Sept. 14, 2016

The following statement may be attributed to Jane Henegar, ACLU of Indiana Executive Director:

Earlier this year, a U.S. District Court Judge agreed with the ACLU: Indiana Governor Mike Pence's attempt to stop Syrian refugees from settling in Indiana is unconstitutional discrimination on the basis of national origin and the directive violates federal law.

Today our legal team, led by ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk, represented a nonprofit refugee resettlement organization, Exodus Refugee Immigration, before a three-judge panel in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago.

The panel included Judges Richard Posner, Frank H. Easterbrook and Diane S. Sykes. Indiana Solicitor General Tom Fisher represented the Governor and the State of Indiana.

Today's panel asked many questions, such as, "When Indiana says it is only banning refugees from Syria but not on the basis of their national origin, the only response can be a broad smile," and, "The Governor of Indiana knows more about refugees than the State Department does?"

The judges were highly critical of the State's reasoning and defense of the Governor's actions. It is next to impossible to determine how a Court may decide based upon its interaction with lawyers during arguments. However, we are optimistic that the State of Indiana will not be able to discriminate against refugees fleeing violence and war on the basis of national origin. We anticipate a decision within the next few months.

Case information: Exodus Refugee Immigration, Inc. v. Pence, et al.Appellate Cause No. 16-1509

Please check back here for a link to the oral arguments after the Court posts them online.

Follow this case on social media @acluindiana - #7thCircuit #RefugeesWelcome 

Links to prior statements about this case and legal documents:

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First Wednesdays 2017 Calendar

  • February 1, 2017 – Indianapolis
  • April 5, 2017 – East Chicago
  • June 7 – Fort Wayne
  • Sept. 6 – New Albany
  • Nov. 1 – Bloomington

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March 28, 2016

Last week Indiana House Enrolled Act No. 1337 was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana believes this law has constitutional flaws, and we are in the process of reviewing it on behalf of Planned Parenthood.

The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk:

"We believe the law has constitutional flaws. The United States Supreme Court has made it quite clear that the Constitution absolutely prohibits states from interfering in this manner with a woman's decision to have an abortion."

The following statement may be attributed to ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar:

"Women across the country are outraged and insulted by this law, which intrudes on rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. This law restricts a woman's right based on her reasons for terminating a pregnancy, and it takes away the very thing a woman needs: the ability to make an informed decision about what could be a devastating situation. The ACLU of Indiana will continue to work to ensure that every woman can make the best decision for herself and her family about whether and when to have a child without undue political interference."

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February 2, 2016

Indianapolis –Today lawmakers in the Indiana General Assembly failed to allow a vote on a measure, Senate Bill 344, which while fundamentally flawed, would have opened the door for updating Indiana's civil rights law to protect Hoosiers based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The following statement may be attributed to Jane Henegar, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana:

"It is extremely disappointing that lawmakers did not allow a vote to occur on the Senate floor today regarding an update to our civil rights law, an update that could have finally put to rest the question of equal protection for LGBTQ people in Indiana. Lawmakers left this crucial issue unanswered despite our tireless efforts to help fix the deeply flawed legislation, and despite strong support across the state from faith leaders, business leaders and public officials interested in moving Indiana forward.

As Hoosiers and as Americans, we need to stand against discrimination and resolve this issue that has divided our state and inflicted real and persistent damage. Doing nothing has never been an acceptable option. Hoosiers need full protection from discrimination now. As important members our community, gay and transgender people need to be able to work, live and take care of themselves and their families without fear of discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. We will continue to fight during this legislative session to update our civil rights law and undo the damage done to our state by last year's RFRA."

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January 13, 2016

In his State of the State address last night, Governor Mike Pence failed to exhibit much needed leadership on an issue that is front and center in the minds of Hoosiers: whether Indiana will take steps during this legislative session to repair the damage incurred by RFRA last year, and finally update our civil rights law to fully protect gay and transgender Hoosiers. Instead, he made clear that even if lawmakers come to an agreement on various legislation that is currently under consideration, he will "not support any bill that diminished the religious freedom of Hoosiers or interferes with the Constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work."

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