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ScoutNerd

ACLU Info?

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Well, some of you elders have spoken harshly about the ACLU, and I wasn't all that inclined to simply take your word for it, and wanted to at least try and give them the benefit of the doubt, but that was a very tough thing to ask of myself evidently. (things like this have a funny way of backfiring don't they?) I went to their website to browse around abit about Scout issues, and more than a few other things that they take positions on that are of interest to me (intelligent design, religious freedom, etc.) And I was frankly disgusted with what I saw (sorry for not trusting you fellas the first time around). This led me to be interested in finding out some things that their website does a very clever job of making you believe they tell you, but never actually letting you know, for instance...

What is the history/basis to the ACLU? The only thing they say is "The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nations guardian of liberty" and variations of that the entire way through. Why was it founded?

Does it get government funding do produce such... (I don't know a polite adjective for it) results?

What basis do they have for claiming themselves "gaurdians of liberty"?

and on a more personal note... where do you think they define a limit between gaurding liberty, and tearing down morality?

 

Any of you elder types more informed from working with (maybe more against) it for more years than this lowly college student?

 

-Curtis

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One more thing I forgot to ask...

Does anyone know how to email an opinion (well informed and polite, naturally) to them? They had plenty to suggest that it was possible but all I could find on the website were rabbit trails leading in circles.

 

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One last question (I thought of all these, and just forgot them when I went to write them down)...

What gives the ACLU such a sway with the courts? Why is their opinion regarded so highly?

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ScoutNerd,

 

There are probably a lot of opinions in regards to the ACLU. Most here will probably see them in a negative light because they have been involved in actions against the BSA. I don't know a whole lot about their history, really. Personally, I see them kind of like some defense attorneys, that is, some defense attorneys will take on really unpopular clients because they think that everyone deserves their day in court. The ACLU has taken on really unpopular issues because they think that somebody has to. Do I like it, for example, when they support the American Nazi Party's right to publicly meet? No, because I despise what the Nazis stand for, but the ACLU isn't supporting what the Nazis stand for, only their right to freely display their beliefs. From a legal standpoint, you can't distinguish the rights of the Nazis from the rights of the NAACP or any other group that is acting lawfully. I hear all the time that the ACLU supports liberal causes over conservative. That could be true, but I haven't researched their case history enough to know whether that is indeed fact.

 

I don't know if they get government funding or not.

 

How does the ACLU get to call itself the "guardian of liberty"? It's marketing.

 

On what basis do you think that the ACLU is "tearing down morality"?

 

Contacting them? No rabbit holes, just click on the "feedback" button on their homepage.

 

On what basis are you saying that the ACLU holds sway in the courts?

 

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As far as I can tell, the ACLU has never decided a case in court. Thats the job of the judge. The ACLU doesnt "change" things, its the court decision, as rendered by the judge of that case that changes things. At times some will say that the judge only made that decision because the ACLU brought suit, which is to me like saying we all knew it was wrong, but as long as no one said anything, we were fine with it.

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The "holding sway in courts" I was referring to was based on a lot of their statements on the website "the ACLU tells supreme court (*insert generic ACLU Statement here*)" I realize these were all on their website, and therefore they could have just been patting themselves on the back (over and over and over), but still, for only being 400,000 "members" they would certainly appear to have a highly regarded opinion. If they are the primary ones to bring charges against the Boy Scouts, and people (particularly the courts) take them seriously (evening if they do neglect the fact that we're a private organization) they must have some pretty powerful voices, unless I'm sadly (completely) misinformed as to how the American justice system works.

Update: I checked into it a bit more, and they don't get gov. funding.

And thanks, I did find the feedback form (I looked there last night, I just didn't have the patience left to keep looking)

In regards to the morality thing I asked, (I'm trying not to bring the "God Factor" into things here so...) For the sake of an interesting discussion, what do you guys think? Can morality even be considered as a valid point of discussion on this topic?

