Former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., to receive JFK ‘Profile in Courage’ award

March 28, 2014

Many congrats to Mayor Paul Bridges who joined our lawsuit against Georgia's anti-immigrant law for this well-deserved recognition!

By Jim Galloway
www.ajc.com

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced the two recipients of its annual Profile in Courage awards this afternoon.

One is well known – former President George H.W. Bush, who will be honored for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge to cement a bipartisan budget deal in 1990 and put his re-election chances in jeopardy. President Bill Clinton was the result.

But the bigger surprise is Paul Bridges, the former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., population 592 – give or take a few souls.


The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation announced the two recipients of its annual Profile in Courage awards this afternoon.

One is well known – former President George H.W. Bush, who will be honored for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge to cement a bipartisan budget deal in 1990 and put his re-election chances in jeopardy. President Bill Clinton was the result.

But the bigger surprise is Paul Bridges, the former mayor of Uvalda, Ga., population 592 – give or take a few souls.

Politics still makes strange bedfellows under Gold Dome

February 24, 2014

By Kyle Wingfield
Atlanta Journal Constitution

Which of these groups does not belong with the others: the ACLU, the tea party, Common Cause or Americans for Prosperity?

If you think they could all fit in a coalition under the Gold Dome, give yourself a peach-colored star.

This era is known for its polarization in Washington, and Georgians on the left and the right certainly have their differences about how state legislators should address certain issues. But unlike in national politics, diverse coalitions still can and do emerge on high-profile state issues.

The ACLU and Common Cause have reputations as liberal groups, particularly nationally; the tea party and Americans for Prosperity lean solidly to the right. But representatives of those four outfits, along with the libertarian Institute for Justice, are pushing legislators to change Georgia’s civil asset forfeiture laws -- which allow law enforcement to confiscate private property without a criminal conviction, or in many cases even a criminal charge.

Tide May be Turning on Medical Cannabis in Georgia Legislature

January 15, 2014

Gloria Tatum
Atlanta Progressive News

The tide appears to be turning in Georgia with regard to the issue of medical cannabis, or marijuana, after two leading Republican lawmakers in the State Legislature expressed their openness to the idea of legalizing cannabis for medical purposes in Georgia.

As first reported by WSB-TV Channel 2, on January 07, 2014, Republican State Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) called for hearings on medical marijuana; then, on January 09, House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) told Channel 2 he would be open to the idea.

"I have some concerns about it quite frankly but I think, let's take the politics out of it, and look at the science and hear the medical professionals,” Ralston said.

Advancing Human Rights 2013: Dignity. USHRN Biannual National Conference

December 05, 2013

USHRN Biannual National Conference
Crowne Plaza Atlanta Perimeter at Ravinia
December 6-8, 2013
Atlanta, GA 30339
Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrants' Rights Project Director, of the ACLU of Georgia, will be presenting on two workshop/panels.

Officials to Close North Georgia Detention Center in Gainesville

December 05, 2013

By
90.1 WABE

Officials announced Monday the North Georgia Detention Center in Gainesville will close before the end of the year. The facility is one of four federal immigration detention centers in the state.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement will move detainees to other detention centers in Irwin and Stewart counties. While ICE oversees the centers, they’re operated by a private company, Corrections Corporation of America.

The ACLU of Georgia issued a report in 2012 condemning conditions in the state’s detention centers. Attorney Azadeh Shahshahani says while the group is glad to see the North Georgia Detention Center close, the move doesn’t fully address the ACLU’s concerns.

Community Leaders Hold “Shut Down Stewart” March and Vigil

November 20, 2013

On Friday, November 22 at 10 am, Georgia Detention Watch will hold its sixth annual vigil at Corrections Corporation of America-operated Stewart Detention Center. The vigil coincides with the release of Detention Watch Network’s (DWN) report, “Expose and Close, One Year Later: The Absence of Accountability in Immigration Detention,” The report documents the current state of the immigration detention system, afflicted by deaths and suicides, subpar medical and mental healthcare, inedible food, and arbitrary restrictions on visitation and access to legal resources.

