Last updated on: 2/16/2012 | Author:

Did You Know?

1. The ACLU was founded on Jan. 19, 1920 by Crystal Eastman and Roger Baldwin.
2. The ACLU handles nearly 6,000 cases per year, and it appears before the US Supreme Court more than any other organization except the US Department of Justice.
3. From its first US Supreme Court case on Jan. 19, 1925 through Dec. 31, 1999 the ACLU was involved in 750 cases in the US Supreme Court. During those 75 years, the US Supreme Court sided with the ACLU 56.38% of the time.
4. In 1923, the ACLU's first permanent affiliate was created in Southern California with the help of writer Upton Sinclair.
5. Gitlow v. New York, decided on June 8, 1925, was the first case the ACLU brought before the US Supreme Court. It lost by a 7-2 vote.
6. The ACLU filed an amicus brief supporting Osama bin Laden’s former chauffer in a case regarding the constitutionality of military commissions. On June 29, 2006, the US Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in favor of the ACLU’s side.
7. On Mar. 24, 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy accused the ACLU of being a "subversive front." The organization had never been listed as "subversive" by any federal agency.
8. US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the chief litigator for the ACLU's Women's Rights Project prior to commencing her judicial career.
9. In 1978, the ACLU lost 25% of its members and racked up $500,000 in debt due to disapproval over its decision to represent a neo-Nazi group in the National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie.
10. In 1997, the ACLU of Florida opposed the National Office of the ACLU's efforts to assist First Amendment rights of anti-abortion protesters.
11. According to a 2006 Harris Poll, 70% of Democratic respondents said they trust the ACLU compared to 21% of Republican respondents.
12. As of July 9, 2010, the ACLU had over 500,000 members, often referred to as "card-carriers."
13. The ACLU interprets the Second Amendment to the Constitution ("the right of the people to keep and bear arms") as a collective right. The organization's position is that the individual possession of weapons is not constitutionally protected.
14. On Sep. 7, 2001, Anthony D. Romero became the first Latino and first openly gay man to be appointed as the ACLU's Executive Director.
15. In 2001, nine former ACLU leaders opposed the ACLU's position against the McCain-Feingold bill, a bill which added limitations on political campaign contributions and expenditures. The ACLU contended that such limits compromise free speech.