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>On what basis do you think that the ACLU is "tearing down morality"?

 

I'd say in removing God from society. Can't do much worse than that.

 

The ACLU "tells" a court just as any private party can "tell" a court in filing "friend of the court" briefs. They hold a lot of sway because certain prominent members of the legal community strongly support (or are part of) the ACLU. Also, many judges agree with the ACLU views, with some having worked with the ACLU. Justice [holds my nose] Ginsburg was counsel for the ACLU...so basically the ACLU has a seat on the Supreme Court.

 

Just as I posted something came to mind. Had the Republican senators been so brash as the Democrat senators today on the filibuster, Justice Ginsburg would not be a justice on the Supreme Court. There is no way she would have gotten past 41 opposition votes. Of course, Clarence Thomas would not currently be on the Supreme Court if the filibustering of justices had been conducted back then either.(This message has been edited by tortdog)

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Tortdog,

 

Sorry, I just don't see how the ACLU is "removing God" from society. They have raised issues in court over groups who have allegedly overstepped Constitutional grounds in their displays or use of public facilities. Those are issues of law, not morality. And the ACLU is presenting their case in court, and there is an opposing side; a judge or jury makes the final determination, not the ACLU.

 

Saying that the ACLU has a seat on the Supreme Court is a bit of stretch, don't you think? Since Republican presidents appointed the majority of the Supreme Court, does that mean that the Republicans own the majority of seats? As far as other judges supporing the ACLU, the majority of judges in the higher courts were appointed by Republicans. Unfortunately, I guess they sometimes have a nasty habit of being independent thinkers.

 

Not to get too OT, but since you brought up the filibuster issue, we should remember that so far the Democrats have blocked 10 of the Presidents judicial nominees, while passing along many, many more. The Republicans blocked, what, 170?, during the Clinton Administration. And now the President, knowing that these candidates have been rejected before, is submitting them again in the full knowledge that this will cause a fight in the Senate that is nothing but political warfare. Who's being brash?

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ACLU does not receive government funding. I believe it is a 501 ©(3) not-for-profit, just like BSA, so contributions to it are tax deductible.

 

Their funding comes mainly from liberal groups and individuals like George Soros and Moveon.org. When you consider how much they spent in the effort to elect John Kerry, you can see how much is available.

 

They have "sway" with courts because they are ubiquitous. They have resources that far outweigh those of the average lawyer. In many parts of the country the judges are in sympathy with ACLU views anyway, so it isn't hard to convince them.

 

The only reason they haven't succeeded in eliminating or changing the BSA in drastic ways is that majority of Americans are sympathetic to the Scouts and want their kids in an organization with pretty much mainstream values.

 

Of course, I think they are an unsconscionable group. I feel that lawyers have to use their own morality in deciding what cases to prosecute and I don't see how they can justify to themselves what they do.

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>Sorry, I just don't see how the ACLU is "removing God" from society. They have raised issues in court over groups who have allegedly overstepped Constitutional grounds in their displays or use of public facilities. Those are issues of law, not morality.

 

Law is society's statement of morality.

 

The ACLU has fought to build a wall between God and society. I disagree with that view. Society can include God without discriminating on the basis of religion. I bet you didn't know that our founding fathers, the ones who wrote the 1st Amendment, also provided government funding for religious institutions. Because the government funding was not for any ONE specific church, it was not viewed as forcing ONE religion on man by government. Today, it's taboo to mention God in school (except in Texas). I think that the founding fathers would be shocked at how the ACLU has twisted and contorted the 1st Amendment.

 

>And the ACLU is presenting their case in court, and there is an opposing side; a judge or jury makes the final determination, not the ACLU.

 

Correct. And sometimes those unelected judges can't stop themselves from making new laws that the people never agreed to. For example, there was once a time when the People of California felt it was okay for a doctor to perform an abortion, while the People of Texas disagreed. Each had its own laws. As a result of a few unelected lawyers, the rights of hundreds of millions of people to make their own laws were trampled.