While the congressional debate on immigration reform ensues, the mass detention of immigrants across the U.S. has been largely ignored. Located in rural Southwest Georgia, the Stewart Detention Center detains approximately 2,000 immigrant men. Stewart is one of Georgia’s four immigration detention centers and the largest in the U.S.

Policing Shouldn't be for Profit

October 31, 2013

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can take people's money and property without making an arrest. They just have to suspect the assets are tied in some way to illicit activity. Since much of the money police seize ends up paying their own salaries and bankrolling their departments, they have a strong incentive to abuse these laws.

If you would like to learn more about the ACLU of Georgia’s efforts to reform civil asset forfeiture in Georgia, please sign up for our legislative action alerts at http://www.acluga.org/get-involved/action-alerts/

Watch the video here: https://www.aclu.org/policing-for-profit

The ACLU has released a new ACLU report on license plate readers.

July 17, 2013

The ACLU has released the most comprehensive report to date on law enforcement’s use of license plate readers, one of the fastest-proliferating technologies in the government’s surveillance arsenal. Learn about how your movements on the road are being tracked and recorded: www.aclu.org/plates

The Future of American Warfare? Assessing the Legality of the Obama Administration's Use of Military Drones

May 21, 2013

The Georgia Lawyer Chapter of the American Constitution Society presents:

The Future of American Warfare?

Assessing the Legality of the Obama Administration's Use of Military Drones

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Bondurant Mixson & Elmore LLP
One Atlantic Center
1201 West Peachtree Street
Suite 3200
Atlanta, GA

Featuring:

  • The Honorable Bob Barr, Former United States Representative, 7th Congressional District of Georgia; Former Presidential Candidate, Libertarian Party
  • Laurie Blank, Director, International Humanitarian Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law
  • Azadeh Shahshahani, National Security/Immigrant Rights Project Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia
  • Todd Stein, Lecturer, Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, Georgia Institute of Technology; Former General Counsel, Legislative Director, Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT)

Moderated By:

  • Neil Kinkopf, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law; Former Special Assistant, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice; Member, Board of Advisors, ACS Georgia Lawyer Chapter

To what extent does the United States Constitution and current federal law authorize the use of military drones in counter-terrorism operations? Come hear a panel discussion on the constitutionality of President Obama’s policy on the use of drones, including the limits to their use, whether and when they could be used on American citizens, and the merits of constitutional concerns raised on the political left and the political right.

RSVP here

State Court Temporarily Halts Georgia Abortion Ban

December 26, 2012

State Court Temporarily Halts Georgia Abortion Ban

The Superior Court of Fulton County last Friday temporarily suspended a Georgia law banning pre-viability abortions. The law would have criminalized virtually all abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy, with only an extremely narrow exception for the woman's health.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Georgia challenged the law on behalf of three Georgia obstetrician-gynecologists whose patients include women in need of this essential medical care.

“This law places women in harm’s way by depriving them of the right to make their own serious medical decisions,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project. “Politicians should not place ideology over a woman's health."

Although very few abortions occur after 20 weeks, a woman who has an abortion at this point does so for a variety of reasons, including the fact that continuing the pregnancy poses a threat to her health, that the fetus has been diagnosed with a medical condition or anomaly, or that the pregnancy has failed, and miscarriage is inevitable.

“We’re glad that this dangerous, overreaching law has been put on hold,” said Chad Brock, staff attorney with the ACLU of Georgia. “If our elected officials want to help women, they should be passing laws that increase their access to vital health services – not putting them in jeopardy by denying them critical care.”

For more information on this case, please visit: www.aclu.org/reproductive-freedom-womens-rights/lathrop-et-al-v-deal-et-al

Legal Docs
Lathrop, et al. v. Deal, et al. - Complaint

Lathrop, et al. v. Deal, et al. - Motion for Injunctive Relief

Lathrop, et al. v. Deal, et al. - Brief for Support of Motion for Injunctive Relief

Lathrip, et al. v. Deal, et al. - Preliminary Injunction