Last updated on: 10/5/2007 | Author:

Is the ACLU Pro-Criminal?

PRO (yes)


Former President George H.W. Bush, in a June 28, 1988 speech to the Fraternal Order of Police in Columbus, Ohio, stated:

“I never will be a member [of the ACLU] because they’re always coming down on the side of criminals.”

June 28, 1988


Michael D. Antonovich, Los Angeles County Supervisor, issued an Apr. 19, 2000 press-release titled, “ACLU Prop. 21 Challenge ‘Great News For Criminals, Bad News For Law-Abiding'”:

“The decision by the American Civil Liberties Union to launch a court challenge against Proposition 21 is ‘great news for criminals, bad news for law-abiding’ said supervisor Mike Antonovich, a supporter of the anti-gang crime initiative.

‘This is the latest in the ACLU’s long ‘pro-criminal’ agenda,’ Antonovich said. ‘Whether it is the voters’ attempt to put away career criminals through a tough ‘three-strikes’ law or an effort to close our borders to those who have absolutely no legal right to taxpayers’ resources, the ACLU consistently fights the law-abiding.'”

Apr. 19, 2000


The Committee for Justice published a Dec. 2005 report written by its General Counsel, Curt A. Levey, titled “Who’s Out of the Mainstream? An Examination of the Coalition Opposing Judge Alito,” which stated:

“The ACLU’s pattern of consistently siding with criminal defendants against the police… is well known. However it is the ACLU’s tendency to embrace defendants shunned even by other ultra-liberal groups that puts the organization so clearly at odds with mainstream values.”

Dec. 2005


Gordon Bishop, a syndicated columnist, wrote in his Oct. 6, 2004 op-ed for the American Daily website titled “Two Trial Lawyers In The White House – Again?”:

“The ACLU is a bunch of Marxist lawyers that should be called the American Criminal Liberties Union. Criminals, you see, are given more help and protection by the ACLU than America’s law-abiding citizens.”

Oct. 6, 2004

CON (no)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachussetts, in its FAQ section of its website, accessed on Jan. 24, 2004, stated the following:

“The ACLU doesn’t believe in ‘going soft’ on criminals. The ACLU supports just, reasonable law enforcement — even tough enforcement. However, the organization believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial. The due process rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights should be respected and upheld for all, not just a few.”

Jan. 24, 2004


The ACLU of Florida posts on its website (accessed on Jan. 25, 2004), a document titled “Crime and Civil Liberties,” which stated in part:

“Given the failure of the ‘get tough’ measures of the 1970s and early ’80s to significantly reduce the crime rate, some of our politicians have turned to scapegoating the Constitution. They claim that civil liberties ‘technicalities’ are tying the hands of the police and freeing criminals to commit more crimes…

The American Civil Liberties Union is opposed to ‘crime fighting’ proposals that would expand governmental power at the expense of the rights of innocent people. Effective law enforcement and individual rights are not at odds. We can, and must, have both.”

Jan. 25, 2004


Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor, wrote in his Aug. 5, 2005 blog, The Volokh Conspiracy:

“If you don’t like the Fourth Amendment rules that make it possible for the ACLU to sue, fault the Justices who have developed those rules… Or fault the Framers for maintaining the English system of justice… But stop calling them ‘criminal’ for exercising their constitutional rights…

What is in question here, indeed, is ‘the definition of freedom.’… [T]hat some people have a broader view than you do — whether it relates to the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to counsel… — doesn’t make them criminals, doesn’t make them pro-criminal or pro-terrorist, and doesn’t make their arguments frivolous.”

Aug. 5, 2005