 

If the courts want a law, they should step off the bench and become legislators so that we the people can have a say. But if they are going to sit behind that bench with the robe, they should strive mightily to only interpret what the people defined the law to be. When the majority of the people disagree with the "new and novel" definition provided by unelected lawyer-judges, maybe the judges ought to step back and reconsider.

 

>Saying that the ACLU has a seat on the Supreme Court is a bit of stretch, don't you think?

 

Absolutely not. Ginsburg worked for the ACLU. She is now on the Supreme Court. She might even still be a member. Would you feel the same way if a lawyer who worked for the KKK were now on the Court?

 

>Since Republican presidents appointed the majority of the Supreme Court, does that mean that the Republicans own the majority of seats?

 

I'd say they are responsible for them.

 

>As far as other judges supporing the ACLU, the majority of judges in the higher courts were appointed by Republicans. Unfortunately, I guess they sometimes have a nasty habit of being independent thinkers.

 

I don't think that was the question. The question was why the ACLU is listened to and I tried to answer it.

 

>Not to get too OT, but since you brought up the filibuster issue, we should remember that so far the Democrats have blocked 10 of the Presidents judicial nominees, while passing along many, many more. The Republicans blocked, what, 170?, during the Clinton Administration. And now the President, knowing that these candidates have been rejected before, is submitting them again in the full knowledge that this will cause a fight in the Senate that is nothing but political warfare. Who's being brash?

 

Both parties have used procedural games to prevent votes on the President's judicial nominees in the past. Both parties were wrong to do that. In the past, however, when a judicial nominee DID get past the committee, the Senate voted on it (as the Constitution requires). Today, for the first time in the history of the Senate, judicial nominees that have the support of the majority of Senators are being filibustered. Why? Because a minority of Senators disagree with the viewpoints of those nominees.

 

The old way of using procedural games in committee to prevent a vote was bad - and wrong. But this new way of filibustering to prevent a vote at all is unheard of. It guarantees that we get judges with no recorded opinion to the bench since anyone with an opinion is now open to filibustering by just 41 members.

 

Either rewrite the constitution to require consent by 61 senators, or have the senators vote.

 

Why would you disagree with that position?(This message has been edited by tortdog)

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Kahuna,

 

I'm not a die-hard ACLU fan, but isn't their beef with the govt.? They can't change BSA, they can only impact how the govt. acts toward us in relation to how the govt. acts toward other private clubs. I don't think BSA is as important to the ACLU as we sometimes think. BTW, wouldn't ACLU lawyers argue that they're just freedom fighters standing up for the disenfranchised and those whom are discriminated against?

 

Tortdog,

 

Law is society's statement on "order" - not morality. We lock up bad guys, not because they're immoral, but because they gum up the works, cost money, and make "good" people feel uncomfortable, thus interrupting their day and the blissful "order" of our communities.

 

Nowhere in this country is it taboo to mention God in a public school. You can't just throw out these one-liners and claim the moral high ground. It's like the catchphrase "Compassionate Conservatism" - as if this gives this particular brand of Conservatism a higher level of integrity. God is welcome in every public school in America. He's mandated in most places by the reciting of the Pledge. True, in many places public schools need to be accepting of other cultural beliefs, so the traditional public school monopoly of the Christian God has changed. I'm comfortable being the one responsible for my sons' faith-learning and not leaving it up to his randomly selected teacher. I can only imagine the Buddhist family 2 doors to my right and the Jewish family next door on my left is comfortable with that, too.

 

I understand your disagreement with Judge Ginsburg's legal opinions. You're disrespect seems uneccessary. Do you have any former bosses? Do they own you? Should we define anyone according to any particular previous job they've held?

 

I disagree with your interpretation of a judge's role re: interpreting law. Again, I think your over-generalized summation is disrespectful - and worse. As far as states'(CA or TX) vs. federal govt. rights, I believe that's been decided, - the word we use is "indivisible". Democracy is messy, we can't all get our way all the time.

