dec. 13, 2016
On Dec. 12, Knightstown officials removed a religious symbol from the town square in response to a lawsuit filed Dec. 8 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana on behalf of Knightstown, Ind. resident Joseph Tompkins. The lawsuit challenges the Town of Knightstown's display of a Latin cross on a large evergreen tree on the square. The tree is also decorated with lights and ornaments in celebration of Christmas. The plaintiff, citing a violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, sought only to have the religious symbol removed, and did not seek monetary damages for the suit. Attorneys are looking at a resolution to this case.
In 1986, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in ACLU of Illinois v. City of St. Charles, affirmed a preliminary injunction stopping the City of St. Charles from displaying a cross on a television antenna that was on top of its fire department.
"The cross is the best known symbol of Christianity and Knightstown's prominent display of this symbol represents an establishment of religion in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution," said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director.
When Donald J. Trump takes the Presidential Oath, We the People will also take an oath. The People's Oath, a social media and digital campaign gives everyone the opportunity to take their own oath to support and defend the Constitution and to signal that together we stand ready to defend and protect everyone's rights.
Please take a moment to watch the video and take the oath yourself and reach out to your family friends, colleagues, and neighbors to urge them to do the same.
Dec. 12, 2016
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana today filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, New Albany Division, on behalf of Mary Hazel Upton against the Town of Clarksville, Indiana, alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit challenges the city's warrantless inspections of Upton's property and two town ordinances, Indiana Code of Ordinances, Section 97.03 and Clarksville Ordinance No. 20115-G-05, which have been cited by town officials as justification for entering her property without permission and without a warrant.
Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director, said "The non-consensual and warrantless inspection of our client's property is unconstitutional."
February 7, 2017
As long as there is an American Civil Liberties Union (and we've been around for nearly 100 years), we will take a stand for what is right. We're stronger when you stand with us. We started this feature because we're hearing from supporters like you every day, and we want to help you raise your voice in ways that can make a real impact. We'll share more things to do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Over the past year, a historic level of activism and protest has spilled out into our nation's parks, streets, and sidewalks — places where our First Amendment rights are at their height. And yet, in several states including Indiana, legislators have followed up on this exuberant activism with proposed bills that are not only far less inspiring, but also unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional.
Disappointingly, SB 285 is one such bill.
Even though these bills are cloaked with concerns about obstruction or public safety, their effect is singular: chilling protest and suppressing dissent. It is disappointing that our lawmakers would rather silence the voices of their constituents than listen and engage with them. It is unconstitutional and un-American and we at the ACLU are doing everything we can to stop it.
Editors: Please contact Christy Glesing at (317) 667-5991 for more information or to publish.
The First Amendment and existing federal and state law protect religious speech and mandate certain accommodations for religious exercise in government institutions. What the First Amendment does not permit is government endorsement of, or preference for, religious speech and subject matter in public schools.
By forcing public schools to introduce religious curricula and open up public for a for religious speech, HB 1024 puts teachers and school administrators at risk of violating the First Amendment. In sum, HB 1024 takes away the autonomy of school districts to avoid policies and practices that make them susceptible to legal challenges under the United States Constitution.
Since 2006, the ACLU of Indiana has been conducting bimonthly educational panels called First Wednesdays. In 2014, we began offering the events in communities across Indiana. The one-hour conversations focus on civil liberties and constitutional rights. Topics have included free speech, privacy rights, racial justice, LGBTQ rights and much more. In 2012, the Indiana Bar Foundation recognized First Wednesdays with its law-related education award.
No doubt, the distinctions between the First Amendment's protections for an individual's free exercise of religion and the First Amendment's prohibition against government's endorsement of religion can be confusing and complicated. However, each of the arguments that Mr. Heck [ACLU declares 'war' on the Constitution, 12/18/16] presents has been addressed and squarely rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is what past U.S. Supreme Court decisions say about the issues surrounding the town of Knightstown's decision to place a cross on top of a Christmas tree in the town square:
Nov. 17, 2016
The first president's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation still speaks to America:
"We are thankful... for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge...."
—George Washington, 1789
The same year George Washington wrote these words, the Bill of Rights was introduced. Those first amendments to our Constitution are the bedrock for the individual liberties we all enjoy as Americans: your rights to religious liberty, free speech and assembly, a free press and privacy. These and other freedoms are essential to a functioning democracy.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 31, 2016
Indianapolis — The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana today filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Bedford, Ind. resident who is challenging a newly enacted city ordinance regulating yard signs that has the effect of stifling his political expression. The lawsuit claims that the ordinance violates the First and the Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
"The Ordinance's limitation of one general use sign on a resident's lawn is a particularly oppressive during election time when citizens wish to voice their support and opposition for multiple candidates and political issues." —Jan Menz, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney
The ACLU of Indiana filed the case against the City of Bedford on behalf of Samuel Shaw, who is seeking to stop the city from enforcing City Ordinance 15-2016, which was enacted in September.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 25, 2016
Decision reverses trial court's order to dismiss, saying case managers have a right to bring an action to force DCS to comply with state law
Indianapolis – Today the Court of Appeals of Indiana handed a victory to case managers at the Indiana Department of Child Services more than a year after they filed a class action lawsuit challenging the failure of DCS to adequately staff the agency as required by law.
In July, 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana brought the class-action lawsuit against DCS on behalf of case manager Mary Price and other case managers for violating Indiana Code § 31-25-2-5, which mandates the maximum number of caseloads case managers may have. Today's decision reverses the trial court's Feb., 2016 order to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that case managers have a right to bring an action under mandate to force DCS to comply with the statutory caseload maximums. The case has been remanded to the trial court.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 3, 2016
Indianapolis – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed a federal court ruling that prohibits the State of Indiana from taking any actions to interfere with or attempt to deter the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana, including by withholding funds and services to resettlement groups and the refugees they serve.
"The Court of Appeals' decision underscores what we have said throughout this litigation," said Ken Falk, legal director of the ACLU of Indiana. "Governor Pence may not constitutionally or legally discriminate against a particular nationality of refugees that are extensively vetted by the federal government."
The lawsuit filed in November, 2015 was brought by Exodus Refugee Immigration, a nonprofit resettlement agency, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and ACLU national, which said the state's actions to discriminate against Syrian refugees on the basis of national origin violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal.