The pre-eminent stalwart of constitutional and individual protection in the United States, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has a long and sustained history of providing legal assistance when the organization believes that civil liberties are at risk. Founded in 1920, The ACLU made its name litigating over landmark freedom of speech cases in the 1930s and has upheld the sentiment ever since. From Civil Rights in the 1950s and 1960s to Abortion rights and Watergate, the ACLU has had a hand in providing legal assistance in some of the most monumental political cases in US History.
Consisting of two separate nonprofit organizations, the union (a political lobbying entity) and the foundation (a charity), the ACLU works in both the political and social sphere to engage and promote individual liberties in accordance with the Constitution. With stances on multiple hot-button social topics in the US, from LGBT rights to juvenile justice and reproductive freedom, the ACLU has contributed to recent watershed moments such as the legalization of same sex marriage, the challenge of Trump’s “Muslim Ban” and the contention of the US government surveillance.
The ACLU utilizes both organizations in a two-pronged approach to change policy as well as hearts and minds. It maintains the mantra that the defense of liberties in the US is as reliant on public thought and opinion as it is on the rule of law.