 

It seems wrong to be more tolerant of one procedural manuever than another. These are the rules of the game. Would you argue that the rules be changed? They've been around for many, many years. I guess if you were a Senator and therefore inside the process, it might be more appropriate for you to want to change the rules. You know, like trying to change ethics rules.

 

Then again, if you think (outsiders or) insiders have the right to work for organizational change, then logically, it would follow that you would be comfortable with the ACLU and/or Scouters working to change BSA policies.

 

FWIW,

 

jd

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The ACLU (Another Cash Lovers Union) has no interest in defending the Constitution unless it self serving.

 

Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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>Law is society's statement on "order" - not morality. We lock up bad guys, not because they're immoral, but because they gum up the works, cost money, and make "good" people feel uncomfortable, thus interrupting their day and the blissful "order" of our communities.

 

I disagree. When society says that it is illegal to drink and drive, it passed a moral judgment. Society decided wrong and right, and the individual is now able to choose whether to follow or not. Society passes moral judgments all the time. This thought to not "legislate morality" is a new game played by those who want no moral absolutes, and it's completely misguided.

 

>Nowhere in this country is it taboo to mention God in a public school.

 

Well, other than the pledge (unless you are one of the judges on the 9th Circuit and even THAT is unconstitutional).

 

>I understand your disagreement with Judge Ginsburg's legal opinions. You're disrespect seems uneccessary. Do you have any former bosses? Do they own you? Should we define anyone according to any particular previous job they've held?

 

If someone were legal counsel for the KKK, I would never pick him for a decent job and doubt that I would ever respect him.

 

Justice Ginsburg has shown her true colors while opining for the court. She is the ACLU on the bench, and the Republicans (to their credit) did not filibuster her. (Not to give the Republicans too much credit...they probably just weren't smart enough to think filibustering would work.)

 

>I disagree with your interpretation of a judge's role re: interpreting law. Again, I think your over-generalized summation is disrespectful - and worse.

 

Apparently I'm full of disprespect today. Must be preparation for the canoe instructor training that I have to run to in a hurry.

 

>As far as states'(CA or TX) vs. federal govt. rights, I believe that's been decided, - the word we use is "indivisible". Democracy is messy, we can't all get our way all the time.

 

The states gave the federal government limited rights, while retaining all other rights/powers to themselves. Only now are the states starting to claim back some of the territory they lost due to legislative and judicial overreaching.

 

And..yeah...I think that's a good thing. Democracy is messy, and judges like to "clean it up" for us. Judge made law is the ultimate in tyranny, and we have a few on the Supreme Court and the other benches that have grown to like it.

 

>Would you argue that the rules be changed?

 

I argue that a bad rule should be stomped out, regardless of how long it's been around.

 

>They've been around for many, many years. I guess if you were a Senator and therefore inside the process, it might be more appropriate for you to want to change the rules. You know, like trying to change ethics rules.

 

Any rule that circumvents the Constitution should be abolished. Why is that opinion wrong?

 

>Then again, if you think (outsiders or) insiders have the right to work for organizational change, then logically, it would follow that you would be comfortable with the ACLU and/or Scouters working to change BSA policies.

 

I don't know why the People would be considered "outsiders". Doesn't the Senate belong to the People?

 

How about my question. The Constitution says that the President nominates judges and the Senate gives "advice and consent" on a majority basis. Why is it in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution when a rule allows a minority of Senators to block a vote? If by filibustering you need 61 senators (though the Constitution says you only need 51), shouldn't that rule require an amendment to the Constitution? Doesn't that rule frustrate constitutional intent?

 

Funny, isn't it, how we can stretch the Constitution to say that (i) no states can outlaw abortion, and (ii) you cannot execute a minor, but when the Constitution says a majority approves the judges we can't seem to find it in there. Must be in the penumbra, somewhere, that a minority of senators can block the vote.

