American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Organization founded by Roger Baldwin and others in New York City in 1920 to champion constitutional liberties in the U.S. It works for three basic concepts: freedom of expression, conscience, and association; due process of law; and equal protection under the law.

From its founding it has initiated test cases and intervened in cases already in the courts. It may provide legal counsel, or it may file an amicus curiae brief. The Scopes trial was one of its test cases; it provided counsel for the Sacco-Vanzetti case. In the 1950s and '60s it opposed the blacklisting of supposed left-wing subversives and worked to guarantee freedom of worship and the rights of the accused. Its work is performed by volunteers and full-time staff, including lawyers who provide free legal counsel. See also civil liberty.

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Universalium. 2010.

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