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Tortdog,

 

I guess we'll just have to disagree on this one, and that's fine and good; it's what open discussion is about.

 

>>The ACLU has fought to build a wall between God and society.

I would say, rather, that the ACLU tries to maintain the separation of church and state as required by law.

 

I think that they've been overzealous in the effort in some cases, but I suppose I could say the same thing about other, more conservative groups, as well.

 

In regards to your feelings about judges, you might be targeting the wrong people. Judges only act on cases brought before them; they don't get to just make up things. The job of the judge is to interpret law; do some of them overreach? I'm sure they due, and I would bet that there is pretty much an even split between conservative and liberal judges who do that. And, judges aren't quite "unelected". When it comes to federal judges, at least, there is a process of review and then a vote by the Senate, who are our representatives.

 

Regards the filibuster, it has been widely reported in the media that, while not a popular tactic, the use of the filibuster in this situation is not without precedent. The Democratic Party, I would guess, sees the judicial committee as a group simply rubber stamping the judicial nominations, and is doing what it can when it sees nominees that it considers to be clearly unacceptable. You'll see that they've done this with only a very small number of judges, while passing on many, many more. It's one thing to let the President have his "team". While Cabinet members, for example, do get scrutinized, more often than not the minority party will vote the candidate on to a full vote in the Senate. Judges, because they are lifetime appointments, should have further review and care, and extra efforts are made to try to stop those that are too extreme in either direction.

 

Rules allowing the minority to block a vote aren't "hiding" in some "penumbra" someplace. They are rules that were created by the Senate and have existed and worked just fine for 200 years. Doesn't require an amendment to the Constitution, and they needn't be changed just for the convenience of the party in power.

 

I'd have a hard time painting the Democrats as the "evil" party here. Both parties have gotten to the point where the political battle is more important than the process of government. The Democrats use unpopular tactics to block judicial appointees; the Republicans have a member in trouble with the ethics committee, so they just change the ethics rules to get around the problem. Tit for tat down the line. I've got a button around here someplace that says "Re-elect Nobody". Sounds good to me.

 

 

 

 

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Aloha JD,

 

isn't their beef with the govt.? They can't change BSA, they can only impact how the govt. acts toward us

 

If I lived across the street from you and was trying to get the government to tear down your house because I thought it was architecturally offensive, would you say my beef was with the government? What if I was a lawyer and had enough money to keep taking you to court until you finally run out of cash?

 

in relation to how the govt. acts toward other private clubs

 

Would it matter if I thought the other people in the neighborhood had nice houses that should stay?

 

They are clearly trying to change the BSA by dragging the organization repeatedly through the courts. They believe (and to some extent rightly) that these actions will cause the organization to behave according to their notions of right and wrong.

 

 

I don't think BSA is as important to the ACLU as we sometimes think

 

For one thing, it doesn't matter whether we are or we aren't, the result of their actions is detrimental to the BSA and to it's public image. I doubt they sit up at night thinking about the BSA, but if you watch the pattern of the ACLU's lawsuits, you will see they regard it as a danger to the youth of the nation. I doubt that many ACLU lawyers have kids in Boy Scouts.

 

 

BTW, wouldn't ACLU lawyers argue that they're just freedom fighters standing up for the disenfranchised and those whom are discriminated against?

 

Of course they would. And wouldn't Osama Bin Laden and his ilk argue (and doubtless believe in their heart of hearts that they are) exactly that?

 

This post sounds a bit hostile and I don't mean it that way (at least not to you). I just think we need to recognize the ACLU for what it is: a left-wing, anti-Constitution, anti-religious bunch of people whose actions are antithetic to the good of the country. I doesn't matter what they call themselves or how they view themselves. Al Queda believes it is doing the work of God. ACLU sees itself in much the same way. I see them both as an evil they world would be better off without.

 

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